Our guide to Courchevel
It’s that time of year for Saltee to turn our holiday planning to mountains, alpine sunshine and piste-side restaurants. Like us, you may already have the main ski week booked but squeezing that lux Alpine weekend into the spring calendar is just as tempting.
It’s hard to look beyond Courchevel. We’re not winning any prizes for originality but the perfect Alpine weekend is shaped by maxing out on the best combination of Saltee slopes, bars and restaurants.
You probably know the headlines but with resorts at 1550, 1650 and 1850 to explore, it’s a vast place, and it can be hard to know where to begin.
Pre-trip: pre-book the ski hire online as you don’t want to spend an hour queuing on your first morning when you could be hitting the slopes. It’s worth that 5 minutes of online form filling (don’t lie about your weight).
Treat yourself to a new piece of kit before every mountain adventure. Saltee always does. And for season 2020 we are ordering some goggles (and maybe sunnies too) from www.sungod.com – chic indeed.
Ah yes. The Saltee. Order in the best mountain suncare for hitting the slopes. Saltee SPF 50 Sea & Sun Formula (https://www.saltee.co.uk/product/sea-sun-formula/) is your skiing friend – light to apply but the protection you need in the Alps from both UVA & UVB rays. And the pack is small enough (at 50ml) to pop in your jacket pocket and reapply at lunchtime.
Exploring the pistes: spend your first day getting to know the ropes and the slopes. Start your day by getting yourself down to the bottom of the Ariondaz bubble lift in Courchevel 1650. The chairlift opens at 9:00, and at this time of day it will be quiet and you’ll probably be alone on the vast expanse of the blue Marquis piste.
Once your legs have warmed up, head over towards the wide bowl of Courchevel 1850. Make sure you ski Jean Pachod – a beautiful, panoramic red run from the top of the Chanrossa chair.
If there’s fresh snow overnight Saltee loves the tree-lined slopes near Le Praz from Courchevel 1850. And if you are blessed with blue skies and good visibility, ski the higher, steeper slopes of the bowl under the Aiguille du Fruit chairlift.
Lunch: we try to squeeze lunch at the restaurant Caves des Creux for one of the best mountain tables in Courchevel, a former cheese ripening cellar, for a superb view of Mont Blanc. Grab a table and go for the ribs cooked Asian style.
With a roaring log fire and cosy bar area, La Soucoupe, at the top of the Plantrey chair in Courchevel 1850, is another Saltee endorsed lunch stop. Local hero and former Freeride World Champion Manu Gaidet lunches here and that’s good enough for us.
Apres: with a fair few kilometres under your belt, by now it will be time to pop into the Fire & Ice Bar at the Portetta Hotel in Courchevel Moriond for some hard-earned après drinks.
Even better is Le Ski Lodge. A cool bar with a heated terrace just off the piste in La Tania. Good cocktails and the right vibe for a drink when you’re still in your ski boots.
Dinner: food standards reach lofty heights in Courchevel. The resort is swimming in restaurants with Michelin stars (we reckon 7 of them).
With two Michelin stars, Le Chabichou in 1850 is the place to go for a real gourmet treat if money is no object. It was the first gastronomic restaurant in an area so rich in Michelin-starred restaurants
A Saltee dinner venue we like is Chabotté, which is the sister restaurant of the next-door Chabichou, which has two Michelin stars. The “Bistronomique” Chabotté is much cheaper, offering great food at very reasonable prices.
Party: One night you should definitely head to Le Trempli for a drink and people watching. A sophisticated wine list beats most mountain locations.
And the place to head into the early hours is Les Caves. By the lift station in 1850, you can’t miss the big pink door that takes you to guest DJs playing a variety of sets that gives a feel more Ibiza and less Alpine apres ski. A must on every Saltee weekender.