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From snowkiting to heliskiing, here are some of the top high-adrenalin experiences to enjoy in Italy's Aosta Valley ski resorts.

Photo: Society of Alpine Guides - Gressoney/Monte Rosa

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The Aosta Valley is pretty much the perfect ski destination. Surrounded by the highest mountains in Europe, including Mont Blanc, the Aosta Valley has 19 resorts, more than 800 kilometres of slopes, 8 snow parks and a single ski pass.

But it's also a hugely versatile winter destination, with a range of other sporting activities to enjoy such as ski mountaineering or an Aosta Valley freeride adventure.

Where is the Aosta Valley?

The smallest region of Italy located in the north west corner of the country; the Aosta Valley region boasts spectacular scenery, world-class skiing and snowboarding, food of the highest quality and a history stretching back to Roman times.

At the heart of the Alps and bordered by France and Switzerland, Aosta Valley is surrounded by some of Europe's highest peaks: Cervino, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc, which at 15,781 feet is the highest mountain in Europe.

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.

Photo: Aosta Valley Tourism

What is it like to ski the Aosta Valley?

The Aosta Valley promises fun and winter sports, across five large ski areas and numerous resorts suitable for the whole family, with terrain to suit every level. As well as the household names like Cervinia, La Thuile, Courmayeur and Monterosa, there are many smaller resorts tucked away from the main tourist areas which have unspoilt, expert terrain to explore and activities to try such as ski mountaineering and ice climbing.

And it's not all about staying on piste. There's plenty of opportunity to find some of that famous Italian off piste skiing in the Aosta Valley, to get off the beaten track with ski touring, to rack up the miles with some cross country skiing, and, for the true powder hunters, you can even go heliskiing.

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.

The top five adrenaline-fueled things to do in the Aosta Valley

Photo: Daniel Taylor


Often associated with the wilds of Canada, there are few greater thrills in skiing than to be whisked to the highest points of a remote peak for descents on untracked powder snow. It's a truly unforgettable experience.

The availability of wonderful off-piste itineraries along with the thrill of flying make heli-skiing in the Aosta Valley an unmissable excursion for expert skiers (accompanied, of course, by mountain guides).

The Aosta Valley is one of the few places in Europe where you can actually go heliskiing – and at very competitive prices too, making it one of the best destinations for the sport. From Courmayeur, there are several heliski excursions across the valley, allowing you to reach the parts normal ski lifts can't reach. Heliskiing is also available from Gressoney for those wanting to explore the Monterosa on another level, with superb off-piste opportunities and an incredible heliski area available. La Thuile also offers reasonably-priced heliskiing with heli-lifts available across the Aosta region.

Photo: P. Celesia


This bewitching cross between snowboarding and flying a kite is another adrenaline-fuelled experience available in Aosta - the snow-clad version of kitesurfing. The home base for this activity is La Thuile, where a wide area dedicated to the sport lies at 2,188m at the Little-Saint-Bernard pass and in Vetan, a small town at an altitude of 1,700m in the municipality of Saint-Pierre.

Thanks to the wind lift, the kite flies and enables the snowboarder or skier to surf on the snow and have fun with jumps and evolutions. By exploiting the wind’s power you can both ascend and descend slopes, meaning hours of uninterrupted fun.

The activity is suitable for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, there are instructors available and it can be practiced with ski, snowboard or telemark equipment.

Photo: Jeantet Stefano

Ski Mountaineering

The ultimate extension of off-piste disciplines such as ski touring or freeriding, ski mountaineering is the one that calls for the most experience. It involves climbing a mountain to then descend on your skis - so a combination of backcountry skiing and mountaineering. Aosta offers various ski mountaineering itineraries that can be practiced at all levels, based on individual athletic and skiing ability, ranging from climbs of a couple of hours on open slopes to more days on the glaciers.

It's also an activity you can explore in some of Aosta's smaller resorts such as Brusson, Chamois or Gressoney-St-Jean. For those ski mountaineers with a good ski level, there is also the Gran Paradiso, the only 4,000m mountain located entirely in Italy. The region is also the scene of major competitions such as the Tour du Rutor or the legendary Mezzalama Trophy on the epic route from Breuil-Cervinia to Gressoney-La-Trinité.

Photo: P. Celesia

Freeride skiing

For adrenaline lovers, freeriding is the ultimate expression of the freedom of skiing and snowboarding - and in Aosta Valley, freeride skiing is a delight. Steep gullies, kilometres of unmarked paths and powder slopes transform the terrain and if the snow conditions are right, make it possible for you to experience the snow in a completely different way. The snow parks in the region are also an ideal place for freestylers, who want to focus on style, competition and speed.

The Monterosa Ski Area is an ideal domain for off-piste skiing, from the tracks of the Champoluc woods to those of the Salati Pass and the 3,275m of the Indren glacier, which can be easily reached with the Funifor Passo dei Salati-Indren cable car service. The Monterosa handily indicates the freeride areas on its piste map, with the label 'freeride paradise'!

In Pila there is a specific freeride track that consists of a magic carpet lift with a plexiglass cover that leaves from Couis 1 station and allows you to come down from the Platta de Grevon, at 2,700m high to the Plan de L’Eyve. The landing of this slope is left untouched for a few days after a snowfall, after which it is then prepared.

Courmayeur is a must for off piste lovers. The cable cars at Youla and Arp access superb slopes with pure snow, including the Chécrouit canals. Vieille, Cresta Youla and Dolonne have powdery snow well into the season and you'll usually find great untouched areas. The Skyway Monte Bianco takes you to two exciting off-piste slopes: the scenic Vallée Blanche and the Toula glacier.

The Crévacol station, in the Gran San Bernardo area, also gives freeride and snowboarding enthusiasts fun off piste slopes.

Photo: Paolo Rey

Ice climbing

For an altogether different winter experience in the Aosta Valley, you can hire a guide and climb some of the area's frozen waterfalls, before abseiling back down. Two parallel waterfalls near Cortoz Alp, close to Saint-Jacques village, are typically the first to freeze over each winter, as they’re in a shady spot at an altitude of 2,180m.

Alternatively, explore some of the 150 or so falls around Cogne, such as the 250m-long Patrì in Valnontey village, or tackle the ice waterfalls around Rhêmes-Notre-Dame.

Book your trip to the Aosta Valley

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. BOOK NOW!


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