A ski holiday means different things to different people – first lifts or lie-ins, pizza on the piste or fondue by the fire, bar time, spa time or snowy adventure time. You might prefer to be looked after in a half-board hotel or happy to do it yourself in a self-catering apartment. But whether you’re a beginner, mile-hungry intermediate or simply prefer to soak up the scenery, you’ll find plenty of contrast in Italy’s Aosta Valley resorts of Pila, Cervinia, Courmayeur, La Thuile and Gressoney.
One of Italy’s most popular ski resorts, thanks in part to its high, snowsure and sunny slopes. Most of these are wide and cruisey – ideal for beginners and intermediates – and the area links to the more challenging runs of Zermatt just across in Switzerland. The resort has a lively après scene with a wide range of bars, plus more than 50 cafes and restaurants, but also a huge choice of off-slope activities, such as dog sledding, outdoor ice skating, ice climbing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice karting, paragliding and helicopter rides.
Set above the Roman town of Aosta, and with beautiful views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, Pila is a modern, purpose-built resort, with an excellent snow record and superb snowmaking. Its 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 is very Italian and for downtime family fun, try snow tubing, snowshoe walks and outdoor ice skating.
Part of the cross-border Espace San Bernardo ski area, linking with La Rosière in France, La Thuile offers quiet slopes, modern lifts and hardly any queues – plus great conditions and amazing scenery. The resort is best suited to intermediates with some of the more challenging runs being those back into the village. There are some excellent Italian restaurants on the mountain, while the village has a relaxing vibe with a good range of bars. This winter you’ll find Crystal Childcare in the Planibel Hotel and Apartments.
A charming, high-end resort nestled below Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is a traditional village with cobbled streets, stylish shops and dozens of excellent cafés and bistros, all set within an attractive medieval centre. With more than 80% of the ski terrain covered by snow cannons, snow here is virtually guaranteed. Advanced skiers will also love the 22km Valle Blanche off-piste challenge. Off-slope family fun includes a pool with spa, indoor ice skating, a climbing wall, helicopter rides and snowshoe walking.
The resort of choice for lovers of serious off-piste, challenging blacks and tree-lined runs, Gressoney also offers a great range of reds. Plus you can access the whole Monte Rosa ski circuit – one of Europe’s best kept secrets. The resort itself is made up of three unspoilt villages with an authentic Italian ambience. There’s lots of ski-in accommodation and plenty of beautiful views of Mont Blanc, the Monte Rosa glacier and the Matterhorn. Ideal for a quiet getaway, the nightlife here is fairly quiet and relaxed.
Take the trip
All Crystal Ski Holidays include flights, transfers and accommodation. Plus, you can add lift passes, equipment hire and ski school too, so everything’s ready for when you arrive. You’ll get expert service every step of the way and Crystal’s free Ski Explorer app has snow reports, resort info and more. And of course, you can rely on Crystal’s ABTA and ATOL protection. First-timer or seasoned pro, there’s no one way to winter. But however you do it, do it with Crystal.
To find out more about these resorts and to book your trip to the mountains, go to crystalski.co.uk