Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Travel: Small Italian Alpine resort of Courmayeur has a big, bright future

Courmayeur in the Italian Alps is well worth exploring
Courmayeur in the Italian Alps is well worth exploring

When you exit the 12km-long Mont Blanc tunnel on the Italian side of the Alps, you arrive in what can only be described as a winter wonderland.

Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and pine trees, we climb deeper into the mountains before descending into the ski resort of Courmayeur in the picture-postcard Aosta Valley.

It’s fast-becoming the preferred place in Europe to enjoy the pistes, that’s because it is smaller and less busy, but perhaps more importantly, “it’s a small resort with a big heart”, a proud local tells me.

Novice skier Laura

Whether you are a keen skier or snowboarder or prefer to explore the mountains on foot, Courmayeur is the ideal destination. By the time I arrive at the luxurious five-star Le Massif Hotel, I feel like I have been transported to a far-flung world – well, I am in my fifth country today – Scotland, England, Switzerland, France and now Italy.

Before I begin to sample all that Courmayeur has to offer skiers and non-skiers, I dine at the family-run Gran Baita, a traditional four-star hotel with a spa, so it would have been rude not to have a relaxing back massage after lunch.

For most people who visit the Aosta Valley, the big draw is the big mountain, Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak which stands at 4,810 metres.

Mont Blanc

Now, the best way to view this majestic mountain is by the Skyway Monte Bianco. The Skyway was opened in 2015 and now its huge cable car transports tourists to a viewing platform and the glass-floored Sky Vertigo at 3,466m.

As we zoom upwards, I begin to feel the effects of the altitude, experiencing a little nausea as I exit at the Skyway’s first station. However, it’s all part of the experience.

A blizzard blows in, obliterating the magnificent sight from the floor-to-ceiling windows, but it doesn’t stop us enjoying the al fresco experience, so we head outside into the howling wind and –26 degree air. Exhilarating!

After that, there is only one thing on my mind – food. Fortunately, the Skyway has an Alpine buffet restaurant with Italian tapas-style plates.

Travel to the mountain-top restaurant La Chaumiere by skidoo

Of course, Italy is also a world-famous wine region, but I was surprised to discover that a local wine is made right here on the mountain, by the so-called “sky winemakers” at Cave Mont Blanc, using grapes grown in one of the highest vineyards in Europe, just a few kilometres away.

That evening and the following day, two more gastronomic experiences follow. First, dinner at Brasserie La Chaumiere – located on the slopes, this traditional Alpine restaurant cannot be accessed by road, so we travel by skidoo and it is here I discover my love of Fontina DOP cheese – and a delicious five-course tasting menu at Le Chetif.

Appetite satisfied, the next morning I am on one of Courmayeur’s 47km of ski slopes.

As a novice skier, it was important to experience this popular snowsport, so where better to be taught than at Scuola di sci Monte Bianco ski school.

Instructed by Luca, I learn to “plough” and do “ladders” before eventually making a successful solo descent at the end of a three-hour lesson.

For those who don’t ski or board, you can still partake in mountain life, either on a guided walk or snow-shoeing experience.

Then, once the ski boots are off, the DJ is on, and I find myself on the dance floor at Super G, one of the best apres-ski venues in the Italian Alps.

Around me, mountain-lovers of all ages dance in salopettes, sunglasses and bobble hats.

Down in Aosta Valley meanwhile, lies a shopper’s and photographer’s paradise where alpine buildings, plush hotels, beautiful churches and designer stores sit at the foot of the surrounding mountain range.


Courmayeur Mont Blanc won a Best In The Alps award in November in the International Mountain Resort Circuit. It received the recognition because of “its authenticity, respect of the environment, devoted attention to sustainability and nature, as well as for its pioneering climbing and skiing activities”.


Contact Courmayeur Tourist Board by email Nightly rates at Le Massif start from €350 per room, per night, for a superior room on a bed and breakfast basis. For information: Book lessons at the ski school: