Ski the Alps in the shadow of Mont Blanc in the beautiful Aosta Valley. Situated on the Italian side of the French/Italian border, it features the separate resorts of La Thuile, Courmayeur and the subject of this report, Pila. La Thuile and Courmayeur are more typical of small alpine towns whereas Pila is situated above the town of Aosta where much of the accommodation for Pila resort can be found. Aosta is an important cultural centre with an impressive central plaza. It also has some heavy industry But don’t let that put you off; we have stayed in Aosta on three occasions, travelling twice by air and once by coach. The town is very impressive with some fine old buildings.
In Pila, beginners are catered for on wide gentle sloping alpine pastures. This safe environment allows English speaking instructors to quickly progress clients to steeper intermediate slopes. Experts will enjoy the top runs from Couis 1 and 2 peaks, and there is some off piste skiing that will challenge the best of skiers. With 70 km of piste, it is not a large skiing area. But for a mixed ability group, it is ideal for each to ski to their ability and still remain in contact with other group members.
Conditions on piste are excellent, with snow grooming tractors working to maintain the snow to a very high standard. There are snow cannon in the resort but natural snow cover is usually plentiful. The weather too has a good sunshine record in winter but when the sun dips behind the mountains in the early afternoon, it can become very cold!
The pistes are well supported with great uplift capacity that ensures queuing at ski lifts is kept to a minimum, even during February half term. There is a varied selection of restaurants in the traditional Alpine style with sun decks and sufficient capacity so that they do not appear overcrowded.
Accommodation is of a very high standard although do not expect Alpine style chalets in Aosta, where most hotels are central and only a short walk to the Gondola station.
We travelled with Interski, a company that was created to cater for school skiing trips. But their Classics package is especially for families and the school parties stay in separate hotels with dedicated representatives. Interski is a small company with a huge strength of purpose. From office staff in the UK to resort staff abroad, everything seems to be geared to the comfort of the client.
Ski Hire is provided from their own purpose built workshop, situated by the uplift Gondola. The cost of travelling with Interski includes insurance and the all important lift pass. It also includes some evening entertainment. Check out their website.