Imagine a museum where the artwork on display is nature in its rawest form – towering granite spires soaring high up into the heavens like prehistoric stone giants, serpentine rivers of ancient snow and ice snaking down steep mountain faces like white ribbons – and after seeing it, you could ski it!

You can access this incredible gallery of natural wonders via the Skyway Monte Bianco, which sits on the rooftop of Italy at 3466m (almost 12,000 feet), perched high above one of the alpine worlds most elegant ski resorts, Courmayeur. When a friend recently asked me to describe this incredible cable car attraction, and the unbelievable panoramic views it showcases, I replied, If youre a spiritual person who loves to visit churches and cathedrals, and youre also an art aficionado with a passion for museums and galleries, and a mountain lover, then Skyway Monte Bianco will definitely tick all of your boxes.”

My 48 hours in Courmayeur began just as my 48 hours in Chamonix, France was ending. Both  of these spectacular mountain resorts are part of the Best of the Alps group of premier European ski destinations, and are conveniently connected by a 30-minute car or bus journey through the Mont Blanc tunnel. Having begun my visit to Chamonix with a ride up toward the north side of Mont Blanc on the famed Aiguille du Midi cable car, I thought a trip up Courmayeurs futuristic Skyway Monte Bianco would be a great way to acquaint myself with the majesty of the south side of Mont Blanc, as the two sides of Western Europes highest peak (4810m) couldnt be more different.

While the north face of Mont Blanc massif, with its gently curved slopes, looks like a sleeping giant, the view of Monte Bianco (as its called in Italia) from the south on the Courmayeur side resembles a close-up into the razor sharp-toothed mouth of Jaws, the iconic great white shark from the 1975 classic Hollywood thriller. Courmayeur also tends to get more sunshine than Chamonix, so its entirely possible to have clouds on the French side of Mont Blanc, and beautiful bright skies on the Italian side a mere 13 kms away through the tunnel.

Finished in 2015, the Skyway Monte Bianco is a marvel of extreme engineering and architecture. For about 60 Euros visitors can take a high tech, spherical cable car to Punta Helbronner, the highest point on the Skyway at 3466m, to experience what locals call a cathedral in the sky” – and it seriously does have a cathedral vibe, kind of like an outdoor Notre Dame de Paris. Riding up these rotating alpine space ships is a fabulous way to see some of the most unbelievably dramatic mountain scenery on the planet without breaking a sweat hiking and climbing.

The Pavillion” mid-station houses a restaurant, a bar, a wonderful winery called Cave Mont Blanc, a museum, a botanical garden during summer, and an alpine cinema. At the top of the Skyway (aka Punta Hellbroner), riders have access to various mountaineering routes, the 24-kilometer Vallée Blanche ski trail down to Chamonix, as well as more extreme options back to Courmayeur. For those who want to stay inside during their visit, the top station also has a dazzling collection of mountain gems in the Crystal Room, a 360-degree observatory, a transparent walkway, and a wide assortment of delicious offerings at Kartell Bistrot Panoramic – Italys highest café/restaurant. You can even get married at the top station and tell your friends and family you got hitched at Italys highest wedding venue!

After taking in some of the most famous mountain peaks in the world (Les Dames Anglaises, Les Grandes Jorasses, LAiguille des Glaciers, Dent du Géant) like I was wandering through the galleries at The Louvre, I made my way back down the Skyway into Courmayeur to check into my home for the next two days, the wonderfully charming Hotel Berthod, a fabulous, family-run, 4-star boutique hotel just off the towns cobblestoned main street. Heres what the next 48 hours in one of Italys most upmarket ski towns looked like…


Not surprisingly, Courmayeur, just like every other ski town Ive visited in Italy, has some of the best food in the Alps – especially on-mountain. In fact, there are more on-mountain restaurants in Courmayeur than ski lifts, and this resort has 18 ski lifts! So before we talk skiing, lets talk food…

Kartell Bistrot Panoramic

It would be easy to say come for the views, stay for the food when discussing this delectable, high-altitude bistro (billed as Italys highest café) but that would be facetious, as the dining experience at Kartell Bistrot Panoramic is as phenomenal as the 360-degree views it offers almost 3500 meters above Courmayeur.

A collaboration between Skyway Monte Bianco, and Kartell, the iconic Italian design company headquartered in Milan thats been making cutting-edge home furnishings since 1949, the Bistrot Panoramic offers its patrons a wide assortment of coffees, alcoholic beverages, desserts, and hearty mountain main dishes using locally sourced ingredients from the lush Aosta Valley.

