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FAQs for Courchevel

Discover the top Courchevel

Here is collection of general resort knowledge compiled from years of responding to email enquiries, getting ourselves lost, finding ourselves, late-night bar conversations, your feedback, plus translations of French brochures.

Are there any creches / childminding / baby sitting services in Courchevel?

There are a number of childcare options available in Courchevel.

Are there any English speaking doctors in Courchevel?

The Cabinet Medical in Courchevel 1850 has doctors who speak fluent English.

Are there any family rates or child discounts on lift passes?

During the winter the Courchevel lift pass company offers various discounts for families and children.

Are there any free lifts in Courchevel?

There are several free lifts for beginners in the valley.

Are there any left luggage facilities in Courchevel?

Courchevel 1550 has announced plans to renovate the Tourist Office building in the centre of resort, with a luggage store being one of the anticipated new features.

Are there any nightclubs or late night bars in Courchevel?

Don't worry if the thought of going to bed early every night in order to be first up the mountain in the morning isn't your cup of tea!

Are there any non-smoking bars and restaurants?

Since January 2008 smoking has been banned in all bars, cafés and restaurants in France.

Are There Any Ski Lockers Near to the Pistes/Lifts?

Heated ski lockers can be found at the main lift station in Courchevel 1300 and at the Maison du Moriond in 1650.

Are there rules and restrictions on the lifts ?

The Courchevel lift system operates during both summer and winter seasons and has different restrictions regarding access according to the time of year.

At what age should my child start skiing?

Most ski teachers wouldn’t recommend starting skiing before the age of three or four at the earliest.

Can I cross-country ski in Courchevel?

Cross-country skiing is a great alternative to regular alpine skiing if you fancy taking things a bit slower and enjoying the tranquillity of the surroundings.

Can I drink the water in Courchevel?

Yes!

Can I get sunburnt in winter?

Very easily!

Can I get to Courchevel by train from the UK?

Yes you can and the so called "Snow train" is a popular way to travel to resort, especially if luggage allowance might be an issue with a flight.

Don't expect a great deal of sleep though as its not the comfiest ride and drinks are served throughout the night so it can become a bit of a part wagon. But with transfers considered it can actually be a convenient and fast way to arrive, especially as it meets the public bus in Moutiers to take you up to resort.

There is also a day option but this would mean a transfer in Paris and a tube connection which isn't always easy lugging skis about. Read more in...How to Get Here.

Can I go swimming in Courchevel?

Yes there are a few swimming pools throughout resort, from family-friendly public pools to more exclusive spa pools.

Can I picnic at any of the mountain restaurants?

Picnicking is forbidden, or ‘interdit’, in most mountain restaurants.

Can I take my baby to a ski resort?

Yes, you can take your baby to a ski resort but be aware that sudden changes in temperature and altitude are not recommended.

Can you suggest some activities in Courchevel for children?

Courchevel is very much a family-friendly resort and welcomes children of all ages.

Can you suggest some hiking routes to try?

If you come to Courchevel in the summer (and between you and me, you really should) chances are you'll want to get your walking boots on and go on a ramble or two.

Do I need a photograph for my lift pass?

Not any more.

Do I Need a Work Permit in Courchevel?

If you are from Europe, the chances are you will not require a work permit or "autorisation de travail" to work in France - Switzerland is a different matter.

Do I need to carry chains in the car (often a paying optional extra in car-hire)?

Yes!

Do the Ski Instructors Speak English?

Almost certainly – ESF instructors are mainly French but teach lots of English clients year after year, and so have a good understanding of the language.

FAQ's - Resort Information for Courchevel

Here is collection of general resort knowledge compiled from years of responding to email enquiries, getting ourselves lost, finding ourselves, late-night bar conversations, your feedback, plus translations of French brochures.

How Can I Get a Job in Courchevel?

There are a number of different approaches to finding work in a ski resort.

How do I find the best flight deals?

