Ski mountaineering enthusiasts are in for a treat in Aosta Valley. Boasting beautiful scenery and variety of terrain, the smallest region in Italy offers unmissable possibilities for mountaineering lovers all the way from November to June, topped up with a number of major competitions, such as the legendary Mezzalama Trophy.
The extensive variety of routes means everyone is sure to find a trip suited to their particular skiing and athletic skills: from climbs of a few hours on open slopes to routes on the glaciers lasting two or more days. A number of peaks can be reached on skis, including the Gran Paradiso, the only one of the Four-Thousanders entirely on Italian soil. Here are a few options to consider:
- La Thuile: a beaten path from Les Suches (departure from arrival of DMC cable car) to the Belvedere pass allows ski mountaineers to reach the French side of the ski resort. The length is 3.6 km with an elevation gain of: 382 mt.
- Pila: The tracks in Pila are indicated and well-maintained to enjoy nature without any concern. The two slopes dedicated to ski mountaineering are constantly monitored, groomed and both start from the new parking located in the upper part of the tunnel: the slope n°1 has a lenght of 2,7 km with a positive altitude difference of 358 m., meanwhile the slope n°2 has a total lenght of 3 km and a positive altitude difference of 295 m.
- Cervinia: In the Plan Maison area (which can be reached by cable car and/or gondola from the village), there are two itineraries (marked, paved and safe) which are very scenic and all with an unfaltering view of the Matterhorn. The first route is approximately 4.5 km long and runs along the left side of the Plan Maison chairlift (2,500 m), arriving at the Teodulo refuge. A longer route (6 km), again from Plan Maison, leads to the Cime Bianche Laghi station (2,812 m), at the start of the Plateau Rosà cable car. Walking time: two to three hours.
In Valtournenche, at Plan Bois (follow the signs for the “Foyer des Guides” restaurant), there is an off-piste route through the beech forests, not signposted, which leads to the upper part of the ski resort, in the Baracon area. (Please inquire in advance at the ticket office about the practicability of the route).
- One of the most suitable valleys for ski mountaineering is the Grand Saint-Bernard valley, on the border with Switzerland, with more than 40 routes.
- Three routes and a ski pass for skimo in the MonterosaSki area: in Val d’Ayas from Ciarcerio to Colle Bettaforca, in the Gressoney Valley from Sant’Anna to Colle Bettaforca and from Gabiet to Passo dei Salati.
- If you want to combine your experience with a stay in a mountain hut, these are open in Spring and serve as an excellent base for many ski mountaineering routes, they open especially for this sport. For information on opening dates, routes and snow conditions please contact the refuges.
Skiers are strongly recommended to tackle routes with the help of a professional alpine guide, check weather conditions, the snow and avalanche bulletin and set off equipped with avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe.