COURMAYEUR, ITALY - A seductive village on the sunny side of Mont Blanc.

Courmayeur is very popular, especially at weekends, with the smart Italian set from Milan and Turin. It's easy to see why: it's very easy to get to and certainly the most captivating of the Val d'Aosta resorts.

The scenery, the charm and the nightlife must influence the many Brits who go there, too. Certainly, the slopes themselves are unlikely to be the main draw, given their limited range of difficulty, inconvenient location across the valley from the village and, particularly, their limited size. A keen slope-basher will cover Courmayeur in a day. Now the Mont Blanc tunnel is closed you don't have the option of a quick trip to Chamonix. The resort could make a jolly week for those who want to party as much as hit the slopes. It also appeals to those with quite different ambitions who want to explore the spectacular Mont Blanc massif with the aid of a guide and other local peaks with the aid of a helicopter.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Charming, traditional village, with car-free center and stylish shops

+ Stunning views of Mont Blanc massif

+ Pleasant range of intermediate runs

+ Comprehensive snowmaking

+ Good mountain restaurants

+ Lively, but not rowdy, apr├Ęs-ski

+ Good base for heli-skiing

? Lack of nursery slopes and easy runs for beginners to progress to

? No tough slopes

? Relatively small area, with mainly short runs; high-mileage slope bashers will get bored in a week

? Slopes very crowded on Sundays

? Tiresome walk and cable-car journey between village and slopes