Courchevel is a French Alps ski resort. It is a part of Les Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski areas in the world. Courchevel also refers to the towns of Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and Courchevel 1850, which are named for their altitudes in metres. The resort centre of Courchevel is at 1,747 metres (5,732 ft). The name Courchevel 1850 was chosen for marketing reasons to compete with rival ski resort Val d'Isère. It is the Jardin Alpin area of Courchevel 1850 rather than the centre which is located at 1,850 metres (6,070 ft).
Location within Alps
|Nearest major city||Chambéry|
|Top elevation||2,738 m (8,983 ft)|
|Base elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
|Lift system||58 (Capacity 67,254ph)|
Courchevel used to be part of the commune of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, but in 2017 that was merged with La Perrière into the new commune of Courchevel. In spite of the name, the commune's administrative offices are not located in Courchevel, but still in the nearby village of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise. Courchevel is in the Tarentaise Valley, Savoie département, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
The original resort was planned during World War II with a study in 1942 by the Vichy regime and in a doctorate by the town planner Laurent Chappis. Chappis was a natural choice to direct the development of the resort in the immediate post war years. Courchevel 1850 was significant, as it was the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch, rather than based around an existing village.
Tarentaise Valley Skiing
Within the Tarentaise Valley you find the biggest concentration of world-class ski resorts in the world. Most well known neighbour systems are Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne) and Espace Killy (Val d'Isère and Tignes). A weekly lift ticket in Courchevel/Les Trois Vallées gives you a choice to ski one day in each of the other two systems mentioned. There were once plans to interlink all systems and resorts to create the – by far – largest ski area in the world. However that vision was ended with the creation of the Vanoise National Park.
1992 Winter Olympics
The Courchevel valley also includes the town of La Tania, built as competitors accommodation for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Le Praz hosted the Olympic ski jumping and Nordic combined competitions for those games took place at Tremplin du Praz in Le Praz. There was a ski Jump in Courchevel 1850 on the snowfront however it was removed recently due to safety precautions.
Before dawn on January 20th 2019, a fire broke out in one of the buildings in the hamlet of Courchevel 1850, which houses seasonal workers of the resort, killing two and injuring at least 22. A local French newspaper reported that 130 firefighters were on the scene.
2023 Alpine Ski World Championships
In May 2018, Courchevel was named a joint host of the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships with Méribel. It will be the first time since 2009 that France has hosted the FIS World Championships, when they took place in Val d'Isère. Races in Courchevel will finish in Courchevel Le Praz. A new super-leisure centre called L'Alpinium is under construction in Le Praz and will improve connections to Courchevel 1850 and provide more parking.
Courchevel is the most western resort of the Three Valleys, the biggest connected ski area in the world. It consists of four satellite villages: Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850. Its highest resort, Courchevel 1850, is considered exclusive, attracting wealthy clientele including royal families. In the 2011–2012 season, Courchevel rebranded, changing the names of each of the four villages in a move away from the association with altitude. Courchevel 1850 is now known simply as Courchevel, Courchevel 1650 was renamed Courchevel Moriond; Courchevel 1550 is now called Courchevel Village and Courchevel 1330 was renamed Courchevel Le Praz.
Courchevel has 11 luxury hotels with a 5-star ranking. In 2011 France introduced a 6th star ranking for hotels, named "palaces". Eight hotels in France have received this rating, of which two are in Courchevel's Jardin Alpin area.. The resort has seven restaurants with Michelin stars, of which four have two stars, including Le Chabichou. It also hosts a variety of luxury shops including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Valentino, Loro Piana, Prada, Cartier, Fendi, Dior and Chanel. The majority of Courchevel's visitors are Russian. Many Russians visit during New Year and Russian Orthodox Christmas on 7 January. As a result, the first two weeks of January are high season weeks in Courchevel. The resort's name is associated with the super-rich in Russia.
Courchevel has one of the largest bases for ski instructors and other seasonal workers due to the size of the three valleys area. Courchevel's couloirs are considered some of the most difficult black runs in the world.
Courchevel's airport has a very short and steeply sloped runway, with a length of 525 metres (1,722 ft) and a gradient of 18.5%. The airport has a dangerous approach through deep valleys, which can only be performed by specially certified pilots. On landing there is no go-around procedure, as most of the world's airports have; there is merely a very steep hill which has seen a few accidents since the airport first opened. Larger propeller aircraft such as the Twin Otter and Dash 7 (carrying up to 50 people) have been regular users of the airport over the years, but have since been phased out of use and smaller Cessnas and helicopters are now the main users.
The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports, ranks it as the 7th most dangerous airport in the world.
- Courchevel battle
- 1992 Winter Olympics official report. pp. 88–91. (in English) & (in French)
- "Two killed in fire at French ski resort". 20 January 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
- Willsher, Kim (20 January 2019). "Fire at French ski resort of Courchevel kills two". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
- "Hosts for 2022 and 2023 FIS World Championships Elected". www.fis-ski.com. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- skichaletblogger. "The new Alpinium in Courchevel opens December 2019 | Chaletline.co.uk". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- Courchevel Changes Village Names
- Two hotels in Courchevel receive Palace ranking
- Michelin Guide 2010 rankings for Courchevel are in
- guardian.co.uk Winter sport Russia 2006/jan/22
- Most Extreme Airports; channel 5; October 14, 2010
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