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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Courchevel

Country: France

Domain: Three Valleys

Author: Kosciosco

Date: Feb 18 - 25 2006

Our holiday: This was our first time skiing.

Website : www.courchevel.com

Basics : Courchevel is the largest ski area within the 3 Valleys. There are four resorts - At the bottom lies 1300 (Le Praz), which is an old farming village with few amenities. Then comes 1550 which is quiet but more services available. Next is 1650, which is out on a limb a bit but is pretty much self contained and has a wider array of property. Finally there is 1850 which is where all the action happens and has the best access to the slopes.

Lift system : 63 lifts: 1 Cable car, 10 Gondolas, 16 chair lifts, 36 drag lifts.

The terrain : There are a wide variety of runs on piste, 124 in total - 31 green, 41 blue, 40 red, 12 Black covering an area of 150km, however there is easy access to Three Valleys which has 327 runs covering 600km of pisted runs.

The snow : Was good for us, although it didn't snow while we were there. 562 snow cannons help with conditions

Off-piste : I have not been off piste, so can't comment except to say that more experienced skiiers were going off piste and seemed to be having fun!

The resort : We stayed in 1850 which is a good resort. Don't believe the hype about it being the millionaires playground. True, if you want to pay a fortune for a pint there are plenty of places that will let you, but there are also plenty of places that are more reasonable. A good example is the jump bar right next to the ski school meeting point.

Food : The food is a real mix. There are a lot of expensive places and fewer cheap ones. We were staying in a catered chalet hotel, so it wasn't an issue for us. The bars all served food which was more reasonably priced and what we tried was good.

Costs: Ski pass was 192 Euro for 7 days covering Courchevel, but you can upgrade to a 3 Valleys pass which costs 240 Euro. You don't need a photo as they have an electronic swipe card system which makes the process of getting on and off lifts much easier. We went to the Supreme Ski school, who I can highly recommend and we had 12 hours of lessons - Sunday - Thursday (double lesson on Thursday) for £132. They also rent out skis (£75 - £90) and I heard good things but we rented through Freeride who were also very good and charge similar amounts.

Conclusion: We are already planning the return trip as I write this!

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