The Ski Resort
Courchevel in the Three Valleys is probably one of the most famous luxury ski resorts anywhere in the world. Up with the best, it would probably be placed in most skiers 5 best ski resorts worldwide. As a consequence, Courchevel attracts the rich and famous from all around the world.
Courchevel is however more than just one ski resort, it is four. Courchevel 1850 is the most famous. Here you will find the best restaurants, the most exclusive luxury boutiques and therefore the most well heeled visitors in all the Courchevel villages. In recent years it has been particularly popular with Russian guests who have flocked on mass to savour this stylish resort where the slopes meet seemlessly. In fact it probably receives more Oligarchs than any other ski resort put together, so do not be surprised to see helicopters visiting daily as they bring in the most influential people from Russia and beyond.
But what makes Courchevel 1850 special is not just its boutique luxury ski chalets and luxury village centre, it is the proximity to the wide open slopes that arrive literally at the foot of its door. Great for beginners to learn and for intermediates and advanced access to the vast Three Valleys network, via the chair or the gondola.br/>
If you are however alarmed by the prices of Courchevel 1850, it is after all a luxury ski resort that if you need to ask the price, you perhaps should not go there (its possibly the most expensive ski resort anywhere in Europe), there are some other great Couchevel ski villages to consider. Top of the alternative list is Courchevel 1650. As Courchevel 1850 went up a notch in price and also in volume and noise, many of the traditional Parisian set and quieter crowds have slipped down to 1650 and 1550 for a more discreet ski holiday. Courchevel 1650 for example still offers great ski convenience but at a more leisurely pace. Whilst it is still not a cheap ski resort, it certainly not at the levels of 1850 and eating out in the centre can still be a pleasure without requiring a mortgage. L Ererlou is one that in particular comes highly recommended.
Below 1650 is Courchevel 1550 (next door) which was the original Courchevel village and is a little quieter again and possibly more charming. At 1350 we have Courchevel 1350 which is also known sometimes as La Praz. This is an old farming village and therefore has a more earthy feel where new chalets blend with character properties and real life. Courchevel 1350 is a lot quieter again than both 1550 and 1650 and is therefore an ideal alternative for family ski holidays and groups looking for a quiet bar rather than the noisy party crowd.
As for the skiing, situated in the Three Valleys, considered the largest ski area in the world, the ski options are limitless and in a week most skiers will have done well to ski half of them! whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or adavanced skier, there is something for you and plenty of it too. Courchevel itself, being a ski resort that attracts the high society has possibly some of the best manicured runs you will find anywhere in Europe for cruising in style.
Courchevel 1850 is the most exclusive destination of the Courchevel ski resort villages. Courchevel 1650 however has been transformed and is now the place to go if you want to avoid the bling. Courchevel 1550 is just below 1650 and joined now by a covered escalator. Courchevel 1350 is great for a quiet traditional alpine village but still gives great access in to the Three Valleys.
To avoid airport transfers, British skiers should catch the Eurostar from St Pancras on either the Friday night (arriving early Saturday morning) or Saturday morning (arriving early Saturday evening) that travels direct to Moutiers where the transfer to Courchevel is just 1 hour.
Off Piste Skiing
Courchevel has several couloirs that gain its reputation as one of the best off-piste skiing in Europe. The Grand Couloire often gets mentioned but this is actually a black run and with the exception of its narrow entry is relatively wide and not too steep. Reached via the Saulire cable car there are also the Telepherique and Emile Allais which are both marked off-piste itinerary runs. There are numerous other off-piste opportunities around Courchevel and across the Three Valleys.