Posted on 10 February 2023
For the ultimate mountain experience, the ski capital of the world is delightful Courchevel in the French Alps. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because France is the world’s top skiing destination and during winter, the alps attract skiers from many countries. But Courchevel is next level and a place to be seen. Indeed, should you find yourself with steady cash flows and want to level up your social circles, Courchevel ski resort is where to go.
Courchevel attracts many famous people, including actors, musicians, and athletes. Over the years, this hub has hosted many celebrities who are less concerned about getting their money’s worth and more concerned with mountain style and status.
Famous people to visit or own a chalet in Courchevel include Kate Moss, Roman Abramovich, David Bowie, Elton John, Heidi Klum, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton. But surely, to gain the unofficial title of the world’s ski capital, they have to offer more than the lush side of living. After all, skiing is an established niche and selective mountain sport, while resorts should offer something unique. Well, get ready to be wowed because Courchevel stands tall and proud and offers hardcore and intermediate skiers the best.
Why is Courchevel the Ski Capital of the World?
Courchevel Ski Resort and Where Fame Began
Courchevel’s fame began in the mid-20th century, but the Tarentaise Valley, to which Courchevel belongs, shows prehistoric, Roman, and medieval settlements. In the 19th century, the valley set up snow sports, and in the 1930s, the first ski lift. After World War II, word of Courchevel spread, and in decades to follow, Courchevel became a premier mountain destination, attracting wealthy and famous visitors from around the world. Along with a few other resorts, Courchevel was a pioneer in luxury ski holidays.
The Three Valleys Ski Area
Courchevel belongs to Les Trois Vallées, the largest ski area in France and one of the largest in the world, offering 600 km of fresh powder, easy mountain slopes for intermediate skiers, to challenging off-piste terrain for advanced skiers. The area encompasses world-class mountain resorts, including Courchevel, Méribel, Val Thorens, and Les Menuires, and skiers enjoy rolling, tree-lined slopes to open, steep mountain faces. Additionally, the efficient and accessible ski lift system in Les Trois Vallées provides avid skiers easy access to slopes and surrounding mountains. No wonder, Courchevel earns ski resort fame, when it taps into one of the world’s best skiing playgrounds.
Other Winter Sports in Courchevel
Alongside skiing, Courchevel offers winter and mountain activities, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and dog sledging. Several world-class ski schools in resorts also offer lessons for skiers of all levels, from beginners to experts. Other sports to try include cross-country skiing, with several trails available for all experience levels, ice skating on the town rink, and dog sledging, with several operators offering guided alpine countryside tours, paragliding, heli-skiing, and ice climbing.
Courchevel’s various boutiques, shops, and world-designer stores cater for more selective tastes and budgets. Avenue Montagne’s collection of boutique shops, jewellers, and high-end ski equipment shops features all the international brands. While Courchevel’s Wednesday market is also the best place to buy and taste fresh local ingredients. Do sample products in bakeries and hire your VIP shopping assistant if you don’t want to step out of the door.
The Best of Fine Dining in the Ski Capital
Several worldwide elements characterise fine dining, including high-quality food and drink, service, elegant ambience and overall sophistication. In fine dining restaurants, freshly prepared food is visually appealing. The diverse menus showcase culinary skills, while attentive service is formal and professional and adheres to fine dining etiquette. The upscale and elegant vibes create memorable dining experiences, whether celebrating special events or milestones or enjoying the best food.
Restaurants in Courchevel deliever all this and more. High-end dining scenes include various Michelin-starred restaurants, like the two-star Le Chabichou, serving contemporary French cuisine in elegant settings, or the two stars La Table du Kilimandjaro serving inventive cuisine made with local and seasonal ingredients. Additionally, two-star Le Montgomerie also focuses on seasonal and local ingredients.
Enjoy Après Ski in the French Alps
Après ski refers to social and recreational activities after skiing or snowboarding and typically involves gathering with friends or family to relax, drink, and enjoy entertainment. The lively and festive atmospheres, are chances to socialise and connect with others who enjoy winter sports. Après ski in Courchevel is essential to resort culture and complements skiing or snowboarding experiences. La Folie Douce, a legendary après ski bar, is a must-visit, offering live music and DJs or head to Le Petit Dru for the cosy bar selling various beers, wines, and cocktails. At the same time, Le Cave des Creux is perfect for sampling fine wines, delectable cheeses and charcuterie.