The jaw-dropping splendor of the peaks that encircle Courmayeur like a jewel-encrusted crown, and the fact that I was running around (inside and out) snapping photos and shooting videos like a little kid hopped up on sugar helped me build up a big appetite. Starved as I was, I selected a velvety polenta with melted Fontina cheese and stewed wild boar, sooooo amazing! For dessert I scarfed down a very light and fluffy Panna Cotta, topped with a heavenly red berry coulis, and washed it down with a fabulous Génépy liqueur made from mountain flowers gathered right outside the gondola station.

Goù Courmayeur

After settling into my room at the Hotel Berthod I dove head-on into La Dolce Vita, and met a local friend named Alessandra Borre (who also happens to be the marketing and communications manager for Courmayeurs tourist office) at Goù, a super hip wine and coffee bar on the towns chic main drag Via Roma, for a little pre-dinner snack and bevy session.

As it wasnt super cold, we took advantage of a balmy early March evening by sitting outdoors and consequently crushed a tasty charcuterie board full of local cheeses and cold cuts by candlelight. You can get all kinds of hot and cold beverages at Goù, but I highly recommend an exceptionally tasty local beer from the Microbirrificio Courmayeur Mont Blanc which I absolutely loved, and my first ever Génépy Spritz! If youre a fan of Aperol Spritz, youll love this cocktail as its just as refreshing, and made with Génépy, the most popular sweet mountain liqueur in the Aosta Valley.


I was craving a nice steak on my first night in Courmayeur and was advised that Aria, located in the four-star Maison Saint-Jean Hotel would be a great restaurant to devour one. Arias rustic wood-panelled walls, chiseled stone arches, and elegant mountain decor were the perfect backdrop for an exquisite dining experience.

The Filletto di manzo Valdostano I ordered was cooked to perfection (medium rare), and served with a side of devilishly delicious spinach and potatoes. Paired with an ultra-smooth Semel Pater pinot noir from Maison Anselmet, an outstanding local winery, made the meal even better. At one point, in between courses, our server brought out a scrumptious Mocetta (one of the most famous cured meats in the Aosta Valley, seasoned and flavored with local herbs) served with a nut mayonnaise and a little salad, it was beyond delicious!

For dessert, I selected something Id ordered in Austria and Germany a million times, but never before in Italy – apple strudel –  which they call strudel di mele” in this part of the world. Definitely one of the best apple strudels Ive ever tasted, Arias take on this alpine classic, was delicate, flaky, and the apples were not overly sweet. Plated with a generous dollop of cinnamon gelato, I am salivate as I writes dis and not know how what say, and am start lose train thought clarity and looz focusssssssssssssssss…… (Editors Note: the writer was drooling in a trance-like state like Homer Simpson eyeing a big box of donuts at this point in the story. We are pretty certain he started to have fits of bad spelling, grammar, and ultimately couldnt finish his sentence related to the apple strudel he was trying to describe. We decided not to edit his very poor writing in this instance to make sure readers understood exactly how much the writer loved this dessert.)

La Chaumière

I can not possibly imagine skiing at Courmayeur ever again and without stopping at La Chaumière for lunch or après drinks and nibbles…heres why…

After an absolutely epic day of hero snow under bluebird skies on my second day in Courmayeur (more on that later), my ski guide du jour Alessandra (or Alex as we call her), and I dropped into La Chaumière for a late, light lunch with some ski companions from the Netherlands.

There is something for everyone at La Chaumière, as its basically like two restaurants in one. You can have a full-on, high-end gourmet meal downstairs, or a more chill, low-key dining/drinking experience upstairs – either inside, or outside – on its roomy ski-in/ski-out patio area, with ridiculous views of the surrounding mountains. We opted for the outdoor, more-chill experience, as we couldnt resist the siren call of the sunshine and snow-capped peaks surrounding us!

Once seated, with all eyes fixed on the magnificent mountain panorama around us, we ordered an assortment of cold beverages – a chilled Aperol Spritz for me – and a massive, mouth-watering charcuterie board loaded with local cheeses, cold cuts, and homemade artisanal breads. As we closed in on finishing the charcuterie board, Alex dropped a Carbonara bomb” on us, telling us La Chaumières take on the classic Italian pasta dish was one of the best in Italy…so we ordered a big plate and shared. OMG…crispy guanciale pork jowls, pancetta pork belly, fresh pepper, eggs, pecorino, romano, and parmigiana never tasted so good!

I highly recommend this exceptional on-mountain restaurant, and its certainly at the top of my list of must-dines when in Courmayeur from this point on!

The Outsider

Run by Alessandro Invernizzi and Manuel Castelnuovo, a couple of industrious and highly entrepreneurial ski instructors, The Outsider is one of Courmayeur’s newest and coolest après ski bars, and its an excellent option if you like to see where real locals (skiers and people who work on the mountain) congregate when their day on the slopes is done.

We hit The Outsider after our late lunch at La Chaumière for liquid and non-liquid desserts (Aperol Spritz and homemade Tiramisu are an excellent combination…I say this from experience), some great music, more sunshine, and even more incredible views of the Mont Blanc range.

