>

Courchevel, France

Written by Greg and Heather Burke

Courchevel is the best known of Les Trois Vallées - the biggest ski region on the globe. Courchevel itself is quite big - comprised of four French ski villages, Le Praz 1300 - the charming Savoyard village, the more family-friendly Courchevel 1550 and 1650 (denoting their elevation in meters), and Courchevel 1850 - the highest and most upscale ski resort. 

The skiing of Courchevel is vast, located at the most eastern ski resort of the Les Trois Vallées Courchevel’s ski terrain spans from lower elevation Le Praz at 1300 meters where the Olympic Nordic ski jumps are located, and quaint La Tania, to Courchevel 1550, 1650 and 1850 (demarcating their respective altitudes). All the Courchevel slope-side towns are interconnected by lifts - gondolas, chairs and a few cable cars (trams). Courchevel’s highest point is Saulire reached by cable car at 8,982' – from here you can tip your skis toward to neighboring Méribel and Val Thorens - all part of your 3 Valleys lift ticket. Of Les Trois Vallées huge terrain, Courchevel offers some of the most varied skiing, from high alpine at Saulires, with beefy steep couloirs and wide open slopes, to Roc Merlet above-tree ski terrain, to copious prepared (groomed and marked) trail skiing and some earthier glades. 80% of Courchevel’s skiing is between 2738-1800 meters, elevation is key in the Alps for assured snow, however, Courchevel also has over 600 snow cannons to further assure good conditions, after all the resort hosts an annual December World Cup ski race. 

While Courchevel doesn’t have as much off-piste terrain or wide open bowl skiing as say neighboring Val Thorens, it has a great vibe, interesting long trails and enticing skiing in the trees and open snowy meadows. The views of Mont Blanc add to the atmosphere for sure. Kids will like Courchevel’s Fun Parks, and the BMW timed race course. Beautiful big chalets dot the slopes for the best ski in lunches and après ski. We loved the sophistication of Chalet de Pierres where waiters wear traditional French berets. Our other favorites lunch chalets include Soucoupe – where meats are grilled on an open fireplace, and La Cave des Creux for its fantastic sun terrace (hats provided for sun shade) and a decadent dessert display. 

What’s cool about Courchevel - it’s been a designated ski village since 1946 - purpose built and rather perfect for its walkability and intended alpine charm. If you want alpine sophistication, vibrant nightlife, upscale dining, boutique shopping and top ski hotels - Courchevel 1850 is your ski place. It’s a veritable snow globe of sparkling lights and snow caked chalets in winter, with a whimsical side – pop art appears throughout the alpine enclave and the ski slopes, while higher end shops and chalets are aglitter with chandeliers to amuse the classy ski clientele. Courchevel 1850 is home to the finest 5-star French ski hotels – this is where the rich and famous Europeans ski and stay. For jet setters, Courchevel even has a mid-mountain private airport, Altiport – the highest in Europe at 2006 meters, you could a arrive by plane, suit up, boot up and ski within minutes of landing. 

Courchevel is also a ski party town – with frequent festivals from fireworks to ice carvings, ongoing celebrations of snow, art, food, and music. All the best things in life, right?! Wednesday evening Courchevel’s ski slopes are lit for night skiing 6-8 with a DJ playing. The shopping in Courchevel is black diamond – expert level like some of Saulire’s steep couloirs – designer boutiques line the pretty streets. Bring your wallet or your Russian sugar daddy. For lively après ski bars that jam with music - we loved Le Trampelin – named for its locale at the base of the old Nordic jump landing trampoline. 

Fun things to do in Courchevel besides skiing the vast terrain include sledding on The Luge - a 2.5-kilometer sled run in the forest. Visit the Forum - part of the Olympic Games in Albertville in 1992, which now offers an ice skate rink, bowling, and a climbing wall or get wet and wild at Aquamotion - the largest water park in Europe. 

Interesting fact, Courchevels sister ski resort is Park City Utah – there is even a ski run so named. Courchevel lodging is upscale like its beautiful alpine village and clients, see our review of Courchevel's top ski hotels. Most of the hotels are small, unique and boutique - all conveniently ski in ski out. See our guide to the best chalets and hotels in Courchevel 1850. Also read our review of the best on mountain chalets for alpine lunch on the ski slopes at Courchevel, and Méribel, Saint Martin de Belleville, and Val Thorens. Read more on skiing all of Les Trois Vallees terrain including adjoining Méribel and Val Thorens.

Elevation

Base
4429 feet
Base
Summit
8982 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
4553 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

Gondola & Trams
10
Gondola & Trams
High Speed Sixes
11
High Speed Sixes
High Speed Quads
4
High Speed Quads
Triple Chairs
2
Triple Chairs
Surface Lifts
25
Surface Lifts

Terrain

Beginner Runs
23 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
35 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
32 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
10 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
99
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
1
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
6 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
1210 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
697 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 12/09/2017 04/22/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 12/10/2016 04/17/2017
2015/2016 12/05/2015 04/24/2016
2014/2015 12/09/2014 04/25/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 13 - 64 52 EUR ($61)
Child 4 & under Free
Child 5 - 12 41.6 EUR ($49)
Senior 65 - 74 46.8 EUR ($55)
Season Pass
(3 Vallees Season Pass)
1285 EUR ($1,516)

Overall Rating

4.4 / 5 Fabulous

based on 6 reviews

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Availability, quality and pricing of lodging

Lodging

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness

Latest reviews

Score: 3.6 / 5Nov 12, 2017
Went to 1750. Was decent but pricey. Apres ski was pretty good but had better. Best part was you could access meribel and Val thorens. Folle is a must do! ... More
Chris E. advanced skier
Score: 3.9 / 5Nov 08, 2017
Courchevel benefits from sitting at the edge of the best resort in Europe with the 3 Valleys offering miles of pistes. You will struggle to see everywhere in a week. Courchevel offers great options for beginners and families trying skiing for the first time, just make sure you ... More
Liam expert skier
Score: 4.7 / 5Nov 06, 2017
The Rolls Royce of ski areas, but not cheap.fantastic runs....the ability to ski to other villages grat ski town, bars,restaurants;they even have a mini mall.One of the best places to ski in the alps.period. ... More
Sal C. advanced skier
Score: 5 / 5Oct 18, 2017
This resort is one of the best ski areas in the world! The pistes are immaculate and most of the people are skiing on piste, one of the resons that you should ski here! There is so much fresh powder to be had!!!! Lines everywhere and the backcountry you can access from the lifts ... More
Steve H.
Score: 4 / 5Oct 08, 2017
Courchevel is another one of France’s great resorts that is within easy striking distance of Geneva, Switzerland. If you are going to Europe on a ski trip, courchevel is one to add to your list.
Jason

Ski Resorts in Three Valleys