Cross Country:30 km of trails
Hotel - Half Board
3 December 2016 (7 nights)
7 nights | Guide prices per person
Run by the Cavaliere family, owners of the popular Villa Novecento, the Cresta et Duc has undergone extensive refurbishment, placing it among the smartest, most attractive 4 star hotels in Courmayeur. The hotel’s reputation has been further enhanced by the arrival of a new award winning chef, whose regionally inspired Italian cuisine will make for an unforgettable gourment experience.
The hotel features its own restaurant and bar with occasional live music for the entertainment of guests.
The Cesta et Duc hotel also has its own spa and fitness area for the use of all guests.
Each of the 44 rooms in the hotel are well decorated and provide guests with extremely comfortable residence for the duration of their ski holiday.
All rooms are equiped with their own TV with satellite, private facilities and a minibar.
Bedrooms are made up of double, triple and quadruple rooms and can sleep up to 4 people.
Courmayeur is a charming medieval resort that extends a warm italian welcome.
Despite its francophone name, Courmayeur is of course actually in Italy, just a few kilometres along the Aosta valley from the Italian end of the Mont Blanc tunnel.
Courmayeur can be reached in just 90 minutes’ (mostly motorway) drive away from Geneva airport. The journey time from Italy's Turin airport is only marginally longer. This resort makes a very attractive weekend ski destination and the Mont Blanc tunnel also makes day trips from here to Chamonix — possibly to ski the Vallee Blanche — eminently feasible.
Courmayeur is especially popular with the residents of Milan and Turin, many of whom have second homes here, which they use principally at weekends, when the resort has a particularly lively atmosphere.The centre of Courmayeur, which was originally a medieval market town, is a cosy collection of narrow streets, some of which are notionally for pedestrians only. The main ski area is on the opposite side of the valley and is reached by a huge cable car that takes you high above the valley to the base of the lift system at Plan Checrouit.
Every Saturday afternoon, for example, there is the celebrated Passegiata, when families of Milanese and Torinese weekenders parade up and down the Via Roma clad either in fabulously ostentatious fur coats, or Monclet ski jackets. Interspersed between the chic boutiques in this main street are scores of cosy bars and lots of alluring little food shops. In the main square several of the village worthies park their little three-wheeler Ape trucks in a semi-circle and brewing up vino brule in huge cauldrons and then dispense it with great charm to all-comers. Everywhere in Courmayeur the locals are all extraordinarily friendly towards visitors.
In the end it is probably the friendly atmosphere and the huge variety of good but moderately priced bars and restaurants that are this resort's principal attractions, rather than its somewhat limited local ski area, which is fine for long weekends but which really good skiers might find a little small for a whole week's holiday, although visitors based at the Entreves end of the resort will find it is only a short drive to the ski area of La Thuile which links with that of La Rosiere in France and is covered by the main Courmayeur lift pass. For those advanced off-piste skiers interested in hiring a guide Courmayeur makes a good very base with plenty of challenges in its surrounding mountains, particularly those accessed via Entreves, which include the Italian version of the Vallee Blanche and the Toula glacier.
Courmayeur is served by Geneva with a wide range of flights from most main UK airports. Transfer Time: 1 hr 15 mins You can also fly to Turin with flights from London Gatwick . Transfer Time: 1 hr 45 mins Or, you can fly to Milan with flights from London Heathrow , Birmingham or Manchester . Transfer Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
|Lower Depth:||75 cm||Piste Conditions:||Best skiing on groomed runs, variable elsewhere|
|Upper Depth:||160 cm||Runs to Resort:||Packed|
|Fresh snow depth:||5 cm||Off-Piste:||Varied|
|Best Snowfall week||13-Jan-2014||23-Feb-2015||11-Jan-2016 (10%)|
|Best Base week||03-Mar-2014||23-Feb-2015||29-Feb-2016 (10%)|
Cross Country:30 km of trails
Great for intermediates, adventurous off-piste skiers and those who rate lunch and the apres ski as an equal to the skiing.
This is an ideal resort for skiers who dislike walking in ski boots with skis on their shoulders: equipment can be left overnight at slope-side deposits like the Ski-In at Plan Checrouit, at the top of the main access cable car.
Plan Checrouit is effectively the main base of Courmayeurs ski area and is reached by a large brown-and-cream cable car from a station on the outskirts of the resort. In 2006 the new eight-seater Dolonne Gondola was completed, linking the hamlet of Dolonne (where the children's Fun Park is based) with Plan Checrouit. Located at 1,706m, Plan Checrouit is a collection of ski shops, bars and restaurants. It is also the starting point for two chairlifts and a gondola (cabins designed by coachworkers Pinninfarina, more famous for their work with Alfa Romeo), which take you up into the main ski area. This comprises 15 or so lifts, including three high-speed quad chair lifts that serve mainly intermediate cruising terrain. All of the 24 pistes are rated either red or blue, except for one, which is the black-rated, but not very difficult, Competizione down to Zerotta.
