The editor defends Courchevel (no really)

posted: 2013-12-04
The editor defends Courchevel (no really) - Courchevel Enquirer
I really do.
After spending 15 years writing silly anacdotes, or as most people will say “shit”, about Courchevel and its workers I read a very short article in the incredibly badly printed Good Ski Guide title “Courchevel not so belle” and had to retort.

Not only should the title have read “Austrian tourism has a go at the French”. In the space of two paragraphs he makes three incredibly vague sweeping statements, which are mostly inaccurate. So I felt, as a Courchevel resident it was my duty to reply.

The three main points

  1. Too many old slower ski lifts.
  2. Mediocre grooming of the pistes.
  3. Sky high prices.

  1. A comment like this coming from Austria, where the t-bar drag lift is thought to be high tech, is just plainly incorrect. Courchevel and the Three Valleys spends the equivalent of Chile’s gross domestic product every year replacing at least some of the lifts every year and in the past decade the time taken to get from the resort to the summit has reduced by half.
  2. It’s obvious that Mr Tirol, if he ever went skiing in Courchevel, never skied before 11am. If he had he would see some of the best corduroy pistes in the world. If he stuck around until the evenings he would see a fleet of piste bashers, flattening the shit out of the mountain, readying it for the ski schools the following morning.
  3. First of all let us compare lift prices. A week in the 3 Valleys will set you back 277euros compared to the Arlberg’s 235euros. A grand total of 7 euros a day more expensive to ski a vast terrain. 600km of piste in the 3 valleys compared to 260km in the Arlberg. No need to remortgage the house then. If you want to nitpick further, after a variety of discounts are added for multiple people the price in France drops even further.
    Perusing the list of accommodation in Courchevel you will notice that there are more 5* luxury hotel per sq metre than anywhere else in France, apart from maybe Paris. But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to stay in one. There are plenty of cheaper hotels, English run chalets and chalet hotels, not to mention self-catering apartments that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
    When it comes to eating I have to admit that there are some restaurants in Courchevel, which are expensive, generally these also accompanied by a star or 2 from a certain famous French tyre guide. I’m sure there are many fine restaurants in St Anton where you need a credit check before you can be seated.
    On the other end of the pay scale, unsurprisingly there are also some great reasonably priced places where you can even preorder that triple heart bypass with your Tartiflette/Racoulette/Fondue meal as I’m sure there are many Austrians eateries where you can devour a reasonably priced Spanfeklhaxen (slow roasted pork knuckle) with an artery hardening side of Tiroler Grostl (an Austrian Tartiflette) .

To further show the flaws in the article heir Geschaftfuhrer Josef complained that his long and arduous trip to the Sun Valley, USA (unsurprisingly twinned with Courchevel) was ruined by rain. I mean any ski resort that can’t control its weather obviously isn’t worth visiting. Apart from those lovable Canadians who were able to provide waist deep powder.

I guess the point of this story is, if you want recommend your own ski area don’t do it by slagging off other ski areas. Every ski resort’s head of tourism will say that their resort is the best, for whatever reason. If you have to lower yourself to criticize others you must be suffering from a special sort of snow blindness or just blinkered, biased devotion to your own job.