Off-piste Skiing for Adrenaline
Courchevel belongs to the Three Valleys, and this ski area’s reputation for surprising proficient skiers at every turn features backcountry terrain and world-class skiing opportunities. There is no such thing as conquering off-piste skiing in the three valleys. Even the locals who know the skiable landscape well will testify to that. You can spend lifetimes off-piste skiing and still discover something new on every run. Given that Courchevel taps into the three valleys, this further enhances the ski capital’s reputation.
However, for the first timers, expert skiers say to start from the Caron summit at 3195 metres to Lou Lake at 1,800 metres. Another option is La Masse to Les Menuires. In Courchevel, the north-facing gulleys, just under the La Saulire cable car, are another excellent start. Alternatively, head towards Meribel and go into Tournier gulley. Ideally, first-timers of off-piste skiing in any resort should hire a guide for the cross-country trails and start from there.
High-End Ski Property in Courchevel
Ski properties range from traditional chalets to modern apartments, most with stunning mountain views. Courchevel properties also provide excellent investment opportunities, thanks to high rental demand during ski seasons. If you’re considering buying in Courchevel, work with us, a professional real estate agent who understands resorts and can help you find a property that meets your specific needs and budget. With high-end amenities and breathtaking mountain scenery, Courchevel is a fantastic place to own a ski chalet.
Courchevel comprises several different areas, each with unique character and offerings. They include
- 1850 town centre: The highest and most exclusive area of Courchevel, with good snowfall, high-end shops and hotels, and ski terrain.
- Courchevel 1550: This area steps down in altitude and offers more affordable accommodations and dining options, attracting families and budget-conscious skiers.
- Courchevel 1300: Also known as Le Praz, this original village offers more traditional mountain and snow atmospheres and features the Olympic ski jump and several beginner slopes.
- Moriond: Also known as Courchevel 1650, this area offers a more relaxed atmosphere with tree-lined runs and excellent ski schools.
More Resorts With Status
St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps also boasts high-end status, winter mountain sports, and diverse terrain. The lift system in St. Moritz is well-developed, with chairlifts, gondolas, and drag lifts, including the Corviglia cable car and the Suvretta ski lift. St. Moritz also offers various other winter activities, like ice skating and sledging, and is a world-renowned winter destination with luxurious vibes and high-end amenities.
St. Anton, an upmarket resort with good annual snowfall, offers exceptional backcountry terrain, cross-country trails, and lively après-ski scenes. St. Anton various ski runs, from beginner slopes to advanced runs, are easy accessed via notable ski lifts like Valluga cable car and Nasserein gondola. St. Anton is fantastic for challenging ski terrain, lively après-ski scenes, well-developed ski lift systems, and various off-slope winter activities.
Three Valley Ski Resorts
So, Courchevel, one of the best ski resorts, offers everything for skiers, from lively bars, fantastic food, stunning scenery and the best snow and skiing conditions. However, the resort doesn’t fit everyone’s bank balance and ski boots. After all, luxurious lifestyles cost. The good news is that other resorts allow skiers to tap into the same infrastructure but at more affordable prices. Meribel resort, Brides le Bains, Menuires resort, Martin De Belleville, Val Thorens resort, and La Tania are great ski towns with much to offer. More about the Three Valleys.
More About Skiing in France
Mont Blanc Massif: Mont Blanc massif sits on the French Italian border, although the northern tip runs to Switzerland. Famous glaciers include Glacier des Bossons, the Bionnassay Glacier and the dome glacier, and the region is also renowned for the Vallee Blanche off-piste skiing route. Many say the massif and mountain sparked the beginnings of modern mountaineering. For other resorts close to Mont Blanc Mountain, look at the towns of Italian Courmayeur, Saint Gervais Les Bains, Chamonix and Les Houches on the French side. Indeed, although Courchevel is the ski capital of the world, the French Alps have much more to offer.