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Carpe Diem Courchevel

There’s no doubt, Courchevel was made for skiing. With the largest ski area in the world on the doorstep, the 31 managed penthouses and apartments at Six Senses Residences Courchevel give you direct access to a 600-km network of pistes across Les 3 Vallées. Every detail – from delivering your hearty breakfast to tugging off your ski boots and servicing your skis to soothing sore muscles – is taken care of every day. Which makes every day the best day ever.

7:15 am

The day might have started earlier in the open-all-hours gym. However, the 30 serviced apartments are meticulously designed to prioritize sleep. Bedrooms are spacious and peaceful, incorporating exposed timber and other natural materials, and kitted out with Naturalmat handmade organic mattresses. Sleeping here doesn’t just set you up to ski mountains; you’ll feel like moving them. The weights can wait.

7:30 am

No jostling over the eggs at the buffet counter. Here, a delicious breakfast hamper is delivered to your door with wholesome and hearty granola, yoghurts, cold cuts, and bakery items all sustainably wrapped and ready to enjoy as the first rays of sun blush pink over the snow-capped French Alps in front of you.

8:30 am

The on-site equipment rental and ski shop means you can tailor your skis to the day, from stiff and sturdy to hold your edges to fat and flex for powder days. The addition of a ski concierge and ski-in, ski-out lodge at the main La Croisette lift (complete with heated boot racks) means you’ll make it to the first gondola up without having to lift a finger or a ski. The team treat you like royalty and are even on hand to buckle your boots.

9:00 am

Whether or not you have booked lessons or a ski guide, there are runs to suit all abilities from the main lifts at Courchevel 1850. At the top are three north-facing mountain bowls, resulting in the best snow in the area. Halfway down, a collection of smooth, long, perfectly pitched slopes are meticulously groomed and surrounded by peaceful forests.

The place for untracked stashes on a snow day is the iconic Grand Couloir next to the Saulire lift, starting at 2,700 meters and skirting the grizzly peaks of the Creux Noirs. Hold your nerve as you traverse across the narrow wind-blasted ridge; this bucket list black run for advanced skiers is definitely not for the faint hearted and best attacked with fresh legs. If you change your mind at the top, you’re still in for a treat with the Combe de la Saulire wide, rolling red, with views across to Mont Blanc. Whichever you choose, breathe in the high-mountain atmosphere, where for a few minutes, up on the roof of the world, you can hear the sweet sound of your soul singing.

10:30 am

With the extra croissant at breakfast still fueling you, continue down through the trees under arches of snow sparkle and diamond dust and fall in love with the Amoureux corduroy cruiser towards Le Praz, a full 1,200-meter vertical descent from the peak. If you have a guide, another choice is to head for Courchevel 1550 (Village) and keep to the left of the slalom course. Among the trees you’ll find a gem of a piste that doesn’t seem to have a name and you’ll hardly see anyone there.

When the snow is fresh, or when the visibility is poor, Folyéres is another good option: a long blue run down into La Tania, offering a wide piste that flatters your skiing, as well as little trails among the trees for the young and young at heart.

12 noon

Back above Courchevel 1850, the Cave des Creux is above the Altiport. It’s near where they keep the piste bashers, so it’s well-groomed and served by the new, super-quick Aiguille des Fruits chairlift. It’s often empty when the slopes start to clear for lunch. If the weather is good, the terrace is a wonderful bonus.

Lunch!

The problem about sharing a best-kept secret is that word gets out but the traditional Savoyard cuisine at Ferme Auberge d'Ariondaz shows how simplicity is purity. It offers just a few dishes made on the spot using eggs from their henhouse, charcuterie and cheese from their farm, and a fresh green salad with homemade dressing. The service is friendly, quick, and a rustic alternative to the Courchevel glitz.

2:00 pm

Tummy refueled and legs refreshed, why not ease into the afternoon with the cruising blues and reds above Couchevel-Moriond 1650 in beautiful scenery? This area remains uncrowded even in the busiest of school holiday weeks. Search out little-used Grandes bosses and Gentiane for the slopes that make you feel (if not look) like you’re skiing like a pro.

3:00 pm

The pick of the pistes for the afternoon are accessed via the Biollay and Vizelle lifts. As you ascend, settle back and enjoy the views. The pistes here are directly north facing, keeping the snow in lovely condition all afternoon. Up the top there’s the Combe des Pylones, a much-underrated black. The gentler gradient of the Biollay blue is kinder to tiring muscles, although there are some steeper sections to keep you on your toes.

4:00 pm

While the crowds gather at La Folie Douce Méribel for après with DJs, party people also flock to Le Cap Horn. On sunny days, the terrace comes alive with music and dancing as everyone shares the moment of joy when you realize there is nowhere on earth you’d rather be than enveloped in these snowy mountains.

5:30 pm

We don’t say ski in and spa out lightly: after a day on the slopes, Six Senses Spa Courchevel is a must, to restore your energy levels and soothe aching bones in the sauna and steam facilities before enjoying a massage. The Arnica and Ginger Hot Oil Massage will prepare you for a peaceful slumber and slope ready to shoop shoop the next morning. If you’ve pushed it to your edges, you can combine a restorative deep tissue massage with Normatec leg compression therapy to enhance blood flow and lymphatic fluid removal. To counteract the effects of sun and wind on the face, a 30-minute skin booster facial turns down the glow before heading out for dinner.

7:30 pm

On the ground floor, Sumosan restaurant serves up contemporary Japanese fusion cuisine including such delights as furikake-crusted rack of lamb, tuna and truffle rolls and squid or unagi sushi, torched table-side. There’s also the option to arrange a private chef in your residence or snow scooter to a woodcutter’s hut for an evening of music, wine, and traditional Savoyard cuisine.

As late as you like

Senses Residences Courchevel’s prime location means the entertainment continues, with everything from bars and nightclubs to slightly more alternative activities such as night-skiing or even driving a giant piste basher to prepare for the perfect carve the next day.

Just make sure you’re ready for the first lifts the next day!


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