The front of the ski area benefits from the sunshine in the mornings, but in the afternoons skiers can move over into the Val Veny side and ski many of the runs through the trees to be found here. This is also the sector to exploit in the case of bad visibility. Snow conditions permitting there is a wonderfully scenic - if not especially challenging - run with tremendous views of Mont Blanc, along Val Veny to Entreves on the valley floor. From here a cable car brings you back up into the main ski area again or, alternatively, you can take a bus back to Courmayeur itself.
The main piste skiing in Courmayeur only goes up as high as 2,624m and most of it is below 2,256m, so this is not an area for those obsessed with getting a long vertical drop, or for those who want to ski very early or late in the season. On the other hand, Courmayeur does benefit from an extensive, modern snow-making system. A blue run down to the valley settlement of Dolonne from where buses run back to Courmayeur, gives people an alternative route back to the resort instead of taking the cable car back across the valley from Plan Checrouit.
The principal off-piste routes in the main ski area all begin up at Cresta d'Arp (2,755m). From here you can either go round via Arp Vielle down into Val Veny, taking in fantastic views of the Miage glacier; or you can ski down the Alpe d'Arpette route to Dolonne or Pre St Didier; or you can ski though the Youla gorge to the resort of La Thuile and take a bus or taxi back home.
Other off-piste possibilities include the 17km Vallee Blanche run down towards Chamonix, which has a less intimidating start if begun on the Italian rather than the French side and which can be attempted with advanced intermediates in the company of a local guide. More experienced skiers will enjoy taking the Mont Blanc cable cars from La Palud, just a few kilometres outside Courmayeur, up to the Punta Helbronner (3,470m) and then skiing down the Italian side on the spectacular Toula glacier. This is a 2,000m vertical off-piste descent, yet it is served by lifts. For the even more adventurous the Courmayeur region offers a variety of heli-ski descents.
For a bit of variety the resorts of Pila and La Thuile (which links with La Rosiere in France) are a short drive away, while Cervinia (linked to Zermatt in Switzerland) is some 90 minutes drive away.
One of the best selections to be found in the alps.
Courmayeur has about as many mountain restaurants and bars as it has pistes. Gastro-skiers tend to take an aperitivo in one, lunch in another and a digestivo in a third. This can be done with minimal or even no skiing around Plan Checrouit, where many of the restaurants are grouped. Chiecco is popular with locals and regular visitors. It serves splendid anti-pasti and home-made pasta. The Christiania includes both a formal restaurant and a more casual pizzeria equipped with an excellent wood-burning pizza oven.
Just between the summits of the Pra Neyron and Maison Vieille chairlifts is the Maison Vieille restaurant, otherwise known as Giacomo's. The patron is a real mountain man and is passionate about huskies, horses and snowmobiles. Indoors there is a wood-burning stove, but this place is at its best in sunny weather when the huge terrace is packed, an open air grill is fuming away and loud music is being pumped out of the speakers.
The restaurant at Courba Dzeleuna is still referred to by some as the Australian, because about 20 years ago it was actually run by some Australians. On a clear spring day here you have wonderful views of the south-facing Brenva glacier and you can often see (and hear) ice seracs breaking off the glacier and causing big avalanches down into Val Veny. Just below this restaurant is the exclusive members-only V.I.P. club, which is packed with any leading Italian politicians, industrialists and magistrates who are not currently in prison.
Down at the afternoon sun-trap of Zerotta in Val Veny, the better of the two restaurants is Le Petit Mont Blanc, alias Livio's, on the left as you ski down. This has wonderful views of the south wall of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille Noire.
A good selection both in the resort itself and in surrounding villages.
The best restaurant in town is Pierre Alexis, which has a magnificent collection of wines lining the walls of the establishment try one of the Barbarescos. Cadran Solaireis a high quality establishment much frequented by discerning Italian visitors. La Terraza and Mont Frety do the best pasta and pizzas and the Vieux Pommier is the place for fondues.
Out of town at Entreves, La Maison de Filippo is famous for its blow-out menus 30-odd courses for those who have the stamina. At Val Ferret Chalet Proment, alias Florianos, is in a wonderful remote position and has a great rustic ambience.
One of the better choices in the alps.
Since many Italians enjoy coming to the mountains but not actually skiing, Courmayeur is actually well geared to cater for non-skiers. The old village itself is very attractive and its streets are lined with pretty shops selling everything from wonderful fresh vegetables to designer clothes. The bars and cafes mostly remain fairly lively during the middle of the day and so the place feels far from deserted.
It is very easy for non-skiers to go up to Plan Checrouit to meet skiing friends and family for lunch at one of the restaurants there. After lunch the non-skiers can happily laze in the sunshine outside the restaurant until the end of the afternoon. Alternatively, there are some pleasant walks along the valley floor, not to mention excursions to Aosta (famous for its market) and the cable car ride up to Punta Helbronner. Day-trips to Chamonix, on the French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel, are an option.