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While heliskiing in Turkey was an extreme and personal experience, my getaway with family to Courmayeur presented a much coveted low key mountain lifestyle in the winter. This great resort has a sophisticated ambiance. Town strolling, relaxation, lively après ski, local cuisine and wine, etc, can all be enjoyed in this friendly and genuine place for skiing.
You’ll meet local Italians who are visiting the place – or their second homes – and enjoying local delicious food accompanied by a glass of wine made from the Nebbiolo grape.
The town is more charming than one would expect at first sight. Via Roma is where Courmayeur is centred around. It is probably the finest main street of any ski resort in Europe, filled with restaurants and a good collection of nice shops, such as Malo, and several Monclers.
The entire ski area can be covered in one day. Rocce Bianco and two others are the only black marked runs. If you want proper skiing, head outside the main area. On snowy days it is like Megeve in that it is empty on the pistes. I had great tree skiing in Val Veny after a snowfall.
Want a change of scene? Chamonix is only a 30-minute drive away. Need local knowledge? Get in touch with Alessandro Mezzavilla, who knows all about the area. Since Verbier in January, I’ve been skiing with my Blackcrows ski Orb 179. It’s a beautiful pair of skis for all kinds of aggressive skiing.
I have rediscovered Courmayeur from this trip and some real gems.
While skiing in the Val Veny valley, we stopped for lunch at La Grolla. It is a nice log cabin serving pasta, corneloni and mostly Italians, offering fantastic views of the glacier and Mont Blanc with seating outside in the sun.
Vineria Valset is a perfect little wine bar just at the beginning of Via Roma. A very pleasant place for a quiet après ski or before dinner drink. Then again there are about ten small bars and vineries in the same stretch for you to choose from.
Via Roma is not short of good restaurants either. Cadran Solaire Restaurant and Bar is a classically styled place, almost like a living room, with plenty of space between tables. It is remarkably well priced, serving really good modern Italian.
There are also excellent places outside the main town. Chateau Branlant is located a little below Chiecco on Plan Checruit. When you arrive in the house, which is made of stone and wood, you will be greeted by small plates of antipasta. Delicious menu (pasta, meat etc) and a wine list with wines from Valdostana and Piedmont. Soups and salads are highly recommended. Wonderful homemade (from the valley) Grappa Villa Novocento – all in all a fantastic hotel and restaurant.
We also took a beautiful drive up to Val Ferret, where you can find La Clotze. The restaurant is quiet Italian with local specialities as well as more traditional north Italian dishes. They have a detailed wine book. The decor is not very mountain like. There is also a table inside the wine room.
There are several more new finds I highly recommend. Along with the above, they will be added to our Ski Guide iPhone app and the online guide on SQUA.RE in the coming weeks as my latest update.