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TR Champoluc in April

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dates – Monday 10th to Tursday 13th April 2017

Flights – Ryanair Stansted to Milan Malpenza.

Flew out mid morning to arrive at lunchtime. Gave time for picking up a hire car and driving to champoluc in time to sort out lift passes/skis etc before they shut for the evening. Flew back on Thursday evening at 21.45 which allowed a full day skiing with plenty of time to shower and drive back to the airport. The reason we flew to Milan rather than Turin was that it was much cheaper Embarassed

Transfer – Driving took almost exactly 2 hours. Motorway as far as Verres (about 14euro tolls), then up the valley to Champoluc. A few hairpins, especially at the start, but not too bad on a warm sunny day...

Hotel - We stayed at the Aiglon hotel. It's a pretty basic family hotel, but within that class it was just what we needed. The family who run it were extremely friendly and helpful. Rooms were a comfortable size, the bathrooms were excellent, although were shower only. Buffet breakfast was decent (albeit that the coffee machine was pretty ordinary). It was very reasonably priced - 55euro per night per double room incl brecky. Location is fine - it was at one end of the main strip (such as it is in Champoluc), about a 5 minute walk from the lift and within a short stroll of all the resaurants. There is dinner available in the hotel in the high season, but not when we were there. Not a problem as there are lots of good places to try in the village.

Weather – Wall to wall sunshine all week with very warm temps.

Snow – Typical spring snow. Firm in the mornings, gradually softening to perfect spring 'stuff' (whatever you want to call it). A bit softer still in the afternoon. All the runs apart from the valley returns are above 2000m, and many above 2500, so pretty reliable for late season. Piste conditioning was excellent. Between 2 and 3 in the afternoon was the point at which it turned slightly too soft, so early start and early finish required.

Lifts – Mixed. A few gondolas, a few detachable quads and a few slow old chairs. The contrast with the Amade area in Austria where I spent a few days earlier in the season could not be greater. I didn't come across any poma/t bars though. There were very few people there when we visited, but I wonder if there would be queues if it were busier.

Ski Area – Interesting. Several really lovely long runs in all three valleys (Champluc, Gressoney and Alagna). Not the density of runs that you get in some resorts. Loads of off piste, including vast areas of high alpine stuff. I'm not sure it would appeal to high mileage types who don't like skiing the same runs, especially if there for a week. We had three days, and felt we had pretty much seem everything without ever rushing about. It's one of those areas where there is lots of medium level pistes without many super easy or particularly hard runs.

Although Gressoney is in the middle valley, and potentially gives the most convenient access , I think that Champoluc has the best selection of runs and therefore offers the best base. Even from the Champoluc valley, it isn't too hard to get over to Alagna for lunch, so being on one side of the area isn't a huge drawback. I certainly wouldn't want to be based in Alagna unless I was doing mainly off-piste stuff.

Mountain Restaurants – Several, with Champoluc having the pick of them imho. Pretty reasonable prices and decent food for the most part.

Village – Attractive enough, several decent restaurants. Not much of a party town though, if that's what you're after.

Scenery - Worth a specific mention I think. There are fantastic views of the Monte Rosa massif, including a rather uninteresting looking Matterhorn, from the village and many of the pistes and lifts. Lots of glaciers and all that stuff. I'm a big fan of high alpine scenery when on skiing holiday, and this is up there with the best of them.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Fair comment.

"Decent"? Restaurants on mountain? You clearly, at least above Champoluc, not going to the right places Happy

Just down from an easy kids' day in Champoluc. The closed "pistone" was lovely spring snow. Looking forward to a Sapin treat this eve and probs Courmayeur tomorrow.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for the review. Definitely on the list for next year, especially on hearing that there are no drags and has reasonably priced food, a welcome antithesis to our latest trip.
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under a new name wrote:
Fair comment.

"Decent"? Restaurants on mountain? You clearly, at least above Champoluc, not going to the right places Happy


ha! re-reading my post, a bit of sub-editing would have been a good thing. Or some adjectival de-duplication at least.

I'm always a bit reluctant to go too strong on food based recommendations, as tastes and expectations vary so much. With skiing, I feel comfortable enough after many years hacking about to have an opinion.

Italy always wins in any on-slope food quality/value discussion.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@pendodave, ah, yes, good point.

I work on how many of our friends who live in e.g. morzine or chamonix fall over when they see the quality and the prices...

Had a lovely meal for 2 with a small beer and bottle of decent table wine in Courmayeur today, €40.

Had a very small plate of ham and cheese, half a litre of very ordinary wine and a small beer in Chamonix on Friday, €26.

No comparison!
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We were in Champoluc the first week of April - snowed heavily the first day then sunshine the rest of the week - perfect. Lovely beautiful scenery and lovely empty pistes

Would certainly go back
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