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Courchevel Ski Resort Information
There is a wide choice of activities in Courchevel besides skiing and snowboarding. Staying outdoors; snowshoeing, quad biking, skijoring (being towed behind a horse while wearing skis), ice karting, toboggan runs, snow rafting or a leisurely sleigh ride are available to those with expendable energy.
For those with a head for heights, paraglide or hang-glide above the resort or take a helicopter, balloon or scenic plane flight (with the option of learning to fly the plane yourself).
More unusual opportunities include a cultural tour of Courchevel; cookery courses with Michelin-starred chef Michel Rochedy; or language lessons in a resort where some 60 different nationalities are normally present.
Indoors, Le Forum at Courchevel proper has an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, 13m-high (45ft) climbing wall, games room and a bowling alley. Spa facilities are available at multiple locations.
From 18 months upwards, children can be cared for by the École de Ski Français (ESF) (tel: 04 7908 0772; www.esfcourchevel.com) at its nurseries at Courchevel and Courchevel Moriand. Here, children can discover the joys of playing in the snow and, for the most adventurous, the first thrills of skiing. A full list of nurseries and childminders is available from the tourist office. The resort has also initiated a world first on the slopes, with a clever system involving magnets helping keep kids safe on chairlifts.
When the lifts close, toboggan runs are set up in front of the villages; the longest is 2.3 km (1.8 miles) running down from Courchevel’s slopes. After 10 minutes of descent through the forest, tight bends and many thrills and potential spills, participants reach the main village, from where they can take a fast gondola back up.
The Forum sports centre has a rope swing and ‘mini-guides' course for children. There's also a specially designed bowling alley for children aged five and over. The cinemas show family films in school-holiday periods.
With more than 150 shops in Courchevel as a whole, the resort is a shopper’s paradise. The majority of stores are concentrated in the main Courchevel resort and as you would expect, given its upmarket reputation, these include the kind of designer fashion, jewellery, lingerie and perfumery boutiques you would find in the most exclusive districts of Paris, London or New York.
Among these are Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton (beside the Hotel Cheval Blanc), Hermès and Valentino (place du Tremplin), Quiksilver (Le Forum), and jewellers Julian Joailliers (Espace Diamant). There are, of course plenty, of ordinary shops too, ranging from to souvenir shops to bakeries.
Courchevel's Animation Services (tel: 04 7922 0107; www.animationservices.net) can organise amazing treats and feats limited only by your imagination and budget. Its ‘Declaration of Love' concept involves a series of 20 increasingly wonderful surprises, many set against spectacular mountain scenery, with the aim of leaving the woman or man in your life lost for words.