Courmayeur is just on the other side of Monte Bianco from France’s Chamonix – the Mont Blanc tunnel takes you through the mountain and across the border. The resort is a refreshing alternative to the mega resorts of France, intent on style and sophistication. This is a prime short-break destination for those who like to ski, but also for those who don’t, thanks to the attractive village, 60 great restaurants, grown-up bars and nightlife, and top-end boutiques. Celebrities come here, but the mountaineering heritage of the place keeps things from getting too swanky – it’s a cheerful place, and good value.
There is enough skiing for a fast intermediate for a few days, but not much more, hence the reputation for short breaks. There’s not a lot for beginners or experts either. In recent years the resort has become sought after by off-piste fans as Chamonix veterans realise that Mont Blanc has an Italian side. There are off-piste runs off the top lifts, and a new gondola that accesses the famous Vallee Blanche glacier run above Chamonix – skiers descend to Chamonix and get a bus back.
The resorts of Chamonix, Megeve and La Thuile are all easy enough to reach for day trips or make good options for a longer break with several centres.