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Aosta Valley for a month

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi everybody

I'm weighing up the options for a four week trip in January. I did this a few years ago in Serre Chevalier, hired a large apartment for the month and had family and friends join me for various weeks.

Originally I was thinking SC again, but I'm now considering Monterosa. The reasons being, Aosta lift pass covers a lot of areas, Monterosa's a large connected area with plenty of variety for different levels of skiers, Monterosa seems to have a good reputation for lift served off piste, Italian food / coffee.

So, I thought I'd sound out the SH's to see what people suggested. Champoluc seems like the main place to stay, but is it a bit out on a limb? Some of my friends get a bit twitchy when the lift connections aren't great and god forbid they should have to get a bus! I once met some SH's in a bar and mentioned Monterosa and they all raised their eyebrows and muttered things about unreliable snow. Is this a concern there? What's are the villages like for self catering accommodation? One of the great things about SC was the choice of apartments meant that I was able to get a really good deal.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Stay in Aosta , Beautiful city , great restaurants shops and bars also v cheap . Then have direct access to Pila , then 20/30 mins drive to Courmayour , La Thuile/La Roseire for day in France , Cerveco , Cervina/Zermatt for day in Switzerland , another resort can't remember the name of think Rhemes ? Heliski in Valgrishance if you can afford apart from access to Monterosa . The possibilities from Aosta with a car are vast .
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Definitely agree that having a vehicle would be important to make the most of Aosta.
IMO Pila, although nice enough, isn't the best skiing that the Aosta valley has to offer but Aosta City itself is indeed probably the best place to be for a longer spell for its livability and strategic positioning to access everywhere else.
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Thanks Rob, I hadn't really considered Aosta itself. I think I'm a bit nervous about having to travel to other ski areas. Like I said, it's a bit of a hard sell for some of the people I'd have visiting. Do you you know what the drive times are to the Monerosa resorts from Aosta? I'll have a look into apartment options.
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Stayed in Champoluc end Jan this year. Nice place for one week, lots of reds, not many blues if you have beginnings with you. The link to Gressoney for the best offpiste is via a dog leg to Frachy, ok the first few times but would annoy me if staying for more than a week. On the plus side empty pistes, good and cheap restaurants.
Gressoney would be my choice for one week but may be too quite for 4 weeks.
The Snowheads went there for the pre SOPB have a look at the thread.
Hope you have a good time wherever you go, jealous of the thought of 4 weeks skiing.
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@eversolazy, an hour to two hours. You can look tolls up online on the autostrada website

What about Chamonix/St Gervais?
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Actually the SOPiB is in Serre Chevalier/La Grave etc.
It's the GnaBuG that goes to Gressoney.

I agree though, IMO it's the perfect spot for a week for people with a little ski experience under their belts but I wouldn't use it as a base for 4 weeks if I was going to be visited by blue-run pootlers.
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@eversolazy, sorry don't know how long to Monterosa stations . I agree with @admin, that Pila skiing not that special , but I reckon once in a station at the head of the valley for two weeks you'd be saying to yourself wish I'd stayed in the valley to give myself more options . Make the choice for you not for the benefit of visiting friends , your the one who has to stay for 4 plus weeks .
I have a place in Ste Foy , I love the place but I wouldn't want to spend a month there .
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@eversolazy, sorry don't know how long to Monterosa stations . I agree with @admin, that Pila skiing not that special , but I reckon once in a station at the head of the valley for two weeks you'd be saying to yourself wish I'd stayed in the valley to give myself more options . Make the choice for you not for the benefit of visiting friends , your the one who has to stay for 4 plus weeks .
I have a place in Ste Foy , I love the place but I wouldn't want to spend a month there .
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Quote:

but I reckon once in a station at the head of the valley for two weeks you'd be saying to yourself wish I'd stayed in the valley to give myself more options


The resorts aren't that close though, Courmayeur is at least 30 minutes, La Thuile 40/45 and everywhere else about an hour or two from Aosta. I had a full valley pass once (€1,000) and only used it outside Pila one day all winter, in Courmayeur. Aside from Norway, Italy has the most expensive petrol in Europe and the tolls are crazy too.

