Fine skiing in the Valle d’Aosta

27th October 2009, by Chris Gill

Quiet slopes in the Aosta Valley

Quiet slopes in the Aosta Valley

Thinking about skiing in Italy? The Aosta Valley can reasonably claim some of Italy’s best skiing and most reliable snowfall. And while the big names satisfy most tastes and levels, it might surprise you to know there are lots of smaller places to discover too.

Where is it?

The Aosta Valley (Valle d’ Aosta) sits north of Turin and is bordered by France at its head and Switzerland to the north, with a string of 4000m peaks on both sides: Mont Blanc, Monterosa and Grand Paradiso… Central to the region is Aosta, a lovely old town steeped in Roman history that is also a ski resort (linked by gondola to Pila). It makes a good base for exploring the area.

As well as the big names such as Cervinia, La Thuile and Courmayeur, there are lots of smaller resorts in the Aosta region – over 20, in fact. Many of these are better suited to cross-country skiing than downhill, but they all offer quiet, traditional places to stay if that’s what your after. Or you could combine them as part of a touring holiday.

Where to ski?

Most skiers and boarders head for the valley’s major resorts, listed above and also the Monterosa ski area (Champoluc and Gressoney). All of these offer fairly extensive slopes and a choice of traditional villages or purpose-built bases, but what about the smaller places?

Powder fest in Paradiso: try Valgrisenche, Italy’s ‘hidden’ heli-drop resort. This small village is about 10km up a side valley between Courmayeur and Aosta, and opens up some of the area’s best heli-skiing on the Italian-French border. Drops start above 3000m and some of the runs take you down to Ste-Foy-Tarentaise in France.

Skin and glide: Cogne and Rhêmes Notre Dame are two traditional villages that offer a handful of hotels and guest houses. They make popular Nordic and ski touring bases, with limited downhill slopes.

Family-friendly: Try the alternative Monterosa; the tiny Antagnod and Brusson ski areas give uncrowded, gentle slopes close to the main resorts. Or you could opt for the tiny areas off the valley road to Cervinia, such as Chamois. In the south, Champorcher and its 20km slopes make a close choice to Turin.

The Aosta Valley lift pass covers most of these resorts, and including La Rosière in France.

Fine food?

It wouldn’t be Italy without fine, traditional local dishes and wines. And Aosta is no exception: the region produces several notable delicacies – try Crème Cogne, which is a rich dessert made with eggs, cream, hazelnuts and sugar. There is a good selection of regional wines too, from the rich-bodied Pinot Noir reds to Chambave Muscat and Nus Malvoisie whites.

Staying there:

A good starting point is the Aosta Valley tourist board website at which gives a short summary of the resorts and a selection of accommodation and activities in the area. You can also add on ski extras, such as lift passes and transfers.

Getting there:

The nearest airports are Turin, Geneva and Milan. It takes 1.5-2 hours to reach Aosta from Turin, or resorts such as Courmayeur and La Thuile from Geneva. The SAVDA bus runs from Turin airport to Aosta twice daily from 7 euros one-way, with onward connections to Pila, Courmayeur, Cogne and La Thuile. But there are plenty of private mini-bus transfer companies too.

Back to features

Recent features

Popular features

Share |