The warmth of summer may be behind and for many this may be motivating time of year. The time has come to wipe the dust off the skis and book a winter snow holiday. Many may be attracted to the allure of a summer holiday, soaking up the rays on a sun-drenched beach and for others, wrapping up warm for the bright white snow may be heaven.
One way to experience the ski holiday is to hire a chalet for the week. Chalets may be booked like hotels and many offer catered or self-catered options. It might be worth keeping an eye out on certain travel companies’ websites, as they sometimes offer package deals in which things such as equipment hire and transfers from the airports are included in the cost of the stay.With a array of resorts it may be challenging to choose where to go. Many choose based on price or altitude, so rather than searching for hours deciding which to choose, the answer is simple: Courchevel.
Courchevel ,a town in Les Trois Vallées – The Three Valleys – and is split into four different stages; 1850, 1650, 1550 and Le Praz (1300), all named after their altitude in metres. Accessible is via four major international airports: Grenoble, Lyon, Chambery and Geneva.
Le Praz, the quintessential Savoyard village and home to a few chalets, some restaurants, the local butcher and baker, and some ski slopes. It may be the perfect launch pad for a ski holiday at a reasonable price.
The further up the mountain, the price may go up as well. For instance, Courchevel 1850 a ski playground for the rich and famous, even playing a part in the James Bond film Goldeneye, where the mountainside airport is filmed in the opening credits. Fur coats and nine-inch high heels are a feature on display around the town’s shops and blend into the scenery perfectly. This area features luxury ski resort shops; as well as the ski rental shops and local Spar supermarket, there is Gucci, Dior and Dolce and Gabanna amongst others.
Courchevel offers skiing and snowboarding for everyone, from beginner to expert. For the beginners, there are a number of ski schools dotted around the resort offering lessons on the learner slopes. These schools offer lessons for intermediates and experts, or choose to explore the mountains proactivily.
There are a large amount of beginner (green) slopes as well as the more intermediate slopes (blue and red) and the expert runs (black) – including the famous Grand Couloir – meaning that there may be something for everyone. This is a resort that may be friendly to both skiers and snowboarders, with a mixture of slopes suitable to all tastes.
For the adventurous looking to burn off the morning’s cooked breakfast, one may tackle the entire mountain, from the peak of 1850, at around 3000m high, to the base Le Praz at 1300, taking a variety of routes. The sheer size of this resort means one far from has to take the same run twice. Purchase a Three Valleys lift pass offer selections of ski hills to choose from. The pass offers access to the world’s largest ski area, all of which may be accessible via the freedom of skis or board.
The main areas of the Three Valleys are Courchevel, Val Thorens, La Tania and Meribel. The enormity of the Three Valleys offers miles and miles of mountain, and with the correct location of hotel one may even ski out of the door to the nearest ski lift without relying on public transport.
After a long day of skiing, explore the town’s nightlife may be an additional option. There are a number of bars catering to different tastes, from the lively to the tranquil, and a variety of superb Savoyard inspired restaurants, serving dishes such as tartiflette, raclette and fondue. At lunchtime on the slopes, there are some little hidden gems that may ski one into hungry, and ski out of satisfied. Many of these places – often sandwich bars – serve a croque madame or panini, which may be the carb-filled pick-up needed for the overworked legs and empty stomach.
For those who fancy a day off from skiing, there may be plenty to do. Plenty of walking routes to enjoy and take in the sights of the mountain, or there are a wide variety of shops. There is also a cinema in 1850 offering films in both French and English including the latest releases. To get around without the advantage of skis or a board, the local authorities offer local buses that go between the stages of Courchevel complimentary. They run regularly.The nearest city, Moutiers may be accessible by bus, however this may need to be booked in advance.
Courchevel may be an ideal place to keep one on their skis and entertained for the week!
What other interesting ski resorts are available to be discovered?