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Guide

Ski Area in Courchevel

Discover the best of the Courchevel ski area

Updated

Courchevel is part of the Three Valleys ski area and is one of the largest linked ski areas in the world. With its modern lift system and wide range of pistes, it's a ski destination that will suit everyone.

The main things to know about the Courchevel ski area are:

Snow-sure high altitude skiing
With 85% of the area above 1,800m and one of the largest snow making operations in France, you can be sure of enjoying pristine snow conditions all season.

Easily accessible
Located just two hours from Lyon airport, 1h30 from Chambéry or 30 minutes from Moûtiers train station.

Part of the largest interlinked ski area in the world
As a part of the Three Valleys there are virtually no limits to where you can go with an all encompassing lift pass that includes Méribel and Val Thorens.

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Courchevel ski area


Situated in the Tarentaise Valley, within the Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, Courchevel is part of the Three Valleys. 

It has in the region of 52 ski lifts giving access to ski terrain ranging from 1,350m to 2,738m altitude and approximately 150km of pistes (see the piste maps). This ski area is varied with plenty to keep all levels of skier and snowboarder occupied. The Courchevel Valley is made up of five villages, has a north facing profile and on a clear day expect stunning views of Mont Blanc.

What's it like to ski and snowboard in Courchevel?
Initially a summer tourist destination, it wasn't until 1945 that the first lift was built in Moriond and the decision was made to create a ski resort from scratch on the summer pastures. By 1959, the resort had a cable car, six drag lifts and three cable cars with accommodation for around 3,000 guests. Development continued and today Courchevel has no less than five villages that collectively make up the resort.

For beginners, there's a huge range of slopes to learn on and it’s a dream for piste-skiers, with long red runs such as Creux and Chapelets. Off-piste highlights include the Les Avals valley with over 1,000m of powder, the Saulire couloirs and the Roc Merlet face that will test the most advanced skiers. On a snowy day, the lower slopes are tucked in amongst the trees, allowing for skiing in even the heaviest white-out conditions.

The three areas to become familiar with are:

  • Courchevel (1850)
  • Courchevel Moriond (1650)
  • La Tania

Courchevel (1850)
This part of the ski resort has it all - a beginner and intermediate skiers' paradise, Europe's steepest black run and mountainous off-piste terrain.

For those just starting out, the lower slopes around Courchevel Village are perfect. They can be easily accessed by gondola and there's a separate fenced-off beginner area.

For piste skiers, there's plenty of variety. Steep runs lead down from the top of Saulire, with the Grand Couloir claiming the crown as Europe's steepest run. From here, it's possible to ski down to Le Praz at 1,300m which is more than 1,400m of descent! Slightly mellower red runs fill the space between Courchevel and Courchevel Moriond with the excellent Creux, Jean Pachot and Park City. Powder skiers can take on the couloirs of Saulire and the serious terrain in the Creux Noirs bowls. On a white-out day head below 1850 to the trees around Le Praz. The Family Park alongside the Verdons piste is ever growing in popularity as more and more features are added each year, from the gnarly red kickers and quarter pipe to the gentle ski cross, the Family Park has something for everyone. If you want to take a quick break, why not climb into an igloo and rest those weary legs.

Courchevel Moriond 
Courchevel Moriond catches the last of the evening sun so it's a good place to finish the day. With long, mellow reds and blues aplenty it's a great place to work on your technique. There are a couple of great spots for powder skiing in Moriond when there's been fresh snowfall and the tree skiing around Roc Mugnier, Chapelets and Gravelles are a great place to head in white-out conditions. For something a bit more serious, the Roc Merlet face is a short hike with huge rewards. To top them all is the off-piste run through the valley of Les Avals, starting from the top of Pyramide lift and descending all the way back down to 1650. It's well worth booking a guided lesson with an instructor to get the most out of the area. 