I would be more inclined to stay in monterosa or look at other areas like SC, Chamonix/St gervais, Innsbruck etc
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@eversolazy, we did a full season based very near to Aosta this year after 10+ years in Chamonix. It's was brilliant, the season pass is the same as Chamonix at approx 1000euro. It covers all the valley plus trips to verbier, also for an additional 200 euro can cover Zermatt. As a bonus over Chamonix it includes insurance and all the many Nordic ski pistes. We were ten minutes from Pila which we skied a lot and enjoyed. A car is a must. From Aosta it was around an hour to gressoney or Cervinia. I might another time split my season with half around Aosta and half near Gressoney. In my opinion the whole monta rosa area is the best in the alps for off piste skiing.
This season the conditions were much better in Aosta than Chamonix. At the west end of the valley you have access to Courmayeur and the skyway from which you can ski the valley Blanche and the Tula glacier. We paid 350 euro a week for a very nice apartment. On hill refreshments were half the price of Chamonix and better. Any questions please ask
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Quote:

On hill refreshments were half the price of Chamonix and better. Any questions please ask


Only in pila, everywhere else is same as Chamonix. €5 for a can of coke in Cervinia & La Thuile

Coffee is a million times better though
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moseyp wrote:
Quote:

On hill refreshments were half the price of Chamonix and better. Any questions please ask


Only in pila, everywhere else is same as Chamonix. €5 for a can of coke in Cervinia & La Thuile
Not true.
Most of the Aosta valley is significantly cheaper than Chamonix.

We had a phenomenal restaurant meal in La Thuile for less than you'd pay to have a hot dog n' chips thrown at you in Chamonix.
Cervinia, being influenced by the Swiss economy bleeding over from Zermatt, is not as cheap as some but still somewhat less expensive than Chamonix.
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You need to go to more than one place to make a comparison though. I don't notice any difference in price between Chamonix and Courmayeur, LT, Cervinia etc - the difference is what you get for your money. I agree La Thuile is slightly cheaper, but Courmayeur and Cervinia simply aren't
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I love SHs!

It's definitely food for thought. Looking at the distances between stations, I do think I'd be inclined to stay in one of the Monterosa resorts. Even then though, I hadn't appreciated just how far it is to drive between them. I assumed it would be fairly easy, if you were staying in Champoluc, to start the day in Alagna. But no, it's a long way! Maybe Serre Chevalier's moving back into the frame. It would be good to try a different area, but SC has a lot going for it on this kind of trip.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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moseyp wrote:
You need to go to more than one place to make a comparison though. I don't notice any difference in price between Chamonix and Courmayeur, LT, Cervinia etc - the difference is what you get for your money. I agree La Thuile is slightly cheaper, but Courmayeur and Cervinia simply aren't


That's not my experience. For the price of a round of coffees in Chamonix you get good coffees and epic pastries in Courmayeur and change. No comparison. Same goes for the rest of the Valley.

I'd second Aosta as a base and am tempted to try the same my self for the coming season. I have sent a previous season in Aosta, mostly skiing Pila but there are lots of lovely small 2 lift resort scattered about the Valley, plus the big destinations. Lots to do, with Pila as the easy option. I revisited Pila for a day this season and was reminded what a gem the place is.
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@AndAnotherThing.., latte type coffee in Aosta €1,80 - in Pila €2, in Cervinia €4 - double that would be €8 and I've never paid €8 for a coffee in Chamonix. Even Verbier, I don't think is that bad and I think Verbier is the worst....! My point is that while Aosta (not a resort), the small towns (also not resorts) around it and Pila (resort) are cheap - the big resorts aren't. They are definitely not half the price of Chamonix, that would be crazy

Pastries may be "epic" but I agreed with that - you get better quality food and coffee, but it's not half the price
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I think Chamonix gets an unfair deal sometimes - sure it's not cheap but it's not that terrible...I live in Aosta but I'm in different resorts (mostly in the valley or across the border in France) a couple of days every week and I see worse than Chamonix regularly (Verbier, Val Thorens, Megeve, Zermatt, Chatel to name a few..)
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
moseyp wrote:
You need to go to more than one place to make a comparison though. I don't notice any difference in price between Chamonix and Courmayeur, LT, Cervinia etc - the difference is what you get for your money. I agree La Thuile is slightly cheaper, but Courmayeur and Cervinia simply aren't


That's not my experience. For the price of a round of coffees in Chamonix you get good coffees and epic pastries in Courmayeur and change. No comparison. Same goes for the rest of the Valley.

