Monterosa Ski Resorts

The Monterosa ski area spans three valleys and links Champoluc with Gressoney and Alagna. It has high lifts, long runs, challenging off-piste, no queues (at least on weekdays), nice villages and reasonable prices, but strong skiers should invest in a guide to explore beyond its limited piste network.

Monterosa is sometimes called the Italian Three Valleys, but it has only 180km of pistes, and that figure is based on generous measurements and includes the unconnected outlying ski areas reachable only by bus or car. The main lift-linked area is therefore certainly less than a quarter of the size of the 3 Vallees in France and maybe less than a fifth. It's still large enough for a week for novices or relaxed skiers who want to spend some of their holiday eating and drinking in mountain restaurants or wandering around the pleasant villages; and experts can take advantage of Monterosa's deservedly famous freeride opportunities; but keen intermediates who don't want to venture off-piste might run out of fresh challenges by their third or fourth day.

The western edge of the main ski area is the Ayas valley dominated by Champoluc and its satellite resort of Frachey. Down the road and a bus ride away are Brusson and Antagnod, smaller villages with their own separate slopes. The central Gressoney valley's skiing starts at Bieltschocke at 1348m on the isolated Weissmatten mountain. Further up is the town of Gressoney-Saint-Jean and the higher villages of Gressoney-La-Trinite, Orsia and finally, at 1830m, Stafal (Tschaval). La Trinite's lifts and pistes connect with Stafal's, and Stafal's rise up on both side of the valley, providing the vital links to Champoluc-Frachey in the West and Alagna Valesia in the East, a small ski village with a big reputation for excellent off-piste.

In most seasons Monterosa does not receive huge quantities of snow because the prevailing winds favour ski resorts in the northern and western Alps. Nevertheless its higher slopes are snow-sure, thanks partly to extensive artificial snow-making but mostly to their altitude – all three valleys have lifts ascending to over 2700m and the highest reaches a very impressive 3275m. Skiers with ‘skins’ can climb even higher: the Monte Rosa massif contains several 4000m peaks and extensive ski touring with a guide is possible during the main winter season and also in spring and summer.

Down in the valleys, the villages are relatively small and quiet in the evening for ski resorts, at least during the week. Alagna and the old central part of Gressoney-St-Jean are probably the prettiest, whilst Champoluc and Frachey are the best bases for those who like to start their day on gentle blue runs, and Stafal is the obvious choice for strong skiers who want speedy access to the slopes in all three valleys.

Monterosa Pros & Cons

+ Excellent off-piste and ski-touring

+ Pistes are normally uncrowded

+ High lifts and long snow-sure runs

+ Good, inexpensive mountain restaurants


- Limited piste network

- Lack of mid-week nightlife

- The lifts linking the valleys can close in high winds

- Bus service can be patchy.


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