The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

Skiing on top of Piste 2 in Pila, with inversion in the bottom. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

Why Visit – The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Pila is a resort that I’ve got to know by chance. I’ve drove with my family to Ollomont, a tiny ski resort at the end of the road of the Valpelline Valley, north of Aosta for the first ski holiday of my little one that was three. (My eldest went once to ski in Portillo before!)

Nice and warm day in Pila, snow became corn snow overnight- still nice! Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley
Nice and warm day in Pila, snow became corn snow overnight- still nice! Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

As the ski area of Ollomont was too small (even though at first, I’ve thought it was ideal), and it did not have ski instructor nor skis or boots for my little boys, I had to go elsewhere. Somebody told us to go either to Pila in Aosta, or Crévacol, by the Grand Saint Bernard Pass. We went to Aosta, and the next was history.

We have been going ever since there, even though now we do not stay at the bottom of the main cable car, but in our home in Morgex (30’ away).

My youngest learnt to ski there, and my two boys love the resort, so we keep on going back for more. Even though I am more nearby La Thuile and Courmayeur, we tend to go to Pila, as it is a very easy-to-deal with and family-friendly ski area.

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Review on the Dynastar M-Pro W 92 skis for women

Dynastar Skis at the Snow Centre - Photo: The-Ski-Guru

I have the chance to try the Dynastar M-Pro W 92 skis at the Ski Press event at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. I have tried already another pair last year which I really liked, and was keen to see how this ski would do.

A freestyle ski,  intended to be an all-mountain ski for advanced to expert skiers. Built with a wood core (hybrid core 2.0) –  it is designed to be great on powder and forgiving in piste.

Getting my skis ready by Scott Dobson of Dynastar skis. Photo: The-Ski-Guru
Getting my skis ready by Scott Dobson of Dynastar skis. Photo: The-Ski-Guru

It features a moderate waist width to ensure a smooth transition between groomers and fresh powder, and a dual rocker that enhances its manoeuvrability in soft snow while still giving you a grip on hard-pack, due to its traditional camber.

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I am at The Ski Podcast show talking about Valle Nevado and Portillo

Skier off-piste in Portillo. Photo by Liam Doran. Courtesy Ski Portillo.

If you go here, you can hear me talking about Valle Nevado and Portillo and their upcoming ski season. The show also talks of other subjects, such as the Ski Club of Great Britain reps (with journalist Lou Cameron-Hall), and what is going on in the ski industry.

Again, here is the link to listen to the podcast.

The View from Aiguille du Midi towards Grandes Jorasses. 65 x 50 cm. In my shop here.
The View from Aiguille du Midi towards Grandes Jorasses. 65 x 50 cm. In my shop here.

Start planning your next trip!

 

You can search for your own accommodation in the snow for your next ski holiday through our Accommodation Search tabOr if looking to stay in the heart of the Mont Blanc Valley in the Aosta Valley, check the direct booking for Il Coure della Valdigne here. This is our own family home in the mountains, that I am renting out when not using.

 

Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.

Il Cuore della Valdigne. Book your lodging directly with me here.Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.

Featured Image: Skier off-piste in Portillo. Photo by Liam Doran. Courtesy Ski Portillo. 

Review of my Snow Finel’s Merino Jumper

Snow Finel Chevron Kitzbühel Jumper. Photo: The-Ski-Guru

I’ve got the luck to get a Snow Finel’s merino jumper after attending the Ski Press Demo day. I am so lucky about it as I was eyeing them for a while!

Snow Finel Kitzbühel Jumper with its characteristic chevron.
Snow Finel Kitzbühel Jumper with its characteristic chevron.

The one I got is a Kitzbühel chevron stripe jumper in navy with orange chevron stripes. I love the softness of the wool, and the seamless construction. It is not bulky at all, as it sits well hugging your body. What I like of merino wool (which I use a lot), is that it is great for exercising, as it wickers the sweat very fast and the fabric dries without making you cold. The fabric also does not stink, thanks to its antibacterial qualities.

This is a perfect second layer under a ski jacket, as it is not bulky. I would use it year round, as it is pretty light to use when is chilly in summer too!

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The Must-Read Guide to Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado at dusk. Photo Courtesy Valle Nevado.

Valle Nevado is one of those ski resorts that you should go and visit. That is why I have put together this must-read guide to Valle Nevado. Located high in the Chilean Andes, to the west of Santiago, this is the centre of the Tres Valles de Chile (the 3 Valleys of Chile). Here you feel that you are definitely skiing in high mountain.

The ski season runs from late June till early October, but it can be movable depending on snowing conditions.

The Andes are majestic, from whichever side you see them. Valle Nevado counts with the best sunsets you will ever see on the mountains. The pinks, oranges and yellows of the sky are jaw-dropping. This is caused by the smog in Santiago (believe it or not!), but even if smog is awful, up in Valle Nevado you have a spectacle of light. Plus the smog gets stuck down in the valley!

Endless possibilities in Valle Nevado. Photo courtesy of Valle Nevado.
Endless possibilities in Valle Nevado. Photo courtesy of Valle Nevado.

Location – The Must Read Guide to Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado is located 46 km west of Santiago. You need to take the road out of Santiago and the paved road to Farellones for 32 km until the diversion the last portion to  Valle Nevado.

How to Get There – The Must Read Guide to Valle Nevado

You do have to be careful driving up (and down!)- the 59 hairpin turns to get to the resort. Read beforehand the timing of going up and down the road, as depending on the time of the year, and during all weekends during the ski season, there are early hours to go up and hours in the day to go down. The road is a bit thin, and when there is heavy traffic, when people finish their ski week, it could be too tricky to have traffic both ways.

As you will not be driving while in Valle Nevado, you might be better off taking a shared or private transfer to get up the mountain and back.

Aiguilles des Drus et Aiguille Verte. Soft Pastels, pan pastels and charcoal on La Carte Pastel. 65x50 cm (20"x26") in my shop here.
Aiguilles des Drus et Aiguille Verte. