Much has been written about which is the best ski resort in Italy, after all it comes down to personal taste and experience. So let me tell you about my own experience and why I rate Champoluc as the best ski resort in Italy.
After skiing in La Thuile over the New Year week and a couple of weeks later in February I definitely had the urge to go skiing in Italy again. Never had I eaten so well, had such good snow and experienced a resort so empty of skiers. Next on the list was another ski area in the Aosta valley called the Monte Rosa which encompasses three main resorts, Champoluc, Gressoney and the “freeride paradise” Alagna. Over the last two years some of the larger English tour operators have cottoned on to the appeal of these lovely Italian resorts and they have sold particularly well. There is the Breithorn chalet hotel which was privately run as 4 star superior hotel in 2014 but has recently been taken over by an English tour operator. As this is one of the first years being managed by this English operator prices are still at an introductory level and as you can see from the rates on our website these are very reasonable for the standard of accommodation. The food and service here will be to a good standard, you have some great spa facilities and it is only a short walk from the centre of town and the slopes.
The best ski resort in Italy has a secret luxury hotel
There is some great accommodation to suit all budgets, in all three of the main resorts in the Monte Rosa. However, there is one hotel which I really want to talk about which is the Hotelliere de Mascognaz. After hearing a couple of stories of this idyllic 13th century hamlet tucked away in the forest above Champoluc, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desperate to go. When driving up to Champoluc and even into town you would be none the wiser about the hotel albeit for a little wooden sign on the side of the road and an oddly located car park but I suppose that is part of the charm. The hotel is only accessed by one of the hotel’s many off road vehicles, be it the skidoo, snow cat or the impressive Landrover with attached caterpillar tracks!
It is about 7 minutes by one of these vehicles up the mountain and through the forest to the hotel where the trees open to reveal a hamlet of old farmers’ huts and stores. It looks tidy and beautiful but maybe not a 5* hotel? However, what is not totally apparent from the exterior is that these buildings have each been lovingly restored to create something quite spectacular. The owner of the Village, Paolo Vitelli, has a lot of experience on how to create a luxury space from many decades creating the most exclusive yachts on the planet through his company, Azimut Benetti. Throughout this project Vitelli has maintained the beautiful facades that has been there for centuries. However, the interiors are another matter, this is definitely a 5-star hotel finished with rustic furniture combined with modern luxury touches and exclusive art. There is a main building with a spectacular restaurant with a cosy bar above, a further large building containing an impressive wellness area (pool, sauna, steam bath, etc.) with the most fantastic views and, strewn around the whole area, various large accommodation chalets.
The team at the village really are the epitome of classic Italian service, these are some of the most attentive, polite and happy staff I have ever come across in a ski resort and it is a refreshing change to what you can sometimes experience in France. On the hotel’s website there is little description about the food on offer at the hotel but this was a real highlight for me. I am a big fan if Italian cuisine but the Hoteliere de Mascognaz took this to another level. Each evening we were treated to an amuse-bouche followed by four light and delectable courses, definitely enough to fill you up but not too much that you would struggle to ski the next day. This was paired with excellent local wines from the Piedmont which were particularly good value for money considering their quality.
Heli-sking in the best ski resort in Italy
Many people staying in the hotel will take advantage of the fantastic heli-skiing in and around the Aosta valley and it is something that I would definitely recommend. Heli-skiing here is some of the cheapest in Europe and with prices starting around €145pp per drop you can use the money you have saved by coming to Italy and experience endless untouched powder. If you’re more into cruising on the slopes then the Monte Rosa delivers again. There are 200km of slopes here which will keep even the keenest piste skier occupied for a week with plenty of good red runs and some challenging blacks. In the Champoluc Valley there are three notably charming mountain restaurants providing high quality, locally sourced food in beautifully renovated farm buildings. My favourite was the Rascard Frantze just below the Champoluc mid station but both L’Aroula and Stadel Soussun are very good as well.
It seems the Monte Rosa is still a relatively well kept secret and those in the know want to keep it that way. Having shared a chairlift with a local ski instructor in Champoluc we got chatting and after having explained what it is I do she was horrified to hear that I would be promoting the resort on my return. However, how can I keep the best ski resort in Italy a secret? Sorry Helen, it’s just too good not to share!
For more information and to book your ski holiday in the Monterosa area of Italy please telephone and speak to John Fish: +44 (0)20 7801 1080.