When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, Courmayeur ranks among the most important resorts in Italy and the most famous in Europe.
The wonderful scenery, with the majestic presence of Mont Blanc, and the excellent snow conditions certainly help. But the determining factor for success is the richness and variety of the offer, which is based on the Courmayeur Mont Blanc area, on the opportunities offered by the Skyway and on a complete system of services for the skier.
The Courmayeur Mont Blanc Checrouit-Val Veny ski area
The ski area develops on the two sides of the ridge that separates Courmayeur from Val Veny. It concerns the slopes that descend towards Plan Checrouit and those on the right side of Val Veny.
It is a very large system, which includes almost 30 ski slopes, for a total of about 100 km. Beautiful, well-groomed slopes, favored by good natural snow and, if necessary, by an efficient artificial snow system. There are all the difficulties, blue, red, black. Ideal for both expert skiers and beginners even if, it must be said, they are never simple. Among them, the “Gigante”, the “Aretu”, the “Gabba” and the hidden “Joula” stand out for their beauty. The black slopes are also beautiful, among which the “dell’Orso” slope deserves to be mentioned, unique in the whole of the Aosta Valley for the fact that it is left ungroomed and bumpy for the pleasure of those who love a very technical descent. From Testa d’Arp (2755 m), the highest point, one of the most important “freeride” itineraries in the area descends.
The ski area is served by 18 ski lifts: 6 cable cars, 8 chair lifts, 4 ski lifts.
There are three starting points from the valley floor, each with ticket offices and parking lots. Courmayeur itself, where the large cable car to Plan Checrouit (1704 m) departs, which in turn is the starting point for various lifts. Dolonne, where the new cable car also departs for Plan Checrouit. Entrèves, where the cable car to Pre de Pascal (1912 m) departs, which allows you to reach the Val Veny lifts.
Completing the picture are the numerous refreshment points, scattered throughout the network. But, above all, the unmissable glimpse of the Mont Blanc massif, which extends up to the Grandes Jorasses. A wonder that alone justifies the expense for the ski pass.
Among the many attractions we should also mention the “Snowpark” for the practice of “freestyle”, with a gigantic Big Air Bag, the largest mattress in Europe to try ski jumps without getting hurt. And also free WiFi throughout the area, for updated information in real time.
The Skyway and skiing in the ice of Mont Blanc
The Skyway (Mont Blanc cable car) is one of the great attractions of Courmayeur and the whole of the Aosta Valley.
The lift climbs to the intermediate station of the Pavillon du Mont Fréty (2173 m) and continues up to 3462 m of altitude of Punta Helbronner, the starting point for wonderful “freeride” ski itineraries among the glaciers of Mont Blanc. If desired, through an internal tunnel with goods lift, it is possible to go down to the Torino Refuge (3374 m).
The start is in Pontal, a hamlet of Entreves, a short distance from the entrance to the tunnel and the cable car that leads to Pre de Pascal. Here, you will find a large car park, equipment rentals and refreshment points.
The most famous and desired destination is the descent in fresh snow of the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace to the Montenvers railway station, above Chamonix.
Other ski areas nearby
Among those who stay for many days in the same ski resort the desire to try different places is normal. For them Courmayeur can offer a wide choice, both in the Aosta Valley and in France.
For example, La Thuile is only 25 km away. Thanks to the connections with the Piccolo San Bernando Pass and with La Rosière, in France, its area has almost 150 km of slopes of all levels of difficulty, including the famous black return slopes, which are very long and difficult.
An alternative a little further away is Pila, which can be reached from Aosta by leaving the car in the parking lot and climbing comfortably on the fast cable car. There are numerous slopes and lifts, which lead up to 2500 m of altitude.
Going through the Mont Blanc tunnel, you arrive in French territory, where you can try the districts of Chamonix, Les Huches and Argentière. The latter is particularly known for the ascent to Les Grandes Montets (3275 m), from which you can set off for a 2000-meter dive!
The territory of Courmayeur is ideal for “freeride”. As already mentioned, there are four main itineraries.
First of all, the descent from Testa d’Arp (2755 m), the highest point of the Checrouit-Val Veny system of lifts. It is a long itinerary, but not very demanding, except for the beginning.
There are three routes departing from Punta Helbronner. The first is the descent of the Toula glacier to the Pavillon. The itinerary takes place in Italian territory and includes the descent along the splendid and challenging slopes on the side of the serac. A ride between the spiers of the southern side of Mont Blanc, which, if the snow allows it, can also continue up to La Palud.
The second is the mythical crossing from Punta Helbronner to Chamonix, along the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace. It is a very long descent, but not particularly difficult, which generally ends at the Montenvers head station, where the little train leaves for Chamonix. A great classic, face to face with the Dent du Geant, the Grand Capucin, the Grandes Jorasses, the Aiguilles de Chamonix and the Aiguille Verte.
The third is the descent of the Marbrée, along a gully that descends from Aiguille de Marbrée towards Entréves. It is a steep and difficult descent, recommended for expert skiers.
Ski and snowboard school and equipment rental
In Courmayeur the ski services are undoubtedly at the height of the slopes and lifts.
There are 2 ski schools: the Scuola di Sci Courmayeur and the Scuola di Sci Monte Bianco. The first is based in via Roma 48, the second on regional road 51. Group lessons take place mainly in the morning, on the slopes of the Checrouit-Val Veny district. While individual lessons are held in the afternoon. Appointments with instructors generally take place at Plan Checrouit and Pre de Pascal.
Numerous ski rentals are located both in Courmayeur and near the start of the lifts. You can find: skis, skiboards, boots, helmets, skis for technical disciplines (such as curving). Here you can also take care of the maintenance of your tools (foils and insoles). Rental points can also be found at the arrival stations in Plan Checrouit and Pre de Pascal, where, among other things, it is also possible to leave your skis and boots in custody.
For downhill skiing, Hotel Aigle is strategically located. In a few minutes you can reach the departure of the Val Veny cable car, which leads to Pre de Pascal and allows you to ski throughout the large Checrouit-Val Veny ski area, with its 100 km of well-snow-covered slopes.
For freeride lovers, the Hotel is also located a short distance from the departure of the Skyway, which allows you to reach Punta Helbronner and all the most famous routes in fresh snow.
And for those who, after a few days on the Courmayeur slopes, wish to change, Hotel Aigle is very convenient to reach both La Thuile with the state road and Chamonix with the Mont Blanc tunnel.
In addition, the hotel staff will go out of their way to provide advice and support for any kind of need. For example: information on the timetables of the lifts, the rental of equipment, the booking of ski lessons, the purchase of ski passes, search for guides for freeride descents, heliski service, information on other ski areas, etc.
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