Ski resort sheet
Courchevel is a ski and winter sports resort in the Tarentaise Valley, located in the village of Courchevel (until 2016, known as the commune of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise), in the Savoie department whitin the Auvergne-Rhône – Alps region. It is considered the first French resort to be exploited as a virgin site since 1946, part of the Trois-Vallées ski area.
Location of the Courchevel ski resort
The resort occupies a territory made up of five villages: Saint-Bon-Tarentaise (capital), Courchevel Le Praz (also known as Courchevel 1300), Courchevel Village (formerly Courchevel 1550), Courchevel Moriond (Courchevel 1650) and finally Courchevel itself (Courchevel 1850).
The latter, which gives its name to the resort, is the center where most of the work of urban architect Laurent Chappis and engineer Maurice Michaud took place. This resort in the middle of the mountain was included in the additional catalog of ” Monuments Historiques ” back in 1998, and around thirty places are protected as historical monuments.
Courchevel is a historical resort
The resort does not limit its activity only during the winter season. Its ski slopes are prepared for other sports, such as a thermal center open since the 2015 season, and offers other mountain-related activities during the summer, such as hiking or mountain biking. Its international pyrotechnic art festival and the organization of contemporary art exhibitions stand out.
Back in the day place of accommodation and setting for sporting events such as the 1992, Albertville Winter Olympics, Courchevel will organize, together with Méribel, the 2023 Alpine Skiing World Championship.
The resort has obtained several recognitions and quality labels. In 2016, it was classified as “Famile Plus Montagne”, “Station Village de Charme”, “Station Grands Domaines”, “Montagne Aventure” and “Montagne Douce”. It is also part of the resorts in the upper part of the French Alps (TOTFA).
The resort history
Courchevel is generally linked to an “exclusive”, almost high-end image. This distinction is shared among national and international media, standing out from the rest of the Savoy resorts. The resort has luxury hotels and boutiques, which gives it great popularity among the Russian customers.
The tourist beginnings of the resort date back to 1908 with the opening of the first hotel, Lac Bleu, nestled in Saint-Bon to receive the customers. These mainly came from the Brides-les-Bains spa during the summer. Tourism began to take hold when visitors built villas and rentable facilities.
The development of winter sports helped urban development in the 30’s. The setting of a gondola between Saint-Bon and Ardionaz was planned in 1934, when the village of Saint-Bon already had the capacity to accommodate 600 people. Following year, the resort was recognized by the tourist office, which considered the location of a future “superstation” for winter sports. The project for the execution of this ”superstation” dates back to 1939.
In 1945, although Courchevel 1550 was already conditioned for the practice of winter sports, the Savoy General Council set out to develop more.
During the organization of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, the resort was chosen to host the Nordic and ski jumping events. Since then, the resort has acquired the aforementioned international recognition, both for the luxury sector and the sports world. Its policy of beauty, renovation, and the establishment of a permanent leisure infrastructure shows how Courchevel knew how to take advantage of the Olympic Games to proclaim and maintain its rank among the main world ski resorts. In 1992, the resort was recognized as the most beautiful in the world by the German newspaper Die Welt.
Alpine ski area and the Courchevel airport
The Courchevel ski resort is part of one of the largest skiable areas in the world, ” Les Trois Vallées ” (the Three Valleys), which offers more than 600 km of groomed and troden slopes.
Breathtaking views and landscapes, stretching from the Mont Blanc massif in the north to the Ecrins massif in the south. If we look up, we will locate the Swiss and Italian Alps to the north and east, respectively. For many, it is a privilege. Courchevel actually offers two ski areas:
- The Courchevel area: 150 km of trails (27 green, 44 blue, 38 red and 10 black), with 62 ski lifts.
- The Trois Vallées area: considered one of the largest ski areas in the world with 600 kilometers of slopes. Renowned for its accessibility for all levels (50% of easy trails), it is also reserved for “Grand ski” with 111 red and 30 black trails. Lots of activities to satisfy your craving for snow with steep slopes and long trails.
Activities in Courchevel throughout the year
The resort offers night skiing and music every Wednesday from 18 pm to 20 pm at Verdons trail and the Family Park.
The resort holds around fifty hotel establishments, including some twenty luxury hotels, as well as deluxe apartments and mountain refuges. This specialization in high-end hotels is mainly due to the pressure exerted by local hoteliers, according to the researcher at the Research Institute for Management and Economics.
Locals note that the resort’s hotel development in the 1970s was not the result of neighbors. Most owners of tourist establishments were and are not residents of the Tarentaise Valley. It is a trend that continues to rise today, especially with investors in the resort’s large luxury hotels. This specialization can be perceived in the long term as an evident problem for its development, not only economic, but in a more sustainable aspect.
Ski jumping has been practiced in Courchevel since the creation of the resort. Thus, at the current location of the trampolines, in Praz, there was a 40meter wooden trampoline in the 50’s; On the snow front of 1850 there was also a 50 meter trampoline. Subsequently, a 25meter trampoline was built with a metal structure at the level of the current arrival of the Tovets chairlift, which subsequently led to the location of a ski lift in 2004.