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Monday December 18, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

6 world class ski resorts and Europe's 3 highest mountains means acres of untracked powder with serious on & off-piste skiing... NEW

The food, the prices, the atmosphere, the high peaks and the terrain - Italy's skiing is becoming better known and for very good reason.

But before we get into the detailed description of the Aosta Valley, take a quick look at the fantastic snow conditions in January.

This is Pila in the Aosta on 2nd January 2018.

The Aosta Valley is in the north-west of the country and from here the huge name resorts of Chamonix and Zermatt can be accessed easily from Courmayeur and Cervinia, respectively.

Rebecca Miles from Aosta Tourism tells us what Pila and the Roman town of Aosta has to offer.

But why leave?

As well as being a family favourite for its decent ski prices and Italian welcome, the Aosta has quite the opposite to offer as well in its world class ski runs, enormous off piste and a reputation for heliskiing.

Aosta ValleyAosta's back country

You might have heard of some of the resorts:
  • Courmayeur
  • La Thuile
  • Pila
  • Breuil-Cervinia
  • Monte Rosa
  • Champoluc
  • Gressoney

Here's a glimpse at what there is to ski - a wittled down list...

Villaggio di Biel a GressoneyVillaggio di Biel a Gressoney










Off piste in Gressoney:

At the centre of the Monterosa ski circuit is Gressoney, made up of the villages Gressoney-La-Trinité and Gressoney-Saint-Jean.

It links to Alagna and Champoluc and is known well in the freeriding world.

It's high and you can see the peaks of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa - an extra treat for those who make their way out into the backcountry.

Gressoney attracts skiers searching for untracked powder and a lot of it.

Relatively few international visitors and unspoiled ski terrain mean it's a quiet holiday spot with a friendly Italian ambience.

'One of Europe's best kept secrets' - we can vouch for that...

Champoluc also has some great off-piste, with steeps and bumps also to be found.


Champoluc TownChampoluc Town

For those of you that prefer to push it on the piste, there's the Berthod downhill run in La Thuile and a timed slalom run in Pila.

In fact, race training courses and opportunities in Pila give those looking to hone their skills and pick up speed a really good holiday option.

Racers are well catered for in Pila where there's a timed slalom run and race training opportunities.

Then there's heli skiing in the Aosta Valley.

The region is famous for it; One of Europe's most popular heli skiing spots and some of the world's most affordable.

Heli skiing in the Aosta ValleyHeli skiing in the Aosta Valley

Heliski the AostaHeli ski the Aosta

Valle d'Aosta is the only region in Italy where it is possible to heli-ski.

Many from France - where it's tricky as helicopters are banned from landing on peaks for the sport - also head here for the adventure.

Flying in a helicopter is already an exciting experience, and infinitely more so one thinking of the views and the descent.

The Monte Rosa massif offers a descent from above 4,000m
Read more on the link above for an immense skiing adventure this winter - especially with all this snow a-falling...

Heliski Monte RosaHeliski Monte Rosa

If you like to take it easier on holiday, as the Italians would, then it also has fantastic intermediate skiing.

All the Aosta resorts have great piste skiing; Courmayeur is known for its wide open runs as well as some steep red ones to push it on...

The Monterosa ski area has cruisey red runs, as well as easy-access and gentle off-piste.

Scenic, wide, perfectly groomed blue runs sound like your jam? Cervinia is where to head and a long-standing favourite among Italians.

La Thuile has a fantastic beginner's area and offers some great tree skiing for the more confident - a good choice for a group with various levels of skiing.

The main draw of all of them?

Uncrowded and peaceful...

Every skier's dream, surely?


Then there's the food.

While the food in European resorts often leaves us heavy-bellied and with much lighter pockets, the Aosta Valley's famous food is quite different.

Polenta, meats, rice, black bread, salami and cheeses are on the mountain menu and there's the comfortably relaxed atmosphere of Italian restaurants to make perfect the eating experiences.

Among the region's famous dishes are Valpelline Soup - a real winter warmer consisting of cheese, cabbage and meat stock - Carbonada, which is a salted beef stew cooked in wine, and polenta concia.

Fontina is the Valle d'Aosta's 'prince of cheese' and has the DOP stamp.

A board of cured hams, Lard d'Arnad, Boudin sausage or motzetta for lunch can't be beaten and the languid lunches make it hard to take to the slopes again...
Italian mountain food & wineItalian mountain food & wine

Due to the region's micro-climate, vines to grow up to 3,937 feet.

The valley produces 20 wines and there is the Route des Vins through the vineyards and cellars uncovering the specialities and qualities of mountain wines.

That's of course if you can find time away from the skiing.

Read more here on the individual ski areas that make up Aosta Valley's skiing:

If it's a more gentle holiday you're after for the whoe family, check out the article from the specialists here:
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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