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The smallest region of Italy, Aosta Valley boasts spectacular scenery, world-class skiing, superb food, and a history stretching back to Roman times.

Photo: Lorenzo Belfrond

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Surrounded by the highest mountains in Europe, including Mont Blanc, the biggest of all. the Aosta Valley is the ideal winter sports destination, with 19 resorts, more than 800 kilometres of slopes, 8 snow parks and a single international electronic ski pass.the smallest Italian region.

A popular holiday destination with everyone from pro skiers to families, the variety of ski terrain on offer draws visitors year after year, offering everything from challenging freeride and black pistes, to wonderful ski schools and easy slopes for beginners.

There really is something to discover for everyone in Aosta Valley - from the international ski resorts of Breuil-Cervinia and La Thuile, to the challenging slopes of Courmayeur and Monterosa (Champoluc and Gressoney), and all the way through to the family-friendly resort of Pila.

Discovering the Aosta Valley region is an exploration into authenticity. Aosta is an autonomous and bilingual region (Italian-French), which entrances visitors as much by its art of living, gastronomy and its history, as by its geography and its nature.

One of the elements that makes the Aosta Valley so interesting as a ski destination is the rich history of it's high altitude resorts- from spectacular Roman ruins, beautiful churches and fascinating archaeological sites of Aosta town, to the ancient castles dotting the valley.

A trip here is a trip to the heart of the Alps, in Italy, at the gates of France and Switzerland.

Photo: Enrico Romanzi

Where is the Aosta Valley?

At the heart of the Alps and bordered by France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley, located in Italy’s Northwest area is composed of a central valley crisscrossed by the Dora Baltea, from which 14 side valleys extend, carved by glaciers and torrents. The Valle d'Aosta has always been an important crossroads in the Western Alps, linked to France by the Mont-Blanc tunnel and the pass du Petit-Saint-Bernard and to Switzerland via the Grand-Saint-Bernard pass and tunnel.

With Turin, Milan and Geneva airports all within easy reach, the Aosta Valley resorts are among the easiest to get to from the UK making it an ideal destination for a weekend or short break, as well as longer trips.

What's it like to ski in the Aosta Valley?

Aosta Valley offers a season of fun and winter sports in all shapes and forms, across five large ski areas and numerous resorts suitable for the whole family, with terrain to suit every level. And it's not all about staying on piste. There's plenty of opportunity to find some of that famous Italian off piste skiing, get off the beaten track with ski touring, rack up the miles with some cross country skiing, and, for the true powder hunters, you can even go heli skiing.

Want to rest your ski legs or travelling with non skiers? Why not go snow shoeing in pristine snow, head to a viewing platform to take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains, have some family fun with tobogganing or ice skating, or explore the charming local towns and villages.

Read on for a closer look at six fantastic Aosta Valley ski resorts:

Photo: Aosta Valley Tourism

La Thuile ski resort

A great choice for advanced skiers looking to ski fresh tracks. La Thuile offers a mix of magnificent intermediate terrain, great red runs and ferocious blacks through the trees, family-friendly blues and good nursery slopes for beginners. Its ski area - the Espace San Bernardo - is shared with the French Tarentaise resort of La Rosière, offering the novelty of cross-border slopes, and heli-skiing from the Italian side, with routes into France.

In addition to 39 modern and fast ski lifts, 119 runs and more than 160 km of pure fun, the Espace San Bernardo also includes 2 slalom stadiums, 1 snow park, 1 boarder cross track, 2 fun cross areas, 1 zone of safe freeriding, 1 snow kite area at Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo, easily reachable via the ski lifts, 1 Artva zone for the study of the fundamentals of safety (on and off the slopes). It also has the first ski lift in Europe to be equipped with a ski sauna! Ride the Double Mono Cable to Les Suches (2,200 m) and, you can enjoy wonderful views of La Thuile ski area, while delicate fragrances pamper the senses, transporting you to the fragrant world of QC Terme.

