News from the snow
La Rosière France
La Rosière sits on a sunny, south facing terrace in the famous Haute Tarentaise ski region of the French Alps, home also to neighbours Tignes, Val d'Isere, St Foy and les Arcs. It is also located close to the Vanoise National Park and Mt. Blanc. Built at a snowsure altitude of 1850m, the purpose-built resort has had controlled development using traditional methods and materials so is one of the more attractive. Wood, stone and slates are the main ingredients for building in the area with the finished architecture pleasing to the eye. In the resort itself you will find renovated and newly built chalets alike in a traditional style to add to the warmth of La Rosière A unique attraction is that the ski area continues across the Italian border and down to the resort of La Thuile in the Aosta Valley. Known as the Espace San Bernardo, the combined terrain has been constantly improved with two new six seater chairlifts added recently to further enhance the link which now extends to over 150 kms (93 miles) of piste. The Italian link also means the resort can offer heli-skiing, banned in France.
Purpose built in 1961 on a south-facing plateau to an attractive design sympathetic to Savoyard traditional architecture, this French family resort has been lift linked to Aosta Valley resort La Thuile since 1984-5 over the mountain border in Italy. The resort is especially recommended for children and also offers heliskiing in Italy.
Ski area planners have endeavoured to create a balance between easy and more technical runs, with always wide, long downhill slopes through the forest as well as a snowpark, plenty of off-piste possibilities and the rare French resort option of heli-skiing (in Italy).
The resort has excellent skiing for all ability levels with north facing slopes, which along with its proximity to Mont Blanc, normally ensuring good snow conditions.
Beginners have three free ski lifts and a dedicated area on green runs besides the Clarines and Lievre Blanc lifts.
Intermediates will enjoy the terrain the most with seemingly endless blue and red pistes on both sides of the border that radiate out to the peaks of Le Belvedere and Chaz Dura. The Nuova and San Bernardo runs combined give a wonderful 11km run down to La Thuile for a lunchtime pizza.
Look out for the Napoleonic Fort at the top of the Mountain (on the border) which is an interesting feature. The Petit St Bernard Pass comes over the mountain here and in winter the road is actually a ski run. Bizzarely you ski past a road sign with speed limits on it (though apparently no road in sight, so it appears as if it's a ski speed limit sign!).
Experts have sixteen blacks to choose from, some of the steepest down through the woods above La Thuile. The runs are graded according to their steepest, with the best (worst?) a rather intimidating 72% plunge. There's also good off piste and heli skiing available with a guide.
The Galopins kindergarten is open every day except Saturday and accepts children aged between 18 months and 12 years old. It offers numerous indoor and outdoor activities to interest the children.
Ski lessons are offered with qualified ski school instructors for children aged three and four years old in special snow gardens separated from the main slopes.
Throughout the season a wide range of events are organised for children including visits from Father Christmas, a Mardi Gras festival and Easter celebrations. There's also a weekly torchlit descent every Monday evening.
Le Turia is one of the best restaurants serving gourmet cuisine, Savoyard specialities and even does a special Libyan feast. L'Anolie and le Eenepi are also famous for their gastronomic cuisine.
Pizza is available at Le McKinley, Le McKinley - Le P'tit Creux and other restaurants, crepes at Le Pétrin. Don't forget after a morning's skiing you can always stop in an Italian restaurant to taste the Aosta dishes !
Le Petit Danois' is a popular après ski spot with a terrace home to cold beers, live music, dj's and barbecue. The Fusion Bar is another place to be seen in the winter season.
The resort stages weekly organised events for community and family-friendly après ski fun. These include torchlit descents, firework displays, concerts, live bands and various theme nights. For the 2007-8 season an indoor ice rink and bowling alley were added.
A new skiercross and boardercross course was added for the 06-07 season. The Snow Cross Zittieux was also added.
Elsewhere on the slopes the predominance of chair and gondola lifts makes getting around the big and varied area pretty well hassle free. The long blues and reds up above the treeline is great terrain and then down in the trees there are natural features to hit on.