BIENVENUE À COURCHEVEL ET MÉRIBEL
Located in the Savoy Alps close to the Italian border, the villages of Courchevel and Méribel are located in neighboring valleys. The locals are known as “Savoyens” or “Savoyards”. But there aren’t that many of them, especially in the mountain villages. Due to a lack of employment opportunities, past centuries saw many emigrate to lower-lying regions. It was only with the advent of winter tourism that these places were revived to become what they are today: famous, luxurious ski metropolises.
Courchevel, the larger of the two resorts, consists of three different villages located at different altitudes. Practically, though perhaps not that imaginatively, they were originally called “Courchevel 1550” “Courchevel 1650” and “Courchevel 1850”. However, only until 2011. Since then, the villages have officially been known as “Courchevel Village,” “Courchevel Moriond” and simply “Courchevel”. Well, those are the official names.
Unofficially, many still use the original names. In a conversation, it goes like this:
“I’m going to Courchevel.”
“Great, and where exactly?”
“Ah, so that’s Courchevel 1550.”
“No, Courchevel 1650!”
But one thing is clear: the higher the altitude, the more exclusive the skiing. Courchevel is rightly referred to as the “St. Tropez of winter sports”. It’s where the who’s who of the glamorous world meet up. Among its devotees are Robbie Williams, George Clooney and Prince William.
Let’s change valley and go to Méribel. Like Courchevel, the village boasts numerous lovely traditional chalets. Méribel owes its classic charm not least to its founder, the Briton Peter Lindsay. Right from the start, he had a clear vision, which remains enshrined in law today: buildings must be erected in the style of a chalet. No tall concrete blocks here, for which the residents as well as tourists thank him.
From a sporting point of view, Méribel first garnered attention in 1992. The women’s alpine skiing competitions were held here during the Albertville Winter Olympics. The “Roc de Fer” went down in history as one of the longest, most difficult downhills for women. Surprisingly, the races witnessed only one crash – which was lucky.
The World Championships’ women’s races are now taking place again on the same “Roc de Fer” course. Around 2,500 meters in length and 800 meters in altitude difference. It’s no longer the longest downhill. The “iron rock” nevertheless presents women racers with a challenge. Action and spectacle are guaranteed. The Super-G, giant slalom and women’s slalom as well as the parallel and team events will take place on the lower part of this slope.
In Courchevel, on the other hand, the “Eclipse” was prepared especially for the World Cup – a new course that received a baptism of fire last season at the World Cup final. And how. High speeds and long jumps demanded everything from the athletes. Hardly surprising in view of the average gradient of around 30%. By way of comparison, the Hahnenkamm slope in Kitzbühel averages 27%. At this season’s World Championships, the men will be able to compete on this slope in the downhill, Super-G, giant slalom and slalom.
We’re looking forward to a thrilling World Cup and especially to the performances of our Stöckli athletes. You too? Then get ready to cross your fingers.
Will you be there in person? If so, here are a few tips:
THE place to be
If you don’t know where to go, just follow the signs for “La Chaudanne” in Méribel. There’s always something going on there, at the foot of the “Roc de Fer” slope, including the award ceremonies (all competitions), starting number draws, live music every day and food and drink stands – this is where the World Cup parties take place!
Note that you can only make cashless payments at the “World Championship Villages”. But there’ll be plenty of stalls where you can get a card for free and top it up. And, of course, the most common credit cards are accepted.
On race days, free shuttle buses run between Courchevel Le Praz and Méribel La Chaudanne. This allows you to switch back and forth effortlessly between the two centers so you’re always where the action is.
When it comes to food and drink – or quite simply, when it comes to enjoying life – the French have nothing to learn. And this is no different in Courchevel and Méribel. Whether Michelin-starred cuisine, French specialties or traditional alpine fare, both boast a large selection of charming restaurants. And by large, we really mean LARGE. But see for yourself. You’re sure to find a place to your liking after your skiing or for toasting the achievements of the Stöckli athletes.
Skiing in Courchevel / Méribel
It’s not just the World Cup that makes a visit worthwhile. No, Courchevel and Méribel also have a lot to offer in terms of winter sports. Together with Val Thorens, they form the “3 Vallées” ski area. With over 600 kilometers of slopes, it’s one of the largest ski areas in the world. And the best thing is: you’ll be able to ski everywhere. According to the organizers, only 1% of the entire ski area is closed due to the World Cup.
Stöckli in Courchevel / Méribel
To ensure you’re well equipped for your day’s skiing, here’s an overview of where you can rent Stöckli skis:
OLYMPIC SPORTS, Courchevel 1300
Le Praz Saint Bon | T : +33 479 084 360
SKI AND TRAIL INTERSPORT, Courchevel 1650
Immeuble Les cascades 170, rue Sainte Blandine | T: +33 479 083 185
SKI SHOP APOGÉE, Courchevel 1850
Hotel Apogée Jardin Alpin | T: +33 621 803 849
CA FART SKI CENTER, Saint Bon Tarentaise
Rue de la Mairie | T : +33 673 153 453
GEORGES MAUDUIT SPORTS, Méribel Les Allues
Galerie des Gentianes, Route du Centre | T : +33 479 086 308
SPORTS MÉRIBEL VILLAGE, Méribel Les Allues
BP 63 Méribel Village | T : +33 479 011 338
ALP'SPORT, Méribel Les Allues
Plateau de Morel Galerie Commerciale, Route du Plateau de Méribel | T : +33 479 085 286
ALP ATTITUDE, Méribel Mottaret
Le Hameau, Résidence Candide, Route du Laitelet | T : +33 479 004 041
SKI PARADISE, Méribel Mottaret
Galerie Commerciale Maeva Face Sherpa | T : +33 479 004 112
We have been inspired by this: