Overview of Courchevel 1850
Fancy a French Alps ski resort with a certain je ne sais quoi?
When it comes to high-altitude skiing, haute cuisine and five-star hospitality, Courchevel is hard to compete with.
The most westerly resort in the Three Valleys ski area (the largest lift-linked ski terrain on the planet), this vibrant Tarentaise Valley snowsports haven comprises four villages ̶ Courchevel, Courchevel Moriond, Courchevel Village and Courchevel Le Praz, each of which has its distinct charms. Until 2011, these villages were officially known as Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel 1550 and Courchevel 1300 (roughly corresponding to their altitudes), and they’re often still referred to by their previous names.
There’s accommodation and après-ski here to suit all tastes and budgets, but Courchevel has developed a reputation as an exclusive resort over the years thanks in part to its abundance of high quality hotels and restaurants ̶ if you want a taste of the high life, there are 11 5-star hotels here, two 6-star hotels and seven Michelin-starred restaurants.
There are 150km of pistes for skiers of all abilities here across altitudes ranging from 1224m to 3248m, while in the whole Three Valleys area there’s a gargantuan 600km of slopes to explore.
There are plenty of off-slope activities for solo skiers, couples, families and larger groups, and the resort’s calendar is packed with prestige skiing, summer sports and social events, while retail therapy covers everything from everyday supermarket essentials to bijou boutique gifts and outlets for Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada.
If your little ones are first-time skiers, there are several novice areas ‘Zen Zones’ child-friendly chair lifts, hassle-free doorstep skiing and a family pass which lets you maximise fun and minimise cost.
When you want superb skiing, fantastic family-focused facilities and awesome affordable luxury, Courchevel is simply a class act.
Skiing in Courchevel 1850
A snow-sure resort with plenty of sheltered north-facing runs, ample off-piste opportunities and one of the highest Alpine treelines (2300m), Courchevel has much to recommend it to skiers of all styles and abilities. Here are some of the finer points on the pistes and powder:
The Courchevel Valley is divided into 5 ski sections ̶ Moriond, Tania, Saulire, Biollay and Loze.
Novices can access 8 free drag lifts throughout the resort but Courchevel and Moriond might be the best villages for beginners to actually stay in ̶ both have wide nursery slopes designed to help you find your feet as well as easy green runs that help you build your confidence.
Beginners can find further greens and cruisy blues above the resort, especially at the Jardin Alpin trail, which is (appropriately) served by a gondola life bearing the same name. Head a little higher up the mountain and you’ll find further greens and blues, like the Pyramide run from the top of Roc Merlet, Montagne Russe, and Plan Mugnier.
The Courchevel Valley has an exceptional selection of trickier blue and red runs for intermediate skiers, the best of which might be Park City, which is named after Courchevel’s twinned resort in Utah in the US, therefore you might be satisfied with remaining in the local area and purchasing a Courchevel-only pass will save you cash.
Many intermediate recreational skiers who want to develop their technique (and have as much fun as possible) choose to explore the massive network of blues and reds throughout the Three Valleys ̶ around three-quarters of the pistes here fall into that category, it’s served by a super-fast lift system and runs are groomed every night. If you want to check out real-time ski on-piste conditions to help plan your day, download the Three Valleys App.
Courchevel is an excellent choice for advanced skiers, mainly because of the steep couloirs that shoot down next to the Saulire cable car. These are some of Europe’s most challenging descents (hence their nickname ‘The Ugly Sisters’) and the only one which is officially graded black is the Grand Couloir, which includes steep and narrow traverses but isn’t quite extreme enough to be regarded as off-piste. If you’re a mogul maestro, look out for the Jean Blanc and Jockeys black run, and others accessed from the Chanrossa lift.
Apart from the Saulire area, there are expansive off-piste areas beneath Le Signal, but stay safe and make the most of skiing off the beaten track by hiring a local mountain guide to accompany you.
The scenery here is remarkable and you can ski across iconic summits like Mont Vallon, Cime Caron, La Masse, and Vizella, where you’ll enjoy breath-taking views of majestic mountains like Les Écrins and Mont Blanc. Don’t forget to stop at the summit of Le Signal for one of the world’s best photo opportunities ̶ it is truly stunning!
If you’re a cross-country skier, you’ll find 67km of varied trails here, with several greens, blues and a black at the Le Praz Olympic site, and many others a little further afield. It’s easy to see why many insiders believe that skiing in Courchevel and the Three Valleys is in a class of its own ̶ few snowsports areas in the world can compete with the quality and quantity of its on- and off-piste opportunities.
Snowboarding in Courchevel 1850
While other Alpine resorts are more famous magnets for snowboarders, there are still plenty of places for riders to rip up the slopes ̶ here are our highlights for riders:
The Biollay and Bellecôte areas are excellent for beginner boarders as there’s plenty of wide open space to steadily build your skill set, and Biollay also has a convenient travellator at the bottom.
Carving your way down the on- and off-piste couloirs at the Saulire cable car is awesome fun for boarders too ̶ although t’s best left to advanced riders!
The Plantrey snowpark is boarders-only and has hips, tables, a baby pipe, half pipe and lots of other fun obstacles for all levels.
Head to the Verdons Canyons if you want to get some big air ̶ there are several manmade dunes and some big kickers here.
The Mountain Guides office can hook you up with a local guide for extreme and off-piste snowboarding escapades.
