A New Year ski holiday is a truly fantastic experience anywhere you go. However, if you really want that extra special sprinkling of magic on your winter getaway, there’s nothing that rivals the festive period in the Aosta Valley.
One of Italy’s most beautiful ski destinations, the Aosta Valley has long been a favourite of families and couples looking for a special ski break. The town itself is full of life and entertainment, with a cosmopolitan feel you don’t often get in the midst of the Alps. Above the town, just a 20-minute gondola ride away you’ll find the superb snow-sure slopes of Pila, one of our favourite Italian ski areas.
Set in an incredibly peaceful spot with a spectacular view over the valley below, Pila is a small, quiet resort that offers the perfect escape from modern life and stresses. Everything you need is incredibly accessible here, with the compact nature of the resort making it very easy to find your bearings.
A Versatile Ski Area
If this is the year you’re looking for a resort with a bit more space, Pila is certainly a resort you should be considering. The ski area itself has over 70km of runs to suit all abilities and is often surprisingly quiet, with lift queues and busy slopes a rarity.
The majority of slopes are intermediate, which makes this a great spot for families and younger skiers looking to improve their skills. Gorgeous, gentle tree lined runs close to the resort base allow for unforgettable memories to be made as a family, while more challenging terrain higher up means that more advanced skiers can easily get their adrenaline fix. The whole resort is impeccably groomed, with substantial snowmaking facilities and skiing up to 2,740m altitude, meaning great conditions all season long.
If off piste skiing is your bread and butter, perhaps an area such as Courmayeur or La Thuile might be better suited, but if you’re a skier that loves an impeccable groomer, steep pistes and great views, you can’t go wrong with Pila.
A Seamless Ski Holiday
Our favourite part of skiing in the Aosta Valley is that the variety on offer allows you to tailor your stay, creating the perfect holiday for your needs and wants.
If you want a quiet, relaxing stay with accommodation right next to the slopes, you can opt to stay in Pila itself, looking down on the sparkling lights of Aosta.
Or if, like us, you wanted to experience the atmosphere and activity of a truly historic mountain town, not just a ski resort, you can stay in Aosta itself. Staying in Aosta allows you all the luxuries of a town getaway, whilst still getting the full benefits of a ski resort, thanks to an efficient gondola up to Pila.
However, you’re probably wondering about just how easy it is to ski from a town such as this. Surely you have to do the dreaded walk across town in ski boots to get to the lift, carrying an array of skis (parents will know the score) and hearing complaints about sore feet?
Interestingly, this is not at all the case. Here, your ski days can be just as stress-free as if you were doing ski-in, ski-out, thanks to Interski, the Aosta Valley experts. Having operated in the Aosta Valley for nearly 40 years, Interski know exactly how to make your ski holiday here as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Interski operate their own in-resort ski hire service and snowsport school here, staffed by their very own English speaking resort team. This allows you to keep all elements of your holiday in one place, from accommodation, transport and ski school to lift passes, ski hire, and even clothing hire! The dedicated in-resort team provide excellent service on the ground, while the Interski Snowsport School is the largest British run snowsports school in the Alps, providing tuition at all levels, from total beginners to expert skiers.
For those staying in Aosta, the Interski service means you can leave your ski gear at their ski hire store, at the base of the gondola. If you’re skiing with children, this is a total game changer, as you don’t have to stop for sore feet or heavy skis on your way back to the hotel. Instead we could enjoy hot chocolate and souvenirs shops on our way home – much more relaxed!
The Interski staff have a great knowledge of the local area and the morning interaction whilst we were picking up our gear meant we got a daily fix of insider knowledge on the resort and the ski area. This can really come in handy in a week of varied weather, as they know exactly where’s best to ski in all conditions.
The service from Interski really is superb. They couldn’t be happier to help accommodate our changing needs, which always comes in handy where kids are involved! Ski lessons were simple to book, but they were also happy to make any changes or amendments when necessary, which isn’t the case at all ski schools. Interski also have a base at the top of the gondola, as well as the bottom, which means you can easily find a friendly face for any on-mountain advice you might need.
A Unique Resort With a Rich History
One of the elements that makes Aosta so interesting as a ski destination is its rich history as a Roman town. It’s not all that often you can find a ski town that has its own unique character, where ski hire shops sit alongside Roman ruins.
History buffs are in for a treat here, as Aosta boasts more Roman ruins than any Italian town outside Rome! Visitors should definitely take the time to explore the area’s archeological sites, such as the old Roman theatre and the Porta Pretoria, the ancient Roman gateway to the city. It’s a great place to encourage children’s interest in ancient history, as well as encourage their imaginations. For adults, it’s also a rare opportunity to feel you’ve combined a ski holiday with an educational city break!
We chose to visit over New Year, which turned out to be a fantastic time to really appreciate the unique beauty of this town. They certainly know how to bring in the new year, with a wonderful display of fireworks and festivities that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Set against the backdrop of the ruins in the old town, it’s a truly wonderful place to begin a new year.
Visiting over the festive period meant that these sights were made all the more stunning thanks to a backdrop of twinkling lights, carol singing and Christmas markets. Whether you’re after a handcrafted Christmas gift or candy floss the size of your head, Aosta’s Christmas market is a must-visit over the holidays.
And one more thing…
Of course, there’s one other reason that so many of us love skiing in Italy… Yep, you guessed it! The food. From pizza and pasta to wine and hot chocolate, the Italians know just how to ensure happy stomachs for the whole family. Just be warned – it’s easy for a quick lunch stop to turn into a three course experience when there’s just this much deliciousness to choose from!
One of the things that initially drew us to the Aosta Valley was the fact that it’s a resort easy to drive to from the UK. When taking a family ski holiday, we find that the freedom and flexibility of self-driving makes it a far more preferable option to flying. Not only is it better from an environmental point of view, but for us it’s a much more relaxed experience than air travel, particularly when you have a family’s worth of ski kit!
All in all, if you’re looking for a truly wonderful ski holiday in a unique and peaceful ski area this winter, you can’t go wrong with Aosta… and if you want the Aosta Valley experts, it’s got to be Interski.
To find out more, head to interskiholidays.co.uk