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A Ski Instructor Skiing off-piste in his ski lesson

Best off-piste runs in Courchevel

If you’re looking for some of the best off-piste skiing or snowboarding in Courchevel, look no further than these five runs. From the steep and challenging to the more moderate and mellow, there’s something here for every skier or rider. With a combination of lift access directly from the resort and short hikes, you can get right into the action without any hassle.

The 5 Best off-piste runs in the Courchevel Valley

1 – Canyon de la Platta – Montagne de la Grande Val

Rating – 2 stars – Descent with occasional steep slopes (max 40 degrees) that require accurate navigation skills to ensure you avoid obstacles and find your way through forests, couloirs and rock bands.

An 800m Vertical descent in the Secteur Des Avals can be accessed with very little effort through a short traverse. From the Col de Chanrossa, you traverse under the North East face of the Roc Merlet onto a small Plateau. It is essential to make sure you don’t traverse too far and end up on the South East facing slopes on the wrong side of the ridge.

Known by many locals as Les Avals, this run is incredibly playful with a considerable number of minor variations and opportunities to express more creative Skiing, with small drops and jumps for those who want to explore them.

best off-piste runs in Courchevel

For less experienced off-piste skiers, you can link together many of the more mellow pitches, and it is the perfect place to perfect your off-piste technique. For intermediate skiers, it can be the perfect place to find your ski legs.

There are very few off-piste runs, this close to the ski area, that are this easy to access and allow you to escape the crowds and see such a beautiful quiet part of the Alps.

As the end of the run approaches, the terrain flattens out, and you join the other tracks from runs higher in the Avals Valley. This track winds its way back into the top of Courchevel 1650. Make sure you have layered correctly, as this flat section is often quite a skate, especially in fresh snow, and you will quickly warm up.

You must also be aware of the risk of avalanches from the steep southeast and east-facing slopes above the exit track. Ensure you do not linger here longer than you need to and don’t come through too late in the day, especially after heavy snow or in warm weather.

You will eventually reach a picnic bench and the back of an orange warning sign that closes the path to walkers in the winter. Once you are here you can relax, grab a drink and start planning your next run.

Les Avals, Courchevel Off-Piste

2 – Les Creux Noirs

  • Orientation – North East
  • Vertical Drop 600m
  • Access – 15 Minute Hike from the Pas du Lac to the point of La Petite Saulire
  • Rating- 3 stars – A steep descent with multiple pitches between 40 and 45 Degrees. The terrain will contain multiple obstacles such as rock bands, couloirs and terrain features that increase avalanche risk.

The Creux Noirs present limitless variations depending on your ski level. The Classic line runs through the centre of the bowl. It’s nice and wide maintaining a steady gradient of around 35 degrees for most of the run. You used to be able to access this part of the ski area via a ski lift, but it is now a dedicated area for off-piste skiing.

More advanced skiers will be able to let their skis run a little while skiing large almost carved turns with confidence as the run flattens out. Less confident skiers can traverse further around the bowl onto the northeast aspect which is shallower and mellows out faster. The wide open space helps ensure there is plenty of fresh powder.

Those seeking more adventure can traverse even further around the bowl heading toward the Col du Fruit. These east-facing slopes resemble Alaska more than France, they are very steep and covered in a myriad of couloirs, cliffs and rock bands. Check out the video below to see just how good it can get.

To access Creux Noirs you must hike for about 15 minutes from the Pas du Lac to the point of La Petite Saulire. From here pick the line that best suits you!

Most of the off-piste skiing in this video up until the 7-minute mark was filmed skiing variations of Les Creux Noirs, the winter activity team also have several other incredible videos highlighting the amazing off-piste in Courchevel.

 
As you can see in addition to being the playground of the rich and famous Courchevel also has some incredible off-piste skiing.

3 – North West Face of the Roc Merlet

  • Orientation – West North West
  • Vertical Drop – 600m
  • Access – 15 -20 Minute climb from the Col de Chanrossa to the Summit of the Roc Merlet or Pas du Roc Merlet
  • Rating – 2  stars – Descent with occasional steep slopes (max 40 degrees) that require accurate navigation skills to ensure you avoid obstacles and find your way through forests, couloirs and rock bands.

This incredible off-piste run is nice and gentle from the start, averaging around 25 degrees and only exceeding 30 degrees in a handful of places. It is skied far less often than you may expect and its west, northwest aspect helps the snow stay in great condition long after the last snowfall. Increasing the chances of your getting fresh tracks.

best off-piste runs in Courchevel

Advanced skiers may overlook this run when planning their day as on paper it seems quite easy, however, this would be a massive mistake. The run flows brilliantly and feels far wilder than the short 20-minute hike would suggest. You get a brilliant view of the Grand Couloir on the Aiguille du Fruit as well as a totally different perspective of the whole ski area that will help you scope other off-piste areas.

