The Italian resort of Courmayeur is at the foot of the 4,808-metre-high Mont Blanc, which is the highest mountain in the Alps. It has a ski area encompassing over 40km of pisted slopes. There are green runs, wide cruisy blues as well as challenging black runs and off-piste. Here’s our guide of what to expect when skiing Courmayeur.
A traditional Aostan town, Courmayeur has an open-armed Italian hospitality. Restaurants and hotels are family-run and passed down through generations. Courmayeur skiing is fantastic with reliable snow coverage and often some of the best conditions in the western Alps. Mont Blanc’s peaks form a weather barrier, so in the depths of winter the resort has blue skies and good snow.
Neighbouring resorts in the Aosta Valley include Cervinia that is linked with Zermatt in Switzerland. As well as Pila and La Thuile, linked with La Rosière in France. These Italian ski resorts are all skiable with the Aosta Valley Skipass. There’s an optional add-on for Zermatt (La Rosière is included). Alternatively, those staying in Courmayeur can also take the short bus to Chamonix in France to ski for the day.
An hour and a half from Geneva, Courmayeur is easily accessible and makes a fantastic short break. The charming town has a glamourous flair. Walking along the pedestrianised Via Roma you’ll see boutiques, bars and restaurants alive with well-heeled Italians. There’s a real buzz about town at the weekend, and often there’ll be a longer queue at the bar than for the lifts! We recommend taking in the views of Mont Blanc from Hotel Le Massif’s sun terrace with a glass of fine Italian wine.
For some of the most spectacular views in the Alps, take the 360-degree rotating glass Skyway Monte Bianco cable car. On a clear day, you can see the mountain tops of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps. See how many you can name! At the top, you can taste Aostan wines at Cave Mont Blanc. Watch the sunset over the mountains that look like hundreds of ice cream cones or sit down with a book at the LaFeltrinelli library, which is the highest library in Europe at 3,466m.
Geneva is the nearest airport to Courmayeur with an hour and 30-minute transfer through the Mont Blanc tunnel. The tunnel connects Chamonix and Courmayeur, making it easy to ski in both resorts either side of Mont Blanc. You can also fly into Turin, followed by a train to Aosta and a bus onwards to Courmayeur, or a direct taxi ride.
With 11 blue runs, 17 reds, five blacks and some epic off-piste, intermediates can improve and develop their style, while advanced skiers can find slopes to test themselves on. The main cable car from the centre takes you to Courmayeur’s main ski area, Plan Chécrouit. These cruisy blue runs are east facing, so are best skied in the morning sun. The Val Veny slopes catch the sunshine in the afternoon. Runs are a mix of open and wooded slopes with Mont Blanc views. Val Veny is also where the magic carpet is, which is best suited to beginners.
The highest pistes reach 2,755m where the snow cover tends to be the best, and reds and blacks weave around the mountain. Tackle the epic off-piste from the Cresta d’Arp, which gives you access to steep tree runs. The famed Vallée Blanche can be accessed from both Courmayeur and Chamonix and has a 2,700m vertical with stunning views. Alternatively, the Aretu area’s snow park has a collection of jumps and features for freestylers.
Heli-skiing in Courmayeur gives you access to further terrain and untouched powder. The bird’s-eye view of Mont Blanc from the helicopter is worth the ride alone. With a local guide, you can search for the perfect line and descend safely. The Heli-Guides team can take you to their favourite spots and have beginner courses for those who are new to heli-skiing.
It’s rare there are crowds in Courmayeur, so you’ll often have the slopes to yourself. Between the tree lines, wide blue runs and off-piste, snowboarders can also find snow parks with jumps and features. Powder boarders can follow some of the lines from the Swatch Freeride World Tour down the Mont Blanc Massif. Off the side of the blue runs, boarders will find nooks, crannies and chutes to jib and descend.
The highest lift reaches 2,755m where the snow tends to be the best. Tackle the epic off-piste from the Cresta d’Arp, accessing steep tree runs. The famed Vallée Blanche is accessible from Courmayeur and Chamonix, and has an epic 2,700m vertical with stunning views. Alternatively, the Aretu area’s snow park has a collection of jumps and features for freestylers.
For the chic Italians that visit at the weekend, the early evening passeggiata is as important as the skiing in Courmayeur. Essentially, après-ski in Courmayeur is about seeing and being seen before heading to a stylish bar or restaurant. The streets have a real buzz as everyone walks leisurely around the town, stopping to chat, perusing the boutique shops and having aperitivo – complimentary bar snacks with your drinks.
You may recognise the classic orange cocktails of an Aperol Spritz or Negroni in everyone’s hand. If you prefer something less sweet, choose a dry Aostan white wine. Our favourite après bars for an evening drink are Caffè Della Posta and Cafè Roma that are always the life and soul of the party.
Renowned for its fantastic restaurants, you won’t go hungry on a ski holiday in Courmayeur with plenty of options on and off the mountain. From pizzas the size of tractor wheels to gourmet Italian dishes, find out our experts’ recommendations for the best restaurants in Courmayeur here.
Courmayeur has reliable snow cover throughout the season, with most of the pistes sheltered under Mont Blanc. Head up to the highest lift – Cresta d’Arp at 2,755m – for the best conditions. While on a day with less visibility, the tree-lined runs around Checrouit are your best bet. View Courmayeur’s snow conditions here.
Find out why you should ski in these Aosta Valley ski resorts here.
Read Arnie Wilson’s article about skiing in Courmayeur here.