Aosta Valley: Courmayeur, Cervinia And Plenty Of Snow

Here's a place to ski and ride that actually is the smallest, least densely populated little corner of Italy. But, you don't need to worry about any of that when skiing Courmayeur and Cervinia, two of the Alp's best known ski resorts.

The Aosta Valley in northwestern Italy, but is bordered by France to the west (Chamonix is on the other side of Mont Blanc), Switzerland to the north and the Piedmont region, south and east. It doesn't matter what language you speak here, because it will be understood. This is one super skiing region with the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn in its side valleys.

Courmayeur, at the foot of Mont Blanc, has plenty of skiing and boarding on the sunny side of the Alps. Checrouit and Veny, the two main areas, have about 414 km of groomed slopes. More hardcore skiers will want to head to the Vallee Blanche glacier. But, don't fall behind your guide. It's a long drop.

This is one of the world's great ski runs, through spectacular scenery and changing snow and ice. It is off-piste, but good intermediates should be able can handle it and will long remember and brag about it. Courmayeur is loaded with Old World charm and is loved by Italian natives and their French neighbors. Many U.K. skiers lay claim to it as well. 
Time off the mountain might well be spent visiting Aosta. It is the major city in this part of Italy, going way back to Roman times. Medieval castles stand watch over the old Roman road.

Cervinia lacks the charm of Courmayeur, but your choice depends on why you're there. This is a purpose-built resort that just grew and grew as skiing and snowboard popularity expanded. The hotels, for instance, get bigger and bigger, the further you move out from the center of the village.

But, assuming you are in Cervinia to ski, the architecture won't matter too much. Giant treeless snowfields mean kilometer after kilometer of wide, groomed, mostly intermediate runs. There are 32 lifts.

Consider several gateways for getting to the area. Milan's Malpensa airport and Geneva's Cointrin are about the same distance from the snow.

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