The internet is swamped with websites offering scheduled flight comparison searches.

How do I get around Courchevel?

Quite easily actually!

How do I get from the airport to Courchevel?

Good transfer services exist at all the main airports for the Alps.

How do I get to and from Courchevel?

There are many options for getting to Courchevel, from driving to flying to catching a train.

How do I get to other resorts from Courchevel?

The other Three Valley resorts (Meribel, La Tania, St Martin, Brides les Bains, Val Thorens and Les Menuires) can all be reached on skis/board via the lift system.

How do I go about buying the right equipment?

If you decide that buying your own kit is the way forward then buying in Courchevel is probably your best bet; you will find a wider choice of models and most shops give you the opportunity to test before you buy.

How do I know what lifts are open and what the weather is like before I decide to get out of bed?

Listen to radio station R' Courchevel (97.

How do you go about arranging a 'DIY' holiday?

A DIY holiday offers a fully flexible package to suit your needs, however a tour operator package is quick and easy, and often cheaper.

How long does it take to drive to Courchevel from the UK?

From Calais the journey takes from 7 to 10 hours depending on your speed.

How much does a lift pass cost for Courchevel?

This all depends on how many are in your group, what ages you are, what you want to do and what time of year you want to visit.

How should I pack my skis and/or snowboard?

If you like your skis and are travelling by air, it is imperative that you pack them in a ski or board bag for protection.

I don't ski or board - is there anything for me to do?

Courchevel has plenty to offer if skiing and snowboarding aren't your cup of tea.

I've never been to Courchevel, what's it like?

Well, we rather like it!

Is there a church in Courchevel?

In Courchevel 1850 there is the Catholic church of Notre Dame de l'Assomption on Rue de l'Eglise.

  • Sundays: 9.30am - St Bon, 11am - Courchevel 1550, 6pm Courchevel 1850
  • Saturdays: 6pm - Courchevel 1650

Extra services may be scheduled during Easter, Christmas and other religious festivals.

Is there a gym in Courchevel?

Just in case all that skiing, mountaineering, climbing and mountain biking isn't enough for you - yes, there is a gym in Courchevel!

Is there a launderette in Courchevel?

There is the Blanchisserie de Moriond in Courchevel 1650 and Pressing de l'Or Blanc in Le Praz.

Is there a local market in Courchevel?

There are 2 local markets in Courchevel, one in 1650 (on the road up towards the Marquis corner of town) and one in 1850 on the road below the Croisette.

Is There a Snowpark in Courchevel?

Not only does Courchevel have the only railpark in the Three Valleys, there is also a boardercross and a snow park as well more to choose from in the rest of the Three Valleys.

Is there an indoor climbing wall in Courchevel?

There is a climbing wall running up through the centre of the Forum centre in Courchevel 1850.

Is There Any Night Skiing in Courchevel?

You can ski every evening until 7pm on a floodlit piste above Courchevel 1650 - and then warm yourself up with a vin chaud in one of the nearby bars afterwards!

Saturday or Sunday travel?

If you are coming out at the weekend which day should you travel?

However, thinking that with Sundays you won't have a 'day at home to recover' should not be a reason not to seek out this alternative. The significant advantages being:

  1. An extra day to prepare/shop before you come out
  2. Ease of travel - less congestion with less chance of delays
  3. Ease of access to equipment and lift-passes after the rush
  4. Empty pistes on the final day (Saturday when everyone else is travelling)
  5. A much more tranquil return home meaning less time needed to recover from the journey
  6. Potentially lower prices as demand is lower

These factors should definitely feature in your considerations.

Should I get ski & travel insurance?

Insurance is a must when going up the mountain.

Should I have ski or snowboard lessons?

Absolutely!

Should I hire or buy my skis/snowboard?

For a beginner it is probably best to hire equipment; if you buy equipment straightaway you quickly outgrow it as your skiing level improves.

