Situated at the head of the Aosta valley at the foot of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur and the hamlets of Entreves, La Palud, Dolonne and the Val Ferret offer visitors something for everyone. The peace and quite of the historic villages of Entreves, La Palud and Dolonne through to the night life and retail shopping of Courmayeur centre. There is an enormous amount of history here and with some of the most wonderful mountains around, you cannot help but be inspired.
The skiing is fantastic with access to the main ski areas of Plan Checrouit, Val Veny and the off-piste accessed by the Mont Blanc lift system, there is something for everyone. In addition on the main ski pass, you have access to La Thuile, Cervinia as well as other resorts along the Aosta valley.
More about Courmayeur
Courmayeur is one of the most historically important villages in the Alps.
Winter sport in Courmayeur originates in the early 20th century with the creation of the Ski Club Monte Bianco in 1912. In 1915 they held the largest Italian ski race in the resort. Existing hotels expanded and new hotels were built. In 1939, the first lift was opened from La Dolonne to Plan Checrouit and then this was replaced in 1952 with a new lift from Courmayeur to Plan Checrouit. Nowadays lifts run from both locations still arriving at Plan Checrouit.
In this same period, between 1946/47 the lift up to the Torino hut from La Palud (now called the Funivia Monte Bianco) was opened. This development and opening of these lifts made Courmayeur more internationally recognised and consolidated it as a true winter tourist destination. It was truly ground breaking in global terms. This has of course continued to be the case.
The Grivel Family
For many years the "Grivel family" has been one of the most famous in the village and is now a globally recognised name. In reality the family was of "Walser" origin, however Dominique Grivel arrived in Courmayeur and in 1876 founded the Grivel foundary in Dolonne. In 1912 the Englishman Oskar Eckenstein commissioned Henry Grivel (son of Dominque) to create the first ice axe. Henry took this as an opportunity and gained a reputation for creating very reliable equipment. This formed the basis for the growth of the Grivel name in Courmayeur and in mountaineering circles supplying equipment to English expeditions to K2 and Everest in the 1950's. The passion and history has continued over the years with first ascents and numerous new products being produced by members of the next generations of the family.
Now at Dolonne you will find the 4810 ski equipment store... owned and run by one section of the family... in Hotel Crampon, you will come across "Granny Grivel"... also the family own and run one of the restaurants at Plan Checrouit... the family continues to be very active in the region.
Restaurants and Bars
Throughout Courmayeur, La Dolonne, Enteves and La Palud as well as in between, there are many restaurants and bars available.
In addition to many of the hotels which offer excellent food the nightlife in the centre of the town is full of atmosphere.
The village of Pre Saint Didier is home to the local swimming pool. A 10 minute drive down the valley or indeed a bus ride away, this is a relatively new complex which is located right next to the Thermal baths of Pre Saint Didier...
In the summer, there is also an open air swimming pool at Plan Checrouit. Either walk up the first part of the mountain from where you will see the pool area (on the eft hand side of the pistes) or take the lift station from either La Dolonne or Courmayeur (depending on which is open). Note that the lifts open normally from the first few weeks in July. The open air pool has views over the valley and across to the Mont Blanc. Unspoilt and really not busy, this is a great place to relax and enjoy the mountains whilst being able to cool off from the summer sun. Basic meals and drinks are also available from the small bar.
Sports and Fitness Centre
The sports and fitness centre next to the bottom of the La Dolonne lift station is an awesome facility. Open to the public all year around, the centre offers a full size ice rink where ice hockey and ice skating competitions take place. Curling, squash, a climbing wall, and fitness centre are on offer as well a tennis.
There is a large indoor tennis area and you can play throughout the year. There are 4 indoor courts and a range of outdoor clay courts.