Pila Ski Resort

Pila is a high snowsure ski resort linked by lift to Aosta, an old Roman town with cobbled alleyways and an elegant piazza. Pila does not have a big ski area but it's a good value resort, well suited to beginners, families and mixed groups that include non-skiers or part-time skiers.

Family-friendly and affordable, Pila has all the advantages of a modern purpose-built ski resort such as reliable snow cover, plenty of slope-side accommodation and a traffic-free centre. But it also has an escape route back into the real world via a 20-minute gondola ride down to Aosta, the historic regional centre of this mountainous part of Italy.

Pila’s ski area is compact but interesting. There are 15 lifts and 29 different numbered pistes. Almost all of them are graded red, but there also good nursery slopes and some good blue runs for beginners to progress onto before tackling the gentlest reds. Experts are not totally forgotten about with four black runs, a freestyle area and some good off-piste skiing on wooded North-facing slopes or on higher bowls some of which require a short climb. Almost the entire ski area faces North and is above 1800m so snow quality is good.

Pila used to claim to have 75kms of runs but it’s now reduced its estimate to 50kms, which feels more accurate. For beginners, near-novices and occasional skiers who want to spend a couple of days looking at historical monuments in Aosta that’s probably just enough for a week, and Pila is a good choice for skiers of all standards and keeness for a long weekend (it’s very easy to reach). Bit very determined skiers who are here for a whole week or longer should consider staying down the mountain in Aosta and renting a car so they can travel to other neighbouring resorts like Monterosa, Courmayeur, Cervinia and La Thuile. There is a special Valle d’Aosta lift pass that covers them all.

Apres ski in Pila is relaxed, family-friendly and very Italian, just like the resort’s main clientele. Nightlife is limited, and the lift down to Aosta closes in the early evening. So whilst there are bars and clubs, if you like drinking and dancing till the small hours, you’d be better off staying elsewhere.

Ski & SnowBoard Hire in Pila and Aosta

There are plenty of equipment rental shops in the resort and in the town but hire prices are quite high if you simply walk into the nearest shop when you arrive. Some hotels and tour operators have recommended shops, but they rarely offer the best value even when they give a small discount.

SKISET has shops covering Pila and Aosta, and will give discounts of up to 50% if you book online in advance here.

Pila Pros & Cons

+ High, North-facing snowsure slopes

+ Choice of tree skiing and open bowls

+ Good facilities for beginners and kids

+ Affordable ski-in, ski-out accommodation

+ Easy to reach / ‘weekendable’

+ Historic Aosta offers some variety to a ski holiday and is a good base for visiting other resorts

– Ski area is too small for keen skiers for a week

– Very quiet at night

Pila Ski Area

Pila’s compact ski area offers interesting, high altitude skiing on mainly gentle North facing slopes, bordered by ancient woods of birch and larch, which usually guarantee excellent snow conditions.

The ski area includes three blue runs, 22 red runs and four black runs. This compact network of wide red and long blue pistes and excellent nursery slopes makes Pila an ideal ski resort for beginners, families, weekenders and intermediate skiers who don't want to ski all day, everyday for a week but want some variety when they do decide to ski.  

Pila's ski lift system is modern, with high speed chairlifts and gondolas covering all the main runs, and virtually no queuing. The pistes are well groomed, clearly marked and invariably crowd free with breathtaking scenery including panoramic views of the Aosta Valley, from Mont Blanc to the Grand Combin and from the Matterhorn to the Monterosa.

From the lower part of the resort, the Chamole chairlift leads to a delightful quiet area with a choice of tree lined, red runs.  This area is also accessible from the Nouva chairlift higher up the village. Just above Pila 2000 the Leisse chairlift and Gorraz - G. Grimod cable car transport skiers into the heart of the ski domain with its dense network of scenic red pistes.