La Thuile is also perfect for those who love slower holidays, in contact with unspoiled nature and fresh snow. Cross-country skiing and fat biking are just some of the activities that can be practiced in this enchanting place. There are also opportunities for off-piste enthusiasts to try some acrobatic jumping on snowboards or in the more adrenalin-fueled freeriding.

This rustic, traditional ex-mining community has a certain charm that more famous resorts can't match. The heart of La Thuile village has a pleasantly quiet and traditional ambiance and contains a decent selection of local shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Transfer: Turin (2hrs); Geneva (2hrs)

Photo: Enrico Romanzi

Breuil-Cervinia ski resort

With access to Europe’s highest lifts, Breuil-Cervinia links with Valtournenche, and also Zermatt in Switzerland, to offer 360km of pistes, with an abundance of great cruising runs. Heli-skiing and a fantastic snow park are on the menu too! Cervinia sits in a rugged high-altitude basin in the lap of Monte Cervino (better known in English by its Austrian name, the Matterhorn) and Piccolo Cervino (the Klein Matterhorn), at the head of a long side valley that rises north from the Valle d'Aosta.

After years of groundbreaking work, the vision of an all-season link between Breuil-Cervinia and Zermatt has become a reality. The opening of the new 3S cableway from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Mountain station at 3,883m to the Testa Grigia valley station marks the completion of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. This will be a fantastic link, both for skiers looking to rack up the miles, and non-skiers looking explore even further. The new route includes the highest border crossing by cable car in the Alps at a staggering 3,480m.

The resort is actually a good choice for beginners and intermediates. The ski area is mostly comprised of easy to mid-range blue and very light red runs, and piste grooming here is of a consistently high standard, making this a great playground for keen intermediates who enjoy big-mileage cruising and big-mountain landscapes. This area is also home to some famous slopes such as the descent of the Ventina that reaches the town rom Plateau Rosà, or the 'Reine Blanche' (White Queen), which is the longest route in the area, 22 km of descent, starting from the Klein Matterhorn down to Valtournenche.

The town of Cervinia - originally known as Breuil-Cervinia - contains plenty of cosy cafés, excellent restaurants and a fair number of upmarket hotels.

Transfer: Turin (1hr 40mins); Geneva (2hrs 20mins)

Photo: Aosta Valley Tourism

Champoluc ski resort

With access to 180km of pistes, surrounded by wooded terrain and based at one end of the Monterosa ski area, Champoluc boasts spectacular glacier views. It benefits from access to the whole Monterosa circuit, renowned for its uncrowded slopes and fabulous off-piste.

Monterosa Ski Group is one of the largest existing systems of ski areas. MonterosaSki makes it possible to choose among four valleys and more than 100 km of slopes, where expert skiers and beginners can spend the perfect holiday: from the historic Champoluc and Gressoney-La-Trinité up to Alagna Valsesia, in Piedmont, to the slopes of small resorts such as Brusson, Antagnod (Val d'Ayas) and Gressoney-Saint-Jean up to the Champorcher valley, in the Mont Avic Park.

Champoluc at 1,570m is the main resort in the Val d'Ayas. Surrounded by pine woods, it offers spectacular views of the Monte Rosa glaciers and the rocky buttresses of Mont Sarezza and the Testa Grigia. Antagnod above at 1,710m also has spectacular views as well as well preserved old buildings, including the famous "maison Fournier" once the stronghold of the counts of Challant. 

Transfer: Turin (1hr 30mins)

Couple sat on ski lift with mountains in background: Courmayeur, Valle d'Aosta
Photo: Enrico Romanzi

Courmayeur ski resort

Courmayeur ski resort is one of Europe's great Alpine resorts, set in the impressively scenic upper end of north-west Italy's historic Aosta Valley, and centred on a charming old village full of character, with a local ski area best suited to leisurely intermediates.

Nestled at the foot of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), Courmayeur is a traditional Italian resort with bags of character, and surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. The centre of the village is car-free with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, and a lively après-ski scene. Full of character and great ski terrain, Courmayeur is reachable via the Courmayeur cable car or the Val Veny cable car (Entrèves), and offers 18 ski lifts, +100 km of slopes and off-piste with a unique view of Mont Blanc.