La Tania 
La Tania's ski area has great variety above the resort. For piste-lovers, there's the black run Dou des Lanches which then connects to the awesome Folyeres, a blue run which winds down through the trees into resort. There's not a great deal for beginners here but the addition of Plan Fontaine, a green winding run, has made it easier to get back to resort. If you're looking for powder then there are two areas above La Tania that are worth a mention. The face of the Rocher de la Loze, known locally as the Freeride Face is only for the most experienced skiers. It is accessed via a hike with steep chutes, big drops and tight couloirs aplenty. Lower down, underneath the Dou des Lanches lift, there is more easily accessible powder, cliffs, steeps and trees which makes for some awesome and varied terrain.

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The Three Valleys ski area


There's loads of skiing to be done in Courchevel and once you've finished there, there's a whole load more skiing to be done across the Three Valleys. 

It consists of eight resorts - Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Val Thorens, Orelle and St Martin de Belleville (see the piste maps); with a massive 319 pistes totalling 600km in length, 200 lifts and 1,500 snow cannons it's a snow lovers' paradise. Each individual valley is different and it's possible to find something for everyone.

There are 51 green pistes, 132 blues, 106 reds and 32 black pistes, with 11 links to the neighbouring resorts and 169 ski lifts. Beginner slopes, runs that feature in the world's top ten, huge powder bowls, tree skiing, glaciers and pro snowparks, are all connected by one of the fastest, modern lift systems around. There's only one way to discover all of it and that's with a Three Valleys ski pass.

Méribel
Méribel has around 45 ski lifts giving access to terrain ranging from 1,100m to 2,952m in altitude, made up of eight green pistes, 25 blue, 24 red and seven black runs, plus one of the best snowparks in Europe complete with a beginner's jump line, a superpipe, and everything in between. The ski area is varied, so head to the Tougnète side in the morning and enjoy a sunshine ski, then head over to Saulire in the afternoon.

Beginners are unlikely to leave Courchevel to head over the Méribel or even Val Thorens, but for advanced skiers and intermediates with a sense of adventure it's worth the trip.

Advanced:

  • Head up the Legends and Olympic chairlifts which will take you to 'Face'; the women's Olympic downhill run in 1992. Nicest mid-morning, when the snow is firm but softening slightly.
  • If you take the Loze chair you can tackle the mogully Tetras run back down or take Pas du Lac up from Méribel Mottaret and the slightly less challenging (but still advanced) Sanglier or Grande Rosiere pistes back to resort. Both the red runs at the top of the Mont Vallon lift are long, steep and often full of moguls. 
  • Look for the 'Bumps' run next to Martre piste ending at the plateau in the centre of Mottaret.
  • Finally, the steep couloir under the Saulire Express lift has been turned into a black run, previously name Couloir Tournier, it is now named the GoPro Couloir. This couloir is narrow and steep, (37° pitch) with no escape routes, and is recommended for experts only.

Off-piste:

  • From Loze Express to Dent du Burgin - about halfway along the Boulevard de la Loze track drop off to the right for large, swooping open plains of fresh tracks and powder. Under no circumstances should you take the track that leads over to the Dent du Burgin chair if it is closed - avalanche risk is high here.
  • Underneath the Loze Express chair there is a very popular off-piste run that gets tracked out very quickly, so head there first. Cut off to the right in between the trees where it's possible to enjoy powder all the way down to Méribel Village on a good day.
  • The area around the Côte Brune chair is beautiful in fresh powder, where a short hike delivers some incredible descents and fresh tracks. Stop at the Ski Patrollers’ hut at the top of the lift to check with them the safe routes – they are always happy to advise. 
  • Cut immediately right as soon as you come off the Olympic Express chair, hike along the ridge (this will be hell for snowboarders - sorry) until you are satisfied that the slopes down to the right are suitably untouched. For the more daring, the further along you hike, the bigger the drop in is. Be careful not to end up in the stream at the bottom - once you reach it, stop and find an easy crossing point, then enjoy the winding Villages piste all the way down to Les Allues.
  • Take the Roc de Tougne (Méribel's toughest drag lift, especially on a powder day) and it will immediately become apparent where you should be skiing. Long off-piste runs stretch out on either side of the drag track and a bit of a traverse at the top will be sure you find you some untouched fluff.

