The local slopes comprise 150km of runs, of which 23 are green, 34 blue, 32 red and 10 black. There are also free lifts for beginners, including at least one in each of five distinctly separate resort villages.
Courchevel’s five villages are linked by lifts, pistes and a road which winds its way up from Courchevel Le Praz (1300), through Courchevel Moriond (1650) to the highest resort, now simply known as Courchevel (1850), bypassing roads to Courchevel Village (1550) and La Tania Courchevel on the way. They are also linked by an efficient and frequent free bus service.
Courchevel Le Praz, the lowest of the villages, is an old, rustic village at heart. The main landmark is the ski jumping hill, built for the 1992 Olympics and still used today, in summer as well as winter. A gondola and a fast chairlift ascend from here to different parts of the slopes.
Next in altitude comes La Tania Courchevel at 1350m, a good-value, family-friendly base from which to explore the slopes of its posher Trois Vallées neighbours.
The highest village, Courchevel (1850), is also by far the biggest, spreading a good way up the hillsides. It’s the prestige place to stay, and also the main lift hub with gondolas from the centre heading up in three different directions, and mainly easy pistes back down.
The Aquamotion centre below Moriond is packed with features such as indoor and outdoor pools, a diving pool, a surfing area with a spectacular wave, a three lane water slide, wild water rapids, saunas, steam room, hot tub and climbing wall. There’s also a skating rink and fitness centre with gym, sauna and steam room in Courchevel 1850. Some hotel spa facilities are open to the public on payment of an entry fee.
This resort is swimming in restaurants with Michelin stars, seven at the last count!
Chabichou — With two Michelin stars, this is the place to come for a real gourmet treat if money is no object. Chabichou has been a family-run business since 1979, and was the first gastronomic restaurant in an area which now has seven Michelin-starred restaurants. Its exquisite food is prepared by a team led by Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron.
Chabotté — This is the sister restaurant of the next-door Chabichou, which has two Michelin stars. The “Bistronomique” Chabotté in Courchevel 1850 is much cheaper, offering great food at very reasonable prices.
Bouc Blanc — The cheapest decent restaurant on the mountain, at the top of the La Tania gondola, Bouc Blanc (00 33 4 79 08 80 2) offers friendly and efficient service on a big terrace and in two wood-clad dining rooms with a rustic feel. Expect tasty, reliable food, including excellent lamb shank, and affordable house wine.
Highlights of Courchevel’s events calendar include a Ladies Alpine World Cup giant slalom in December, the International Fireworks Festival in February/March and the 3 Vallées Enduro, which invites teams of three to compete in various on-snow events in April. There’s also the Dynastar X3 mountain triathlon (cycling, running and skiing) in mid-April.