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.
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!
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)
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)