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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Courchevel - Ski Resort

Courchevel is a famous ski area situated in the Savoie region of French Alps, part of Les Trois Vallees. It is one of the largest linked ski area in the world. Courchevel has an airport and a highway connecting it with the rest of the world. The resort was planned in 1942 by Vichy regime and a doctorate by the city planner Laurent Chappis. Chappis was a natural option to express the development of resort in the immediate post war years.

The towns in Courchevel are Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, and Courchevel 1850, which are named for their altitudes in metres. Courchevel 1300 is the name of the village Le Praz. Courchevel 1650 is the name of the place Moriond.The highest point in Courchevel 1850 is actually1747 meters, the name were selected for advertising motive to compete with arch competitors Val d'Isere. Courchevel 1850 was significant as it was the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch rather than based around an existing village. It therefore served as an open air laboratory of ideas.

The Courchevel valley includes the town of La Tania, built as competitors accommodation for 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Le Praz started Olympic ski jump in that year. There was a ski Jump in Courchevel 1850 on the snow front however it was removed recently due to safety precautions.

Courchevel airport has assured level of reputation in the aviation industry as it is one of the smallest runways in the world, with a distance of 525 metres and a slope of 18.5% to aid slow landing aircraft. The airport has a risky approach through deep valleys which is achieved only by especially licensed pilots. In airport there is no go-around procedure, as most of the worlds airports have on landing. It is a very sharp hill which has seen few accidents from the time when the airport first opened. Larger propeller aircraft such as the Twin Otter and Dash 7 have been usual customers of the airport which should carry upto 50 people, but have since been phased out of use and smaller Cessnas and helicopters are often seen sitting on the landing strip.

Courchevel's couloirs are renowned as some of the most difficult black runs in the world.Courchevel has one of the largest bases for ski instructors and other seasonals due to the size of the three valleys area.

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