If youre really lucky, youll run into Mr. Invernizzi, a dark-haired, Miami Vice-era Don Johnson lookalike, with a killer goggle tan, and slicked-back hair wholl surely have a few hilarious Italian ski instructor stories to regale you with.


When youre visiting Courmayeur youll see the number 4810 all over the place. For starters its the height of Mont Blanc in meters, but more importantly, its a major brand in town that youll see on retail clothing and sports equipment shops, ski rental locations, and even a spacious, chic restaurant at the foot of Courmayeurs Dolonne cable car station.

Owned and operated by the Grivel family, this exceptional restaurant located in what was once a ski rental shop, opened four years ago and is now one of Courmayeurs most popular dinner spots. Decorated with colorful mountain art from the Aosta Valley, and a collection of incredible family photos and alpine memorabilia (ancestor Henry Grivel was the first person to commercially sell crampons in 1908), 4810 is a wonderful space for a meal after a long day on the slopes.

All your Italian food favorites are on the menu, with a vast selection of antipasti, grilled meats, pastas, and a wide selection of choices for vegetarians. I chose to go vegetarian on my last night in Courmayeur, and three of my selections were standouts I wont soon forget.

For my starter I chose a celestial creamy pumpkin and carrot soup topped with milk cream and cinnamon croutons. Next up was a superb, herbed ricotta gnocchetti with melted Fontina PDO cheese, pink pepper, and grilled onions paired with yummy local red wine called Vesan from the Nicola Del Negro company (a blend of Petit Rouge and Fumin, two fantastic local grape varieties).

The highlight of the night, was my dessert choice Lamponissimo” – which looked like a Barbie-themed pink birthday party on a plate, that tasted like ambrosia from the gods! A raspberry fluff enclosed in a half sphere of marzipan with a side of raspberry gelato, and Bourbon vanilla sauce…soooooo decadent, truly La Dolce Vita in its pinkest dessert form!

Cookies, cookies, cookies!

No one knows the ethnic origins of Sesame Streets Cookie Monster, but I suspect hes of Italian descent, and his ancestors may have immigrated to New York from Courmayeur. Why am I throwing this theory out there? Simple answer – cookies, cookies, cookies – which seem to be a national obsession in Italy, but nowhere more so (IMHO) than in Courmayeur.

My favorites were located at the Hotel Berthod where I was staying. And full disclosure, I Cookie Monstered an inordinate amount of sugar-encrusted Torcetti, crispy thin almond and hazelnut Tegole (an Aosta Valley speciality), and vanilla and chocolate Bacis with my morning doppio espresso as a pre-breakfast-main-dish sweet primi piatti ritual every day I was in Courmayeur.

If youre not lucky enough to be leaving a mountain of cookie crumbs on the breakfast restaurant floor of the Hotel Berthod, you can also score amazing cookies at pretty much all of Courmayeurs cafés. I gobbled more than a few while visiting the Café des Alpinistes located at the foot of the Skyway Monte Bianco, and they were absolutely fabulous!


If neighboring Chamonix on the other side of Mont Blanc is off-piste heaven, then Courmayeur is paradise on earth for skiers who love groomed slopes. Dont get me wrong, there is a ton, and I mean a ton, of incredibly challenging off-piste skiing in Courmayeur, and you can get as extreme as you want here, but if arcing beautiful turns on buttery snow is your thing, this resort is absolute magic!

My ski guide Alex (aka Alessandra Borre) grew up skiing in Courmayeur before she traded in her twin planks for a badass snowboard. When I asked her if we would find any good groomers in Courmayeur, she laughed.

Mike, Courmayeur is one big giant groomer, surrounded by endless off-piste choices. Italians adore groomed slopes, so youll find more than you can handle in one ski day alone here, trust me,” she replied with a chuckle.

With 18 lifts, and two mountain sides (Plan Checrouit and Val Veny) offering 100 kilometers of high altitude, south-facing, marked and off-piste trails (which are often bathed in sunshine, this town gets a ton of sun) Courmayeur is almost always a safe bet for ski holiday planners worried about snow conditions.

There are three gondolas that service the resort: The Courmayeur Gondola from downtown (which is also open late for people who want to have dinner on-mountain), the Val Veny Gondola that deposits users in the Pré de Pascal ski area on the Val Veny side, and the Dolonne Gondola, which a short walk or drive from the old part of Courmayeur that takes riders up to the Plan Checrouit ski area.

Given I only had one day on snow in Courmayeur, I was extremely fortunate to have Alex guiding me as she was intimately aware of every inch of this spectacular resort, and she loves to rip!

We started the day going up the Dolonne cable car, taking in otherworldly views of Courmayeur and the Aosta Valley basking in the warm glow of an early March morning sun. After arriving at Plan Checrouit, and quickly picking up some rental skis for me from Lo Chalet, a super efficient shop, with some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable ski and boot fitters Ive ever encountered, we hit the slopes!

