Skiing, Italy: Courmayeur

An old mountain village set below Mont Blanc, Courmayeur has always had one major drawback: the centre, with its cobbled alleyways, is cut off from the ski slopes by the traffic thundering up the Aosta valley towards the Mont Blanc tunnel. But this year, as a result of the catastrophic fire in the tunnel, the traffic has stopped; and the cable-car up to the Plan Chécrouit skiing base will sweep across an all but deserted highway. The locals are enjoying the peace and quiet so much that, despite the commercial risks, they are campaigning for permanent controls on the road's lorry traffic.

An old mountain village set below Mont Blanc, Courmayeur has always had one major drawback: the centre, with its cobbled alleyways, is cut off from the ski slopes by the traffic thundering up the Aosta valley towards the Mont Blanc tunnel. But this year, as a result of the catastrophic fire in the tunnel, the traffic has stopped; and the cable-car up to the Plan Chécrouit skiing base will sweep across an all but deserted highway. The locals are enjoying the peace and quiet so much that, despite the commercial risks, they are campaigning for permanent controls on the road's lorry traffic.

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 Vallée 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 cablecar 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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'