With well groomed runs, consistently good snow and a huge ski areas, Europe is home to some of the worl'd very best ski areas. Continuing our series on European ski areas, here is our spotlight on Italian ski resort Courmayeur...
Located in the Aosta valley, the picturesque spa town of Courmayeur sits at the foot of Mont-Blanc. Courmayeur's old town is populated with quaint slate-roof buildings that line it's traffic-free cobbled streets; while it's central 'Via Roma' is home to plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. A popular ski area amongst Italian skiers, Courmayeur is close to Chamonix, and is roughly 100km from Geneva Airport.
The ski area itself, though not so relatively large or high, does offers scenic views and very good snow cover, due to it's north / north-west facing slope. Courmayeur's skiing is probably best suited to proficient skiers, and those who like to venture off-piste.
In addition to the skiing in Courmayeur itself, the appropriate ski lift pass will allow visitors to ski in the other Aosta Valley ski resorts of Alagna Valsesia, Breuil-Cervinia, Crévacol, Etroubles, Pila and Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses. Courmayeur being part of the Aosta Valley ski area provides access to 352km of downhill skiing, with 180 individual pistes, served by 62 ski lifts.
The main ski area, reached by cable car from the town centre or from Entrèves, has only c. 40km of groomed pistes. Until a recently it claimed 100km, but European lift company transparency saw the resort downgrade its total; with the extra 64 runs beingre re-classified as off-piste. Courmayeur does offer skiing for all levels (Beginner 39%, Intermediate 48%, Advanced 13%), and many of it's runs are covered by snowmaking facilities, in addition to the region's excellent snow record.
Courmayeur's proximity to both Geneva and Turin airports makes it a popular destination for weekend visitors from the UK and other countries, while many Milanese and other city-based Italians arrive on Friday afternoons in the height of the season.