Pila's longest run, a blue piste of almost 6km, winds its way from the top of the Leisse chairlift all the way back to the village and is broken down into segments that are separately accessible to beginners without them having to ski the full 6km descent. The 4-man Grimod chairlift serves the extensive snow park and this sheltered snowy bowl is also ideal for beginners to practice on. Higher up the resort, the two Couis chairlifts lead to Pila's steepest, highest altitude slopes, the freeride zone, and some stunning view points.

Although only three of Pila's 29 runs are blue runs, there are short unclassified beginner's runs to the sides of some of the magic carpet lifts. Additionally, some of the reds are quite wide, not too steep and are suitable for beginners. The sheltered nursery slopes get plenty of sunshine, which makes Pila a good choice for novices and young children to learn to ski, and facilities include a number of centrally located magic carpet lifts serving dedicated play areas for children.

More accomplished skiers can race against the clock on Pila's timed slalom run which is open to all.  With a regulation start, gates along the way and a photo finish, it is a great place to have some fun as well as to track progress!

With a total piste extent of only 50km or 70km depending on which statistics you belive (50 seems a better estimate to us) and just four black runs, advanced skiers and boarders will not find Pila's groomed runs very challenging, but there are opportunities off-piste including a dedicated freeride zone in the high altitude area served by the Couis chairlifts and plenty of off-piste skiing through the trees in the many woods that border the pistes. There are some more serious itineraries that require a climb (and if you're sensible, a guide too).

Much of the accommodation is just a stone's throw from the slopes, but ther is an efficient ski bus service for those staying further away from the pistes. Staying down the mountain in the hostoric town of Aosta is also possible: the ride up on the gondola to Pila takes about 20 minutes.

Pila Ski Lifts & Lift Passes

Pila’s modern lift system of 14 ski lifts includes a cable car, gondola and eight chairlifts, serving a 70km network of 29 groomed runs and with an up-hill capacity of 19,700 people per hour.

Pila Ski Lifts

The gondola from Aosta arrives in Pila's lower ski area, at an altitude of 1,800m.  There are moving carpet lifts in this central zone and a short stretch of blue piste leads skiers from the gondola station to the base of the long Chamole` chairlift. From the top of the Chamole` chairlift (2,309m) a choice of lovely, quiet red and blue runs lead either back to the starting point or to the pivotal area close to the base of the  La Nouva  and Leisse chairlifts, and the Gorraz - G. Grimod cable car, just above Pila 2000.

The Leisse chairlift and Gorraz G. Grimod cable car transport skiers into the heart of the ski domain with its dense network of scenic red pistes.  The 4-man Grimod chair lift serves the extensive snowpark and this sheltered snowy bowl is also ideal terrain for beginners to practice on. Higher up the resort, the two Couis chairlifts lead to Pila's steepest, highest altitude slopes, the freeride zone  and some stunning view points .

The lifts in the main ski area are operational from early December to mid April. Most of the lift infrastructure and access to all of the main runs is by chairlift or cable car. The ski area and lifts are often quiet during the week and lift queues are rarely a problem even at busiest times including weekends when the Italian skiers arrive.

Pila Ski Lift Passes

Pila's lift pass is valid for the Aosta gondola and all ski lifts in the Pila ski area.  A 6-day Pila lift pass can also be used for one or two day's skiing in neighbouring Aosta Valley resorts such as Courmayeur, Monterosa, la Thuile and Cervinia, which can be accessed by public transport from the town of Aosta. Really keen skiers who want to spend more than 2 days in the neighbouring resorts can buy a Valle d'Aosta pass that lets you ski in all of them without any restrictions.

Reduced rates are available for low season, for the over 65's and under 14's. Children up to 8 years of age qualify for a free lift pass when an accompanying adult buys an adult lift pass for the same duration.  Proof of age is required for reduced rate and free passes.

Lift passes can be purchased at the top and bottom of the Aosta gondola that connects Pila to the historic city of Aosta. Non-skiers are also able to buy tickets for the Gorraz - G. Grimod cable car and for the Chamole and Liason chairlifts.

