The 10th most popular snowboarding destination in France.
Friday 5 August 2016 05:59 GMT
Southeast of Chambery and Moutiers, the Courchevel ski domaine has 119 runs served by 62 lifts spread over an area of 1,300 acres. The pistes cover a wide range of difficulty with 27 green runs, 44 blue runs, 38 red runs and 10 black runs. The Courchevel ski domaine is not really known for expansive off-piste / hors-piste lines -- there are a few short pitches to explore. Most of the pistes are of a short, gentle slope.
Courchevel is also one of the resorts of the largest linked ski area in the world: Les Trois Vallees. Les Trois Vallees ski arena that accesses 600km of pistes served by 173 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 1,980m (6,500 feet). Discover panoramas and magnificent scenery stretching from the Mont Blanc massif in the north to the Les Ecrins massif in the south, as well as a unique view over the Swiss and Italian Alps to the north and east that the Trois Vallees offer. In a few hours you can reach the summit of the the Trois Vallees massif, the Pointe de Thorens (3266 m) at Val Thorens, by means of the efficient and rapid ski lifts in the area. A ski pass can be purchased for the Courchevel Valley or for the entire Les 3 Vallees area which covers 600 kilometres of marked pistes.
Advanced terrain is located on the higher altitude areas of the Courchevel Valley. Steep challenging chutes, cliff drops and exciting open powder fields lead down from either side of the Suisses Chairlift from the Vizelle peak.
If you are geared up to take it up a notch, there are several off-piste options. Try the right or left off the Pyramide drag lift.
The advanced runs to the right hand side of the Chanrossa Chairlift are generally quiet first thing in the morning so get out early to enjoy untouched powder. Both the Chanrossa area and the Signal area offer diverse terrain with hidden powder treasures and fast mogul runs.
The Chaplets piste on the far left hand side of the Courchevel Valley is steep and usually left in its natural state for a real challenge. To cap it off, test your limits on the black Grand Couloir, which has some extreme steep sections.
After a morning of shredding, try grabbing lunch at the on-mountain hut called Le Panorama at the summit of the Saulire Cable Car.
Courchevel Ski Area is centered about four villages. The villages of Courchevel 1850 (aka Courchevel) and Courchevel 1650 (aka Courchevel Moriond) have the liveliest apres ski scene and nightlife (which goes until 5am). For apres ski, try the Jump Bar in Courchevel 1850. For nighlife, check out Milk Pub, La Grange, Kalico, Coyote Club and Les Caves des Lys. In Courchevel 1650, try the Funky Fox. Note: Expect to see a lot of American and British tourists in Courchevel -- it is not as popular with European travelers.
Courchevel is just two hours from the international airports of Geneva Cointrin and Lyon Saint Exupery, and 30 minutes from the railway station at Moûtiers Salins. It has a high quality network of roads and motorways that will speed you safely to your destination. Once you get there, take advantage of the many covered car parks, bus and taxi services to park your car or get around easily.
Within the Trois Vallees ski domain, there are two villages that may offer a less expensive lodging option while permitting exploration of the amazing terrain of Courchevel. These villages are La Tania and St Martin de Belleville. Alternately, if you plan to explore all of Les 3 Vallees, consider staying in Meribel as a more central base.
TIP: If you are planning to arrive by train, keep in mind that the regular bus up to the resort is primarily during daylight hours. After dark, the bus runs infrequently, if at all. Therefore, you will need to take a cab from the train station to the resort. If you plan to fly into Lyon, you may want to check the train schedule before buying your flight to make sure there is a convenient transfer. If you plan to arrive Friday through Sunday, the shuttle Altibus might be a more convenient option. Since there are not many trains or buses up into this region, you are highly encouraged to advance purchase tickets and reserve your seat.
BONUS TIP: Keep in mind that the villages of Courchevel are quite close to the town of Champagny-en-Vanoise, which is a little known back door into the Paradiski ski arena in the La Plagne sector. You'll be able to get access to another huge ski region.
Overall, Courchevel is the 10th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 47 snowboarding resorts in France. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Courchevel including Val Thorens, Meribel and Orelle.