Courchevel 1850 Resort

Courchevel 1850 Resort

The Courchevel 1850 resort in France is one of the best ski resorts in the world if you happen to be a beginner.  Yes, we were all beginners once, and no one knows better than the Courchevel 1850 resort, that if you get the beginners right, the intermediates and advanced will follow.  With over 50% of all runs dedicated specifically to beginners, it is a haven for those learning to ski, or looking to refine their skills and expertise whilst on vacation.

Rumoured to be the most expensive resort on the French Alps, this isn’t strictly the truth.  You can find really good deals if you know where to look, and there are really good discounts for group bookings, although you get what you pay for, so don’t expect a cheap vacation.  Courchevel is part of the Three Valleys resorts, and itself is divided into four distinct areas from the bottom to the top: 1300, 1550, 1650, and 1850.  In general, the further up you go, the more expensive your trip is likely to be, so it is wise to consider going slightly further down, where you can still find some amazing skiing, both off piste and cross country, as well as some great downhill runs.  With an astonishing 65 ski lifts across the resort, the Courchevel is an enormous skiing resort, and attracts a wide variety of tourists from across Europe, and indeed the world.

The Courchevel 1300 is located right at the very bottom of the resort, and is truly beautiful in an unspoilt, picturesque sense.  It is a fantastic challenge for beginners, and is ideal for those looking for some relaxation out of their skiing vacation.  Alternatively, moving up, there is the 1550, which is seen as the playground of the locals.  Here you can benefit from some amazing self catering deals, whilst still managing to find great skiing, so this is perhaps a good consideration for those with families.  Again, moving up there is the 1650, home of the famous ski school, and a number of top quality restaurants.  With largely chalet accommodation, this is also a great resort to choose for your French skiing vacation.  Finally we have the 1850.  The 1850 is home to the rich and the famous, and you’re looking at an arm and a leg if you want to ski there.  Although the skiing isn’t that much better (unless you’re looking for off-piste), there are heftier queues, and the resort isn’t overly child friendly or family orientated.

Of the four resorts on the Courchevel, you are guaranteed to have a great skiing vacation whichever you choose.  Each has the benefit of world class skiing, although the facilities may differ between each.  It is important to decide what it is you are looking for, and then to base your choice around this, so you can make the most of your skiing vacation.  Why not consider taking a few lessons in the world famous Courchevel ski school?  Or how about sampling some of the extensive night life these resorts have to offer?  Whether you are a dedicated skier, or have never been on a pair of skis in your life, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for on the Courchevel, and you are guaranteed a vacation to remember.

Geilo in Norway

Geilo in Norway stands 800 metres high, and has one of the highest ski lifts in the world, stretching 3,887 feet. Geilo is positioned three and a half hours from the capital city, whilst having good road and rail links to the village. Set amidst amazing scenery just off the banks of Fjord, Geilo is at the heart of Norway’s “Winter Wonderland”. Maintaining its reputation as an excellent family resort, Geilo has seen visitors from Europe and beyond since early 1900s. Geilo remains unspoilt, with true Norwegian character firmly intact.  

With more than just skiing facilities Geilo is home to the 4 star Highland Hotel, as well as numerous lodging houses, and the famous Holms Ski Bar. Although primarily a ski resort Geilo also offers sleigh rides, wildlife adventure tours, ski orienteering, tobogganing, snow shoe walking, dog-sledging, kite-skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, freestyle snowboarding and much more. 

Geilo’s reputation as one the worlds top skiing resorts lies mainly in its ability to cater for family vacations. With over 10,000 families visiting the slopes each year, Geilo also offers excellent tuition in packages it refers to as the “Family Starter Pack”. This involves tuition for your entire family for the equivalent of $200 a day. This means, that not only can your whole family learn together, but is also means that families with no skiing experience, can go along and after the first day, they will be able to ski on their own. 

Geilo has also increased its reputation amongst Snowboarders in recent years beating off Lillehammer, Voss and Hemsedal in its bid to host the Norwegian Snowboarding Championship. With four sides of mountain each dedicated to snowboarding and skiing, Geilo is now able to call itself Norway’s first skiing location to offer 5 runs dedicated to snowboarding. With 110 runs in total, Geilo has 14% expert allowing experienced skiers to enjoy themselves on the slopes, whilst maintaining the rest of its facilities for intermediates and beginners that account for a larger number of their yearly visitors. 

Geilo also offers exceptional value for money with weekly family packages starting from $1000 including accommodation, bed and breakfast. The element that stands out the most about Geilo is the way it caters for families, with crèches, family diners, and especially their Christmas bonanza which includes Santa visiting the slopes with his reindeer on Christmas day, and the time leading up to christmas. Geilo never fails to be fully booked for Christmas, with so many families choosing to bring their children along to experience Christmas within this winter wonderland. 

Although Geilo offers amazing family packages, it would be unfair to say that Geilo is limited to family vacations. Geilo has hosted very serious world sporting events, as well as being the training ground of the national snowboarding and skiing teams. Geilo is available from August/September all the way through to late March and is also considering investing in “Avalanche Technology” which generates snow from water to provide 24/365 skiing. If you have never been to Geilo then I would recommend that you give it a go, although the family image may put certain people off visiting the slope I would suggest that checking it out is the best thing to do. From their website it is clear to see that consistent snowfall, and a good variation in the difficulty of runs, Geilo is a facility that can genuinely cater for everyone; from beginner to professional. 

It has many great options for accommodation, and with good travel links as well their really is no excuse for not hoping on a plane and going to Geilo today. With thousands of people on the slopes, from different countries and different backgrounds Geilo is suitable for families and teenagers alike. With individual price plans starting from $350 a week, and well-known DJs playing at local club venues Geilo is also becoming very popular amongst those teenagers who would have previously seen Ibiza as the only place to be seen on holiday. 

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