Lift Systems
Courchevel & Les Trois Vallees
winter ski holidays
ski lift
ski lift
ski lift
70,000 skiers per hour, (260,000 for the Three Valleys combined)

The Courchevel Valley’s lowest lift is at 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) with the top of the highest lift barely short of 2,738 meters (9,000 feet). The vertical is 1,438 meters or 4,718 feet.

When compared to major resorts, Courchevel Valley lifts offer significantly shorter waits, except during the peak Christmas and French School Holidays.

The key to Courchevel skiing is, as usual, understanding how the lifts link with the best runs to minimum poling on the flat or uphill, and how to find the shortest waiting periods to allow for maximum vertical per day. Rental shops, instructors, and locals can offer specifics here.

The total uphill capacity about 70,000 skiers per hour, (260,000 for the Three Valleys combined). Arrive early at the Hi Capacity gondolas after checking with the information desk at the Croisette on the previous night’s grooming, and stay ahead of the crowds. Over 60 percent of the skiers in the valley are French who often see lines as a challenge to individuality.

The British, who make up 20 percent of the visitors, queue up nicely, if on the wrong side for Americans. This can lead to some interesting go right-go left confusion on the slopes, around lifts, and going and coming from toilets. Brits do look at “queue jumpers” like pond scum and never barge in. Aussies, Americans North and South, and others require an eye for ethnicity to know which approach serves at any particular lift and, at times, a creative combination of sharp elbows and “excusez-moi” to survive lift mobs that bottom popular pistes.

A number of improvements center around the old Marmottes three-seat chair that’s now a slow on, slow off, high speed six Pak that eliminates an old bottleneck. The La Vizelle end of Marmottes now sports a lower, wider, and slower access lane to avoid the “bumper cars” problem. Even better, there’s a new chair at the bottom of Marmottes lift that’s level with the Chanrossa lift’s run out.

Those who stay or ski down to La Tania find extra cabins on the gondola improve the uphill capacity by about 20 percent, and 38 new snow cannons here let you ski all the way down into La Tania, even with minimal snow coverage. More cannons have been installed recently.