The Courchevel Ski Resort is one of the resorts of the fabulous Trois Vallees (Three Valleys) in France, offering exceptional skiing and snowboarding across the world's most expansive interlinked ski area. Courchevel France is a fantastic all-round resort.
Apart from the extensive terrain, the Courchevel Ski Resort is renowned as a billionaire’s winter playground and the most glamorous ski resort in France. This is the place to come if you want to consort with the rich and famous, or you want to join the fur adorned ladies strutting down the street with a little dog tucked under their arm!
Courchevel has carved out a fabulous niche in the upscale and elegant ski market, and considering it attracts those who desire exclusivity and don’t mind paying more dollars for certain privileges, many components of a Courchevel ski holiday are rather expensive. Prices are sometimes outrageous in the swanky part of Courchevel (formerly known as Courchevel 1850), yet lodging and food becomes less costly at the villages further down the mountain. So if you’ve got the Euros for staying in 1850, then revel and enjoy. Dine and drink cocktails at THE best places and go shopping at Hermès and Louis Vuitton. However if you don’t have the budget, it is possible to holiday at Courchevel without spending a fortune.
Courchevel Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Courchevel is the largest of the Three Valleys ski areas with 150km of piste serviced by 58 lifts, and a massive amount of off-piste skiing and snowboarding. You probably won’t get bored with the amount and variety of terrain at Courchevel, but if you buy a special ski pass, you can explore an amazing 600km of piste across the Three Valleys network. Courchevel is interconnected via the lifts and slopes with Méribel
, Les Menuires, La Tania and as far as Val Thorens. Massive would be an understatement to describe the size of the total ski area!
Courchevel has a good range of terrain for all ability levels, but the emphasis is on lots of groomed cruisers and steep reds, so it’s particularly well suited to strong intermediate to advanced riders. In the lower reaches of the resort, the runs are tree-lined, whilst further up there is a huge amount of off-piste delight, varying from easy mogulled up slopes next to the piste to the couloirs that are somewhat testing for experts. To round things off, there’s also a terrain park and bordercross course.
The ski resort has state of the art lift infrastructure. Sure there are a few slow lifts that are a bit of a drag (hee hee), but mostly they’re high tech and efficient, and there’s a good distribution of gondolas. Some folks claim that the lift queues are pretty good compared to some other French ski resorts
, but it’s really all just relative isn’t it?!
Like many other European ski resorts Courchevel isn’t blessed with an abundance of snow, with only 5.4 metres on average per season. However the snow quality is generally very good thanks to largely north facing slopes and lots of terrain at decent elevation. To supplement the natural snow, there is plenty of infrastructure for man made snow.
Where is Courchevel France?
Courchevel is the furthest east of the Three Valleys (Les Trois Vallées) in the Savoie, Rhône-Alpes region of the French Alps. The nearest town is Moutiers, which is 24km (15 miles) to the northwest, whilst Paris is 666km to the northwest. In addition to the Three Valleys (e.g. Meribel
and Val THorens), not far away are Les Arcs, La Plagne, Tignes
and Val d'Isère
How to Get There
If you can get hold of a jet, the quickest way to get to Courchevel is to fly into the local altiport. Otherwise there’s a train station in Moutiers with direct trains from London via Eurostar. From there, it’s a short bus ride or taxi to any of the resort villages.
Alternatively there are a few gateway airports from which it’s easy to get transfers as part of Courchevel ski packages
. Geneva Airport is 140km (2-2.5 hours) away. Lyon is 187km (2-2.5 hours) away, and Chambéry is only 110km (1.5 hours) from the ski resort.
The Villages & Courchevel Accommodation
Courchevel is made up of a series of villages which are all interconnected via the slopes and roads. The names of the villages correspond with their elevation in metres and whilst they’ve now been renamed, old habits are hard to break and most people still refer to them with the elevation name.
Courchevel accommodation includes lots of chalets, some apartments, and about 40 hotels that range from exorbitant down to 2 star hotels.
See all Courchevel Accommodation Listings
Top of the pops is Courchevel 1850, now simply referred to as Courchevel (or the Courchevel!). This is the hub of the ski area and provides good connections over to Meribel, and it’s also the home of the rich and famous. Courchevel 1850 has an amazing concentration of true 5 star hotels as well as a couple of accommodations that are rated as palaces! Other accommodation options include some luxurious chalets, and much of the lodging is ski-in ski-out.
Courchevel 1850 is also the nucleus of other activities including an abundance of upscale shops, fine dining restaurants, and chic bars where the nightlife continues into the wee hours. This village is rather modern and the facilities very well developed, but because it was purpose built (with perhaps a little too much concrete!) it lacks the pretty charm and family friendliness of the lower villages, which are also much more affordable.
Courchevel 1650 is now called Courchevel Moriond. It is not as centrally located for the ski slopes, but it has more of a traditional pretty French look and vibe and is rather quiet, although it has a few convivial bars.
Courchevel 1550 is now known as Courchevel Village, which just has a couple of lifts that feed up to 1850. Accommodation is generally inexpensive and there are lots of chalets that are definitely not ski-in ski-out.
Courchevel 1300 or Le Praz feels like an old traditional French mountain village and is very charmingly picturesque with lots of lovely wooden chalets. It provides lift access up to 1850, although sometimes due to the low altitude it can suffer from snow quality and snow cover issues.
Unlike the very Briticised Méribel next door, Courchevel is rather French and chic, in part because of its popularity with the upper class Parisians that fly in on their private jets. During some parts of the season, Courchevel is also like little Russia, and some signs about the place are in French as well as Russian! And of course this is skiing in France
, so there is also a good mix of the elite Brits to add to the melting pot.
Facilities & Après Ski
The ski resort has very well developed amenities and services, including English speaking ski schools. On-mountain dining is plentiful, but unless you have a black Amex card the prices might hurt. Similarly the dining in Courchevel 1850 tends to cater for those who want fine dining restaurants with lots of Michelin stars.
Après ski festivities can be rather lively down in 1650 and drink prices are reasonable. The nightlife up in 1850 at sophisticated bars and a couple of exclusive nightclubs doesn’t tend to kick off until after dinner.
Other than skiing and snowboarding at the resort, other activities include cross country skiing along 65km of trails. Or if you want the ultimate adrenaline rush you can go heli skiing from Courchevel. Even though heli skiing in France is officially banned, it’s just a quick helicopter flight to some amazing Italian and Swiss mountains.
Of if you’re super hard-core, there is some amazing tobogganing at Courchevel. The hair raising toboggan slope that plunges from Courchevel 1850 down to 1550 is definitely not just for the little kids! Adults who want to scream or giggle will also enjoy it!
And shopping, or at least window shopping, seems a mandatory activity. Considering that Courchevel is a magnet for the uber-rich, it comes as no surprise that there are many diamond shops and swanky French designer shops where the Russians can go crazy. Of course there’s also a smattering of shops to cater for other clientele too.
More Reasons to Ski Courchevel
This is a mega ski zone that provides seemingly infinite slopes to schuss down. Courchevel is also incredibly family-friendly, and the views across to Mont Blanc and the many alpine peaks are breathtaking. A highlight is to relax on one of the many restaurant terraces and feast on the amazing scenery.
Tours in or near Courchevel Ski Resort