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Aosta Valley advice!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all!

I'm off to the Aosta Valley in Feb for a long weekend, not a part of Italy I have much experience with, just skied Cervinia over from Zermatt and La Thuile over from La Rosiere. I'll be with my son, both intermediate piste skiers.

Will be staying mid-valley near Aosta and have wheels, so hope to hit Cervinia/Zermatt & La Thuile/La Rosiere again, but which other resorts are worth a visit...Courmayeur, Pila, Champoluc?

Anyone know anything about the smaller ones...Crevacol, Torgnon, Brusson, Antagnod, Cogne? Are they worthwhile?

Where would be a good spot to head to if the weather is poor? Tree-lined runs, nice rifugio or two to warm up in?

We all know that Italians often rock up at the weekend, esp if the weather and snow are good, but which places do you think would be least crowded on Sat & Sun...or best able to cope with the crowds?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Courmayeur, Pila and Champoluc are all worth a visit. In my experience, Pila and Courmayeur are most likely to get busy at weekends, and Champoluc would probably be quieter.

I'd also pick Champoluc as a poor weather option - if nothing else for the Café Correto at the col between Champoluc and Gressoney, but maybe not advisable if you're driving
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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?
I've got the same plan and will watch the weather and judge on the night before.
Re crowds It's sounding like La Thuile is pretty quite generally from what I've read so that may a good bet for the sat/sun to avoid the crowds.
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@luigi, I like Crevacol. Depending on where you are staying Cogne is a bit of a drive and probably not worthwhile.

Chamois as nice '2 lift' option too.

Not skied Torgnon or Brusson but had a pleasant day at Antagnod which seemed very much family orientated. If I was only there for a long weekend I'd drive past to Champoluc.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@luigi, Champoluc, Courmayeur, both well worth a day or two each.
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Went to Aosta a few years ago and stayed just outside the town on a goat farm, walked to the main gondola and went to Pila, it was full of British kids which made it very busy so if you are going UK half term I would avoid Pila and courmayeur which was the same. Both nice places to ski but are pretty small and you can ski it all in a day, but the lift pass does cover plenty of different areas and to be fair the Italians are lovely and very welcoming
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@luigi, get the Aosta Valley pass and it gives you the option of unlimited skiing any resort in the valley, plus a trip up the Monte Bianco skyway. Pila is good if you avoid the central runs where the school kids will be, and also get there early to avoid them or the morning uplift from Aosta, before 9.15 should be OK. Courmayuer is compact with great food on the mountain, Chez Olier on plan Checruit side and Pre Pascal on the other side of the mountain. Best place to park for Courmayuer is at Dolonne lift where there is free parking. Most TO change over day is Sunday, so they will be the less busy days for Brits, check Interski to see when they change over as they do all the school kids holidays to Pila.
I’ve not been to Cervinia, but I believe it’s a long drive up the mountain, La Thuile and Courmayuer are about 30 mins from Aosta using the Autostrada.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@luigi, If you get a blue sky day and want some great off-piste then the Monterosaski (Alagna, Gressoney/Champoluc) is a must. Long cruising runs that are proper thigh burners. Certainly rate it above Pila and the smaller resorts.
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Cheers for all the helpful replies, even got some restaurant recommendations! snowHead

@geoffknight, I was comparing the cost of the Aosta Valley pass vs day tickets. We're there 5 days which is €257, so just over €51 per day, but most of the 1d passes are in the €46-€50 range at the bigger resorts, under €30 at the smaller ones. You can't even get a 5d International one that covers Zermatt. I'm struggling to see how it's a sensible option??

I checked Interski, the changeover is on Sunday.

@robs1, our long weekend does coincide with the start of British half-term, so if we do Pila, it probably needs to be before the hordes of kids are let loose on te slopes on Monday morning.

@MHskier, yes, I think we'll be playing it by ear with the weather too, no point paying to do Zermatt if it's not clear.
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Antagnod is, like, two chairlifts. Actually rather good on a big powder day that closes everything else due avvy risk, but otherwise, meh.

Was about to type that nice lunches to be had around Monterosa, but it's Italy, so ... anywhere.
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Quote:

I checked Interski, the changeover is on Sunday.


Thanks for that - useful as our first day in resort is Sunday so was dreading battling the hordes of school kids for lift passes and ski rental at Pila - doesn't look like it will be an issue if they only arrive later that day.
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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.
Kids gumming the system up is not a problem at pila as they are all with interski and it has its own ski depot and lift passes are already sorted for clients. The ski rental at the pila gondala base is called gal-sport and they are very efficient and have good kit. 90% of the kids there never get passed the lower mountain for the first 3 days so its not to busy mid mountain upwards. This is not a promo for pila, just been there a few times.
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@luigi, depends on snow conditions in my opinion. Pila is good if snow is good but quite limited for more than a few days. Courmayeur definitely worth a visit.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Pila and Courmayeur both have some lovely skiing not a huge amount tho, couple of days fine at either, Monterosa has a lot more to go at and is just stunning. Very quiet during the week in general.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Champoluc is excellent, linked to Grennoney and Alagna and plenty for a few days skiing.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@luigi, How much skiing do you think you will do in a long weekend, I'm just back from a week in La Rosiere when we skied to La Thuile almost every day, I have skied most of the Val d'Aosta stations and for my money La Thuile can hold it's own against any. If you want steeps, give the Francis Berthoud piste a go or pistas 2, 3 or 5, then there's the off-piste, especially above the Col di Piccolo San Bernardo and for a complete change a trip to La Rosiere for sunshine skiing and a visit to Mont Valasain at 2800 metres the highest elevation in the domaine. You can find plenty of variety without having to ski the same pistes over and over, and La Thuile has some of the best mountain restaurants in Italy. The Val d'Aosta is known as a foodies pardise.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@geoffknight, I was comparing the cost of the Aosta Valley pass vs day tickets. We're there 5 days which is €257, so just over €51 per day, but most of the 1d passes are in the €46-€50 range at the bigger resorts, under €30 at the smaller ones. You can't even get a 5d International one that covers Zermatt. I'm struggling to see how it's a sensible option??

Yes, AV pass is clearly over priced. They should consider an earlybird half price sale on the season pass like the Porte de Soleil in France. Would encourage visitors to come back to the AV rather than be tempted elsewhere for multiple trips in a season.
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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?
I call this a ski safari. Its great fun. The internet webcams are your friend.

Personally I love the tiny resorts as they are just so different. Everyone skiing then everyone in the only bar/restaurant. Nothing too challenging.

We based ourselves in an airbnb in Aosta town. Found some decent little restaurants off the main square and I think I decent pub/bar with a bit of life. Think it had an old chairlift bubble in it.

Don't forget having scheduling a spa day at pre st didier on a crappy weather day.
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About the spa. On the website It seems to be two locations, one the spa another the thermal baths. If one was booking the wife a day off skiing is the spa (and then possibly a late afternoon mooch around the shops of courmayeur) the one to choose?
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Any info re above from someone who has booked this spa before I try to book on the unclear website?
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@MHskier, from what I could see on the spa/thermal website, the spa is in a building and you go outside to the thermal baths, there’s a number of package options you can choose from, we were going to go a couple of years ago but couldn’t go in as our son wasn’t 14 at the time. May try it this year if the weather is poor, not so sure taking a 15 yr old into somewhere with lots of half naked women is the best move Embarassed
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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When I went to the spa, I think I booked my place in the morning. They limit numbers and want it too full.

They have a 'buffet' but you will only be interested in it if your a bunny rabbit. That group usually has a click on English flag for English language.

The age limit is just that the adults don't want kids making a racket.

The main spa starts inside/under cover then goes outside.

Personally i think best to do it on a day that is snowing. Snow falling on your head when your in a hot bath is super weird. Have fun.
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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!
I should have added that we got the train from Aosta to pre st didier. Both towns in italy and less grief if snowing or poor visibility. Italian trains are very cheap compared to uk.
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Thanks. So it sounds like both elements are at saint didier then. I got confused as website talks about another location-hotel.

It’s for the wife alone. Me and boys wouldn’t miss a days skiing buts she’s worried 7 in a row is too much. So plan is drop her there and drive to la Thuile for skiing day.
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Probably best not to rely on the train. It stopped running a couple of years ago.
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Just turning thoughts to a 2022 trip and covid willing may well repeat our Aosta trip. Would probably do a few less days in Pila (not as it was bad just it was our stock day we did 3 times) and more than the half day we did at La Thuile. Would definitely repeat Monte Rosa from Champoluc and Cervinia from Valtournenche. Maybe Crevacol too.
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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.
So definitely doing this if we're able to travel.

Does anyone know if any of the Aosta resorts have done any lift development? Appreciate after the last winter this may well not be the case!
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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
Here's some advice from a Dutchie having visited the Aosta valley about 6 times.

When you want a roadtrip-like holiday, best is to find accomodation near Aosta or Chatillon.
Both are nice towns, obviously much more to do in the evening in Aosta because it is bigger. Chatillon is nearer to the jewel in the crown of Aosta (and Italy) skiing, Monterosa-ski.

For starters, here is a link to a massive trip report (google translated from german) with lots of photos; La Thuile, Pila, Courmayeur, Monterosa.
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t%3D61539

Regarding the resorts.
1. Torgnon, Brusson, Antagnod, Cogne. These are not worthwhile.
2. La Thuile is much better than Courmayeur. Courmayeur 1 day max. When conditions are good (stable weather) do not miss the Skyway and its descends; you need to have good skills though.
3. Pila is nice for 1 day, and probably to pick some hours on your first and last day.
4. Chamois is very nice for quaint old village, silence, nice slopes and especially fabulous views on the Matterhorn.
5. Crevacol is very very nice and quiet. But south-facing, so only worthwhile when snowdepth is OK and temps not too high.
6. Monterosa. Did I say Monterosa? You need to spend at least 3-4 days there.
7. Champorcher is also very nice, but a bit out of the way, because you need to almost leave the Aosta valley before you ride back up again.

I would suggest
1. Find a place on the outskirts of Aosta.
2. Monterosa; 3-4 days.
3. La Thuile; 1-2 days.
4. Either Crevacol or Chamois; 1 day.
5. Pila. 1 day, plus arrival and departure day if you have time
6. Courmayeur; 1 day especially when the weather is stable.


Last edited by 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 on Thu 9-09-21 8:20; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I'm planning on getting to Courmayeur for a day or two in the coming season (from our base in Les Contamines).
I'm pretty amazed by the idea of "Courmayeur 1 day max". Having looked at fatmaps I reckon their are days and days of excellent skiing from the Skyway alone
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@jedster, +1.
All depends on what level of skier and what kind of skiing I guess. Personally I see no limit to Courmayeur’s appeal - loads of offpiste/ freeride/ touring. Piste stuff good too, and some lovely restaurants too. Even for those I reckon more than a day needed. But to be fair I guess there’s plenty competition for all these things in the wider Aosta valley…
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
For on-slope skiing, Courmayeur is nice but limited. They also suffer from piste-kilometer-inflation.
The area is nice and especially scenic, but La Thuile is better and larger by several streetlengths. My opinion of course.

Offpiste, of course Skyway is phantastic.
But if you are an offpiste fanatic, then the heliski at La Thuile on the Ruitor glacier is something special as well.
And not to forget the new terrain that was opened up on the backside of Mont Valaisan.

But if you really like offpiste, then there is nothing that comes close to the slopes off Punta Indren (Alagna / Gressoney).
https://fatmap.com/routeid/20360/la-malfatta

http://youtube.com/v/SjF5CFBEQwU
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:
Anyone know anything about the smaller ones...Crevacol, Torgnon, Brusson, Antagnod, Cogne? Are they worthwhile?

Quote:
Regarding the resorts.
Torgnon, Brusson, Antagnod, Cogne. These are not worthwhile

I beg to differ. If (like Mrs MA and me) you love trying small ski areas that are off the mass-market radar, you may well love Torgnon.

We spent a sunny midweek day there one January trip three or four years ago. Imagine our surprise and delight to find we were the only skiers on the mountain for the first few hours we were there. We were gutted when we first spotted another skier...

Some fantastic cruising runs for blasting about.
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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?
An alternative view to the post by @onem I'm not sure I'd stay in Aosta if you were going to drive to Champoluc for 3-4 days skiing. It's the biggest drive we did from Aosta area and absolutely a great ski area but if you want to focus on it that much I'd stay over that way.

Aosta works great if you want to spread it around a bit more with all the others being <45 min away and use Pila on the doorstop for a couple of days when you want a break from driving.

We're planning to do a bigger day at La Thuile than last time and maybe find time for Crevacol amongst Cervinia and Monte Rosa, but noted the conditions comment earlier. Might be Courmayer that get's dropped as it didn't blow me away.
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Thanks for all the new replies on this bumped thread.

I completed my trip in Feb 2020, just before all covid hell broke loose in N Italy!! Shocked

Some great info for anyone going in the 21/22 season or beyond snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Just to recap what we eventually did in 2020...

Stayed mid-valley near Nus motorway exit, suited us as it was a great spot to hit anywhere in Val d'Aosta, from Cervinia & Champoluc/Monte Rosa up to Cormayeur, though the 45-55min drive times to the further resorts might not suit everyone. Unless you want a lot of variety and the driving adventure, probably best staying in a resort.

We did a day in each:

Courmayeur: not a huge ski area, barely more than a day's worth of piste skiing, but very pretty spot and amazing location up against the flank of Mont Blanc, parked at Dolonne gondola

Cervinia: ugly resort, but impressive mountains and huge ski area linked to Switzerland. Got the International Pass and revisited Zermatt for all the classic Matterhorn views. Rode the new white leather seated Klein Matterhorn lift back and dropped down the Ventina into Cervinia. Mindblowing day of skiing.

Champoluc: parked at Frachey funicular and skied over to far side of Gressoney as far as Rifugio Gabiet. It feels beautifully wild & rustic, some nice runs above each resort, but ski area was a bit linear. I guess we didn't take advantage of the off-piste above Alagna. Gressoney Valley would probably be the best spot to base yourself for a week in Monte Rosa, as you could then go East or West or stay local.

La Thuile: fairly busy at the base on a Sunday at start of HT, but uplift capacity meant few queues on the mountain. Nicely varied ski area with sweeping runs out wide and various mountain faces to ski on including La Rosiere in France. We crossed the border for mid-morning coffee, but made sure we were back in Italy for lunch!! Cool

Pila: great last day, amazing views across Aosta city to the mountains beyond from this high bowl. Ugly resort and compact ski area, but a good variety of runs and nice rifugi.

If I was going for a week in one spot, I might choose La Thuile as a mixed-ability family group, Monte Rosa as an off-piste expert and Cervinia as a mile-hungry intermediate cruiser.
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