Home to three of the Alps’ most impressive mountains – Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and Monte Rosa – the Aosta Valley ski resorts are spectacularly scenic. It’s the perfect place to learn to ski with gentle terrain, dedicated beginner ski areas as well as fantastic dining and off-slope activities.
The ski resorts throughout Aosta are family-friendly, good value for money and the warm Italian hospitality lures many back each season. Ski around the Matterhorn in Cervinia, cruise through fresh powder as you descend the Vallée Blanche in Courmayeur or race down Pila’s timed slalom run.
Cervinia lies at 2,050m with the Plateau Rosa cable car reaching the lofty heights of 3,480m. Thanks to the resort’s high altitude, it’s Italy’s most snow-sure resort. Cervinia’s 160km of slopes are best suited to beginners and intermediates as the majority of the pistes are blue and red. Linked with Zermatt, there are 360km of pistes in total, which offers more varied terrain and some incredible off-piste skiing. In the evenings, Cervinia has plenty of lively bars and welcoming restaurants serving gourmet cuisine, our favourites include the Lo Copa Pan and Grivola.
Named after the second tallest mountain in the Alps, the Monterosa ski area links three valleys: Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna. Home to off-piste skiing, it is popular with weekenders and powder hounds looking for challenging terrain and fresh lines. The ski area covers 180km of scenic pistes that are usually quiet during the week. Heli-skiing is available for intermediates and experts, which unlocks plenty of terrain further afield. A rustic trio of resorts, they have a friendly, unspoilt village feel that awakens on the weekends.
One of our favourite resorts, this charming town has fantastic dining, a variety of terrain and wonderful views of Mont Blanc. On a clear day, take in the sensational views from Skyway Monte Bianco that stretch across the Alps. The Courmayeur cable car takes skiers to Plan Checrouit where they can access over 40km of pisted runs. Both ski touring and heli-skiing are popular and allow experienced skiers to ski the Toula glacier and Vallée Blanche. Courmayeur comes alive in the evenings as glamorous Italians walk between boutique shops, vibrant bars and restaurants.
Linked to La Rosière in France, La Thuile is a sweet village that tends to have quiet slopes. Popular with families for its free childcare, easy beginner slopes and purpose-built accommodation, the resort has fantastic facilities. The Espace San Bernado ski area covers 160km of slopes, which offers intermediate and expert skiers more varied terrain. In the town, there is a large indoor swimming pool and a great selection of authentic restaurants serving Italian cuisine.
Above the old Roman town of Aosta, you can take the 20-minute gondola to the slopes. The tree-lined pistes offer pretty runs and powder opportunities within the trees. Those looking for some competition could race their friends against the clock on the timed slalom run. The majority of the slopes are north facing, which means that the snow quality doesn’t deteriorate. Après ski is family friendly in Pila, and if you are staying in Aosta you have a wealth of restaurants and bars available.
A highlight in the Aosta Valley ski resorts is the simple, hearty cuisine. In the early evening, a drink at aperitivo with a plate of local salami and cheese – Fontina in particular – is a good introduction to Aostan cuisine. An authentic Aostan meal of polenta and carbonada – beef stewed in red wine with onions and spices – is perfectly accompanied with a glass of medium-bodied Torette, an Aostan red wine.