Courchevel is the glamorous face of Les 3 Vallées, where celebrities go to be seen and the Paris jet-set fly in on their private planes. But it's not all glitz and bling. There is also excellent skiing to suit all standards, and the lower Courchevel villages are actually quite affordable.

Courchevel has the most varied skiing in the 3 Valleys. It has superb off-piste, wonderful tree-lined runs, a good range of terrain for all levels, and a state-of-the-art lift system. Around 60% of Courchevel’s pistes are groomed every day and mosts are north-facing so excellent snow conditions are the norm throughout the season.

Given what is on offer in its own valley, it’s not surprising that many visitors to Courchevel rarely venture over the ridge to explore the rest of the 3 Valleys. But that’s a pity, because there is no other connected ski area in the world that can match it for size. And whilst Courchevel might have something for everyone, the Three Valleys as a whole has more, and for competent skiers it’s all reasonably accessible from Courchevel, so you can stay here and ski not only in neighbouring Meribel but also Les Menuires, Val Thorens and St Martin de Belleville.

In the Courchevel valley itself, there are various villages you can stay in. They all used to have a number at the end of their name – for example “Courchevel 1850” – which supposedly reflected their altitude above sea level, although the figure chosen was usually a flattering one (most of Courchevel 1850 is actually below the 1800m contour line on a map). Officially all the resorts now have new names without numbers, but these have yet to catch on, so we give both versions.

Courchevel 1850, now officially simply called ‘Courchevel‘, is definitely the smartest village and has the quickest access to the best slopes and the rest of the 3 Valleys. It’s also the most expensive place to stay, eat and drink in. Although it’s a purpose-built, high-altitude resort, and no great beauty, it mostly escaped the architectural horrors inflicted on other ski resorts of its era. And somehow, it’s retained its veneer of Parisian chic, even though about half its visitors come from abroad.

The lower, quieter, more family-friendly, Courchevel villages are more affordable. Courchevel-Moriond, formerly known as Courchevel 1650, has an attractive centre and is in a nice setting, but it can feel a bit out on a limb because its own uncrowded slopes are separated from the rest of the Courchevel ski area by a ravine that can only be crossed in a few places. Courchevel-Village (Courchevel 1550) is the closest to Courchevel 1850 and is in its shadow, sometimes literally and always metaphorically; it has its own lifts but they only go to Courchevel 1850. The old mountain village of Courchevel-Le Praz (Courchevel 1300) has its own identity and its own area of tree-lined runs which it shares with Courchevel La Tania, which is far enough away from Courchevel 1850 to feel like a separate resort and so has its own Ultimate-ski guide. Keep on descending on the twisty resort access road and you reach the village of Saint Bon at 1100m. If there is good snow cover, a solitary piste runs down to it, but there is no lift back up, so people who stay here commute to the other Courchevel villages to ski. Some of the ski buses also continue further down the mountain to Bozel at 870m. There is cheap, basic accommodation in Bozel but if you stay here you are definitely staying near the Courchevel ski area rather than in it, and the allure of Courchevel 1850 might feel a long way away.

Courchevel Pros & Cons

+ A large local ski area with runs for all
+ North-facing, snow-sure slopes
+ Part of the world’s largest lift-linked ski area
+ Plenty of accommodation near lifts and pistes
+ Good tree cover, especially around Le Praz
+ A choice of villages fitting all budgets

– Courchevel 1850 is expensive
– Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz) is too low to have consistently good snow
– Courchevel 1550 (Village) feels like a dormitory suburb
– Courchevel 1650 (Moriond) is rather isolated.


Courchevel Resort Stats

Base: 1100m
Peak: 2738m
Vertical: 1638m
Ski Area: 600km
Longest Run: 12km
Beginner: 25% %
Intermediate: 64% %
Advanced: 11% %
Number of ski lifts: 52
Lift Capacity: 67,254
Ski Season Starts: Mid Dec
Ski Season Ends: Mid April
Nearest Airport: Chambery
Transfer Time: 1 hour 45 mins

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Courchevel Resort Ratings

Ski Area star rating
Lift System star rating
Snowsure star rating
Beginner star rating
Intermediate star rating
Advanced star rating
Scenery star rating
Charm star rating
Apres Ski star rating
Other Activities star rating
Getting There star rating

Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 39

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