Russian Season Starts in Courchevel

The French ski resort Courchevel has in recent years been adopted by wealthy holidaymakers from the ex-Soviet Union during the Russian Season in January when millionaires arrive to celebrate here New Year and Orthodox Christmas.

The new Russian season in Courchevel is just about to commence in a few ticks (of course if Moscow’s airports will be operating in that wet weather). And up a mountain in a snowy corner of France, thousands of Russians will gather again to savor, shop, party and perhaps even to ski at some stage.

Courchevel sits in the French Alps, the world’s largest skiable area, with 375 miles of groomed pistes. The richest Russians have lighted on Courchevel 1850 (the resort’s highest and most expensive village) as a vacation spot in the first two weeks of the year.

People coming here are prepared to shell out up to $40,000 for a luxury chalet.

Russian billionaires, including Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Prokhorov and Roman Abramovich, all have holidayed in Courchevel.

What makes that usually quiet place so popular among oligarchs and their extensive entourage?

First of all it’s the resort’s discretion that attracts super rich.

At the same time the resort has a brochette of boutiques from Dior to Hermès and art galleries. It has two Michelin-starred restaurants and 15 four-star hotels. Exuberant nightlife is one of Courchevel’s attractions; these include nightclubs like Byblos and Les Caves.

Cash flow from former Soviet-Union doesn’t stop. It was Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk who celebrated his 50th birthday with the $6.2 million mega-party in Courchevel last week.

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