Courmayeur - 12/30/04

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Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby ChrisC » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:55 am

We had to experince skiing Italian style one day. While Chamonix is very international - lots of Brits, French, Aussies, Germans, Italians, etc. - Courmayeur is very Italian.

Some key Italian ski characteristics:
There are no first tracks, just get up late.
If I get up late, I will simply push past you in line.
If you resist, my friend will simply step on your skis to let me by.
I will ski only in the sun, how else dcan I tan?
Powder?? I will not ski it unless it's the sun.
Some lifts will close for lunch.
At 2pm, it's time to get ready to go out. Both men and women need that much time to get into their fashionable winter outfits.
There is no ski wear in Courmayeur after 5pm.

Courmayeur is a beautiful ski town. Everything is well-preserved, proper and historical. The mountain is in a spectacular setting on the south side of Mont Blanc. It takes 30 minutes from Chamonix.

The skiing is mostly on groomed pistes. The mountain has two faces 1). a large east facing one towards town and 2). a northern one facing Mont Bianco (Mont Blanc). The steeper runs are on the north side where the snow was quite nice. The intermediate runs face east.

The Italians ski in the sun so the north-side runs and lifts were not busy.

The best part of the mountain was the cable car at the top. No one had skied the beautiful bowl at the top so it was all powder - cold and smokey! That's where we did most of our runs.

Overall, Courmayeur was a nice place to visit during the week. However, it is not essential skiing.
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re: Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby Patrick » Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:58 pm

Happy to read your reports Chris.

I skiied one day in Courmayeur in January 1991, I was just amazed with the whole ski experience. The scenery is spectacular. The skiing was definately better than our week in Flaine. Unfortunately I never went back.

You mentioned the Tram to the Top was open? I remember that there were two trams at the top above all the other trails, the second tram is great to reach the hors-piste (backcountry). But both trams were du to Avalanches Danger.
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re: Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby ChrisC » Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:10 am

To be honest, the scenery and ambiance of Courmayeur were great. However, the skiing was a little weak in comparison to other places.

Courmayeur reminded me of East Coast skiing OR a place out west that does not get much snow -- like Keystone or Sun Valley. Lots of trees, snow guns blasting, etc.

Both trams were open. (Well the top tram was open with a 1.5 hr lunch breakscheduled from 1230-1400??!!) We only skied the first tram - Yula - since it served a nice powder bowl that the Italians refused to ski. Go figure.

That said, the off-piste looked amazing! The route from the top tram into the village was not recommended. However, the north side route from the first tram looked amazing. We saw some guides take clients off from the Yula tram. However, my group did not all have the necessary avy gear that day -- and decided not to follow. We were not expecting such off-piste opportunities in Courmayeur.

I would definitely recommend the resort for a day -- but NEVER a week. We skied almost every run in one day. There is simply not enough mountain.
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re: Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:55 pm

My entire day at Courmayeur consisted of one off-piste misadventure http://216.250.243.13/discus2/messages/ ... 1077671521 . The terrain was great, we just happened to hit heinous snow conditions. It's nice to read a description of the pistes, because I didn't have time to ski any of them when I was there.
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re: Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby ChrisC » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:59 am

It seems like your guide should have been pretty embarassed.

Did you ski the run from the very time into town/Courmayeur (marked on the map) or another way.

The access trams -- especially from twon -- was a bottleneck. The longest line I waited in was the tram from Courmayeur to the real skiing (30 minutes). The other tram would be much preferable, but we had non-skiers in our group.
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re: Courmayeur - 12/30/04

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm

From the very top into town. Our group was understanding. There are no guarantees when you go off-piste. We pointed out the run while riding the tram and asked to do it.

We waited 45 minutes for the tram from town. Our travel agent Daniella knew we should use the other one, but it was not operating the day we were there.
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