 

Pila Beginner Skiing

Pila has wide, gentle, snowsure nursery slopes with child friendly magic carpet lifts, conveniently located in the centre of the village, and a variety of runs for novices to progress onto including some easy redsfor near-novices. Other resorts may have more blue runs but Pila is still a good place to learn to ski.

Beginner Skiing in Pila

The Baby Pila and Baby Gorraz surface lifts provide ideal terrain on which to make a start and first time beginners will soon progress to skiing Pila's longer blue runs, including Pila's longest run, the Grimod, a 6km long descent which winds its way from the top of the Leisse chairlift all the way down to the village.

Beginners can practice on a short stretch of Pila's longest run by using the 4-man Grimod chairlift; a great way to build confidence before attempting the full descent to the village. The Nouva chairlift gives access to the La Chatelaine blue piste (number 5), which can also be reached from the top of the Chamole chairlift.

Pila's lift system is beginner friendly, with no drag lifts to negotiate, and although 22 of 29 runs are rated red, some of these are wide, not too steep and not too crowded and hence they are also suitable for beginners to progress onto once they have mastered the blue runs.

Other ski resorts have more blue runs (and sometimes green runs too), but against this must be balanced the fact that Pila's blue runs and nursery slopes are high and North-facing, so are much more likley to have good snow and therefore will be easier to learn on than lower or south-facing runs. Another advantage is that Pila has woods, which beginners find much more enjoyable and easier to ski in than a bleak open bowl when bad weather closes in or the light is poor. And lastly, Pila is a quiet and uncrowded resort, and that helps beginners as well. So don't just judge a resort's suitability for beginners on the quantity of its blue runs: quality counts as well, and Pila scores highly on that.

The Pila Ski School offers a range of group courses for beginners of all ages, and has excellent facilities for children.  Children from age 3 can join small group classes of similar aged children and ski lessons can be combined with the nursery facilities of the Aquilotti Mini Club to keep children entertained throughout the day as required.

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Pila Intermediate Skiing

Pila’s is especially good for intermediates with plenty of wide, tree-lined runs. The ski area includes 22 red, three blue and four black pistes on north and north-east facing slopes which typically hold good snow conditions.

The attractive wooded area served by the Chamole chairlift offers a choice of delightful red runs which lead back to various points in the village.  The high speed Leisse chairlift and the Gorraz-Grimod cable car lead from Pila 2000 into the heart of the ski area and the Grimod piste (number 15),  which at almost 6km is Pila's longest run, is a fabulous blue  which winds its way from the top of the Leisse chairlift all the way back to the village.

The steepest descents are found in the high altitude area served by the two Couis chairlifts.  Couis 1 (piste number 9) is a lovely red run of almost 4km which offers an easier alternative to the blacks from the top of the Couis 1 chairlift, and red pistes Couis 2 (number 16) and Lo Goil (number 19) offer gentler  alternatives to the steep black runs from the top of the Couis 2 chairlift.

Intermediates also have the opportunity to ski in neighbouring Aosta Valley ski resorts such as Courmayeur, which can be reached by public transport from the town of Aosta.

Pila Advanced Skiing

Pila’s ski area is small but it's high and North-facing. Its steepest runs are found around the two Couis chairlifts. There are four reasonably long black runs in this area, as well as a free ride zone and good off-piste skiing on wooded slopes.

Piste number 11, the Resselin, is a steep and challenging black run from the top of the Couis 2 chairlift (2,612m) and piste number 8, the Tsa Creuisa, is a fun and sometimes bumpy descent accessed from the top of the Couis 1 chairlift (2,705m). Chamole 1 is a very attractive quiet run cut through the trees to the left of the Chamole chairlift - exceptional after a good snow fall.

In addition to the free ride zone there are plenty of safe areas for off-piste skiing through the many ancient woods that border Pila's pistes. The ski area is mainly north facing and the tree-lined slopes make for some excellent snow conditions with great powder in the woods. Advanced skiers can also have some fun on the timed slalom run.

