Keen to get the most out of a flying visit to the alps this month? Courmayeur’s cobbled streets and picturesque mountain village make it a popular destination for couples with only a few days to spare.
As Courmayeur becomes an increasingly popular destination for British skiers, we decided to catch up with the team at Ongosa to find out why.
“At the foot of the giant of the Alps (Mont Blanc!), you will find an incredible mix of tradition, history, fun, skiing, good food and relaxation… What more could you want?” Giovanna, Ongosa ski guide.
All this in the magnificent area of Courmayeur, which you can reach directly from the village by the beautiful Courmayeur cable car up to Plan Chécrouit – the usual meeting point for ski lessons. From here, we recommend a short walk up to the Chécrouit gondola to reach Col Chécrouit where you’ll enjoy the spectacular views of the Aosta Valley.
Take the red Chécrouit run back down under the gondola to Plan Chécrouit which is wide, meaning you’ll warm up the legs and get some first run speed and a few turns to enjoy. From here you have two options – either lap the Chécrouit gondola a few times, or you could take the Maison Veille chairlift to ski the Stadio Slalom run and then explore the snowpark, where depending how confident you’re feeling, you can decide on which jumps to make.
Looking to push your limits even further? Hiring a mountain guide who can introduce you to the wonderful off-piste routes in the ski area or can accompany you on one of the most popular and famous descents of the Alps, ‘The Toula glacier’ for some spring snow conditions is worth every penny.
“Another wonderful experience that you can try, accompanied by a guide, is the descent of the Vallee Blanche. We start from Pointe Helbronner, which you can get to by the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car and cover 20km of high mountain off-piste terrain with the most spectacular scenery up to Chamonix. Then you can get on a shuttle bus and return to Courmayeur via the Mont Blanc Tunnel.” – Givonna.
One of the best things about Courmayeur is that even in bad weather conditions, you can make the most of the incredible locally-sourced Italian food and wine both on and off the slopes. The locally sourced food is actually that incredible, that multi-starred English chef Heston Blumenthal comes back every year for the local cuisine.
A couple’s favourite is Refugio Christiania, where you can enjoy a low cost, high-quality pizza or calzone oozing with local cheese. Reserve yourself a table or get there early, as it’s a local favourite that gets busy at lunch. You can get here by the Dolonne cable car.
Many locals organise romantic evenings with locally-sourced food. Go to Maison Vieille for traditional food on the mountainside to experience doting, cheerful Italian service. There’s a snowmobile that collects you from the Plan Chécrouit gondola and takes you there, making it an immersive experience – expect dancing on the tables as the night continues!
For a more relaxed evening, you can feel at home at Caffe Della Posta, by the fireplace after a long day’s skiing.
“Another wonderful experience not to be missed, is a visit to the QC Terme Pré Saint Didier (pictured below) throughout Italy for their beauty and wonderful location, they will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries after a day of skiing.” – Giovanna.
Looking for an off-piste guide in Courmayeur? Get in touch with Ongosa to find out more.
Top image couple skiing in Courmayeur, courtesy of Tim Hughes