Situated at the foot of the Mont Blanc, the old Italian ski village of Courmayeur forms part of the Aosta Valley near the French border. The charming medieval village has a picturesque mix of French and Italian influences which can be seen in its cobbled streets, stylish boutiques and authentic cafés. Although the ski area is not massive the resort more than makes up for it with exquisite on-mountain dining, extensive off-piste and a lively après scene.
The resort has incredible views of Europe’s highest summit, lovely wide open pistes for intermediate skiing and some excellent mountain restaurants. Its close proximity to both Geneva and Turin make Courmayeur a fantastic destination for a ski weekend or short ski break.
The Skyway Monte Bianco, a three-staged cable car takes you all the way up to Punta Helbronner in 360-degree rotating glass cabins for some fabulous views and a panoramic terrace at the top – a mere 3,466m. The off-piste runs from here are divine but make sure you hire a guide.
Skiing in Courmayeur
Located on the sunny side of the Mont Blanc, skiing in Courmayeur is divided into two sectors. The main ski area of Checrouit is best for sunny morning skiing whilst Val Veny on the opposite side of the ridge is popular in the afternoon - you can follow the sun over.
Absolute beginners have a couple of nursery slopes to get to grips with snow plough turns but ski holidays in Courmayeur are best suited to intermediates with the majority of the runs being red. Slopes are varied, tree-lined and offer stunning alpine scenery.
Advanced skiers have a few black runs on the Val Veny side, as well as the plentiful off-piste opportunities from the summit of Cresta d’Arp. Courmayeur used to have a much larger ski area until 64 of their runs were re-classified as off-piste itineraries meaning there are heaps of routes to explore, enough for a season let alone a short break.
You can't ski directly back to the Courmayeur village, only the hamlet of Dolonne so we'd recommend taking the gondola back to resort at the end of the day. The lift stays open until midnight so you can watch the sunset with a few aperitivos/après drinks before descending. Alternatively, you can take the lift back up from town once you've got out of your ski garb and head to the numerous mountain restaurants for dinner.
Courmayeur exudes a cosmopolitan atmosphere, especially at weekends when the resort is bustling with guests from Milan who have popped by for a weekend on the slopes.
The best après-ski is in the town where you will find a handful of sophisticated bars and cafés dotted around the pedestrianised centre off the main street Via Roma. Restaurant options are plentiful and authentic bars with large sofas and fireplaces create the perfect setting for relaxing after a day on the mountain.
Typical of Italy, the evenings tend to be low-key until the midnight hour approaches and then Courmayeur gets into full swing.
What we like about Courmayeur
- Close proximity to Geneva and Turin means shorter transfers and more time on the slopes perfect for a short ski break
- Lively après scene, it starts up on the mountain with the gondola back to town open until midnight which is when the town really gets going
- Extensive off-piste opportunities on the sunny side of Mont Blanc
- The ski area is on the small side but with the extensive off-piste and long lunch possibilities it's not an issue what-so-ever
- You can't ski back to town at the end of the day, the easiest way is to ride the gondola back down (its open till midnight)
- Courmayeur is on the sunny side of Mont Blanc - make sure you pack your sunscreen and sunglasses for some sun terrace action