Like Chamonix, on the French side of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is so much more than simply a ski resort - it's one of Europe's classic mountain towns. The biggest draw on the Courmayeur side lies at the hamlet of La Palud near Entreves: a cable car rises from here to the Punta Helbronner, giving access to some serious big-mountain off-piste terrain, including the famous Vallée Blanche descent to Chamonix. 

Courmayeur is a popular weekend retreat for visitors from Geneva, Turin and Milan, and the partly pedestrianised town centre has many smart shops, stylish café-bars, and quality restaurants. Overall, the town has a lovely civilised ambiance.

Transfer: Geneva (1hr 20mins); Turin (1hr 40mins)

Photo: Marco Spataro

Gressoney ski resort

The middle of the Monterosa ‘three valleys’, alongside Champoluc and Alagna, Gressoney is actually two villages: Gressoney-La-Trinité and Gressoney-Saint-Jean. Ideal for intermediates and experienced skiers, the resorts are unspoilt with authentic alpine ambience. A compact and key resort in the Italian ' Three Valleys' or Monterosa ski area, with a great deal to attract intermediate skiers and off-piste routes over to Alagna (or heli-skiing) for the more advanced.

The giant Monterosa ski area is one of the world's largest, and thanks to recent investment in new lifts you can now ski or board without needing to stop for 100km between the resorts of Champoluc, Gressoney and on to Alagna across three valleys. The skiing extends almost up to 3000m and there are spectacular views across Aosta Valley and Piedmont.

The Castore Snow Park, in the Gabiet basin in the Gressoney Valley, continues to expand its offering with more and more adrenalin and fun for those freestyle fanatics who just can't get enough acrobatics and jumps on the snow.

Transfer: Turin (1hr 30mins)

Photo: Mauro Paillex

Pila ski resort

A ski resort that's ideal for a city break. Sitting a 20-minute gondola ride above the Roman town of Aosta, and with beautiful views of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) and the Matterhorn, Pila is a modern, purpose-built resort, with an excellent snow record and superb snowmaking. There are 70 kms of perfect pistes rising up to 2,700m, maintained by more than 400 snow cannons, served by modern ski lifts, and offering a beguiling mix of tree-lined runs and vast, wide, open slopes. Its 30 slopes (4 blue, 22 red, 4 black), are suitable for all types of skiers from pros to families.

Pila's wide blues are great for novices, while intermediates will adore the host of red runs. For advanced skiers there are a few black runs, plus good off-piste, beautiful tree skiing and heli- and cat-ski options. The laid-back après ski is very Italian and for downtime family fun, try snow tubing, snowshoe walks and outdoor ice skating.

The valley town of Aosta is nothing short of a cultural delight. As you meander through the old streets of the historical centre, you will find that Aosta is like a large, open-air museum, with a wealth of Roman and medieval monuments, art exhibitions and prestigious buildings. It's also a buzzing Italian town full of interesting bars, boutiques and delicatessens.

Looking to the future, a new Pila-Couis gondola to improve access to one of the most iconic panoramic points of the Aosta Valley - Cima Couis 1 at 2,730m - has been green-lighted. When complete, from here, it will be possible to admire the peaks of some of the most famous mountains in the world such as Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the Grivola and the Gran Paradiso. With an avant-garde design integrated into the surrounding landscapes, this will be an exciting new addition to the Aosta Valley. Take a look below for a glimpse at what it will look like...

Transfer: Turin (1hr 30mins)

BOOK YOUR TRIP: Iglu Ski offers 7 nights at the 3* Hotel Le Rocher, Champoluc, Italy from £1,029 per person (was £1178), based on two sharing, half board, departing Birmingham (+£10 Edinburgh; +£20 Manchester; +£149 London Gatwick) on March 17, 2024 and including transfers.

The Rocher offers a relaxed and family atmosphere in traditional mountain surroundings and decor. The Hotel Le Rocher is situated in a tranquil area of resort of Champoluc only 400m from the nearest ski lift. The cross-country slope is just around the corner.


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