If skiing in Italy wasn’t quite enough to convince you to put Courmayeur on your bucket list, here are some more reasons to visit this incredible mountain village and ski resort that sit beneath Europe’s highest mountain.
It’s more affordable
Fights to Italy are currently quite cheap. A roundtrip flight from New York to Milan (3/3/19-3/9/19) costs a little more than $500. If you’re flying to Denver around the same time, you’re going to pay nearly $300, and if you want to fly into a regional mountain airport, you’ll likely be paying well over $600. Among the more popular Europe ski regions, Italy tends to be more affordable on average in terms of lodging, food and transportation.
Courmayeur, where the wine flows like wine. | Photo: Hotel Le Massif Courmayeur
If you like to après with a nice glass of Italian wine, then Courmayeur will be your heaven. While Courmayeur itself is too high in elevation to grow grapes, there are plenty of local vineyards nearby. Most notably is Pavese Ermes winery the village of Morgex, which produces the highest white wine in Europe. If you like red varietals, the villages of Arvier, St. Pierre and Aymavilles are a bit further down the valley and many of the vineyards offer tours and tastings. You’ll want to rent a car or arrange a shuttle. Specifically some renowned vineyards in the area include Maison Anselmet (a tour requires advanced reservation), Les Cretes and La Crotta di Vignerons—don’t miss their dessert wine.
If you don’t feel like traveling far from the resort, you can find many of these winemakers in the local wine shops (Enoteca Goio and Les Gourmandises) and featured at Courmayeur’s outstanding restaurants, lounges and bars. For a top rated and reviewed wine bar experience, be sure to check out L’Armadillo Vino.
If you want to sip your wine on the mountain, don’t miss a local vintage at Super G (Plan Checrouit ). Go earlier in the day to avoid the rowdy apres-ski crowd.
Food, of course.
The Italian and Alpine cuisine are reasons enough to visit Courmayeur. | Photo: Courmayeur-Mont Blanc
It’s Italy after all and everything is delicious, fresh and local, but you want to experience the crème de la crème. First off, the best pizza in the Italian Alps can be enjoyed in Courmayeur. The star of the Courmayeur pizza scene is easily the popular Pizzeria du Tunnel. The pizza pies are American-sized, but authentically Italian. Just be ready for a wait to sit down.
While pasta is certainly present in Courmayeur, the cuisine is also heavily influenced by traditional Savoyard or “haute” flavors and ingredients. This means a lot of cured meats, cheeses, aka fondue, and stews. La Sapinière Brasserie in Hotel Gran Baita is an excellent choice for a nice array of Alpine and traditional Italian plates and it’s housed in an uber charming, chalet-inspired space, which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into a fairy tale. For fine dining and Alpine-Italian hospitality head to Aubergine in Auberge De La Maison.
Skiing beneath Mont Blanc for all levels
At Courmayeur-Mont Blanc there are slopes for absolutely every level of skier, from beginner to expert—and they all offer center stage views of Europe’s towering gem: Mont Blanc! Experts looking for a challenge will likely prefer Courmayeur’s off-piste offerings. The best off-piste routes are found off the top of the resort’s chairlift network and can be explored in a clockwise loop from Arp Vieille to Val Veny, or skiers can head east from the summit to Dolonne or Pre-St. Didier, or south to the Youla gorge. An experienced backcountry guide is highly recommended for optimal safety and enjoyment.
Intermediates will find plenty of wide-open red and blue runs to keep them occupied, especially in the Col Checrouit area. First-time skiers have a magic carpet and learning zone at the top of the Entreves tram. Cable cars, gondolas, chair lifts and poma lifts offer remarkable efficient connections to every part of the mountain.
Super G at Plan Checrouit.
The main lift from town up to Plan Chécrouit operates until midnight making for a lively—and late—on-mountain après scene at Super G. When the cable car stops running, the pedestrian village, specifically Via Roma, really comes alive. Late-night revelers will want to spend a bit of time at Cafe Roma, Courmayeur’s most popular nightlife spot. For a more relaxed evening, head to Cafe della Posta, and enjoy a fireside libation.
Uber charming village
The historic cobblestone warrens will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. | Photo: Courmayeur-Mont Blan
This incredibly idyllic hamlet is situated in Northern Italy in the Aosta Valley on the southern, sunny side of Mont Blanc. Parts of the village date back as far as the 13th century, when it was founded by monks. Much of the Old World architecture and cobblestone streets and pathways have been preserved, which only adds to the charm. By the 18th century, the town was put on the map as a wellness destination for the elite due to it’s thermal waters. The 19th century brought a wave of Alpinism to Courmayeur as summiting Mont Blanc become a realized endeavor and the Societa Della Guides di Courmayeur was established. The society was the first in Italy and the second in the world and the original 19th century building still stands.
Stacked events calendar
Foodies will want to book their ski trip around Taste of Courmayeur. | Photo: Courmayeur-Mont Blanc
Between seasonal festivals, sporting and gourmet competitions, parades and other events, Courmayeur almost always has some interesting event going on. In December, the village welcomes winter and the Christmas season with nearly of month of celebrations. After the New Year, Taste of Courmayeur brings the Aosta Valley’s and some of Italy’s best chefs to the village to compete for best dish awards.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.