There can be few things more spectacular than driving out of the Mont Blanc Tunnel at sunset to be greeted by the majestic sight of iconic Mont Blanc, in all its snow-coated glory. Known as the ‘White Mountain’ it provided a mesmerizing view as I began the ascent to the exclusive resort of Courmayeur for a weekend of skiing, after a hiatus of 22 years away from the slopes.

Courmayeur Main

One the best snow sports and climbing communities of the Alps, Courmayeur’s proximity to both Geneva and Turin airports makes it a popular destination for weekenders from Britain and other countries. Its focal point is the pedestrianised Via Roma with its fabulous restaurants, designer boutiques, and a scattering of antique shops.

Courmayeur: Planning

Courmayeur Snowmobile

Weekend skiing at its best means maximum time on snow and minimum time away from work so achieving this involves detailed planning, professional help from a specialist tour operator – or both.

To make the most of a brief 48 hours in Courmayeur, the smart option is to employ the services of Momentum Ski, the in-the-know specialists in ski trips to the Alps who offer a personalised tailor-made service for short skiing breaks, arranging everything from lift passes and ski lessons to restaurant reservations, flights and accommodation.

Price: Weekend package prices start from around £450 per person for 3 nights B&B with return flights and transfers or car hire.

Courmayeur: Accommodation 

Courmayeur Hotel

Just 550 meters from the Courmayeur cable car, 5* Grand Hotel Royal e Golf offers guests easy access to the pristine slopes of the Aosta Valley. Dating back to 1854 the hotel is definitely a 5* location right on the Via Roma but possibly only a 4* superior overall. Its large, heated outdoor pool makes for a magical evening swim especially during snowfall followed by a trip to the hotel spa which for the sauna, hot tub, steam room and a full range of treatments.

The hotel’s ski-lodge inspired bar bustles with international cheers, live music and a occasional, in the small hours, sing-along. There’s an excellent Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, and the hotel’s exceptionally friendly and helpful staff make this a memorable and faultless stay.

Price: From £210 per night half-board for two people sharing a double or twin deluxe room, Grand Hotel Royal e Golf.

Courmayeur: Cuisine

Courmayeur Cuisine

There are few better calorie-burning and muscle-toning exercises than a day of skiing to fuel the appetite and Courmayeur is justly famous for its mountain restaurants and offers a fine selection of places to eat over lunch and après ski.

The restaurants get busy at peak times and advance booking is recommended in the most popular of the restaurants. Most menus will include dishes based around polenta, soup, pasta, local sausages, and the local Fontina cheese, but will also include pizza, sandwiches, salads, burgers, hot dogs and chips.

Keep the snow boots on for hearty lunch at the charming Chateau Branlant – a very popular choice, close to the Chiecco drag lift and for a spectacular setting, try La Chaumière bistro with views to savoured over one of their mouth watering dishes using only local ingredients. For après-ski dining and drinking, it has to be a Bond-esque snowmobile trip through the slopes up to Maison Vieille. This cosy old shepherds’ hut is run by the ever-cheerful Giacomo Calosi and the food and atmosphere is quite magnificent.

Where: Chateau Branlant/ Grivel / Masion Vieille 

Courmayeur: Apres Ski

Maison Vieille 2

With the main lift running until midnight, there’s a vibrant après scene up the mountain, as well as lively bar-hopping to be done in the village.

Le Privé cocktail bar is a cozy upstairs bar that opens just in time for the ‘aperitivo’ with great service, an expansive cocktail list and open until 2am. From there, if budget is not a problem, take a taxi to Courmaclub, out of the town centre at Dolonne in a building designed by architect Marco Lucchi, who is the name behind the Billionaire Club at Porto Cervo in Sardinia. Here you can dine and dance to the small hours to live music and famous DJs.

Where: Courmayeur Mont Blanc