Val Thorens
The Val Thorens valley is made of three separate villages, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and Saint Martin de Belleville. With its own glacier and a peak elevation of 3,200m, 99% of the runs here are above 2,000m, guaranteeing amazing conditions throughout the season into late spring.

Advanced:

  • Runs from the top of the Cime Caron lift, particularly Combe de Caron, have always been a favourite. From the top of this lift you can also access the famous Combe de Rosael which is often filled with huge moguls that will test your skills.
  • The Point de La Masse has four tricky blacks: Masse, Lac Noir, Dame Blanche and Rocher Noir. It is the perfect spot first thing in the morning as it avoids the Three Valleys traffic and gets the best of the pre-lunch sunshine.
  • Slightly busier are the runs at the top of the Funitel Peclet. Christine is the steepest and longest and gives you the chance to follow up with the Col red run at the top of the Glacier de Thorens accessed via the Moraine lift.
  • For piste-lovers the ski run Jerusalem is regularly rated in the world's top ten red runs, and the runs from the top of Pointe de la Masse are breathtaking.

Off-piste:

  • Surrounded by six glaciers you'll find endless fields of powder in breath-taking surroundings. The glaciers of the Vanoise offer the most beautiful off-piste skiing in the Three Vallées on the amazing Maurienne side: The Pierre Lory from the top of the Col chair into the Maurienne Valley, and the descent from the Gebroulaz glacier towards Méribel or Pralognan.
  • Popular off-piste routes include: Lac du Lou from the Combe de Rosael black run from La Masse; La Masse down Vallée des Encombres; further down the valley above St Martin the area between Jerusalem and Pramint is renowned for its off-piste skiing, especially with instructors and their clients. You have to be quick, otherwise, the Meribellians get there first!

Snowparks:
On the Plateaux Pistes is a fantastic 70,000m² snowpark, accessed via the Moutière chairlift. The Plateaux drag lift services the park that for years was the biggest in the Three Valleys. You'll find some fairly meaty wedges here, and thanks to the park's altitude it stays in good shape until late in the season. All the runs are colour coded depending on difficulty, and there are five zones: an 800m boardercross, three freestyle zones and a Jump'Air. The park also contains whoops (a succession of waves), a corner (raised bend), a jump table, a wall ride (extended snow wall), a hand rail and a half pipe.

Orelle - the fourth valley
The Three Valleys is actually made up of four valleys...slightly confusing, we know. Orelle is located on the far side of Val Thorens and boasts the ski area's highest point at a massive 3,230m. Excellent snow conditions and stunning views make it well worth a visit which is still manageable in a day, even from Courchevel Moriond. It's only 15 minutes by cable car from Val Thorens and the slopes here will satisfy skiers and snowboarders whatever their level. There are 11 green pistes, 33 blues, 29 reds and nine black slopes all between 900m and 3,200m altitude. And for off-piste the slopes around the Bouchet lift are the best place to get fresh powder. Up here it's wide and often quiet, allowing you to pick up as much speed as you can handle.

What a view!

When is the ski area open in Courchevel?


The winter season usually runs from mid-December to mid-April, with any early lift openings depending on snow conditions (check Ski Lift Opening Dates for this winter's schedule). Your holiday will be very much determined by the weather and snow conditions, and therefore the time of year you choose to visit is important. If it's sunny pistes and a cold glass of wine on a mountain restaurant terrace, come in March or April. If your perfect ski break is about quiet slopes and lots of fresh snow, then January is the time to come. Or if you want numerous activities organised for your children during their school holidays, February is for you.

Whenever you choose to come, as long as the lifts are open, the local pisteurs will make the best of the snow (real and/or artificial), and groom the pistes to perfection so that you get the best possible conditions.

