5 Resorts To Visit In Northern Italy- A Freeriders Dream
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”. Giuseppe Verdi What a perfect quote to summarize the unique and inspiring feelings one gets when you visit Italy. From Rome to Florence, from Naples to Turin and Milan, from sea to mountains Italy is something else. For a lot of the British public in particular, when you think of a classic ski holiday, we automatically think of France or Austria but there are those among us Brits that are, in the know, so to speak. I spend my life in the mountains and most of my year in Italy and and although all these resorts are virtually on my doorstep, I still consider myself immensely lucky to visit these resorts. Not only because I have the benefit of gazing up at the ore inspiring scenery but also because I can discover the most secrets lines!
Situated on the French/Italian border, at the mouth on the Monte Bianco tunnel, Courmayeur is blessed with tree lined runs, restaurants and bars to rival any major Italian city and scenery for days! Let’s break it down by what’s important as we only want a small summary: you can pick up a pizza and a beer and lunch for about 15€in total, the lift passes are moderately priced but the freeride potential, man, that’s where courmayeur stands out. Taking the James Bond style cable car up to Cresta Youla and beyond to the tippy top and Cresta Arp, you are greeted with the feeling of being top of the world, staring down into the wild, deserted, unpopulated backcountry area. For more info on where to stay, head to the tourism website or check out Air b&b. Be sure to be up first lift and enjoy a full days ski to take in everything this amazing resort has to offer.
A real secret spot, a hidden gem, nestled in the heart of the Aosta Valley, Gressoney is slowly receiving the notoriety it deserves on the freeride scene. However, selfishly, many of us who know and love the resort, would rather this resort stay in the shadows. Home to a freeride zone full of countless lines. By taking a few lifts away from the main body of the resort, you have unprecedented access to breathtaking views and really exciting terrain. The freeride zone is home of amazing open faces above the tree line, jumps and cliffs plus many a touring adventures! So, Pizza and beer wise? A little cheaper, you’re looking about 12€, ideal to save some pennies as there is no apres ski either. Although, after a day shredding the freeride zone, no doubt you will be heading for a chilled beer in front on the fire, back at your accommodation. For more info, click here to head to the tourism website.
Pila, oh Pila, a resort that is very close to my heart. As you climb the mountain and the valley drops away behind, it reveals the most imposing mountain range. With impeccable tree lined runs, perfect corduroy runs, steep, dotted with mouth watering bars and restaurants plus some amazing backcountry lines, you have a recipe for the Italian Dolce Vita! As freeriders we pay little attention to the piste but pila is worth having a little shred, the runs are a little steeper than the rest of the valley and with the literally PERFECTLY groomed piste, you can really let your hair down and accelerate. It’s rather funny, whenever i visit, with my freeride friends in tow, we cause a lot of stress of the piste police, ripping around at full speed, to take advantage on the conditions. Heading up to the Couis 2 chair lift, you have 360 views of The Matterhorn, Monte Bianco, Gran San Bernard and Monte Rosa, the most impressive panorama! Watch out for the secret freeride spots around Couis 1 and Couis 2, grab your touring equipment and head on up! Grab a pizza and a beer for around 10€ here and stay cheap too! Click here to visit the tourism website!
Chamois lives in the shadow of Cervinia but we like is that way, included on the Cervinia pass but just 20 minutes down the road, Chamois is a locals secret! Chamois has long since been the spot that local freeriders head too, a day or 2 after a large fall to enjoy the undisturbed peace and tranquility above the clouds. Noone skies Chamois after a big snowfall which is the biggest shame/gift! The pass is cheaper and you can snap up the pizza and a lunch time beer for about 10€. We have driven down to enjoy the touring/snowshoeing opportunities and we have not been disappointed with the conditions. You still have the incredibly iconic views of the Matterhorn which is a true sight for sore eyes! Click here for more info.
Bordering with the sensational resort of La Rosiere, La Thuile is a really eclectic mix of the Italian and the French! La Thuile offers challenging piste skiing and the difficulty level is nicely reflected in the backcountry. I am always stoked to see when pro riders film in La Thuile which the Petit brother did back in 2015, they found some amazing spots, great pillow lines and other exciting features just waiting to be discovered. Your pizza and beer lunch will be about €15 here, prices on the mountain are a little more expensive due to the growing tourist industry in the resort but that also means after a longs days shredding, there will be plenty of life in the pubs for some Italian style apres ski! Stay in the planibel complex to keep the cost down or treat yourself to a cozy chalet, either way, more info can be found on the tourism website!
Okay, so basically this list is narrowed down to just the Aosta Valley but after 7 seasons in the area, you get to know a thing or 2; that is what freeriding is all about, sharing the knowledge, the secrets and the low. After all, the Aosta Valley is a gem in the southern alps.
Be sure to hit me up with a message if you want to know more, I am here to answer any questions you may have about the area. Be sure to send me your images if you have been before! I would LOVE TO SEE!
Until next time. . .
Big love to the Aosta Valley tourist board for the images! For further details on the creds, message me!