La Thuile Ski Area

La Thuile’s ski area is lift linked to the French resort of La Rosiere forming the international Espace San Bernardo ski area. Recently extended to Mont Valaisan, it now has over 150km of piste skiing, 85 slopes and 39 lifts, with the highest reaching 2800m.

Ski Area

La Thuile's ski area is surprisingly quiet during the week, offering uncrowded pistes, minimal queuing and far reaching mountain views including Mont Blanc, Monterosa and Cervino (the Matterhorn).  The slopes in La Thuile mostly face north and north east whilst those in La Rosiere predominantly face South.

The combined area, the Espace San Bernardo, has 39 ski lifts and 85 pistes, divided into 36 easy blue runs, 36 moderate red runs and 13 difficult black runs. The total length of the ski runs amounts to 152km if measured the 'straight-line' way any normal person would measure a piste, or 196kms if measured by the method most ski resorts use to exagerate their piste length (they bulk up the quoted figure by including an estimate of the distance incured by skiers traversing across the piste as they descend - pure madness!) In summary this is a good mid-sized ski area, mostly aimed at intermediate level skiers, and big enough to keep most of them busy for a week.

Many of the ski lifts offer the option of a blue or easy red run, alongside a more difficult alternative.  Thanks to its orientation and proximity to Mont Blanc, La Thuile is pretty snowsure.  The resort runs are wooded and north-east facing and even the lower slopes normally maintain good snow conditions throughout the season. However, the ski area is a bit exposed and vulnerable to wind and poor visibility when the weather is bad.

Mont Valaisan 

The Espace san Bernardo was extended for the 2018/19 season to cover a new sector, Mont Valaisan. Two new lifts were constructed and five new red pistes created, plus some freeriding for advanced skiers. The top lift reaches 2800m, the new high point of the whole area. Even before the lifts were built, Mont Valaisan was a famous destination for ski tourers and off-piste skiers and snowboarders who were prepared to make the two hire hike up from the Col de la Traversette, and now it's much more accessible. Although some of the off-piste routes have been swallowed up by the new pistes, a guide can show you many that haven't, including itineraries 'off the back' to La Thuile. 

Les Suches - Chaz Dura

The snowy bowl above the village and the Les Suches gondola, up to Chaz Dura (2,579m), has pisted runs for all abilities. The Les Suches chairlift and the La Combe drag lift provide access to wide, gentle blue runs which return to the top of the Les Suches gondola and are ideal for beginners or warming up.  More confident skiers can head straight for Chaz Dura, from where red runs lead either back to the gondola, or all the way down to the village, on a fabulous 11km run (Red 7).

Advanced skiers can choose one of the steep black runs from Les Suches through the forest, back to La Thuile.  Red piste number 4, offers a gentler alternative for the descent from Les Suches to the village. To the left of the gondola, the Arnouvaz chairlift offers a quiet, scenic and sheltered area with a variety of red runs.  Another long red run leads from Arnouvaz back to the resort of La Thuile.  Both Col de Fourclaz and Chaz Dura are panoramic spots with fabulous views towards Mont Blanc.  They are focal points at the top of the resort, with onward runs leading to Belvedere, the San Bernardo area and La Rosiere.

Belvedere - Piccolo San Bernardo

The Belvedere - Piccolo San Bernardo area is reached by the Belvedere chairlift which rises to 2,641m, the former high point in the La Thuile - La Rosiere ski area before the Mont Valaisan extension. It provides access to numerous high altitude red runs, some of which include some reasonably steep sections. Advanced skiers can try black piste number 25, a challenging run which descends steeply from the top of the Belvedere chairlift to the base of the Fourclaz Express chairlift, or head off the marked piste to sample some of the excellent off-piste available in this area. Red run 7 from Chaz Dura is the longest run in the ski area. This 11km red run passes ancient buildings and winds through woodland, and there are two good restaurants if you want to take a break en- route, before eventually reaching the village.

La Rosiere

From the top of the Belvedere chairlift (2,641m) a choice of blue runs lead to the Chardonnet chairlift which gives access to Col de la Traversette and the La Rosiere area.  The south facing slopes of La Rosiere are easy to navigate with a choice of red and blue runs, serviced by a row of chairlifts, leading to the valley bottom. For the return to La Thuile, head for the Du Fort chairlift to Col de la Traversette, and from there ski to the long Bellecombe drag lift.  Boarders and less confident skiers should allow for extra time on the Bellecombe drag lift as it has some long flat stretches which can be difficult, particularly with a board.  The Combe des Moulins has plenty of off-piste and freeriding possibilities. La Rosiere also has a snow park/boarder cross close to the resort in the Zittieux area above the Ecudets lift, with some freeriding above it and beside it. 

La Thuile Rating

  • Ski Area star rating
  • Snowsure star rating
  • Advanced star rating
  • Intermediates star rating
  • Beginners star rating
  • Ski Lift System star rating
  • Lift Queues star rating
  • Scenery star rating
  • Resort Charm star rating
  • Apres Ski star rating
  • Non-Skiers star rating
  • Getting There star rating

Recommended Hotels in La Thuile

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