Skiing in Courmayeur

Skiing in Courmayeur


The slopes at Courmayeur are divided into two sections, Checruit, which is sunny in the mornings and accessed via the Checruit gondola, and Val Veny, which can be accessed by chairlift and catches  the afternoon rays. Runs in both sections are almost all intermediate, having little to offer the advanced or expert skier. The infrequent 25-person Youla cable car gives access to all the resort’s runs and another tiny cable car serves off-piste long runs from Cresta d’Darp down into the valley. In general, the tree-lined runs at Val Veny are more varied and interesting, giving the best possible Mont Blanc views, including its glaciers.

Val Veny is also approached by cable car from Entreves, a few kilometres from Courmayeur, and several alternative runs link Val Vemy with Checruit. On the shoulder of Mont Blanc is lofty Punta Helbronner, which can be reached via a cable car in three stages from La Palud. Apart from the lack of pistes, the view is amazing and the famous Vallee Blanche run down to Chamonix is accessible from this point and leaves out the scary ridge walk on the Chamonix side. Advanced skiers can tackle the more challenging off-piste glacier runs, but a guide is mandatory for reasons of safety.

For expert skiers, the only serious challenges here are the off-piste runs, as the so-called black runs on Val Veny are hardly severe, with few moguls forming. However, on fresh powder, there’s lots of fun amongst the trees. For classic off-piste skiing, three runs from Cresta d’Arp take diverse routes – clockwise to Val Veny looping around Arp Vielle; to the east through a deserted valley to Pre St Didier or Dolonne and south to La Balme through the Youla gorge. All these end points call for a bus ride back to the resort. One off-piste run on Mont Blanc is challenging enough to be rightly considered dangerous – the Toula glacier route to Pavillion from Punta Helbronner.

For beginners, Courmayeur is definitely not the best place to learn. None of the nursery slopes are ideal due to crowds and a lack of easy runs once novices can stay on their skis for more than a few metres. Snowboarders at most levels, however, can play and frolic to their hearts’ content on most pistes, with loads of lumps and bumps at the sides. Cross-country skiers also get the best of the splendid views, with 35kms of trails at Val Ferret and Dolonne, both accessible by bus.