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Beginner areas in Courchevel


The whole area above Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel itself, from the Verdon bubble towards the resort are a paradise for beginners. Hundreds of man-hours of preparation goes on every night to ensure the pistes are absolutely perfectly groomed by 09:00. Wide and shallow as they approach the lower part of resort and with a selection of different greens, you can practise what you have learnt, building confidence as you go. These slopes give you the opportunity to get back to resort without losing your nerve, even when tired at the end of a long day on the mountain. 

Courchevel has a seven Easy Rider zones and 12 free lifts spread around the Courchevel Villages. Designated and created for beginners, some of these areas are known as 'ZEN' (Zones for the Evolution of Novices).

Courchevel Moriond (1650)
Mickey ZEN: A fenced off area exclusively for beginners serviced by a free drag lift (called Mickey) where you can get your confidence without having to deal with a lot of other skiers.
The Western Ski Park: The Ariondaz gondola is free as is the Petit Moriond gondola.

Courchevel 1850
Pralong ZEN/The Altiport: Two dedicated tows, this large beginners area makes for a great place to start. Begin on the shorter Ferme drag, and when you have built up a bit more confidence you can tackle the slightly longer Altiport drag. Other free lifts in the area are Bellecôte, Etoiles and Cospilot. 
Golf ZEN/Jardin Alpin: A little smaller than Pralong ZEN, there are three magic carpets here.

Courchevel Village (1550)
Les Roys: Free magic carpet and the Grand Combes chairlift is free.

Courchevel La Tania
Two magic carpets: Grizzly and Brown Bear, plus Mon Tania at the top of La Tania gondola.

Courchevel Le Praz
Envolée ZEN: located next to the Envolée drag lift.

Courchevel ski area has plenty of cruisey blue pistes, perfect for novices developing into intermediate skiers, as well as some more challenging red runs if you feel ready. 

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Beginner Ski Areas in Courchevel

Five tips for first time skiers in Courchevel

Advanced areas in Courchevel


In the higher parts of the ski area in Courchevel, you'll find some more challenging red and black pistes and mogul fields. The couloirs and steep black runs are the ones that everybody talks about. Courchevel is known for having some of the world's hardest and most challenging black runs, so it's definitely one to head for if you fancy a challenging skiing holiday. 

Courchevel 1850
Saulire areaHead to Combe Saulire before 09:30. Why so early? This red run becomes busy once the lifts from Courchevel reach it, but both Méribel and Mottaret gondola lifts get there earlier, so hit the first lift and make this the first run of the day. It has the best snow possible. Some of the couloirs at the top of the Saulire cable car offer great steep skiing and more challenging terrain. These are the ones that people challenge themselves with the most, two of which are officially recognised pistes; the Grand Couloir, which notably is the easiest of the bunch, but still a challenge and the other is the GoPro Couloir which takes you into Méribel. The rest are no longer considered pistes but can still be tackled and enjoyed.

This area around the Saulire and the Creux Noirs will definitely provide plenty of advanced skiing, with the high altitude and steep gradient you can whizz down a number of tough reds and blacks. There are also plenty of black pistes with steep and tough moguls. A selection of these can be found at the top of the Susses lift, the top of the Vizelle bubble and the top of the Saulire. 

Chapelets - Feels as close to ‘back-country’ skiing as you can get without leaving the piste. The scenery is stunning and it’s always quiet. A favourite among many, it starts off steep and then mellows gently. Great to hit first thing in the morning when freshly groomed as you can really whizz down that cordouroy.

Courchevel-Moriond 1650
The cruising blue runs above are wonderful for intermediates or for advanced riders after something easy amongst beautiful scenery. This area remains uncrowded even in the busiest of school holiday weeks. Search out little-used Grandes Bosses and Gentiane for the ultimate in relaxing skiing.

