Skiing in Pila

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.

Pila Ski Area

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, every day 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 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 viewpoints.

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 several 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 believe (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. Some more serious itineraries 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 there is an efficient ski bus service for those staying further away from the pistes. Staying down the mountain in the historic town of Aosta is also possible: the ride up on the gondola to Pila takes about 20 minutes.

Beginner Skiing in Pila

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 reds for beginners. Other resorts may have more blue runs but Pila is still a good place to learn to ski.

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 all of the way from the top of the Leisse chairlift 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 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 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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Intermediate Skiing in Pila

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 run which winds its way all of the way from the top of the Leisse chairlift 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.

Advanced Skiing in Pila

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 snowfall.

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 an interesting historical city, is also the transport hub for the whole region so makes an excellent base). Most Pila ski passes entitle you to at least one day’s skiing in 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.

Boarding & Freestyle in Pila

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 experts, with kickers ranging from 3m to 16m. There are also a series of rails and flat boxes.

Pila Mountain Restaurants

Pila’s mountain restaurants are cosy, friendly and welcoming with many opening in the evenings, offering transportation by snowcat or snowmobile. 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 BBQs 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.


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