Chasing Powder in Valle d’Aosta

Exploring Crévacol, La Thuile and Pila in Italy.

Parked card snowed under

We just returned from a 3-day ski adventure in Italy’s stunning Valle d’Aosta. The weather forecast predicted a Retour d’Est hitting the region, making it perfect timing for fresh powder runs.

Crévacol: A Nostalgic Glimpse

Our journey began at Crévacol, a mini resort just across the border with Switzerland. With only two chairlifts, it offered a charmingly old-school vibe – pure 90s ski nostalgia! Unfortunately, heavy winds restricted access to just the base lift. After a couple of hours carving through pristine powder, we retreated for a warming cappuccino for only €1.50 - a steal that perfectly complemented the resort’s retro feel. While the top lift closure left us wanting more, Crévacol will definitely be a stop on our next trip over the San Bernardo pass. (Lift ticket: €24 due to limited opening).

Cogne: Winterwonderland

Next, we set off for Cogne, a scenic village about an hour’s drive from Crévacol. The snowy conditions, however, demanded snow chains, and by the time we reached the village, the lifts had closed early. Though disappointed about missing out on the slopes, the breathtaking scenery surrounding Cogne made the adventurous drive worthwhile.

Snowy road to Cogne
En route to Cogne, Italy

La Thuile: a Bucket List Check

Day two brought us to La Thuile, a 30-minute drive from our base in Aosta. Initially aiming for Monterosa, where only half the lifts were operational, we opted for La Thuile – a lucky gamble! La Thuile, along with La Rosière on the French side, forms a resort with over 80 slopes. We primarily stuck to the sunny Italian slopes, but the international border crossing was definitely a bucket list check!

While La Thuile’s bowl-shaped layout offered extensive terrain, the red slopes felt more like blues, and the blacks were more akin to reds – ideal for beginners but too flat for seasoned skiers. However, the off-piste potential is noteworthy, allowing playful jumps anywhere off the groomed runs. Despite the mellow terrain, we clocked a surprising 60km by day’s end, with the Belvedere (№ 25) and Muret (№ 5) – beautifully nestled amidst the trees – being our favorites. Overall, La Thuile offered a pleasant day with sunshine, great snow, but perhaps not a top contender for a return trip. (Lift ticket: €55 + €2, parking: €7.50).

Pila: Perfectly Groomed Paradise

Our final day, shorter due to an early departure, was reserved for Pila. Known for weekend crowds, we strategically saved it for a less busy weekday. The gondola whisked us directly from Aosta’s center to Pila, where we enjoyed first tracks on perfectly groomed slopes! Similar to La Thuile, Pila sits in a bowl, but the slopes offered a much steeper challenge. The scenery was stunning, with sections weaving through forests and others soaring above the tree line. From the summit of Col Couis, we could see Cogne on the opposite side. While the central area got crowded even on a Tuesday (potentially a nightmare during peak season), the outer areas remained blissfully empty. Here, we carved our way down wide red runs winding through the forests – a perfect day for honing carving skills. The three red slopes (№ 1, 2 & 3) on Chamolé were a must-do, while the black Resselin (№ 11), though steep, felt a tad short. For true speed thrills, the Creuisa (№ 8) under the Couis 1 took the top speed record for the trip! (Lift ticket: €49.5 saving the €2 cost reusing the pass from La Thuile).

Skier on a freshly groomed slope in Pila
First track in Pila, Italy

Overall, our Valle d’Aosta adventure was a resounding success. We explored three new resorts, reveled in exceptional snow conditions, and soaked up the region’s charm. Valle d’Aosta – a must-visit for any skier seeking pristine powder, diverse terrain, and unforgettable Italian flair!