Champoluc Ski Resort Guide
Champoluc has managed to achieve a rare balance which is rarely achieved by European ski resorts. That is, although it is the largest of the Monterosa area resorts and features a multitude of hotel and apartment blocks – it has still retained the appearance and charm of a much smaller village.
The Val d’Avas which Champoluc is situated in is one of the most scenic valleys in all the Alps. The resort itself is set in a pretty, wooded area surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Monterosa mountain chain. Champoluc is a relaxed village which stretches out along the main street. The majority of the resort accommodation lines this street, while the main concentration of bars & restaurants is based around the gondola station at the far end.
With prices that are noticeably cheaper than other Italian ski resorts, Champoluc is understandably popular with families. An influx holidaymakers from nearby Milan & Turin occurs on the weekends during the winter season. This crowd is enough to generate a small apres-ski scene which extends in to the night, but is not going to interest those looking for lively nightlife. There are a good selection of restaurants and pizzerias dotted around both the village and the surrounding ski slopes. Non-skiing activities are limited just to an ice rink plus some extensive walking routes.
One of Champoluc’s biggest advantages is that it is attached to one of the largest and most interesting ski areas in Italy’s Aosta region. The high altitude lifts, long pisted runs and relatively quiet slopes make this an exciting, if relatively unknown, ski holiday destination. The closest airports are Turin Caselle at 105 kilometres and Milan Malpensa at 168 kilometres away. Onward travel from either airport is best by private transfer or car hire.
Skiing in Champoluc
The ski area surrounding Champoluc resort spreads across three valleys and provides a varied amount of terrain for all abilities. Champoluc, Gressoney & Alagna are the linked areas that can be accessed from the gondola in the village.
Official numbers suggest 180km of skiable pistes, but this has been disputed and is believed to include unconnected areas at the extreme ends of the area. What you can be sure of though is that the pistes that are here are of exceptional quality and are, for the large part, uncrowded. Most runs are red or intermediate/advanced level and tend to be long – there are several pistes with 1,000m plus vertical descents.
The climate around Champoluc can be relatively unpredictable with a tendency towards either long periods of heavy snowfall or none-at-all. When the conditions are good though this whole area becomes a freeriding paradise. Almost limitless off-piste options are available with the majority being lift-accessible both above and below the treeline. Champoluc is also the centre for some of the best and cheapest heli-skiing in Europe.
Novice skiers will find plenty of slopes to keep them occupied for a week in Champoluc – and there is a good beginner area halfway up the mountain for those taking lessons. More experienced skiers and snowboarders will want to hire a guide in order to explore the fantastic off-piste around the forests of Frachey. The artificial snowmaking in the area is excellent thanks to a large network of snow-cannons and work done overnight by the piste groomers.