The Monterosa ski area offers an attractive combination of long ski pistes, challenging off-piste, small lift queues (at least on weekdays), charming villages and reasonable prices. Also known as the ‘Three Valleys of Italy’ and regarded as "one of the best kept secrets in the Alps", Monterosa is smaller and less well linked than the more famous Three Valleys in France, but the ski area is big enough to keep most skiers happy for a week.
Monterosa has 180km of pistes spanning three valleys and two provinces (Aosta and Piedmont): the Ayas valley (or Champoluc valley) and villages of Champoluc and Frachey to the West, the central Gressoney valley, featuring the principle resorts of Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Gressoney-La-Trinite, Orsia and Stafal (Tschaval), and the Valesia valley to the East, which is home to the small town of Alagna Valesia (Alagna for short) which has cult-status among expert freeriders and its satellite village of Wold.
While snow accumulation in Italy is sometimes less than than comparable ski resorts elsewhere in the Alps, snow cover in Monterosa’s main three valley area is generally good thanks to high altitude – all three valleys have lifts ascending to over 2700m – and extensive artificial snow-making.
The highest lift is in the Gressoney valley and goes up to Punta Indren at 3275m. Skiers with ‘skins’ can ascend even higher: the Monte Rosa massif contains several 4000m peaks and extensive ski touring with a guide is possible not only during the main winter season but also until late April and from mid-June to mid-July.
Outside of weekends and Christmas and Easter, the Monterosa pistes are uncrowded and lift queues are rare. There is a good choice of mountain restaurants, some of which you can stay at if you either want a night away from it all or to be the first one onto the pistes in the morning. Down in the valley the villages are not over-large and tend to be relatively quiet at night for ski resorts, at least on weekdays. Alagna, Champoluc and the central area of Gressoney-St-Jean are generally thought to be the prettiest
The closest international airport to most Monterosa destinations is Turin-Caselle, which is 16km north west of Turin and around two hours drive to most resorts Monterosa. For Alagna, the nearest international airport is Milan. Transfer taxis are available at the airport, but hiring a car usually works out cheaper and will enable you to explore Monterosa more easily.