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Where in Aosta Valley would you base yourself for a season....or would you?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

There is a slim possibility that I might be able to spend the 21/22 season in the alps. This is a 35% chance, so I have not spent a huge amount of time researching, but one of my thoughts would be the Aosta valley.

Most likely would be that we (myself, wife, nearly 5 year old (21/22) and nearly 2 year old (21/22) would head over in January and we are thinking of staying till April/May. Neither myself nor wife would be working and unlikely the kids will be working either!!

We would like to do a season for a couple of reasons - skiing (obviously), experience living in another country and culture with the kids, give the kids the experience of living in the mountains, the possibility of learning a new language for all the family, and, well, we don't always get these opportunities and I think it would be brilliant for everyone.

My thoughts on Aosta are - my wife likes Italy, French is a second language there (I speak a bit of French and neither of us speaks Italian), good access to different resorts and other areas are not too far a drive (4 hours to La Grave etc).

Skiing level - mine is reasonably decent - comfortable on all off piste. Piste skiing is fun when I'm with the family but off piste/touring would be my focus. My wife is a good piste skier, comfortable on most pistes but needs to build up more confidence and experience.

As I said above, thinking of the Aosta Valley but not sure where would be best to be based, if anyone had any thoughts I would be happy to hear them.

Thanks

DF


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 17-09-20 19:49; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Dublinfella, I haven't found that speaking French worked particularly well in Aosta.

Bit of a trek to La Grave, Verbier and the rest of the Valais isn't too far though.
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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?
Sounds amazing. I agree with @rjs that going across to France / Switzerland anything like regularly would be a bit of a schlep though (and presumably wouldn't be covered by your ski pass, plus you'd have to pay the steep road tunnel fees).

The obvious place to base yourself would be Aosta itself as it's a real city (apparently quite nice) and is fairly central for the whole valley. It also has direct lift access to Pila's slopes if you can't be bothered to drive to ski on a certain day.
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@rjs, yeah, don't expect it to help too much, but just gives me a little bit more of a chance. Increasing from 0% to 15% perhaps Smile
Sorry, I should have said on the trips to La Grave etc, these would be for a few days during the season, not a day trip across for the craic. Probably won't do many, but might get in a trip or two and happy drive up to 6 hours easy enough. Am used to be in the car and enjoy the whole trip event.

@denfinella, on Aosta itself, for my understanding, it has more limited access to the most of the ski areas outside of Pila. I might be wrong but that was what my basic research has shown me.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dublinfella wrote:
on Aosta itself, for my understanding, it has more limited access to the most of the ski areas outside of Pila.

If you stay in a resort, other than Courmayeur, then you either just ski in that resort or have to drive down to the valley then back up to ski somewhere else.

The lift from Aosta to Pila takes about the same time as driving up to Pila if that helps. You might have a bit of a drive in Aosta from wherever you stay to the lift carpark though.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Yes. Aosta.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Dublinfella, I think the pertinent point is that anywhere (afaik) in Aosta, to ski anywhere else, either involves driving up the valley and down (from a valley floor town itself, or driving down, along then up, and the same in reverse.

Which means exploring elsewhere is a bit of a schlep.

But that's logistics.

Plus side, Italian hospitality, food and drink.

Minus side, what I said above, and snowfall which is typically less than the Swiss/French side of those mountains.

If you're stuck on Italy, I'd think Monterosa before any of the others. BTW Can't recall last Aosta conversation but French usually goes down pretty well in Champoluc.

If you're not stuck on Italy, you're probably then more spoilt for choice, e.g. Chamonix valley, PdS. GM, Tarentaise if you don't need quick transfers, etc.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
A slightly skewed view perhaps, but have you considered the opposing, France to stay with good access to Italy?

Specifically thinking Maurienne valley to locate.

It has a very subtle but useable convenience, cost, good food and very good access to all the local ski areas on one realistically priced lift pass.

In addition, quick access backdoor to Val Thoren and 3 valley area for sporadic day trip via Orelle ski station.

Also through the Frejus tunnel to Italy for Via Latea ski areas, further to Montgenevre, Briancon, Serre Chevalier etc within easy travelling too.

In other words, access to a huge variety of some very contrasting mountain areas.