There are also much longer itineraries that require some uphill climbing. Two of them are shown on the piste map but should still be skied with a guide: the descents from 2815m Col Tsa Sétse and from 2662m Pointe du Drinc.

For most advanced skiers, Pila only has enough slopes for between two and three days, depending on how much off-piste they want to do. That makes it perfect for a weekend, or as just one resort that can be visited from Aosta  (which as well as being a an interesting historical city, is also the transport hub for the whole region so makes an excellent base). Most Pila ski apsses entitle you to at least one days' skiing in the one or two of the other Aosta valley resorts - Courmayeur, Monterosa Ski (Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna), Cervinia and La Thuile. if that sounds too limiting, buy a special Aosta Valley ski pass that lets you ski all of them without restrictions. They all have good black run and/or off-piste skiing. There are public transport links, but if you're going to do a lot of travelling, hiring a car is preferable.

 

Pila Boarding & Freestyle

Pila is a popular resort with snowboarders and offers scenic, crowd free slopes, endless woods for off-piste powder, an extensive snow park and a challenging half pipe. There are few flats and no drag lifts to negotiate.

Pila's ski area is mainly north facing and the tree-lined slopes usually hold good snow conditions throughout the winter with great powder in the woods. Three wide blue pistes provide ideal terrain for beginners learning to snowboard, but the majority of Pila's pistes are red runs bordered by woods and include some excellent opportunities for riding off-piste through the trees.

High altitude powder and Pila's steepest runs can be found in the panoramic area served by the two Couis chairlifts where there is also a dedicated free ride zone. Chamole 1 to the left of the Chamole chairlift is an appealing run cut through the trees; it's usually quiet and is exceptionally good after a fresh dump of powder.

Pila's snow park is located in the high altitude, snowy bowl serviced by the Grimod 4-seater chairlift.  It combines natural terrain features with created structures.  There are jumping lines for riders of all levels from beginners to expert, with kickers ranging from 3m to 16m. There are also a series of rails and flat box.

Pila Mountain Restaurants

Pila’s mountain restaurants are cosy, friendly and welcoming with many opening in the evenings, offering transportation by snow cat or snow mobile. There are also plenty of informal bars serving snacks and drinks alongside some more formal restaurants.

Pila's restaurants and bars are generally conveniently located close to the top and bottom of the lifts, making it easy for mixed ability groups including non-skiers to meet for lunch. Many offer good authentic cuisine with lots of local specialities alongside ski favourites.

In common with most other Aosta Valley resorts, lunch can be a quick snack of a sandwich,  burger or chips, a hearty soup, pasta or polenta dish, or a long, leisurely meal taken in either a cosy Alpine restaurant or alfresco, on a panoramic, sunny terrace.

La Baraka, at the top of the Chamole chairlift offers many traditional Aosta Valley specialities and also organises outdoor BBQ's and evening meals.  The Grand Grimod Leisse specialises in polenta dishes.  The Societe is a definite favourite serving Aosta fare with a modern twist.

The Hermitage is a good self service option and the La Chatelaine is a cosy traditional 'baita' on the Nouva piste. The Lo Baoutson at the bottom of the Couis 2 is popular for its local specialities which include la Braserade (charcoal grilled meats) and Raclette.

Pila Village

Pila is a small purpose built ski resort at 1,800m with an attractive centre close to the top of the Aosta gondola from the historic town of Aosta. Located slightly higher up the resort at 2,000m is ‘Pila 2000’, home to some large 1970’s style hotel and apartment complexes.

Pila Ski Resort

The early years of the 20th century saw some summer tourism, but the first real winter visitors arrived in 1949 when the chairlift connecting Les Fleurs with Pila was built. Modern day Pila is a relaxing resort, popular with British skiers, and the resort's altitude (1,800m-2,000m) is high enough to ensure good snow conditions and good skiing up to 2,752m throughout the season. The ski area and the resort fills up with Italians at weekends, but peak periods and weekends aside it's relatively quiet during the week and queuing for the lifts is not a problem.

