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Today we are going to take you onto the ski slopes of Courchevel 1650 for the perfect ski day with our partner ski school, New Generation Ski and Snowboard School.
Most days on the mountain in Courchevel 1650 are what we would describe as a perfect ski day. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert skier, there is plenty of terrain for everyone to learn and explore.
Our perfect ski day in Courchevel 1650 would start on the Ariondaz bubble at 9:00 to get us up and out of the resort centre. We’d hop on the lift with one of our instructors to beat the lift line and ensure we’re some of the first skiers up on the mountain.
From the lift, you can see a lot of the terrain, so we’ll devise a plan of where to go depending on the snow conditions.
For a cruisey warm-up, we’d jump on the Signal chairlift and get our blood pumping by laying some turns over on Grandes Bosses which is a blue run. Granges is also a top pick, as it’s always perfectly groomed, there’s never anyone there and with views of the Dent du Villard mountain ahead of you, it’s a fantastic way to start the day.
But, if there’s fresh snow, we’re heading straight to Chapelets, Bel Air or Roc Mugnier for a few runs before it gets tracked out. The ski runs on the outskirts of the ski area get forgotten, so they’re an excellent place for some turns on untracked snow!
Mid morning, you’ll find us cruising the blues in Courchevel 1650 (Gentianes, Petit Bosses, Granges, Marquis) We never get bored of carving on the corduroy in 1650, and the network of blue and red runs never disappoints. The pistes interconnect, enabling you to find a new route each day. The pistes in Courchevel are vast and rolling, which is a big confidence booster if you’re feeling a little wobbly first thing in the morning.
Once you reach the top of the Signal chair, make the most of the stunning views down the Les Avals valley. There are no lifts down there as it’s on the edge of the Vanoise National Park, so you’ll only see wildlife and maybe a few ski tourers scribing a line in the snow. It’s a great place to snap your next Instagram post to make your friends and family envious!
Mid Morning Snack Stop
Cabane de Sullys is a cosy little snack bar recently opened in the Plan du Vah Valley (between the Roc Mugnier and Aiguille de Fruit chair). It’s tucked away but gets the sun over lunchtime and is a great place to rest your feet and grab a drink or a snack on the picnic benches. It’s very casual, the service is quick, the food is local and tasty, and plenty of healthy options exist.
We’d recommend the traditional onion soup with garlic croutons, and Beaufort grilled on top. Delicious! A black coffee will set you back €2.80, which is an absolute steal compared to many cafes in Courchevel. And there’s always someone there that you know, it’s very sociable.
Stepping It Up Before Lunch
Our favourite red runs in 1650 are Chaplets and Roc Mugnier. Roc Mugnier only gets a little sun, so it’s often firm all day. The start of the run is pretty steep, so take your time and try and ski in a slim corridor instead of zig-zagging across the width of the piste, as it can be icy.
If you’re up for a challenge, Tetras becomes a bumpy, rutted half-pipe at the end of the morning, which can be a real leg burner (in a good way!) It starts off quite narrow but fear not, it gets much wider towards the bottom so you can open up your turns a bit and cruise back down into the Chapalets bowl.
It’s got to be Bel Air for a coffee or lunch. The service is fantastic, the views are stunning, and the food is always warm, filling and delicious. Look out for some A-listers or Royals – William and Kate have been spotted multiple times! Get there by taking the Ariondaz bubble up from the resort centre. At the top on your right, you’ll smell the food and chatter of happy guests – you really can’t miss it!
If you’ve got non-skiers in your group, they can join you for lunch at the Bel Air by buying a pedestrian pass (forfait pieton) from the lift pass office at the top of the escalators in town.
We don’t like to linger too long at lunch. Otherwise, the afternoon disappears, and getting those ski legs moving is hard! After refuelling, we want to ski down Marquis or Indians back to the village. These two long runs are perfect for helping you regain your groove after lunch and letting your food go down. Take it easy and meander your way down at your own pace. Before you know it, you’ll be back down on the main snow front.
Now we are warmed back up, let’s head back up the Ariondaz bubble and again up on the Signal chair aiming this time for the Pyramids drag lift. *Be warned, it’s a long one – so take in the views and enjoy watching some free-riders descend Equinox (famous free-ride face up to the right) before enjoying the ski down. Pyramids is another hidden gem if you dislike skiing in busy places.
The long drag lift puts many people off venturing up there, meaning you’ll have the place to yourself. We wouldn’t recommend taking children up on the Pyramids drag unless they are relatively confident on drag lifts. Practice on some of the shorter drag lifts beforehand, like Mickeys drag or Granges drag.
Courchevel 1650 in general is a very quiet resort as everyone tends to filter out across the network of ski runs, and many people ski over to Courchevel 1850, where it’s much more crowded. Courchevel 1650 is therefore a fantastic resort for families, beginners, and more intermediate to advanced skiers who want fresh powder turns to themselves.
Après Ski Time
At the end of the day you’ll find us at the Portetta Hotel, in the Fire and Ice bar, enjoying an Aperol or Hugo spritz by the firepit. If you’re wondering what a Hugo Spritz is, it’s when you substitute the Aperol in an Aperol Spritz with an elderflower liqueur (such as St‑Germain) and the orange slice for a lemon slice and a few mint leaves, and voila. Hugo Spritz.
The Fire and Ice bar is at the bottom of the slopes, so it’s hard to walk past it and not go in! At happy hour (4-6.30pm every day), they hand out free wood-fired pizza, which is a nice bonus if you’re feeling peckish.
The Perfect Finish
For later into the evening, for cocktails and tapas, you NEED to visit Copina, a small Spanish bar and restaurant on the main street. The food makes a zingy change from traditional cheese-heavy Savoyard dishes and the staff are always welcoming, helpful and speak both French and English.
If you’re wondering what a Spanish bar in the mountains serves… think padron peppers, croquettes, calamari, patatas bravas, chicken tacos and more. They have a wide range of fish dishes and cater well to vegetarians. We recommend selecting several small plates for the table and sharing.
Ready for your Prefect Ski Day?
Why not come and carve up Courchevel 1650 with us. We hope this guide has given you a better idea of what you can expect from a ski holiday to Courchevel 1650. If you’re looking for ski or snowboard lessons for your trip then New Generation Ski School is Luxury Chalet Book’s ski school partner.
Luxury Chalet Book’s in-house concierge team will be delighted to assist you with booking either group ski lessons or a private instructor for your next chalet holiday in Courchevel.
Images courtesy of:
© OT Courchevel Patrick Pachod (Lead Image)
© New Generation Ski and Snowboard School
© Luxury Chalet Book
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