If you ski this run either early or late in the season you need to be aware that the slopes are littered with rock gardens of all shapes and sizes and a good covering of snow is needed to ensure it is safe.

4 – Rocher de la Loze

  • Orientation – North
  • Vertical Drop – 300m
  • Access – 45 Minute climb to the summit of Rocher de la Loze from the Col de la Loze or Lac Bleu. You can follow either ridge line up. The ascent from the Col de la Loze is steeper and more exposed but shorter.
  • Rating – 3 stars – A steep descent with multiple pitches between 40 and 45 Degrees. The terrain will contain multiple obstacles such as rock bands, couloirs and terrain features that increase avalanche risk.

If skiing this run without a local guide it is absolutely essential that you spend some time examining the face from below. All 3 of the major routes down the face are completely blind from the top, and you will need to assess the snow conditions in each of the couloirs to ensure you can easily exit them.

As you stand on the highest point of La Loze facing La Tania you will see a deepening depression to your left. This is the main north-face couloir and an absolutely brilliant run which thanks to its aspect often has great snow.

About halfway down the Couloir Branches into two, it is here that you need to be especially careful. The right branch can be much harder to ski and will cliff out in all but the best snow seasons.

Val d’Isère Off-Piste Adventures
Alternatively to your right, you will find a second option. To access it you will need to drop away from the summit on the south side of the ridge losing about 20 Metres of height. Here you will find a nice couloir that widens as you head down it.

Experienced skiers will have plenty of opportunities to vary these routes and include small drops if they wish. Although it is best to inspect the face thoroughly if you plan to do this.

While an incredible face it should be treated with real respect. At the foot of the face, there are several terrain traps. If you are unfortunate and go down with the slide no matter how small it could bury you very deep and very quickly.

5 – North Couloir of the L’aiguille du fruit

  • Orientation – North
  • Vertical Drop – 800m, 400m in the Couloir
  • Access – 1h30 – 2hrs ski tour From the Col de Chanrossa ski on the West facing slopes toward Les Grand Couloirs or follow the instructions above for the North West Face of the Roc Merlet. At the base of the couloir, you will need to climb the same route you will ski. This does leave you quite exposed so you need to be very aware of the snowpack and avalanche risk.
  • Rating – 3 stars – A steep descent with multiple pitches between 40 and 45 Degrees. The terrain will contain multiple obstacles such as rock bands, couloirs and terrain features that increase avalanche risk.

This iconic run stretches out beneath the highest point in the Courchevel Valley. Visible from almost everywhere in Courchevel it will be impossible to miss, especially for experienced off-piste skiers looking for their next adventure.

This is not a run for the faint-hearted or inexperienced skiers. While it is easy to navigate with few obstacles, it feels exposed. Accessing it requires previous knowledge of ski touring and as you climb the couloir you will also need to be comfortable making kick turns on slopes of 35 degrees and higher.

As you approach the top of the couloir you will see a flatter shoulder on the left-hand side that can be a good place to rest. If you are already at the edge of your comfort zone then this is a great place to put your skis on.

For those who wish you can continue up the shoulder to the very top of the couloir and get your skis on here. While it is possible to ski the Aiguille du fruit from the summit we only know two people who have done this and they are exceptionally talented. They also make incredible Pizza at the Black Pearl restaurant.

The descent is an incredible experience but pictures paint a thousand words so we encourage you to watch the video below.

 
Ski touring adventures in Verbier

Off-Piste Skiing – Safety

Off-Piste Skiing is an incredible experience but it can also be dangerous. We have tried to provide enough information for experienced off-piste skiers to find and identify these runs using IGN maps. You will not be able to find enough detail to safely access these runs from a piste map. It is essential that you carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, assess the avalanche risk on the day and take all other appropriate safety precautions. Accessing these runs without an off-piste guide is done entirely at your own risk.

If you are heading off-piste but don’t feel comfortable with the above then it is likely that you may be better placed to explore these runs with an off-piste guide or as part of an off-piste course. New Generation Ski School offer off-piste courses for all levels.

Whether you are just making your first turns away from the groomed slopes or have years of experience ski touring our guides will help you find the best runs, and while we can’t guarantee a powder day, we can find you the best snow!

We have been guiding guests off-piste in the Three Valleys for 25 years. Our team know all 4 ski areas incredibly well. If you are staying in Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens or the Meribel Valley make sure you read our guides to the best off-piste skiing in each resort.

We have teams in all major ski areas in the French Alps as well as Verbier, St Anton and Lech. Let our team help you find the best skiing on your next trip.