Courchevel Off-Piste


Guide 2 Saulire

The couloirs from the top of the saulire lift dominate the Courchevel skyline. The couloirs can be seen to the right (skiers left) of the Saulire télépherique and are easily identifiable from the Combe de Saulire run. In fact it is probably a good idea to ride down the Combe de saulire first and look up the couloirs to get an idea of the snow conditions and pitch etc. If you want to ride these couloirs you better get there early, if the snow is good and the sun is shining they get tracked out pretty quick unfortunately.

There are several couloirs (please see picture below) The first is 'Panoramique' which lies between the first two rock outcrops and to the left as you look up the hill. The second 'Sous-Pylons' lies directly beneath the Saulire télépherique. The third 'Emile Allais' lies to the right of this and the third, generally considered the easiest called the 'Grand Couloir' to the right of this.

In terms of rider ability and fitness the couloirs are relatively easy to access. The gradients change from couloir to couloir and the width varies also. The easiest by far is the Grand Couloir, hence it gets tracked out very quickly. The couloirs do slip quite easily, usually only a small amount so please ensure that you have all the appropriate equipment for off piste riding. Unlike the riding on Vizelle covered in Guide 1 there are no easy ways out if you decide that it is too much for you so make sure you are ready before dropping in. It is probably a good idea to start with the areas covered in Guide 1 before attempting the couloirs. Please see the piste map and photo guide below for more information on the couloirs described below.

Panoramique Couloir

The Panoramique, like all the other couloirs is accessed from the Saulire télépherique. The Panoramique is a very short, but interesting couloir. You access it by passing the avalanche control and pisteurs station, then the Panoramique restaurant. Strap in and drop off the ledge where the path turns to the right. The first part of the descent is a south-east facing slope, at the foot of this turn a sharp left and ride down the narrow couloir between the two rocky outcrops.

The remaining couloirs all lie to the right of the Saulire télépherique. Nearly all the passengers will turn left after exiting the gondola, however to access the couloirs you must turn right. You will see a 2 metre wide track heading downwards, courchevel is to the right, Meribel to the left. At the start of the track there is often a noticeboard giving snow condition and avalanche warnings. Please only attempt these couloirs if you have enough experience, or employ a guide. to the left lies Couloir Tremplin, this drops into Meribel and is more technical than the courchevel couloirs....if you do this please make sure you have a 3 valley pass!

Sous Pylons

This Couloir has the great advantage of not requiring you not navigate the sometimes intimidating path. However there are several entry points along the path if you so choose, making this a great couloir to ride. The only time that the descent can be tricky is when the couloir is icy. Although Sous pylons looks the steepest and narrowest it is actually quite an easy couloir, and enjoyable. (Map location1)

Grand Couloir

The Grand Couloir's status changes from season to season. Sometimes it is classed as a Black run, other times off piste. It is by far the easiest couloir to ride, and is very enjoyable, especially when conditions are perfect with deep snow and sunshine. To access the couloir ride to the end of the path mentioned above, you then access a shallow bowl, covered with large bumps. This is your last chance to back out before entering the couloir. Take the fall line of this bowl towards the lowest point of the crest ahead. At this crest you can look down the slope towards 1850...This is Grand Couloir. Exit the couloir onto the Combe de Saulire run. (Map location 3)
Grand Couloir Courchevel

Emile Allais

This couloir lies between Grand couloir and Sous pylons. It is the hardest of the couloirs to find, however the entry points can be pinpointed on the ride up in the saulire télépherique. The first entrance is located at the end of the path. Ride into the bowl keeping to the right hand side. After a few metres you come to a dip, look for a Gasex pipe above to the right. This is the best point of entry. The second involves riding into the bowl further, almost to Grand couloir, but heading right to the then obvious entry point. Emille Allais is probably the trickiest couloir. If you enjoyed Grand couloir you will definitely enjoy Emile Allais, if you did not enjoy Grand couloir stay away from Emille Allais, Sous Pylons and the final couloir Croix des Verdons. (Map location 2)

There are other Couloirs along from these, however these are the main ones and the easiest to access. There is better riding to be had elsewhere in and around the resort. Check the Off Piste section for other guides.
Courchevel off piste map
Courchevel off piste saulire

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