Courmayeur's skiing is characteristically Italian, with lots of scenically beautiful runs dropping down into the trees beneath the Mont Blanc range. But from the 2,755m Cresta d'Arp there are off-piste routes in three directions, one of them to the nearby resort of La Thuile; and for adventurous (but not necessarily highly skilled) skiers there is the breathtakingly beautiful Vallee Blanche, which runs 20-odd kilometres down to Chamonix. Even within Courmayeur's ski area there are some good journeys - for confident beginners and inter-mediates - winding down through the trees to the valley bottom.
The village itself, car-free and well-sheltered from the roar of the main road, is absolutely delightful, with wonderful bars and restaurants on the cobbled via Roma: I became a regular at the plain-but-perfect Piazzetta when I was last there. (The Good Skiing Guide also reckons the resort's mountain restaurants offer the best value of any in the world.) Note, however, that while it's a pleasure to stroll down via Roma in the evenings, it's a longish hike in the mornings to the cable- car base, which is at the southern end of the village.
All the major operators offer holidays in Courmayeur; among the independents are Abercrombie & Kent (0171-559 8585); Momentum Travel (0171-371 9111); Mark Warner (0171-761 7002) and White Roc (0171-792 1188)Reuse content