Snow Conditions in Courchevel 1850
With many north-facing slopes, a range of terrains and altitudes and first-rate snowmaking capacity, snow conditions in Courchevel are usually excellent during a season that typically lasts from early December to late April. Here are some key facts on snow conditions for your consideration:
The main resort base is at an altitude of 1850m, which is above the 1600m-1800m Alpine standard that usually equates to snow cover for the duration of the season.
The highest lift here is 2740m, and the tree line reaches an amazing 2300m, which means that you’re almost guaranteed snow on the resort’s highest slopes and there’s also plentiful cover during inclement weather.
If the natural snow cover needs to be enhanced, Courchevel has an amazing arsenal of 700 snow cannons, which can cover a quarter of its total area!
During the most recent season, official snowfall statistics for Courchevel show a total snowfall of 559cm, a total of 42 snowfall days, a largest snowfall of 43cm, an average base depth of 121cm, maximum base depth of 204cm, maximum summit depth of 280cm and average summit depth of 167cm.
Apres-Ski in Courchevel 1850
When it comes to picking places to unwind after an exhilarating day on the slopes, you’re spoiled for choice in Courchevel as there’s everything from high end wine bars to laid-back bars and bouncing clubs. Here are your hot picks for an entertaining evening:
Fancy cosying up with some fine wine, smooth spirits and your significant other while soaking up a sophisticated soundtrack? Head to La Mangeoire piano bar in Courchevel for an evening of live music that extends into the wee small hours.
Le Tremplin is a terrific spot in Courchevel for relaxing with a quiet drink as you watch the action at the foot of the slopes ̶ it’s rather pricey though, so don’t expect happy hour savings!
Le Catérail in Courchevel Village is an inclusive and friendly pub where you can meet your mates to watch live TV sports and enjoy live music and DJs as the evening unfolds.
Are themed nights, DJs and outrageous dance moves your bag? If you’re nodding your head, then Le Funky Fox in Moriond will be right up your street.
La Boulotte in Moriond is a compact bar that packs a punch when it comes to drinks deals, affordable lunchtime meals and an ‘anything goes’ atmosphere.
Le Bubble in Moriond has cheap drinks, live music and delicious nachos ̶ all the essential ingredients for a fantastic no-frills night out!
Rocky’s Bar in Moriond is located in the Hotel Les Avals and it’s a popular spot for British revellers, with regular fancy dress nights, live music and frequent drinks promotions.
Ku-de-ta in Courchevel is one of the more affordable late-night establishments in this particularly pricey village and it regularly hosts acoustic music sessions which are immensely popular with revellers.
Facilities in Courchevel 1850
Whether you’re focused on family fun or a serious skier looking to maximise time on the pistes, facilities in Courchevel are tremendous ̶ take a look at what’s on offer below:
Ski Hire in Courchevel 1850
Courchevel has a plethora of ski hire operators to choose from, but to save yourself the headache of sorting out the correct gear for you and your party, why not let Erna Low take care of it for you? With a wealth of experience and great connections in the resort, we can easily find the best kit for your skiing style and ability and arrange pickup at a location near your accommodation. If this sounds convenient, contact us for a chat.
Ski Passes in Courchevel 1850
Whether you want a ski pass for Courchevel only or want to explore the whole of The Three Valleys, we can include this as part of your ski holiday too. Furthermore, we often have free child passes and group offers ̶ ask us what’s on offer for your holiday dates.
Spa and Pool in Courchevel 1850
The ice-skating rink in Courchevel has a sauna, steam room and gym, while the Aquamotion Centre at Moriond has a diving area, indoor surfing area, water slide, water rapids, sauna, hot tub and steam room. Some of the hotel spa and pool facilities throughout the resort are also open to non-guests upon payment of a daily fee.
Shops in Courchevel 1850
You’ll find everything from groceries to exclusive gifts in the Courchevel shops. You can pick up unique home furnishings and textiles at Atelier Martine P in Courchevel, shop stylish ready-to-wear clothing in L’Écorce in Moriond and bag some brilliant souvenirs at Courchevel’s Le Forum, to name but a few fine establishments here.
Facilities for Children in Courchevel 1850
Kids are well taken care of in Courchevel ̶ read on for reassuring information on activities and facilities for your youngsters.
Ski Schools in Courchevel 1850
ESF ski school operates in Courchevel, Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel Village and its experienced instructors know how to bring the best out in any budding young skier or snowboarder.
Alternatively, New Generation is a British-run ski school operating at Courchevel and Moriond which also comes recommended ̶ they offer adult classes as well as lessons for children.
Entertainment in Courchevel 1850
The on-piste highlight for kids might be the Indian Camp at Courchevel Moriond ̶ a Native American-themed area with lots of cool obstacles and interactive games and activities. There’s lots to do off the slopes too though, including tobogganing, snow shoeing, go karting and a cinema screening English-speaking films.
Childcare in Courchevel 1850
MeriNannies has been operating in several Alpine resorts since 2003 and only employs experienced CRB-checked childcare professionals, which means you can enjoy an afternoon on the slopes or a romantic evening meal with complete peace of mind.
A diverse, snow-sure resort split across 4 main villages ranging from 1300m to 1850m, many north-facing pistes and slopes all the way up to 3178m, Courchevel offers high quality skiing for the duration of the season for all levels of skiers and types of groups. As it’s also part of the Three Valleys, it’s perfectly placed in the world’s largest lift-linked ski areas, which unlocks 600km of pisted skiing as well as endless off-piste opportunities and superb snowparks for freestyle skiers and snowboarders.