Dubbed 'The Balcony Of The Tarentaise', the ski resort of La Rosiere is perched in a commanding high-altitude position on the sunny south-facing northern flank of the upper Tarentaise Valley, looking directly across to the ski resorts of Les Arcs and Villaroger that lie in the Paradiski area on the opposite far side of this famous snowsports-rich valley.
La Rosiere village sits close to the Petit St Bernard pass, a high road link between France and Italy, just 23km from the main valley town and transport hub of Bourg-Saint-Maurice, and is just about the highest point reachable by road in winter when the pass is closed because of the heavy snowfalls that this area regularly receives thanks in part to its proximity to Mont Blanc.
Although the road link is severed during the winter months, the link with Italy is maintained: La Rosiere's ski area forms the French half of the sizeable trans-national Espace San Bernardo ski domain, linked with the Italian ski resort of La Thuile that lies to the north-east in Italy's Aosta Valley. The combined area offers a great mix of prime novice and intermediate terrain and the novelty of cross-border pistes, with the complementary charms of French and Italian characteristics.
La Rosiere has the benefit of being sited on the sunnier yet still snow-sure southern side of the domain, and is a warmly welcoming, family-friendly, good-value alternative to the bigger, brasher, more crowded and more expensive nearby mega-resorts of the Tarentaise.
La Rosiere's primary Front de Neige base area and main access ski lifts are located at the upper western end of the village; a secondary base area with access lifts is sited at Les Eucherts. There are good beginners' zones in both sectors, whilst the interlinked slopes directly above offer almost perfect blue-grade progression routes for novices and straightforward cruise-able home runs for everyone.
There are tougher intermediate-level descents deeper into the valley from both home sectors, the runs cutting through the forest towards Seez from above the western end of the resort are particularly inviting and offer the only substantial tree-lined slopes in the area.
The majority of the ski area lies above the tree line, on the wide and open slopes directly above the village, stretching up to the north along the lengthy spine of a ridge that runs down from the border with Italy. The eastern flank of this ridge is the core of La Rosiere's ski area, with a series of parallel-running lifts serving good fall-line reds down into the Combe des Moulins, with plenty of inter-piste powder possibilities too, great for improving intermediates.
Blue traverses across these slopes also provide links to and from the sole cross-domain link via the Col de la Traversette, site of a historic ruined fort (La Redoute Ruinée), at the northern mid-point of the ridge, beyond which lies the high-altitude and often windswept Petit St Bernard pass that marks the French-Italian border, crossed by lengthy blue-equivalent stretches that offer spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
The linked La Thuile ski area boasts several steeper and more challenging sectors, but in general the entire Espace San Bernardo domain is accessible by competent intermediates. Attractions for advanced visitors include heli-skiing/boarding, which although prohibited on French territory is possible here because drop-offs can be made on the peaks on the Italian side of the border; there's also an in-bounds off-piste introduction zone; plus a designated kite-skiing zone on the Petit St Bernard pass.
A good slopestyle snowpark is sited directly above La Rosiere village; another is available over in the neighbouring La Thuile ski area.
Off the slopes and apres ski
La Rosiere is an attractive small Savoyard village with two distinct residential zones, around one kilometre apart: the original main village straddles the road that leads to the Petit St Bernard pass, whilst the newer Les Eucherts suburb is tucked away beyond the woods to the east. A shuttle-bus service runs between them, there's also a romantic lamplit path connecting them through the woods.
The main commercial heart of the resort remains in the old village centre of La Rosiere, offering a fair selection of small shops and an adequate choice of unpretentious good-value restaurants; there are also a couple of shops and a restaurant at Les Eucherts, together with an ice rink and a tenpin bowling alley.
La Rosiere's other facilities include a cinema, a fitness centre, plus a couple of spas, one of which offers a Japanese-style onsen bath experience.
Apres ski and nightlife are generally quite low key, with just a handful of bars in the central part of the village plus a couple out in the suburb of Les Eucherts, but there are a couple of fairly lively venues amongst these, La Roz and Petit Danois in particular, plus there's a popular late-night disco-bar - Moobar - open until 4am.
Bars and clubs
Le Plein Soleil