I'd second Aosta as a base and am tempted to try the same my self for the coming season. I have sent a previous season in Aosta, mostly skiing Pila but there are lots of lovely small 2 lift resort scattered about the Valley, plus the big destinations. Lots to do, with Pila as the easy option. I revisited Pila for a day this season and was reminded what a gem the place is.


The first rule of Aosta club, is don't mention the two lift resorts, ever!
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@jbob, Laughing Laughing

@moseyp, Try the Midi.... wink I've not done your price comparison (and have not skied Cervinia which I expect is on Swiss pricing) but for me it's always a pleasure to draw the coffee straw in Courmayeur over Chamonix. (that said, thinking about it there is some variation on the hill.)
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@AndAnotherThing.. ha, I guess you'll find enough of a disparity in any resort. I just love Chamonix, I think it's the most underrated overrated resort if you know what I mean!

It's crazy the difference isn't it - how shockingly bad coffee can be in only a few miles
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Hmmm. VFM.

Chamonix (Plan Joran snack): a small platter of a couple of bits of ham and sausage, one small bit of cheese, a roll, small beer, 1/2L wine, €27.

Courmayeur: escalope Milanese with chips and also a free portion of oven baked potatoes as they looked awesome, large mixed salad for the brunette, bottle of much better wine, small beer, coffees, €40.

No comparison on value or quality.

And don't get me started on the newer restaurants around Monterosa. Some seriously good quality at great prices going on.

Monterosa & snow reliability? OK, it is not somewhere I would expect guaranted powder. But piste skiing is really pretty reliable. I also don't get these km junkies - "there won't be enough to keep me occupied"

It's skiing right? Not long distance running... rolling eyes
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@under a new name, no disagreement about quality - that's for certain, but price. For the same amount you'll get much better food in Courmayeur, but it won't be half the price

I find Monterosa resorts cheaper though, not as cheap as Pila but more on par
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eversolazy,
Here's a spanner. Let me throw it into the works! Toofy Grin

I would recommend having a look at the Tirol Snow Card in Austria. Last season it cost about €750 & it covers over 90 ski areas. It runs from 1 October to 15 May and includes 5 (very good) glaciers.

Self catering apartments are relatively cheap in Austria but are high quality (& usually spacious).

You could do a twin (or more) centre January trip and get some early and/or late season glacier skiing as well. Very Happy
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@moseyp, i'd suggest that my example above was possibly better than half price when quantities accounted for.
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Indeed, just amplifying, Plan Joran, faux-filet at frites about €36. And is not worth eating, at least last time I looked at one.

Rifugio Belvedere (Champoluc) any main course tops out at €18 iirc.

And much better selection of wines at much better prices.
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
@jbob, Laughing Laughing

@moseyp, Try the Midi.... wink I've not done your price comparison (and have not skied Cervinia which I expect is on Swiss pricing) but for me it's always a pleasure to draw the coffee straw in Courmayeur over Chamonix. (that said, thinking about it there is some variation on the hill.)


Lunch in Cervinia this year was about 1/2 - 2/3 cost of Zermatt. We only had one lunch in Zermatt, at a self service 1/2 way up to Klein Matterhorn and it was 1/2 as good as any of the lunches in Cervinia. Not a good sample I know but that the weather curtailed a better statistical endeavors on our part Shocked
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None of this, of course, reflects on the actual skiing merits of e.g. chamonix vs anywhere else.

