Luxury Skiing: Verbier vs Courchevel 1850?
So you’re thinking about jetting off on a luxury ski chalet holiday, but aren’t sure where to go? Is it going to be Courchevel or Verbier? As decisions go this is a pretty good one to be making. The two options on the table are probably two of the most famous ski resorts in the world. It’s a question we often get asked, how do the two resort compare? We thought it would be helpful to share with you some (not too biased..!) thoughts first-hand experience .
Verbier is perched on a sunny 1500m plateau and is part of the vast 400km 4 Vallées ski area, its advanced snow making technology means guaranteed snow from December right through until April. Beyond April, many of our clients continue ski touring or heliskiing up and around the untouched powder on the peaks. Which, is sadly is off limits in France, so if it’s Heliskiing you’re after, then Verbier is an easy decision to make! Even as I’m writing this, at the end of May, we still have diehard powder skiers heliskiing in search of fresh powder. Verbier has been, and will always remain a skiers resort, with arguably the most lift accessible off piste skiing in the world, it is a paradise for adventure seeking extreme skiers from all over the world who descend to here every winter to push the boundaries of skiing, ski mountaineering and for the Freeride World Tour final in March.
One of the lures of Verbier are the glorious Swiss chocolate box surroundings in the foreground of every balcony in the resort, and then in the distance you’ve got views of the most iconic peaks in the Alps, Mont Blanc one side, the Grand Combin mountain range with its cascading glaciers – and then there’s the Matterhorn. The panorama is always there as a backdrop and it never fails to inspire. Did you know you can reach the highest peak, Mont Fort (3330m) and enjoy a glass of Van Chaud as a pedestrian? Verbier is one of the few remaining ski resorts which has retained is charming village character and hasn’t been taken over by hotels. This is largely down to the strict building and planning rules and regulations around property. Whereas Courchevel sits higher than Verbier at 1850m but some may say you might be lucky to have a view not to be blocked or looked over by a neighbouring hotel!
Courchevel, once the epicentre of the Alps and playground for A-listers, has gradually gained the reputation of the place to be seen. Some may now argue that the heart and soul of the resort has been lost and the true meaning of going skiing has been over shadowed by the glitz of wealth of fur covered Russian models, expensive shops and an influx of hotel after hotel offering a 5-star everything service. Whereas Verbier has very few hotels, it has never lost its frontier town feel and year round community. It is home to some the most state of the art chalets in the alps juxta posed with locals from the surrounding valleys and that balance is a source of great pride to the Verbier tourist authorities.
Verbier accessibility from the closest commercial airport, Geneva, is easy. Simply enjoy a short 1hr 45mins transfer along Lake Geneva and up the short steep hair pin bends to the village or opt for a very scenic train route. Conveniently the train station is in the same building as Geneva Airport, so jump on very civilised train all the way to Martigny, before changing onto the St Bernard Express mountain train to Le Chable. Le Chable is the small resort in the valley below Verbier, where you can then get a transfer up the hill or, if you want to arrive in style, make your way up on the gondola straight into Médran, the main lift station! In comparison, feel free to enjoy the tummy quenching twisty roads up to Courchevel which could set you back 2hrs 30mins.
Of course, ultimately the decision of where to go is your choice. The understated, simple luxury of our home, Verbier or the overcrowded but ‘must go to destination’ Courchevel. It’s up to you…