(1210m - 2763m)
An Italian resort that’s full of character and great for intermediate skiers. Situated on the Italian / French border and overlooked by Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is one of Italy’s most well known and loved ski resorts. With predominantly intermediate skiing terrain this resort will appeal to all but the most novice of skiers.
- Snow sure
Resort at a glance
|Ski Range||1210m - 2763m|
From the village a huge cable car takes you to Plan Checrouit which which gives access to Courmayeur’s two main skiable areas. From Plan Chercrouit a gondola whisks you to Col Chercrouit , whereby you will find a whole host of red runs, some of which are a little tricky and timid intermediates may well find some of these runs a bit of a struggle. From Plan Chercrouit a series of cable cars take you to Cresta Youla and then on to Cresta d’Arp where experts will find some decent off piste action.
The Val Veny area can be accessed either from Plan Chercrouit or Col Chercrouit. Here there are a variety of blue and red runs interspersed with a few blacks. Again timid intermediates may find this area a little of the steep side for them. There is some woodland skiing to be done here if the weather is poor.
For those who do wish to ski back a red run at Plan Chercrouit does take you back down to Dolonne, just outside of Courmayeur, however for most people the Cable Car back down is the only option. The opportunities for first time skiers are limited and given the fact there is little to progress on to and therefore this resort may not be an ideal place for those new to skiing.
Courmayeur has a lively apres ski scene but it is fairly civilised - keeping in line with the nature of the village. There are many stylish bars to entice you, many of which offer free drinks and canapes to persuade you in.
There is everything from sports bars, to discos, pubs and also more traditional haunts to keep you occupied. Notable sports bars include the lively American Bar with its selection of both savoury and sweet crepes, music and wine, and the informal Bar delle Guides, both showing many of the major sporting events.
For something more charming then try Cadran Solaire, Bar Roma or Caffe della Posta. Cadran Solaire is a sophisticated wine bar and therefore attracts that sort of clientele, where Bar Roma and Caffe della Posta are more traditional bars with the former being nice and lively and offering a sumptuous buffet and snacks, and the later being the oldest bar in the village, very traditional in style, which is also good for snacks, tea and cakes.
If you fancy a boogie or just want to chill out to some live music then there are plenty of options in Courmayeur. I Maquis which is also part of a hotel is a cool disco near the base of the Mont Blanc cable car, Le Prive offers a delicious range of cocktails and tapas and there is also the lively Poppy’s Pub or Planet Disco Bar too.
There are many excellent restaurants in Courmayeur serving everything from local traditional cuisine, pizzas and pastas, to gourmet feasts and even a restaurant which has been awarded 2 Michelin forks.
There are of course many restaurants serving traditional Italian cuisine - noteable places include the refined Cadran Solaire which serves a wide range of specialities including vegetarian options within a beautiful environment. Then there are the Vieux Pommier and La Terrazza who both serve local meats, cheeses, fondue and raclette. Also don’t miss l’Ermitage in Ermitage, which is a car journey away but well worth the trip and the Leone Rosso - a charming place in the middle of town.
For something more modern then try a visit to Mont Frety or l’Etoile, both offer more contemporary cuisine with great dishes on offer. Or for something a little different then try La Maison de Filippo in Entreves which has a fixed price gourmet feast on offer - around 30 courses, or La Clotze restaurant in Val Ferret which has been awarded two Michelin forks.
If you are looking for something lighter on your palette and wallet then there are plenty of pizzerias, cafes and creperies in Courmayeur. Du Tunnel serves enormous pizzas that are cooked in a wood burning stove, The Christiania does great pizzas and pastas and the lively cafe bar Petit Bistro offers alpine farmers fayre and crepes too.
The village of Courmayeur is charming and traffic-free with cobbled streets, attractive shops and old churches, it also has an Alpine museum too and all this set in a dramatic location at the foot of Mont Blanc.
Shopping is big here with plenty of variety, everything from clothes, jewellery, galleries, to delicatessens and antique shops are on offer. Geneva, Turin and Milan are also nearby if you fancy a day out of the resort.
There is a sports centre in Dolonne which has the usual tennis, squash, ice rink and sauna and steam facilities. Pre San Didier has a large public pool, where Pre St Didier has thermal baths with a large range of spa treatments and pools to try. Quite a few hotels in Courmayeur also have saunas and spas which are open to visitors as well as guests such as the spa at Le Grand Chalet Apartments.
Other activities include paragliding, snowshoeing, snowbiking and of course heli skiing and boarding. There is also the Mont Blanc cable car which is a ‘must’ for everyone to do. Take the cable car from La Palud up to Punta Helbronner and admire the simply stunning views.
For something a little different then visit the nearby town of Ivrea which is known for its Battle of the Oranges during the carnival in February each year. This involves the local residents basically throwing oranges at each other defending a castle from attack - weird, but well worth experiencing!
Courmayeur has two ski schools, both offering tuition for skiers and boarders, cross country, competition, telemark and off piste skiing. There are also plenty of mountain guides around offering individual guiding and group tours if you’re not looking for specific lessons.
The Monte Bianco Ski & Snowboard School is a large school with excellent instruction aimed at age 3 upwards. Group lessons start from €107 for 3 mornings, private lessons start from €40 per hour. Their meeting point is usually directly in front of the ski school building on the pistes, either at Plan Checrouit or at Prè de Pascal on the Val Veny side but do check on booking.
The other ski school is The Courmayeur Ski & Snowboard School which again offers excellent instruction for all levels and ages. Group lessons start from €182 for 5 half days, private lessons start from €40 per hour. Check their meeting point on booking.