What are the 10 rules of ski safety?

The 10 FIS rules for the conduct of skiers and snowboarders

1. Respect for Others: People using the pistes must behave in such a way that they do not put other people in danger or harm them, either by their behaviour or with their equipment.

2. Speed & Behaviour: People using the pistes must adapt their speed and behaviour to suit their personal abilities as well as the general ground and weather conditions, the state of the snow and the density of the traffic.

3. Choice of Direction by the Person Uphill: A skier who is uphill is in a position which enables him to choose a course; he must therefore make this choice so as to preserve the safety of anyone downhill.

4. Overtaking: Overtaking can be done from uphill or downhill, on the right or on the left, but the person overtaking must always allow a margin for the movements of the person he is overtaking.

5. Where Pistes Cross & When Starting Off: After stopping, or where pistes cross, all users must, by looking uphill and downhill, make sure that they can start off without endangering themselves and others.

6. Standing: All users must avoid standing in passages which are narrow or where there is no visibility; in the event of a fall, they must get off the piste as quickly as possible.

7. Going Up & Down on Foot: People who are obliged to go up or down a piste on foot must use the edge of the piste, taking care that neither they nor their equipment is a danger to others.

8. Respect for Information, Markings & Signs: Users must take notice of information about weather conditions and about the state of the pistes and snow. They must respect markings and signs.

9. Assistance: Anyone witnessing or involved in an accident must give assistance, particularly by raising the alarm. If need be, and at the request of the first-aid people, they must put themselves at their disposal.

10. Identification: Anyone witnessing or involved in an accident must make themselves known to the emergency service and/or third parties. Swapping details with eachother must take place. 

What are the commonest injuries and how can I avoid them?

The type of injuries you may sustain can depend on what your chosen mountain discipline is.

Snowboarders tend to suffer more upper body injuries such as broken collarbones, dislocated shoulders and head and wrist injuries - so a helmet and wrist protectors are a must.

Should you be unlucky enough to get injured whilst on holiday and find yourself hobbling around on crutches – do not despair! Make the most of your situation and check out this fun website: Cool Crutches! Injury rates for skiing are much lower than most people imagine, at between 0.2 and 0.4%. The French Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests the following eight points to reduce your risk:

  • Improve your physical fitness before your holiday
  • Ensure bindings are correctly set for your ability, weight and height
  • Choose the correct equipment for your level
  • Wear a helmet (especially in a snowpark)
  • Warm up before setting out
  • Make sure you take enough food and liquids
  • Take a rest or cut short your day when you start to feel tired

To this we would add:

  • Follow the piste safety code (see FAQs Skiing & Snowboarding)
  • Hire equipment from a specialist sports shop rather than borrowing from friends - there are plenty of Ski Hire Shops in Courchevel that can give you expert advice on what you need
  • Stay within your own limits and don’t try to keep up with more experienced friends - even if it's not your first time, you will benefit greatly from ski or snowboard lessons with a qualified instructor
  • Bring non-slip boots for walking around the resort as pavements can be icy

For more information on skiing and snowboarding injuries, see this Ski Injury website.

What Are the Different Ski Areas in the Three Valleys Like?

The Three Valleys are split up into, surprisingly, three main ski areas: Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.

What are the local food specialities to try?

Although not as renowned as the haute cuisine of Paris or the fine bistros of Lyon, the Alps do have a number of tasty treats in store for those who like to sample some regional specialities and Courchevel has a good selection of restaurants.

What are the main events in Courchevel throughout the year?

Courchevel has many events going on all year round.

What dates do the lifts open and close?

The Courchevel ski area normally opens in early December and runs through into late April or early May, although exact dates are dependent on snow conditions.

What else should I know about driving in France?

When driving in France, it is important that you are aware of any road laws and restrictions that may differ from home.

What exercises should I do before my holiday?

Any exercise you can do before your holiday which increases your level of fitness, develops the muscles in the leg, and improves your balance, will be beneficial.

