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Winter Activities

Downhill Skiing

Pila is without a doubt one of the most appreciated ski resorts in Aosta Valley, with more than 70 km of ski runs, 13 modern and efficient ski lifts, optimal snow conditions and a unique beautiful panoramic view of the Alps. The ski runs are very diverse from a technical point of view and adapted to skiers of various levels. Additionally, the ski runs of Pila are always perfectly prepared. The snow grooming machines prepare the ski slopes every morning to ensure ideal skiing conditions.

Among the various ski runs dedicated to the most expert skiers, I find the most interesting to be the ski trails starting at the top of the Couis 2 chair lift. Both the classical trail as well as the more recently added and much steeper Resselin and Bellevue, not to mention also the runs Du Bois and Gorraz. Ski enthusiasts who prefer non-groomed trails can venture to the ski runs starting from the top of the Couis 1chair lift, with steep and difficult descents. Anyhow, I recommend to all skiers to go to the top of the Couis 1 at least once to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views in Aosta Valley (you can descend along an easy winding trail if you are not ready for the steep descents). For intermediate level skiers, Pila offers a number of long runs from the chair lifts Leissé and Nouva, while for beginners, there is the Grimod and a bunny lift. You can download the map of the ski area here: Map of ski trails.

For freestyle enthusiasts, there is a newly prepared snow park (Slopestyle zone), with a long half-pipe trail and comfortable moving belt to bring skiers back to the top of the park.

The ski school in Pila is excellent and well known ski school website “ scuola di sci”; additionally they manage a day care service for babies and children from 0-12 years old and are staffed with lively and qualified care takers mini-club/garderie.

Cross Country Skiing

Pila is a ski resort primarily dedicated to downhill skiing and offers few possibilities for cross country skiing enthusiasts, with only two small trails located higher up in the ski resort and the short trail that leads to San Grato. I would recommend the latter of the mentioned trails for someone who would like to spend a short hour doing some cross country skiing.

In Aosta Valley, there are several dedicated beautiful cross country skiing centers, with long trails through the quietness of the mountain prairie, forest and nature. Among the various possibilities, I recommend Cogne and Val Ferret, both at a bit more than one hour drive from Pila and both have cross country equipment available for rental.

Cogne, with 12 cross country ski trails totaling more than 80 km of distance winds through the pristine mountain valleys of the Gran Paradiso National Park. Particularly beautiful is the trail that starts at the Saint Orso prairie and takes you to the village of Valmiana in Valnontey; often it is possible to see wild animals such as the Chamois or the Ibex along this trail. For well trained skiers, it is possible to undertake a 45 km long trail of the Marci Gran Paradiso that climbs the Valnontey, the valley of Lillaz and the village of Epinel and finishes in the splendid prairie of Saint Orso.

The circuit cross country trail of the Val Ferret begins at the Planpincieux, which is only accessible via an autobus departing from the village of Entreves (where there is a large parking lot), and goes to the village of Lavachey or to the village of Arnouva. This relatively easy circuit is located in one of the most beautiful lateral valleys of the Aosta Valley region, in a magical mountain valley setting with a fantastic view of the “ Grandes Jorasses”and the Mount Blanc. And then, after a invigorating day of ski, why not try a nice relaxing visit to the thermal baths in Pré Saint Didier?

Alpine Skiing (use of telemark skis with climbing skins usually “ off piste”or back country)

In Aosta Valley, the possibilities of alpine skiing are unlimited, with trails appropriate for all ability levels. Pila offers some nice routes for alpine skiing, among which merit mentioning are the ascent to the Becca di Nona, physically extremely difficult and appropriate only for well trained expert alpine skiers, and the punta de la Pierre “ La Pera”, a classic for alpine skiers in Aosta Valley. The historical point of departure for this route is Ozein, but it is also possible to leave from Pila, climbing along the ski run until the departure of the chair lift “ Grimod”at which point you would continue in the direction of the “ Grimondet”, for an 800 meter climb. The ascent, rather easy, even if very long, leads you to the 2653 meter high “ Pera”, a spectacular panoramic view of the central valley and a magnificent view of the Mount Grivola and the Mount Blanc.

A second route, less demanding, that climbs around 500 meters, takes you to the lake of Chamolé passing by the Chapel of San Grato. The point of departure is the chair lift “ Bosco”; follow the flat path leading toward the chapel, at which point the path leads upward until 2325 meters at the lake of Chamolé. From there, it is easy to reconnect with the ski runs starting at the top of the chair lift “ Bosco”.

Snow shoeing

Pila offers numerous snow shoeing trails for walking on the fresh snow through the wilderness outside the ski area. The association Sac à Dos organizes tours for groups and “ full moon”tours, both offering the possibility to visit the remote areas of the Pila basin accompanied by an expert guide. The tours take place every Wednesday and Saturday by advance reservation, and other days of the week with prior agreement.

Other activities

For those who would like to go ice skating, there is an outdoor ice skating rink near the center square of Pila, which is open during the winter months. In addition, in Aosta and Courmayeur, there are two large indoor ice skating rinks which are open all year round.

Thermal Baths of Pré-Saint-Didier

The thermal baths of Pré-Saint-Didier were once the center of attraction for tourists coming to Aosta Valley over 150 years ago, during the period between 1838 and the beginning of 1900. Recently, the thermal baths have been completely renovated and put back into use, while preserving the character and architecture of the eighteen hundreds. The new structure offers a complete luxury spa experience. The large outdoor area offers a priceless view of the Mount Blanc. It is highly recommended to make a reservation much in advance, especially during high tourist season. Here is the internet site: sito delle terme.

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