Friendly, affordable and family friendly, modern day Pila is relatively small and has two main centres, the first of which was built at 1,800m and served by the Aosta gondola, a 20 minute ride from the city of Aosta. Pila has several good restaurants, a choice of friendly, informal bars and a small number of shops for those essential purchases including ski equipment for purchase and rental. The second focal point, Pila 200, is at 2,000m where there are several large hotels and apartments and a selection of bars, restaurants and shops, built around a central piazza. From Pila to Pila 2000 is about a 15 minute walk, but the return leg can easily be skied.

Much of Pila's accommodation is ski-in, ski-out and the wide, gentle nursery slopes are conveniently situated near the centre of the village. This, and the fact that village is both small and quiet with relaxed family-friendly apres ski, makes Pila an excellent base for families and beginners, as well as for intermediate skiers and boarders who don't want to ski all day, every day. The resort is almost entirely traffic-free so if you come by car, leave it in the parking area or down at Aosta. The resort is small enough that you probably won't use the ski buses much, but it's an efficient service if you do.

Ski hire in Pila

There is a reasonable choice of ski rental shops in Pila, but their prices are quite high if you simply walk into them when you arrive. Some hotels and tour operators have recommended shops, but they rarely offer the best value. Generally, if you want to save money, you're much better off booking in advance, which also means your equipment should be fully prepared and ready for you. The Skiset outlet in Pila gives discounts of up to 50% if you book online in advance. You can check the location, the equipment available and the discounted prices here.

Aosta

You can also stay down the mountain in the town of Aosta. This old town has a cultural dimension that surpasses any other skiing destination, complete with 25 historical monuments (at least one of which dates back to Roman times), several medieval and baroque churches, an elegant piazza and plenty of cobbled alleyways. Aosta is also a cheaper place to stay in and makes a handy base for visiting other ski resorts in the region like Monterosa, Cervinia, Courmayeur and La Thuile, because it's a transport hub. The downside is that it's a 20 minute gondola ride away, and the last lift down and up is early in the evening (usually 5pm but check). Driving between Aosta and Pila takes much longer: it's an 18km journey on a twisty mountain road. 

Further Information

For information on hotels and apartments, see our Pila Accommodation section.

For general Tourism information, see the tourist office.

Pila Tourist Office
Ufficio del Turismo Pila
Loc. Pila11020 GRESSAN (AO)
Tel: +39 0165 521008
Email: pila@turismo.vda.it
Web: www.pilaturismo.it

Pila Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants

Pila is a quiet, family friendly resort and not renowned for lively night life! The après ski is low key and informal, centred around the sunny terraces of the bars and hotels adjacent to the lower ski slopes.

The Bar Yeti is good for a drink after the lifts close as it gets the best of the evening sun.  Gallagher's Irish Pub, just across the piste is livelier and open until late.  At Pila 2000 the Bar Nouva is popular and also sells excellent ice cream. Bar Mion is great for relaxing with a steaming cup of hot chocolate

Pila offers a selection of good restaurants and great value pizzerias both in the resort centre and in the 'piazetta' at Pila 2000. Pizzas cooked in wood fired ovens, Aosta Valley specialities, and traditional Italian cuisine are all available.

The Ristorante Bar Yeti is on the piste close to the top of the gondola from Aosta, but can also be reached on foot in the evenings. This friendly restaurant and bar serves anything from a simple drink to a full lunch or dinner of Aosta Valley specialities. The Brasserie du Grimond at Pila 2000 offers a varied menu, which includes tasty pizza.

Many of Pila's mountain restaurants are open in the evenings and offer traditional Alpine specialities and a cosy environment with transportation by snow cat or snow mobile.

Pila Other Activities

Pila has good facilities for children and plenty of other activities besides skiing. Its proximity to the Roman town of Aosta offers the opportunity to add a cultural dimension to your ski holiday.

