Best ski resort in Italy

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.

Snowcat - the road up to the Hotellerie Mascognaz is not suitable for cars
Snowcat – the road up to the Hotellerie Mascognaz is not suitable for cars

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!

One of the traditional buildings making up the Hotellerie Mascognaz
One of the traditional buildings making up the Hotellerie Mascognaz

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.

A secluded 5 star hotel experience
The Hotellerie Mascognaz – a truly secluded and personal 5 star hotel experience

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.

Heli-skiing in the best ski resort in Italy - Champoluc
Heli-skiing in the best ski resort in Italy – Champoluc

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.

Ski holiday in Champoluc

I took my family for a ski holiday in Champoluc, part of the Monterosa ski area in Italy. We went for the Christmas week and were pleasantly surprised. OK, if you want nightlife it may not work but if you want a traditional small resort with some great skiing, excellent hospitality, food and service then you may wish to consider it.

Hotel Breithorn - ski holiday in Champoluc
Hotel Breithorn – ski holiday in Champoluc

We stayed in the fabulous Hotel Breithorn which is a short seven minute walk away from main the main lift. The hotel is comfortable, with a traditional alpine atmosphere. The rooms are all wooden, warm and come in all shapes and sizes. The lounge is where you get your wifi, as well as afternoon tea and cakes and in the evening a drink with canapés is a must before dinner. The food in the restaurant is top notch or should I say nosh! 4 excellent courses every night (I missed a course or two over the few days we were there as there was too much…honestly). The service is excellent and nothing is too much trouble. Price wise the Hotel Breithorn represents excellent value for money but hurry as next season one of the UK tour operators is taking over the property to run it as the Chalet Hotel Breithorn so I suspect it may lose some of its charm.

Hotellerie de Masconaz - a ski holiday in Champoluc
Hotellerie de Masconaz – a ski holiday in Champoluc

After 4 nights in the Breithorn, we moved to the absolutely charming Hotellerie de Mascognaz, a small hamlet 4km above the resort of Champoluc. The hamlet, which is only accessible via snowmobile, is a real treat. Here you will find a series of mazots which have been lovingly restored by the owners into smart modern alpine chalets offering smart  accommodation, a spa, restaurant and lounge areas to relax in. The food, again, is amazing and there are plenty of staff on hand to help with anything you require. This is a haven away from it all, yet with the service and accommodation that you associate with a very good 4 star hotel. You can book an entire chalet for 12 or you can book by the room. This is also a great spot for a family or a couple wanting a romantic get away.

For me, a ski holiday in Champoluc works well both as a weekend or as as a seven night stay. The resort is only 1.5 hours from Turin Airport and so the transfer is really easy, the skiing suits all levels and there is a good choice of hotels in the resort to suit all budgets. However, the real beauty of skiing in Italy is you actually get value for money, not like in some resorts I know in other parts of the Alps.

 

Amelia getting big air!
Amelia getting big air!