Hungry for groomers, we spent the morning carving endless corduroy on Aretu, Youla, and the La Gabba trail, where we took in breathtaking views of the Val Veny side of the mountain and its multitude of freeride and off-piste runs. The high point for me were the laps we clocked on the Gigante piste, skiing in the shadow of Mont Blancs monumental south face.

Again, views are a big part of Courmayeur, whether youre looking at peaks from the top of the Skyway Monte Bianco, or stopping for photos while skiing. The scenery here can be overwhelming (in a very good way) if youre not used to mind-blowing mountain vistas at every turn. Some of the most glorious views at this resort are found from the top of the Gigante trail, where youll see the Mont Blanc massif in all its grandeur, as well the famed Dente del Gigante (Dent du Géant), Les Grandes Jorasses, and the Val Ferret (the valley at the Swiss border). Seeing them on a perfect bluebird day, stoked by the high of ripping lap after lap on perfect snow, is something I will never forget, and cant wait to experience again. If youve never skied Courmayeur, it really needs to get on your ski trip bucket list, and fast!


To be honest, most of the prime sightseeing in Courmayeur is best done on skis, a snowboard, or in hiking boots during the summer months, as this is not the place to go if youre looking for old churches, ancient Roman ruins, or museums full of renaissance art. The sights most worth seeing here are all connected to nature, and extremely accessible via the Skyway Monte Bianco or a ski lift pass thatll take you up to the slopes. Even Courmayeurs modern architectural masterpiece Jardin de lAnge” – the diametrical white metal chalet-like structure in the old part of town, pays homage to the Mont Blanc skyline and its sensational peaks.

As beautiful sights go, Courmayeurs old town, with its winding cobblestone streets, chic restaurants, cafés, and hotels is a real alpine gem, dripping with class and distinction. Its very easy to get lost wandering down its elegant Via Roma main street, whiling the hours away sipping cappuccinos, tasting wines and grappas, and feasting on some of the best Italian food on the planet.

When you’re not taking in the views in Courmayeur, you might want to go shopping, and trust me when I say shopping in this magnificent mountain town is both abundant, and incredible. Gucci, Balenciaga, Celine, Moncler, Falconeri, are just a few of the top luxury design houses with shops in Courmayeur. I didnt break the bank on this trip but did manage to rack up a few bills at some of these shops…

Robe di Kappa

A lover of all things Italian, I often hit Robe di Kappa for some kind of ski jacket or accessory related to the Italian National Ski Team as a souvenir, as they are the official clothing supplier to the Azzurri World Cup squad. On this trip I couldnt resist a super badass, limited edition (only 100 made)  black-on-black puffy ski jacket covered with embroidered black and gold velcro patches. For Americans visiting Courmayeur, this is also where you can score US Ski Team clothing, as Robe di Kappa also outfits the Murican World Cup crew too.

Café des Alpinistes

Coffee and cookies weren’t  the only thing I purchased at this stellar caffeine and sugar retailer located at the Skyway Monte Bianco. Café des Alpinistes also sells great Courmayeur souvenirs, including super cool ball caps and Alberta Ferretti sweaters emblazoned with SAVE THE GLACIER” made from recycled cashmere. A portion of the sales from Ferrettis limited edition collaborative capsule collection (created in conjunction with Skyway Monte Bianco) will be donated to support glacier safeguarding projects and initiatives in the Aosta Valley. I passed on the sweater, but did plunk down a few bucks for a couple of ball caps!

Gourmandises Mont Blanc

The staggering selection of beer, wine, chocolates, candies, teas, condiments, and jams at this captivating little shop is as astonishing as it is mouth watering…and its extremely hard not to be bewitched by its wares if youre not in a spending mood. Impossible to resist, no matter what your mood, is Gourmandises Mont Blancs beguiling assortment of scrumptious Italian cookies housed in vintage Courmayeur travel poster collector metal boxes. Make sure you have space and weight available in your check-in luggage as its impossible to leave Courmayeur without one of these fantastic little cookie tins!


Courmayeur is part of the prestigious Best of the Alps group of luxury European ski resorts. To find out more about Courmayeur go to

Another great website with lots of pertinent information about Courmayeur is

Courmayeur has a wide selection of hotels for every budget. For my stay, I chose the Hotel Berthod, a wonderful, 4-star boutique hotel owned and operated by four generations of the Berthod family since 1882. Hotel Berthod also offers elegant, furnished apartment suites with kitchenettes and living rooms for families. For more info go to

Courmayeur is easily accessible via Turin Caselle National Airport (150 km), Milans Malpensa (212 km), and Milans Linate (235 km) Airports or via Geneva Airport (115 km).