Courchevel Ski Resorts: A Short Guide
The French Alps are a great place for any ski enthusiast to get their kicks. With the powdery snow, range of slope difficulties, and abundance of different resorts to be found, it is one of the most desirable holiday locations for any lover of extreme sports. If you’re looking to venture forth for a bit of skiing, one of the finest resorts open to you is Courchevel.
The Resort –
Courchevel is a set of four resort villages located in the French Alps. It can be found at the far end of the Trois Vallées ski area, the world’s largest lift-linked ski area. Courchevel’s slopes face to the North, meaning the snow is of particularly good quality for skiing, and the slopes range all the way from beginner standard to expert skier difficulty.
Courchevel’s villages Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel Moriond, Courchevel Village, and Courchevel are all accessible using ski lifts, pistes, and a winding road which connects all of them from Le Praz at the bottom all the way up to Courchevel at the top. All of these resorts are linked by a free bus service for patrons to enjoy.
The Villages –
Courchevel Le Praz very much resembles a small, rustic village and is home to an Olympic ski jump hill available the year round. The slopes are available by way of a Gondola and a fast chairlift, and for those not looking to ski there are a good few restaurants and wine bars.
Courchevel Village is very much the residential area of the Courchevel resort, with the majority of its buildings being a chalets and residential blocks. It has direct access to the top village, Courchevel, via Gondola and fast chairlift.
Courchevel Moriond has much more of a town feel to it than the previous two villages, incorporating a range of shops, bars, and restaurants. Located on the main road, this is one of the more accessible villages in the resort without being too polluted by noise or traffic. Like the other villages, it is connected by use of a Gondola life as well as a covered escalator which is used to access some of the newer chalets. Moriond is also a great place to do some food shopping, as it contains butchers, supermarkets, and boulangeries.
The biggest and oldest village in the resort is simply named Courchevel. This is also the most expensive and prestigious village in the resort, and is home to some of the high-flyers who wish to ski and burn money. It also acts as the main hub for the ski lifts and all transportation to the major slopes in the area. Courchevel is home to the nicest hotels and most luxurious chalets as well as some upmarket shops and restaurants. Two of Courchevel’s hotels have earned a palace rating, 16 have earned a five star rating, and five of the restaurants have earned two Michelin stars. Definitely not for the everyman’s family holiday.
Other Activities –
If skiing isn’t your thing or you simply want a break from the slopes for a while, Courchevel offers a range of off-slope activities for the whole family. The upcoming aquatics centre promises to be a great retreat for anybody who’s a fan of swimming and bathing, while the existing skating rink, fitness centre, sauna and steam rooms available in Courchevel are a perfect retreat for those looking for something else to do. There is also a service called Pamper Off Piste which you can pay to come to your accommodation to deliver a range of massages and beauty treatments if you just want to relax in the hotel for a day.
In addition to these provided activities, there are plenty of beautiful walks through the French Alps which can be found using the free guides picked up at the tourist office. Patrons can also purchase tickets to go on sightseeing flights by helicopter and plane to take in the full majesty of the Trois Vallées area.
Ski Car Rental –
If you have a lot of ski equipment then comparing car hire Geneva Airport prices on a site like CarRentalGenevaAirport.net could prove exceedingly useful. It really depends where you are coming from and there are no shortage of options. A car hire option is certainly worthy of some consideration if that ties in with your schedule. I used a http://www.carhirelanzaroteairport.org.uk/ website for a Spanish trip I took last summer and it’s really amazing how much stress you can remove from a holiday.
The Journey –
Courchevel is quite accessible by road or by air. Due to the fact that the resort has its own airport, you can be flown in from a larger airport nearby in about 30 minutes using a shared helicopter or even a private five seater.
The best way to access Courchevel is by flying to Geneva airport from Heathrow or Gatwick via Swiss Airlines, or by a range of other airlines using EasyJet. If you don’t want to fork out the extra money for a direct-to-resort flight, you can instead simply board a minivan, taxi, or rented car from the airport and take a two and a half hour journey up the mountain using the easily accessible roads.
There is also a Eurostar service running from Ashford and St. Pancras to Moutiers, which is only a 30 minute journey by bus or minibus from Courchevel. It is usually advisable to make use of Courchevel’s transport services so as to avoid incurring the French motorway costs.