Courchevel Le Praz
If you are staying down here and want a challenging run to finish your day or you just fancy an advanced piste through the trees then head down Bouc Blanc or the Jean Blanc from the top of the Plantray. Bouc Blanc is a black piste run through the trees in the valley making it the perfect challenge for a bad weather day or delivers wonderful views when the sun shines. Another favourite is Jean Blanc, a fast black with lots of off-piste connecting it with large moguls.

La Tania
You can challenge yourself on the black pistes that sit above La Tania; the Dou des Lanches is definitely one to try. It is steep and speedy but great.

Advanced Ski Areas in Courchevel

Courchevel Dump Alert - 5th February 2020

Snowparks in Courchevel


Courchevel has a park with gentle, small features as well as a park for those looking to progress their freestyle skills. With boxes, rails and kickers suitable for most abilities and a big air, there's something to suit everyone. 

The Family Park in Courchevel is getting bigger and better as every winter rolls by. Located alongside the Verdons piste just above the village at 1850, the park is sure to entertain all levels of freestyle rider. The novice freestylers can try their hand at the gentle snowcross course, the speed gun and an array of green kickers and boxes. 

For those looking to push themselves, there is plenty to dig their teeth into (metaphorically, of course. Nobody wants to hit a box and ruin those pearly whites!) The red kickers in the "Big Air" section are closer to black grade than red. The blue boxes, quarter pipe and swimming pool give ample opportunity to get the legs popping and the skis and boards spinning.  

Of course, there's the airbag to test out all those gnarly new tricks without the fear of injury. 

Snowparks in Courchevel

Slopestyle Junior Criterium

Best pistes in Courchevel


Perfect for mixed ability groups and families, the Courchevel ski area offers a range of pistes. With wide open runs, some steeper skiing and tree-lined pistes, you're sure to find your favourite piste this winter.

Best Pistes in Courchevel

About Hotels in Courchevel

Off-piste areas in Courchevel


The easiest and safest off-piste is the Bel Aire area above Courchevel Moriond, either side of the Pyramide, Signal, and Chapelets.

The tree areas in Courchevel are great for catching some fresh snow and playing off-piste.

With a short hike from the famous Grand Couloir piste, there is excellent off-piste skiing in the Petit couloir or in the Croix de Verdons couloir if you don't mind climbing a little further. Also, the Equinox pitch, a 15-minute hike from the top of the Chanrossa chair, is one not to be missed out on a powder day.

There are also the well-known off-piste areas of Col du Fruit and Vallée des Avals, that will take you far away from any pisted areas. 

Always make sure you are prepared before embarking on any off-piste skiing or snowboarding. Check out our Avalanche Safety guide. It's always advisable to hire an off-piste guide who will have extensive knowledge of the area and the mountains.

Off-piste Ski Areas in Courchevel

What's new in Courchevel Winter 2020/21, Courchevel Valley

Bad Weather areas in Courchevel


There are certain runs that offer more contrast, providing vast amounts of skiing/snowboarding when the flakes are falling. The trick is to head for the pistes that are tree-lined; the trees help provide definition when everything else seems to be white.

The black runs into Le Praz (Jockeys and Jean Blanc) or the red run (Brigues) are in amongst the trees so should provide better visibility on a bad weather day. The long blue run (Folyeres) into La Tania is also a good bet, with trees lining it and a lower altitude the cloud may not be as thick here. 

Some of the pistes coming into Courchevel and Courchevel Moriond are tree-lined, so it might be worth doing a few laps of these lower runs as up top the terrain is stark and there are not many trees. Try the red Loze, green Verdons and some of the blues that go all the way down to Courchevel Moriond. 

Check out our webcams to see what the weather is like up the mountains before heading out on a bad weather day.

Bad Weather Ski Areas in Courchevel

Courchevel Dump Alert - 29th January 2020

More inspiration...


Take a look at this year's Ski Pass Prices or, if you're not sure which pass to buy.

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Ski Lifts in Courchevel