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Peak Transfer | Courmayeur – Best Ski Resort for Off-piste Skiing
20th September 2015

Courmayeur – Best Ski Resort for Off-piste Skiing

The ski resort of Courmayeur is a picturesque village situated on the Italian side of Europe’s tallest mountain Mont Blanc, or as they would say, “Monte Bianco”. It is authentically Italian in every way from is strong Italian coffee, quirky labyrinths of cobbled lanes, to of course its love of excellent hearty food in every restaurant and cafe. But what only a select few know is the enormous off-piste, Freeride and Ski-touring potential on offer at just a mere stones throw away. In my experience both as a transfer driver and as a snow sports enthusiast as soon as you pop out of the Mont Blanc Tunnel from France to the Aosta Valley of Italy, Courmayeur appears to always snow that little bit more and the sun definitely shines brighter!

The best Freeride Descents in Courmayeur

When conditions are good there is no better terrain to Freeride in the Alps. Courmayuer can offer something for everyone from the more gentle picturesque 30º dedicated off-piste slopes close to the lifts to the more adventurous backcountry adrenaline pumping gradients of 40 to 45º in the ‘Grand Envers du Plan’. Here are some of our favourites for you to try;
Courmayeur Ski Resort Map and Off Piste Skiing with Peak Transfer

Arp Vieille – Vesse couloir

Easily accessed via the Cresta Youla lift towards the top of the Courmayeur Ski area, the Arp Vielle allows you to descend from 2,624m all the way to the Zerotta chairlift at 1,510m. After a short, narrow traverese you find yourself in a wide bowl. Whilst defending over 1,000m vertical you get to take in the spectacular views of the Val Veny and Glacier du Miage further afield. The further you descend the terrain starts to narrow into a ravine (and perhaps a mogul or two) before spitting you out on the Val Veny Flats. Due to its north facing aspect the powder is normally in great condition throughout the season but does tend to be a tad shady….the compromise for excellent snow quality. It is one of the easier itineraries in the area and defiantly achievable for competent skiers. Oh and the best thing, after a very short traverse out you can get straight back on the lift system to continue your off-piste adventures…Perfect! Whilst your there its worth checking out the off-piste over the side of the blue Val Veny piste back to the Zerotta chair for fun tree-lined powder skiing/boarding.

Arp Dolonne – Dolonne couloir/ Pré-St-Didier / La Balme

Again close to home towards the top of the Courmayeur Ski area, grab the Cresta Youla then Create D’Arp lift to 2,755m. Here you have a number of  longer off-piste freeriding options to choose that reach far from the resort posted runs allowing you to choose the ‘Perfect Line’. Powder here is in plentiful supply all season long, again due to its North-East Aspect snow conditions are excellent. Route choices include the 1,542m descent down the Dolonne couloir to the Dolonne (1213m) vicinity of Courmayeur, where you can descend through the woods and gorge. For the more adventurous amongst you, head east across the back-country valley to the village of Pré-St-Didier or even further backcountry through the Vallon de Youla ending up in the village of La Balme. Or you can drop back into the Val Veny to link up with the windy Arp Vieille itinerary mentioned above via the Arete or following the Create Youla lift to Plan de la Gabba.

Pavillon Woods

On the other side of the resort on Mont Blanc itself are the notable Pavillon woods. Accessed via the Pavillon Mid-station of the new Monte Bianco Skyway gondolas that rotate 360º as you ascend, you will find fresh powder the entire season. A 825m tree filled descent to the La Palud area of Courmayeur via an unlimited amount of lines to cherry pick from. Unlike the other itineraries this area is quite disconnected from the rest of the Courmayeur resort so is best to dedicate at least a half day (probably a full one) to skiing this area to maximise your skiing time.

Punta Helbronner

Again from a bit further up the new Monte Bianco Skyway there are multiple Freeride options from Punta Helbronner (3,462m) to discover. From alternative gullies and couloirs such as Mont Fréty, Marbrèe glaciers and the interestingly named ‘Canale del Cesso’: yep thats what they’ve called it! However these are generally on the steeper side, so for the more experienced skiers amongst you with slopes at an average of 40°.

The ClassicsValle Blanche from the Aiguille du Midi for Off piste Skiing in Courmayeur

Vallée Blanche

The famous 23km descent and 2,800m vertical drop of the Vallée Blanche attracts many off-piste enthusiast to tick off the bucket list, which can be accessed from Courmayeur as well as Chamonix. It is not technically challenging with mildly steep slopes, but unrivalled for views of the Alps surrounding you. However, due to being a glacier it is highly recommended to go with a guide to avoid avalanche risks and cravasses.

Toula Glacier

The Toula Glacier is another classic descent and possibly a lesser known, yet more challenging ‘bucket list’ experience. Having got the Helbronner Cable Car from Courmayeur you will start your long 12km fun-packed 2,000m vertical descent in deep powder to La Palud from the dizzy heights of 3450m Torino Hut via the Toula coloir, Bliss.

Guiding & Equipment

Needless to say it is important that if your planning to adventure off-piste you must have sufficient knowledge and take the appropriate equipment with you to stay safe . More information on Off-piste safety and equipment can be found online, or if your new to off-piste or the area hire a qualified guide. A Professional Guide is the most efficient way to get the most out of your off-piste days on the mountain, providing you with a safe, fun-packed experience-appropriate challenge, with all their local knowledge. But will also provide everlasting knowledge on techniques, safety and navigation, which you can apply in the future. Well worth it in our eyes.

Helisking

If the Freeride experience was not enough for you, or you just want things that little bit more adventurous, plentiful of Helisking is on offer. A bit of a novelty from those that maybe travelling over from the French resorts such as Chamonix where Helisking is banned, there is some truly spectacular heliskiing to be had, particularly over the Val Veny side of Courmayeur and nearby Mont Blanc glaciers. For more information on Helisking be sure to contact Heli Guides who can advise you further and take you on a trip of a lifetime!
Heli Guides can can you Heli Skiing in Courmayeur Mont Blanc and further afield with  Peak Transfer
Whether your an adventurous intermediate or a thrill-seeking expert skier or snowboarder there is a ton of fun and excitement to be had in the sunny Aosta terrace of Courmayeur. If you are staying in Courmayeur and require an Airport transfer or if you require an Inter-resort transfer for a Courmayeur Day Trip then get a Peak Transfer Quick Quote immediatly here. We can get you to the slopes in style and comfort before anyone else taking the stress out of your holiday.

Happy Skiing!

For last minute bookings call our transfer hotline: +33 (0) 679 851 810