Off Piste: How to Enjoy Courchevel Sans Skis

Courchevel is the preferred winter destination of an illustrious tourist set that includes royalty and Hollywood stars. A discreet Alpine destination in the heart of Les Trois Vallées ski area, Courchevel is appreciated by visitors who want a discreet holiday in style and comfort while enjoying some of the best skiing in the world – but it’s not all about getting on piste. The resort comprises four villages situated at different altitudes, crowned by the prestigious enclave of Courchevel 1850 with a range of upscale restaurants, spas, and designer boutiques. It’s hard to conjure up a more perfect winter destination for those who want to be swept up by the romance of the snow without putting on a pair of skis.

Getting In/Out

The main gateway airport to Courchevel and Les Trois Vallées is just over the border in Geneva, Switzerland.  A Geneva to Courchevel helicopter transfer is the ultimate way to travel in comfort and convenience, and an ideal mode of transport for weekend breaks. The spectacular aerial views alone make the 30-minute journey an unforgettable experience. The Courchevel Altiport has featured in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and it is famous for its very short 537-metre runway and 18.5% gradient. Alternatively, the road transfer takes up to three hours depending on traffic and weather conditions.

Fine Dining, Drinking and Dancing

For some, the best thing about ski holidays is the après-ski scene. Courchevel’s off-piste entertainment is renowned for its sophistication with fine dining being high on the agenda. Courchevel is a gastronomic paradise with an impressive collection of Michelin stars considering its small size. Last year, Le 1947 restaurant managed by Chef Yannick Alléno’s became Courchevel’s first restaurant to be awarded 3 Michelin stars. Located at the exclusive Cheval Blanc Hotel, the refined menu of Savoyard mountain delicacies from his open kitchen provide a delicious incentive to reserve a room. Another standout for foodies is the 2-Michelin star Le Kintessence (in Le K2 Palace hotel) where the panoramic views and sumptuous decor are almost as delectable as the dishes.

Après parties take place at La Boulotte in Courchevel Moriond, Le Tremplin and Le Milk Pub in Courchevel 1850. For drinking until the early hours, try Bar Le Jump near La Croisette and Kudeta, which starts the party with live music as the sun goes down.

Relax in a Spa

While others are riding high on adrenaline on the slopes, non-skiers can experience tranquility and plenty of “me time” at one of Courchevel’s hotel spas. Around 30 spas are accessible to non-residents who yearn for a day of blissful relaxation. Le Jardin Alpin area hosts the finest spas, such as the Spa L’Apogée by La Prairie at Hotel L’Apogée. Males who prefer pampering over pistes will enjoy the special range of tailor-made treatments for gentlemen. The Chabichou Hotel boasts a spa with an aqua-leisure area and a long list of massages, and face and body treatments using Carita products.

Stroll to the Shops

Retail enthusiasts will be smitten with Courchevel’s top-class alpine shopping. Window shopping has never been so pleasurable with designer stores such as Fendi blending into the quaint rustic appearance of the resort yet containing a stylish, contemporary space within. The luxury Italian brand is joined by Givenchy, Chanel, Prada among other luxury designers. Courchevel also has specialist food shops and local produce market stalls.

Fun in the Snow without Skis or Snowboards

You don’t have to ski to make the most of the snow in Courchevel. Thrill-seekers love the toboggan slope which winds its way through the forest from Courchevel 1850 to Courchevel 1550 with a 300-metre vertical drop. The two-kilometre long slope is free to lift pass holders and you just have to rent a toboggan from one of the sports shops.

Traditional sledding is also a popular choice, but snowmobiling and quad biking are an exhilarating alternative. The outdoor quad biking track is situated between Courchevel 1550 and Courchevel 1650 in Les Grand Combes. The 600m long wide track stays open in the evening when the hairpin bends are floodlit. Dog sledding is available to older children and teenagers who can mush their own sledge around the Altiport forest, which you might get to glimpse from above on your Geneva helicopter transfer. Those who prefer a calmer and more romantic experience can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

On and off-piste, Courchevel will capture your imagination and guarantee a memorable alpine vacation.