It doesn't attract the headline attention of many places that are typically famous, but offers a huge amount in a very relaxing way.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Dublinfella, I lived at the Eastern end of the Aosta for 3 seasons and I would recommend the Via Latea area instead. The Aosta is fantastic but with a young family I would say you're better off somewhere like Sauze. With limited Italian you'd find more English speakers and options for Childcare when you need it. Agree with @ski3, about the Maurienne as somewhere to explore, lots of family friendly resorts without going near the big resorts. If Touring is your focus then the Aosta is pretty challenging, mostly high alpine Ski Mountaineering rather than touring. If you're looking for a family compromise I'd have a close look at the area around Obersdorf/Sonthofen in Bavaria (Search Nordic Blowfish on the Web for some good deals) or even the Dolomites. Both much better for Ski touring.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Hi All,

Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. Yes, had thought of France and two options were Maurienne or Serre Chevalier. We like the idea of being in an actual village. We are not wedded to Italy, but is a bit of a preference. France is definitely easier on the language front. @RedandWhiteFlachau, hadn't thought of Milkyway, but did love Montgenevre (just there for a day). Will have to start doing more research! And yep, the better the childcare the more likely it will happen Smile

On the touring front - prefer going down than up - so generally tour to ski not for the sake of it. The easier the access the happier I am - and the better i will be breathing!!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
PM @jbob he did a couple of seasons based in Aosta instead of his usual Chamonix.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 17-09-20 12:45; edited 1 time in total
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Probably the key factor here is whether you want to commit to being based 'in resort' for the convenience of skiing regularly without significant driving time or based somewhere more 'liveable' but strategically convenient for a wider variety of places.

It's commonly accepted that the city of Aosta itself is the best base for doing the Aosta valley as a whole, as just about every major station, Pila, Cervinia, Courmayeur, La Thuile, Monterosa is within an hour or so's drive. It's also big enough to support a 'normal' life-style which can be a bit more of a challenge in a tourist oriented resort village.
This, of course, will not be the same experience as basing yourself for the season, 5 minutes walk/bus-ride from a lift station and the base of a piste.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Dublinfella, as @midgetbiker, said I've done three seasons in Aosta. I would thoroughly recommend it. The pass is straightforward, the only thing to think about is if you want Zermatt on it for an extra 200 euro. Your kids will be included for free. Insurance is included as is extensive Nordic skiing. No need to buy in advance its around 1000 euro anytime.
You ask where to base yourself, well we were just outside Aosta town and it was good for a number of reasons. It’s central for all the resorts and connected to Pila by a direct lift which will be good with kids. It’s not a mountain town which means loads less hassle. It’s cheap for accommodation and eating out. It’s friendly, they all speak french, most English. It’s sunny and warm in the valley. There are a couple of fantastic tiny resorts within easy reach which will also be great for the kids, Chamois and Crevacol. Finding accommodation and other people to ski with might be a challenge. It can be busy at weekends as lots of Italians come from Turin and Milan, but even in the school holidays its never too bad. Keep off the motorway its expensive.
Anything specific just ask.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@jbob, thanks for the info. Hopefully we can make it happen. Aosta seems like a good option so. Did you stay in a village just outside or in the countryside? Any particular reason for not being in the town itself?

Thanks
DF
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
We stayed in Sarre about 5 miles out of Aosta. It would have been nice to have been able to walk to the lift but on balance it was nice and quiet where we were with a local bar and bread shop.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I did a week in Aosta Valley last winter. Stayed a few miles east of Aosta, but anywhere in & around Aosta would be a good spot. It's in a fairly wide bowl, though ground rises fairly quickly either side of the valley, nice to have a view, but you don't really want to be too far up a potentially snowy hill. Somewhere on the balcony on the S facing side of the valley (ie. northeast of Aosta) overlooking the city and mountains beyond with easy access to main road and a motorway junction.

A nice city with plenty going on and normal prices in supermarkets and restaurants. Motorway is pricey, particularly if you go twd Courmayeur/Mont Blanc, it's €23 flat rate beyond Aosta whether you stay on until the tunnel or exit before. The main road is a bit slower, but fine to use.

Pila is on your doorstep, but you can access all the ski areas within an hour from Aosta. Courmayeur & La Thuile are fairly straightforward. It's a fair drive up the side valleys to Champoluc & Cervinia, but definitely worth doing. A number of smaller resorts like Crevacol, Torgnon, Cogne, Chamois, Brusson, Antagnod, etc would be worth visiting for a change of scenery.

https://www.bergfex.com/aostatal/top10/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for all the info @jbob, and @luigi. Really like the idea of the smaller places too, especially with the family. Now just have to start working on getting the stars to align/start herding the ducks!
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