It is widely known as one of the mountaineering and off-piste capitals of the Alps, however there is enough groomed skiing to entertain more intermediate level skiers, (although it is more suited to a weekend ski break than a full week).
The resort claims to offer 100km of runs, but really only have of this is pisted - the pistes they do have are mostly blue and red with only a couple of blacks. Intermediates looking to push themselves would be best advised to book a guide and try some of the gentle off-piste which Courmayeur offers such as the 24km Vallee Blanche which runs all the way to Chamonix and can be enjoyed by intermediate level skiers.
This written guide will stick to the pistes, however for those looking to move onto the whole mountain or just to progress their skiing, we can suggest and book many great real-life ski guides and instructors who will ensure you get the most out your Courmayeur ski trip.
- Ski Pass: Courmayeur Pass
- Start Point: Courmayeur Cable Car
- End Point: Courmayeur Village
Morning - Up with the Sun on Mont Blanc's Sunny Side
This day enjoying the slopes of Courmayeur follows the sun, starting with the open bowls of the North East facing Checrouit area.
The Courmayeur cable car at 1224 metres in the heart of the village is the first step on your journey up the flanks of Mont Blanc. Then a short walk across the snow and up the Checrouit gondola, bringing you to Col Checrouit at 2256 metres. There is no better place to enjoy spectacular views of the Aosta Valley first thing in the morning, and the skiing's not bad either. The red Checrouit run back down under the gondola to Plan Checrouit is wide open, so you have lots of space and the necessary peripheral vision to get some first run speed, and get some blood flowing in the legs.
You may find yourself wanting to lap the Checrouit gondola a few more times, and we would be right behind you, however if you are looking to push on, take the Maison Vieille chairlift to play on the Stadio Slalom run - blast through the gates and feel like a pro. Taking the Aretu chair from halfway down will allow you to pay a visit to the snowpark. A variety of jump sizes mean newbie freestylers and experienced jibbers can have fun side by side, and the 15 metre by 15 metre air bag allows progressing freeriders to learn some new tricks in (relative) safety. Again you have the option of lapping these runs multiple times to get all you can out of the different lines of descent this side of the mountain offers.
From the Col Checrouit take the Youla cable car right up to the top of the Cresta Youla at 2624 metres and enjoy the resort's highest piste, the Youla, and explore a different route down to Plan Checrouit on the Aretu piste.
Lunch - Italy, Eat Your Heart Out
Now it is surely time to partake in one of Courmayeur's most noteworthy features - the abundance of amazing and great value cuisine. Skiing in Italy really does offer another dimension when it comes to piste-side dining, and those who have not visited the Aosta Valley's ski resorts before will be bowled over by how readily available incredible quality lunches are.
In Plan Checrouit, Refugio Christiania is known for its low cost yet high quality original pizzas, which include mini deep-fried pizzas oozing with local cheese.
Alternatively Maison Vieille is Courmayeur dining through and through - traditional food, in a secluded shepherds' cabin on the mountainside, coming complete with stereotypically cheerful and doting Italian service.
Thanks to long cable car hours, both of these are open for lunch as well as dinner if you can't fit them in during the day. To visit Maison Vieille at night the restaurant's snowmobile collects you from Plan Checrouit making it a completely immersive experience.
Many of you may be quite content to call it a day after dining in any of Courmayeur's fantastic eateries, but for those who reluctantly layer back up and drag themselves away from the luncheon table… We carry on the ski day by taking the Checrouit gondola back up, but this time heading to skiers left to spend the afternoon exploring the tree lined slopes above Val Veny.
Firstly take the Lazey red down to the Plan de la Gabba chair, which transports you up to enjoy the Gabba piste and the Comba Moretta. High runs, which often means great snow, even with their sunny aspect.
You will want to take the International piste, for a taste of Courmayeur's other noteworthy export aside from the food and the powder - downhill racing. The World Cup stops here every season for this amazing long descent through craggy Aosta scenery, and it simply has to be ticked off before you leave.
Taking the Bertolini chair back up will afford you not only a welcome sit down, but also a chance to take on a black run, one of the resort's more challenging pisted routes. Rocce Bianche takes you down some tough terrain, but allows access to the blues around Val Veny, which you can ride down to Zerotta, and keep enjoying for as long as your legs hold out.
At the end of the day you have the option to ski back over to Plan Checrouit, or lift down into Entreves and take the bus back into Courmayeur village.