Courchevel is one of the more deluxe resorts among the 8 that makeup Les Trois Vallees (The Three Valleys) the largest linked ski area in the world. There are 4 towns altogether – Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and Courchevel 1850 – the numbers loosely denoting their altitude in meters. Of these, it is Courchevel 1850 which attracts the monied types. It has long been a favorite with the Paris jet set and other international movers and shakers, and as such is wall-to-wall with opulent hotels, sophisticated restaurants, nightclubs, and extravagant chalets. Courchevel 1850 is beautiful, too, its exquisite traditional buildings surrounded by picture-perfect snow-covered trees. It even has a suburb (the Jardin Alpin) served by its own gondola.

Courchevel is skiable on the same ski pass as its Three Valleys partners – Meribel, Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, La Tania, Orelle, Brides les Bains. The Three Valleys offers 169 all-modern lifts, 335 marked runs spanning over 372 miles (600 km), and over 80 miles (130 km) of cross-country tracks. Over time the ski network has expanded to incorporate a fourth valley, though the area retains the name Trois Vallées.

Photo Credit: David Andre

The three other Courchevel towns, which are all linked by lifts to the slopes, are quieter than the sumptuous settlement at their crown and offer both lodging and more casual dining and bars. Le Praz, an old village set in the forest, is home to the Olympic ski jump built for the 1992 Winter Olympics (Albertville). Free buses run between the four villages.

Courchevel’s slopes are regarded as the most extensive and varied of The Three Valleys resorts. The slopes cater as well to learners as they do to true experts, with the easiest of green runs to the steepest of skiable couloirs and plenty of intermediate riding in between. There is a concentration of easier skiing on the lower slopes above 1850 with plenty of fast lifts to access them. Courchevel is also one of the best places to be and ski when the weather sets in, thanks to being protected by so much forest.

Photo Credit: Patrick Pachod