And I don't want to come across as unduly critical of mile munchers. Although I don't see the point. At all. I do loke being able to travel, e.g. In the absence of any other goal, tootling across to Alagna from Champoluc at least lends some sense of purpose (and you sometimes get nice surprises en route).
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@jbob, A random question - but how did you sort an internet connect when you were out there ?
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@AndAnotherThing.., we had good Internet in the house we were in, interestingly there were issues with it conflicting with the free Aosta valley system.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@eversolazy,

I did a similar stay this year although i stayed in Aosta town.
Wide range of accommodation on Airbnb etc.
The town is perfect , short walk to the gondola and i liked the idea of being away from the resort on the evenings.
The town has so much to do and the restaurant options are plenty.
We used the lockers so 15 minute gondola ride and you can get boots on etc and be right onto the slopes off it.

I like small resorts and was never bored at Pila , some really great runs you can lap over and over and different each time.
Gets busy at weekends but we tended to ski early morning or take the day off and sightsee.

Happy to answer any questions or help if i can , so feel free to PM
GL Smile
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@jbob, ta Smile
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One minor but important thing with the Aosta season pass is that there's no early bird discount. So no panic in November to buy your pass.
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Back in the day we did get a family discount for being married.
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Have you considered Merano, South Tyrol, Italy

http://www.merano.info/en/meran.html


The South Tyrol skiing is very underrated IMHO. Plus not too far away you have the Ortler region and Tirol.

http://www.skiresort.info/ski-resorts/merano-and-environs/


Great food, great value for money, diversity of skiing, glacier resort in case of high snowline
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Food in italy about a third less than the price of france and significantly better. On the other hand accommodation tends to be more expensive in italy in my experience.

Op I visited aosta valley 3 times in last 2 years, cervinia, cervinia, pila and courmayeur. Definitely occurred to me to be a place I'd love to spend two weeks touring around visiting all the resorts. But as you've realized now they really aren't close enough to base yourself in one location to see them all. But you could hop skip and jump between them week by week? Logistically difficult but in world of booking and air bnb certainly not impossible?

Bear in mind that conditions can vary widely between the resorts though so flexibility is quite important. From recollection reading snow reports this year courmayeur got a lot more snow than monte rosa Massif. Also cervinia suffers from wind closures a lot.

Dolomites also a touring option. And one that has larger sections linked by lifts?


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Tue 9-05-17 7:17; edited 1 time in total
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We only go to Pila for the odd day...driving over from Verbier, but we go every year.

I am always impressed...Aosta is a great town, full of history and hidden gems.
The on-mountain food can be exceptional, and great value.
The off-piste is great. I should say that this means "side piste" and "in between piste" I have not explored the "way out back" off piste".

There are fresh tracks to be had, or marginally tracked stuff, long after snowfall. In Verbier it would have been utterly flattened.
The are some good steeps, but plenty of cruisers too.
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@rungsp, It's a cheap day out when we go from Ste Foy to Pila , what do you call it when you go from Verbier , day out for nothing ?
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Individual valleys always have different conditions.

Late season we had very acceptable skiing on the Saturday in Champoluc (Monterosa) but Courmayeur wasn't worth the effort.
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Sorry for de-railling a little, but there's been quite a bit of discussion about using Aosta as a base in this thread.

We're planning on going away next year with some friends, and between the two couples, we will have a 15 month old and a 10 month old.

I've been looking at Aosta and Pila as a good option for us, on the assumption that the one or two people who (taking it in turns) spend the day or the morning / afternoon with the little ones would have plenty to do, and Pila would probably be the perfect sort of size of the 3-4 days we'd end up getting on the snow each.

For those that know about Aosta and Pila, does this sound like a fair enough assessment, or have I got it completely wrong? I've only ever driven past Aosta on my way up to Monterosa and Cervinia so don't know too much about it.

Edit: Conscious I've given no information except for 4 people + 2 babies. We're all pretty confident skiers and snowboarders, have been doing it for quite a long time and are comfortable riding most things. Bit of side-piste would be lovely, but realistically, we'd be looking at piste stuff.
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