What facilities are there for disabled skiers in Courchevel?

Most ski resorts now offer lessons by specially qualified ski instructors and the opportunity to hire out adapted equipment that allows people with disabilities to enjoy the mountains safely.

What hours are the shops open?

The French still maintain fairly traditional opening hours, with only the bigger shops or out-of-town shopping centres staying open all day long.

What is Carre Neige insurance?

Carré Neige is the basic insurance policy that covers you whilst on the mountain and is recognised across all French ski resorts.

What is paragliding and can I do it in Courchevel?

Paragliding, or 'parapente' as it is called in French, is the popular sport of taking off from a high point and gently floating down to earth attached to a parachute.

What is the difference between telemark, cross-country, alpine touring and regular alpine skis?

The range of skis on the market is vast and many of them are used for different variations of the sport; regular Alpine skiing is the most common and is where most people start out.

What is there to do in summer in Courchevel?

Courchevel is not just a winter resort.

What lift passes are available in summer?

Courchevel in summer has just as much to do as in winter - if not more!

What should I do if my skis/snowboard get stolen?

It’s a sad fact that in this day and age, we can no longer leave our skis outside as we enjoy a warming hot chocolate, après ski, or a leisurely lunch at the side of the piste.

  • Before you panic, double-check the area where you left them, just in case. It is possible they have fallen over and/or have been put back in a different location.
  • Report the theft to the police as soon as possible. Don’t be fobbed off by the lack of interest by the local police force. They see this type of incident all the time, and are therefore not always the most helpful. Be persistent, this is necessary and required by all insurance companies.
  • If applicable, tell your resort representative. If they were rental skis, you'll probably have to deal with the shop, and they may be able to provide some assistance. When hiring the skis, some rental shops will offer additional insurance to protect you against theft. If you choose not to take this option, or the rental shop doesn’t provide this service, you will probably have to pay for the skis (to the replacement cost value) and then claim on your insurance.

Theft tends to happen when you least expect it. Speaking from personal experience, even placing your skis directly behind you as you sit in a café or bar can be a mistake… BE AWARE!! Here are some tips to minimize the risk of having your skis/snowboard stolen:

  • Never leave your skis unattended for a long period of time outside a bar or restaurant. Some bars may offer a “ski monitoring” service.
  • Avoid leaving skis on your balcony, even if your apartment is located on the higher floors of the building (thieves have been known to scale up to four floors for the latest skis and snowboards!)
  • Always keep your skis in your sight line.
  • Swap a ski with a friend when going into a mountain restaurant or bar; but don’t put the unmatched pairs next to each other!!
  • Where you have rental skis, ask the rental shop to write your name on the skis as many people will have the same or similar pairs, and may take yours by accident.
  • Use ski lockers where provided.
  • Invest in a ski/snowboard lock. Although it won’t prevent the determined thief, it may deter them.
  • Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered should your own skis, or rental skis be stolen.

What sort of bike do I need in Courchevel?

Courchevel has many different trails which are suited to different types of mountain bikes, from cross-country to downhill.

What sort of jobs are available?

Pretty much anything you can think of relating to hospitality and tourism!

What time do the Courchevel lifts open and close?

In winter the ski lifts operate from between 8am and 9am and close about 4pm due to daylight hours.

When Do the Mountain Huts Open and Close for the Season?

There are many mountain huts in and around the Courchevel,The 3 Valleys region that offer a resting place and sustenance for the weary traveller.

When is it best to come mountain biking in Courchevel?

The main summer season in Courchevel is during July and August, however the trails can be busy and bikers may find that some of them are closed to make way for hikers.

When is the best time of year to come to Courchevel?

This is very much a matter of personal preference.

Take a look at our Courchevel Snow Reports from previous winters to see what to expect from the weather and snow conditions throughout the season.

Where can I fly a drone in Courchevel?

Restrictions apply to flying leisure or professional drones in Courchevel, at certain times of the year.

Where can I get a copy of the Courchevel piste maps?

Right here!

Where Can I Get More Information On the Climbing/Mountaineering/Skiing/Touring Routes?

It is important to arm yourself with as much information as possible on the terrain, the weather and the conditions before heading out into the mountains.

Where can I go for apres ski in Courchevel?

Courchevel wouldn't be the resort that it is without a good dose of après-ski to end the day on!

Where can I go mountain biking in Courchevel?

Mountain biking (also known as MTB or VTT) is very popular in the Alps and the amount of facilities, marked trails and competitions are increasing year on year.

Where can I hire a bike in Courchevel (inc MTB/Road Bike/Happy Shopper/etc)?

Most sports shops in Courchevel restock their shelves in the summer, replacing skis and snowboards with all the latest kit for mountain biking, hiking, climbing and the like.

Where can I pick up my emails or use WiFi in Courchevel?

WiFi is pretty much everywhere these days and Courchevel is no exception.

Where do I go in Courchevel for... beginners/bad weather/bumps/off-piste/etc?

It’s all very well having a

Where is the nearest hospital to Courchevel?

The nearest hospital to Méribel is Moûtiers (18km).

 

Where is the nearest station?

Moûtiers station is 18km / 12 miles from Courchevel.

Which Courchevel lift pass should I buy?

Courchevel caters for all sorts of visitors - from families with children, to groups of skiers and snowboarders, to hardcore alpinists - and the choice of lift passes reflects that.

Which Courchevel restaurants are child-friendly?

There aren’t many restaurants in France where children are not welcome; it is a much more common sight to see children dining out with their parents than in the UK.

Which are the nearest airports?

If you aren't arriving by private plane or helicopter the four main airports for the French Alps are: Geneva (Switzerland), Chambery, Lyon St-Exupery Airport, and Grenoble.

Which mountain restaurants should I try?

Lunch is a well-earned meal when you’re up the mountain all day!

Which ski school should I use?

There is no ‘right’ answer to this as Courchevel has a number of different ski schools, all offering different services.

Who can I go rafting and canyoning with in Courchevel?

There are a number of companies in the area who can take you on a white water adventure.

Will I suffer from altitude sickness?

Although Courchevel is not an especially high resort (1300m - 1850m) the skiing in the Three Valleys reaches 3,200m, so you might suffer some mild effects.

Being more out of breath than usual and finding exercise slightly more tiring are not uncommon when unaccustomed to being at altitude. Common symptoms include lack of appetite, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, insomnia, pins and needles, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, drowsiness/malaise, slight swelling of extremities. Many people will not be affected by any of these symptoms; altitude sickness affects everyone differently and some people not at all. However, if you are embarking on a high mountain expedition there are some symptoms that may indicate a more serious problem, for which you should seek immediate medical attention. These include a persistent dry cough, fever, shortness of breath that persists when resting, headache that does not respond to analgesics, unsteady gait, vomiting, loss of consciousness. These symptoms can be indicative of either fluid in the lungs or swelling of the brain, however as they affect very few people (fluid=2%, swelling=1%) they are worth knowing about but not worrying over.

Tips to Avoid Altitude Sickness:

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration – the air at altitude is thinner and your lungs lose a higher rate of water vapour the higher up you are. The additional exertion of skiing/boarding (not to mention clumping round in your boots) may be more than you are used to and could add to your potential for dehydration. If you reward yourself with a lunchtime pint or vin chaud, make sure you take plenty of water on board as well.
  • Be careful of the strength of the sun – it is much stronger than you realise and the extra body heat you work up combined with the glare of the sun off the snow could add to a headache or feeling of dizziness.
  • Take it easy – we know you can’t wait for that first run of the holiday, but don’t dash out of the lift and go steaming down the mountain straight away! Take a few deep breaths, cruise the first few runs and let your body adjust.