Snow Shoeing in Pila

Excursions with snow shoes by both day and night can be organised with the team of Aosta Valley Nature Guides at Sac a Dos.

Tel: +39 347 13 22 770 / +39 338 67 15 978
Email: info@sacados.it
Web: www.sacados.it/homepage.asp

Dog Sledding in Pila

Organised dog sled tours follow a picturesque trail through Pila's ancient pine woods.  Following the briefing session, children of all ages may ride in the sleds and those aged 7 plus may also take a turn at driving themselves. It is best to organise tours in advance, where possible.

Tel: +39 335 18 29 414
Email:  info@dogsledman.com
Web: www.dogsledman.com

Ice Skating in Pila

Pila has a natural ice skating rink which is open until late March, conditions permitting. A larger indoor ice skating rink in Aosta is open all year round.

Swimming, Sauna & Spa Facilities in Pila

There are no public swimming or sauna facilities in Pila, but there is a public swimming pool in Aosta (20 minutes by gondola), where a sauna and Turkish bath are also available. The Hotel Lion Noir in Pila has a swimming pool and many of the hotels offer sauna and spa facilities for use by their own guests, but do not open them to non-residents.

Thermal Baths in Pre San Didier

The Thermal Spa Baths in Pre San Didier offer a fabulous selection of indoor and outdoor spa pools which can be reached by public transport (train or bus) from central Aosta.

Aerial Adventure Park in Pila

The Adventure Park offers an aerial assault course featuring Tibetan bridges, trunk walkways, net bridges and ropes on a choice of five graded, high level routes, set amongst the larch trees to the side of the Baby Gorraz carpet lift. Harnesses and the necessary safety equipment are mandatory and are kept at the bottom of the lift.

Fun Park in Pila

The Chacard Fun Park is a spacious outdoor play area, just below the church, on the opposite side of the road, to the Aosta gondola station.  The area is served by a moving carpet lift and snow tubing and tobogganing are both available.

Child Care & Children's Play Area in Pila

The Gli Aquilotti Mini Club offers child care with games and entertainment for children aged from 3 to 12 years old.  Younger children may also be accepted, when booked in advance. For further information and bookings:

Tel: +39 345 33 33 546
E-mail: info@miniclubgliaquilotti.it
Web: www.miniclubgliaquilotti.it

Shopping & Sightseeing in Pila and Aosta

Pila has a small number of shops where all essential items as well as souvenirs can be purchased, but the resort itself is quite small although there are plenty of shops and much to see nearby in the ancient Roman city of Aosta. Aosta, the principal city of the Aosta Valley, is an interesting place to visit and is just a 20 minute gondola ride from the resort.  The last lift up to Pila from Aosta is at 5pm.

Aosta's Roman walls, and six of the original 20 city towers, are still preserved almost in their entirety.  The city's east and south gates are still intact. The latter, a double gate with three arches flanked by two towers known as the Porta Praetoria dates from the 1st century AD and is well preserved in its original forms, apart from the marble covering.  The Tourist Office in Aosta is situated under this arch.

The rectangular arrangement of Aosta's streets is modelled on a Roman plan and the main road divides the city into two equal halves, running from east to west. The large main square Piazza Chanoux is very attractive and there is some good shopping along the Via de Tiller and the Via Porta Praetoria. Also of interest in Aosta are the cathedral (rebuilt in the 11th century), and the Romanesque-Gothic church of Sant'Orso, the patron saint of Aosta, in whose honour the town holds its ancient Fiera di Sant Orso fair and market every January 30th and 31st.

Public transport can be used to travel onward to Pre San Didier and Courmayeur at the top of the Aosta Valley, which is approximately one hour away by bus.

Tourist Information

Further information can be obtained from the tourist office in Pila.

Pila Tourist Office
Ufficio del Turismo Pila
Loc. Pila 11020 GRESSAN (AO)
Tel: +39 0165 52 1008
Email: pila@turismo.vda.it
Web: www.pilaturismo.it

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