Deciding where you go on a luxury ski holiday is important. In addition to snow levels, ski conditions and slope grades, travellers should also consider the surrounding ski resort they’re staying in.
For a truly magical winter escape, where you stay, what you eat and what you do both on and off the slopes matters, as these can make a huge difference to your overall experience.
As one of the most prestigious ski destinations in the world, the French Alps are a hub of world-class ski resorts and luxury chalets. In particular, Courchevel, known as the ‘ski capital of the world’, is one of the most famous in the region — and not just because of its glitzy après ski scene.
From its impressive network of pistes to its Michelin-star restaurants and luxury hotels, learn more about this spectacular snow destination. Read our expert answers to your frequently asked questions to find out why it’s one of the best ski resorts in France and if a Courchevel ski holiday is right for you!
1. Where is Courchevel?
Courchevel is located in the French Alps, high in Les trois vallées (the three valleys) region. It occupies an elevated position, nestled amongst the pine-strewn mountains, 5,732ft above sea level.
The nearest airport, Chambery, offers a transfer of just one and a half hours.
“Classed as a high-altitude resort, Courchevel offers the huge benefit of having a snow-sure winter ski season, meaning hitting the slopes is guaranteed!”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
2. When does Courchevel ski resort open?
The slopes open mid-December and close early to mid-April, depending on the snow.
3. How much is a ski pass in Courchevel and is it worth getting one?
A ski pass in Courchevel is about €70 per adult per day, and is well worth getting to allow you full access to the extensive ski lift infrastructure. You can buy a block of ski passes to give you access for your entire holiday, as well as a family pass, which offers added value for parties of two adults and two children.
These can be booked in advance online or purchased directly from the gondola lift stations or mountain offices upon arrival, which are dotted around the resort. They’re definitely worth the investment if you’re planning on hitting the slopes here!
“Be sure to purchase the right ski pass for you! Meaning, if it’s only Courchevel you’re interested in, which is a good option for beginners, then a ‘Courchevel Lift Pass’ will suffice. Whereas, a more advanced skier might opt for the ‘3 Valleys Lift Pass’, which will give you access to the whole 600km area of accessible ski runs.”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
4. What are the best hotels in Courchevel?
Courchevel has a fantastic variety of hotels to choose from.
The K2 brand of hotels offer something for everyone. There’s Le K2 Djola — a boutique option in the centre of Courchevel village, which is extremely well situated. Plus, K2 Altitude, which boasts a slopeside positioning, meaning guests can ski in and out!
Airelles — possibly the most iconic hotel of the resort — is hand painted throughout, giving it a real whimsical, fairy tale feel. You’ll never forget the welcome you receive here, as the hotel’s footmen greet you in traditional dress.
“Airelles offers direct access to the slopes, as well as a variety of accommodation options from luxurious suites to charming chalets. Plus, the French cuisine served here is truly is out-of-this-world!”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
5. What are some of the most exciting winter sports and outdoor adventures to do in Courchevel?
Courchevel is a winter paradise with so much to do and see! From exhilarating dog sledding tours, cross-country skiing, snow shoe walks and tobogganing, ski touring and heli-skiing — there’s so many ways to experience the snowy landscape.
And for families, the resort also has the Aquamotion aquatic centre, if you fancy a break from the snow. Whizz down epic waters slides and catch a wave on the indoor surf rider!
6. What’s the après ski scene like in this iconic ski resort?
Courchevel is renowned for its vibrant and often glitzy après ski scene.
From slopeside restaurants that transform into lively parties in the afternoon, to sophisticated hotel lounges where you can sip on classic cocktails late into the evening — there’s a spot to suit your every mood after a ski sessions in Courchevel.
And for those that don’t want the party to stop, some venues stay open until 2am with live DJ sets and local bands to keep the dancing going.
7. Are there any world-class restaurants or exclusive dining experiences visitors should know about?
With a huge choice of high-end restaurants, Courchevel is an ideal resort for foodies. In fact, it has the most Michelin-starred resorts in one place than anywhere else in the whole of Europe!
Be sure to reserve a seat at Le Chalet De Pierres to savour mouthwatering fondue against the stunning backdrop of the snow-covered mountains. With its alpine aesthetic and panoramic windows, enjoy a range of warming delights before skiing back to the resort.
“Fancy a change from the regional French fare? The restaurant at K2 Altitude, Ainata, serves a menu of gourmet Lebanese-inspired cuisine, designed in collaboration with legendary chef, Alan Geeam. We had the most incredible meal here!”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
8. Is Courchevel a suitable destination for families?
Absolutely! There’s a wide range of activities to help every family member enjoy their winter escape in Courchevel.
With an unrivalled network of slopes catering to all capabilities — from beginners right through to advanced skiers — Courchevel is one of the best destinations in the world to learn how to ski safely. It’s simply perfect for families who many have children of different ages and capabilities.
Be sure to take little ones to Western Park in Courchevel Moriond 1650, equipped with gentle slopes, tepees, archery and ‘magic carpet’ lifts to help them find their snow legs.
9. What should I pack for an unforgettable ski holiday here?
Pack all the usual ski wear, plus plenty of warm layers for when you aren’t whizzing down the slopes. For those sunny snow days, bring some high SPF sunscreen for your face, which can easily burn at this altitude.
“While there is no strict dress code, Courchevel is a stylish place, so if you do forget to pack anything, you’ll find plenty of designer boutiques in the resort. Shop till you drop, browsing labels from Moncler to Gucci, Dior and Chanel. Oh, and be sure to pack an empty stomach — the food is top notch!”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
10. Courchevel is a prestigeous place; what makes it the ideal destination for a luxury ski experience?
It’s the ultimate luxury ski resort for so many reasons. The pristine slopes are groomed to perfection, there’s expansive areas to ski across the three valleys, its high altitude makes it a snow-sure destination, the frosted views are breathtaking and the cuisine is world-class.
“The service in Courchevel is in a league of its own. From the general service on the mountain, with slopes that are groomed to perfection, to the resort’s world-class hotels — all venues in the region know that the luxury service they offer must be of the highest standard.”— Joy, Ski Product Manager
11. How well does this ski destination cater to different capability levels, from beginners to advanced skiers?
Courchevel is a ski destination that suits all capability levels and age groups.
Novice skiers will find fantastic introductory slopes at 1650 and 1850, with wide open runs and gentle gradients. There’s also the complimentary Bellecote slope and the Altiport area of Méribel, which is specifically designated for those learning how to ski.
On the other end of the spectrum, advanced skiers can challenge themselves by exploring the three valleys. Val Thorens and Méribel have impressive black runs with steep gradients, as well as wild skiing areas with uncultured snow for an truly adventurous ski experience.
Found the right resort for your luxury ski holiday?
Let us help you plan an unforgettable winter escape in Courchevel — speak to one of our Travel Specialists today and get ready to hit the slopes in the fabulous French Alps!