Hi, Its Gareth from PDS 3 Valleys,
As I explained in the Beginners Guide to Courchevel, Courchevel is a world class resort. For me as an instructor what makes it the dream place to teach, is the fact that it has amazing choices of terrain for all levels of skiers, which are all linked up. This makes it a fantastic destination for groups or skiers and snowboarders of mixed abilities.
The Different areas of Courchevel
Courchevel is split into 4 different areas:
- Courchevel 1850
- Coruchevel 1650 (AKA Courchevel Moriond)
- Courchevel 1550 (AKA Courchevel Village)
- Le Praz (AKA Courchevel 1300)
We will cover La Tania on another series of posts…..
This post is the first part of a series of posts to help late beginners – early intermediate skiers (skiers that at a minimum can already do basic snow plough turns, to those that can finish turns with parallel skis).
Or even simpler, for skiers that are interested in nice easy green and easy blue slopes. Remember this is only a guide, don’t be frightened to pick up a piste map and explore the mountain yourself, or book a lesson with us early into your holiday and we will show you some great areas to ski.
If you are unsure on your level of skiing check out our level guide here.
An important bit of information to learn at this stage is the piste grading system used in France. This is a system that is similar all over Europe.
- Green – Easiest run
- Blue – Second easiest
- Red – Second hardest
- Black – Hardest run
With these classifications, it is always worth remembering that just because two runs are graded the same, it doesn’t always mean that they are identical in their level of difficulty. You can have greeny-blue runs and bluey-red runs, its not always an exact science!
In these series of posts we will explore the following:
- The best beginner slopes to warm up on for basic snow-ploughers
- The best runs to take from beginner slopes
- The best practise areas for late beginners – early intermediate skiers
- Recommended Green and Blue runs around the mountain
- The best runs back into the centre of 1850 and 1650 for late beginners – early intermediate skiers
- Easy day trips from 1850 – 1650, and visa versa!
This post will focus on the best slopes to warm up on for basic snow-ploughers and the best runs to take directly off from these areas. This is an important read for your days 1-2 of your trip if you are at a late beginner stage.
The best beginner slopes in Courchevel to warm up on, for basic snow-ploughers
For a more in-depth review of the beginner areas read my beginners guide to Courchevel. In summary, the two best areas are Courchevel 1850’s learner slope, which is near Station G3 on Jardin Alpine Bubble lift, and Courchevel 1650’s Wester Ski Park, which is at the top of the Ariondaz Bubble lift.
Both of these areas are fantastic learner slopes and ideal for those that can Snowplough turn, but need a bit of a warm up on a safe easy slope, before heading off on to the mountain. This would be an ideal way to start your first day if you are a little rusty, even if it’s just for one run.
Both 1850 and 1650 have green pistes running off from them, for once you feel ready to go adventuring.
The best runs to take once you are ready to move off the beginner slopes
The easiest runs to take from the learner slope in 1850 is the green run called Jarden alpine, this is a very gentle path that goes into the forest. My advice would be to take this run down to the drag lift called Etoiles, which you will be able to see the top off from the 1850 learner slope. This is a slow drag lift, which is great to practice on, especially if you are new to these kinds of lifts.
The Jarden Alpine green run continues down all the way back to the centre of 1850. It is a narrow-ish path and does get a bit steeper further down, but it is mostly a very gentle gradient, and if you have your snowplough turns mastered it will be easy.
Another option is the bottom half of the green run called Verdon, it is the run that goes back largely under the lift with the same name. When I teach I prefer to take my skiers on this run when we are leaving the 1850 learner slope, as it has a wider piste. It has one section that tends to bottle neck a little and goes a little steeper, so maybe go with a more experienced skier if it’s your first time, or even better go with us!
Other than the bottle neck it is a really easy and enjoyable ski, which takes you all the way back into the centre of 1850. This run goes past a couple of other main chair lifts, mountain restaurants (be sure to check out our mountain restaurant guide when it goes up) and even a on the piste Moncler shop, so you feel like you are out there away from the learner slope, skiing the mountain.
Take a look at the piste map below, I have focused on the 1850 bgeinner area and surrounding slopes.
1650 does not have as many choices of runs for snow-ploughers from its learner slope (wester ski park) as 1850. However, the main run of Petit Boss is generally quieter and a great place to practise.
To get to the main part of the run you follow a very gentle green path from the wester ski park all the way into the forest (see green arrow on map). There you well see the top of the Petit Boss drag lift. When I am in 1650 I use this drag lift a lot to help build confidence and develop my learners skills. This is where the main run of Petit Boss is, and it has a great verity of easy terrain. The drag lift itself is a great one to learn on, and always has very friendly lift attendance on to help you.
Take a look at the piste map below, I have focused on the 1650 bgeinner area (wester ski park) and surrounding slopes.
In our next post we will give details and tips on the best runs in Courchevel 1850 and 1650, to practise on for late beginners – early intermediate skiers.