Photo: Mathis Decroux
Guide to Skiing in Courchevel
Issue 38 / 04 June 2020

Guide to Skiing in Courchevel

Perfectly positioned in Les 3 Vallées, Courchevel offers fabulous skiing on and off-piste for all levels.

Serena Norton

Situated in the world’s biggest ski area, Courchevel is perfectly positioned for enjoying the fabulous 600 km of skiing that Les 3 Vallées has to offer. With good snow, an efficient lift system and a fantastic network of runs, Courchevel is high up on the list of the world’s best ski resorts.

The Ski Area

Occupying the eastern side of the 3 Vallées, Courchevel is made up of several villages; Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel 1550, Courchevl Le Praz and La Tania. The local slopes offer 150 km of skiing between 1,350m and 2,738m and that’s before you venture further afield into the 3 Vallées.

From 1850, the Verdons gondola provides access to the Vizelle gondola and the Saulire cable car which both end up at the col linking to Meribel. The Prameruel valley separates Vizelle from slopes of Courchevel 1650, with links at two points. Taking the Chenus gondola from 1850, skiers can access the slopes of La Tania and ski down to 1550 and Le Praz. You can also reach Meribel by taking the chairlift from mid-mountain above La Tania.

Best for Beginners

With gentle runs and excellent ski schools, Courchevel is one of the best resorts for beginners. There are two main nursery areas; one at Pralong in 1850 and the other in 1650. There are also dedicated beginner areas dotted around the mountain known as ‘ZEN’ zones.

With around six green pistes, easy drag lifts and a number of blue pistes heading back into the resort centre, Courchevel 1850 is the best place to learn if you’re a complete beginner. The Pralong and Golf ZEN areas are great places to build up confidence before tackling some of the trickier slopes. There’s also a family park with a variety of obstacles and lines to suit different levels. Both Courchevel 1550 and La Tania also have beginner zones with various green and blue pistes to progress to.

Children will love the themed Indians run and the Western Ski Park featuring tee-pees, archery and face-painting workshops.

Best For Intermediates

With smooth, wide pistes Courchevel is a wonderful playground for intermediate skiers. Blue runs are spread throughout the resort, making it easy to explore the whole ski area. Long blue runs Creux and Folyères are particular favourites but would be on the tougher side for cautious intermediates.

The cruising blues above Courchevel 1650 are also great for intermediates and have the added bonus of stunning scenery. This area is usually uncrowded too, even during the peak holiday weeks.

Ideal for timid intermediates, Biollay and Pralong have a good mix of gentle blues and reds. Adventurous intermediates are also spoilt for choice with some challenging reds and easy blacks in all sectors. The red run, Combe Saulire, is a classic but can get crowded during the day so best to hit it before 9.30 am.

Best for Experts

With a number of challenging blacks and plenty of off-piste, there is plenty for expert skiers to get excited about. At the top of the Saulire cable car, the Grand Couloir is one of the steepest pistes in the Alps although the degree of difficulty depends on the conditions.

Worth seeking out are a selection of red and black pistes, labelled Peuf Experience on the map, which are left ungroomed for a while after snowfalls. On bad weather days, the lengthy Jean Blanc and Jockeys black runs to Le Praz are also worth exploring.

is lots of off-piste terrain to enjoy, especially around the Saulire/Vizelle/Creux area as well as under the Chanrossa and Roc Merlet chairs. Further terrain can be reached from the Dou des Lanches chairlift above La Tania. To unlock the area’s full potential it is recommended you hire a guide who will be able to show you some of the resort’s best itineraries.

Cross Country Skiing

Offering 90 km of well-maintained, well-marked cross-country skiing trails, Courchevel is a great choice for cross-country skiers. You can enjoy different circuits starting from each of the villages. One of the longest routes is the 17 km trail starting from Plantret; the path continues through the forest to the Meribel valley. A shorter yet wonderfully scenic route is the 5 km Boucle de Belvedere trail, which winds through the Pralin Alpine pastures.

You can also follow in the footsteps of iconic Olympians on the 1.5 km, 7 km and 8.5 km loops at Le Praz Nordic Site. The short loop is ideal for beginners whilst the other two loops are reserved for skiers who want to work on their style and technique whilst enjoying a tour of Le Praz village.

For more information on Courchevel, take a look at our “Ultimate Guide to Courchevel 1850.”

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