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moneteosaskiNothing comes for free nowadays, or so we thought until we heard from the Monterosa Ski region in the Aosta Valley. The Italian resort is giving away lift passes when you stay for three nights or more in a hotel or apartment affiliated to the tourist office between 25th March and 15th April, so it would appear some things do come for free.

It sounded too good to be true so of course we checked for hidden catches, but no, it’s a straight up freebie offer. Book a half-board stay in a tourist office hotel and everyone in your party gets a free lift pass, book an apartment and you’ll get one pass per apartment of at least four.

For anyone who’s scratching their head, unaware of Monterosa Ski’s three linked villages of Gressoney, Alagna and Champoluc, take Graham Bell’s word for it that it’s a true hidden gem. The Ski Sunday presenter said, “Monterosa boasts oodles of character and charm, with big mountain off-piste skiing for thrill seekers too, in a fantastic value region to boot.” Graham’s forthcoming family Easter trip to Champoluc bears testimony to this.

The region is 90 minutes from Turin and has 200km of pistes, plus it’s the original home of Italian off-piste skiing.

Inghams (www.inghams.co.uk / 0208 780 4447) has several deals to the region, including seven nights half board at the three-star hotel Dufour in Gressoney from £526 per person, departing 24 March 2012, or seven nights half board at the three-star hotel Bellevue in Champoluc from £799 per person, departing 31 March 2012, including flights and transfers.

Echo Travel (www.echotravel.co.uk / 01937 572455) is offering seven night half board packages including private return transfers from Turin airport (based on four sharing) from £575 per person staying at the three-star hotel de Champoluc, or from £620 staying at hotel Ellex in Gressoney.