Warm sunshine in France and Italy

18th March 2014, by Chris Gill

The view from La Rosière on Monday afternoon 17 March

The view from La Rosière on Monday afternoon 17 March

Last weekend editor Watts and I arrived in the French Alps for a long-overdue short stay in La Rosière, a small family-oriented resort in the Tarentaise region – across the valley from Les Arcs, with great views of that and other resorts.

It’s an unusual place in several respects. It faces pretty much south, so is exceptionally sunny, but is also on the Alpine watershed between France and Italy, so it is exceptionally snowy too. And yes, you do get to ski in both Italy and France: there is a red-run link with Italian La Thuile.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the snow, given the recent and continuing hot weather. On the sunny French side, naturally, the snow was rock hard first thing and quickly went soft and then slushy, but on the Italian side there was plenty of packed powder on the easy black runs on the shady slopes above the San Bernardino pass, and even on the lower black slopes above the village of La Thuile we had decent conditions.

In one respect La Rosière is not so much unusual as unique: for some years the local branch of the French ski school has had a Brit, Yorkshireman Simon Atkinson, as its director. Result: lots of very satisfied British customers (as well as lots of French ones, no doubt).

We’ve been staying with Mountain Heaven, a small, dynamic outfit doing both catered chalets and self-catering accommodation. La Rosière is the firm’s best-selling resort, with an impressively high repeat booking rate.

We were accommodated in MH’s top-of-the-range Penthouse chalet, which as you would hope has a high-roofed living room enjoying that great view. It also has bedrooms that are gloriously spacious by the standards of catered chalets in general.

After three days here we are now off for a couple of days in Courchevel, staying in the lowest resort village, Le Praz. Mr Watts will be reporting from there real soon now …

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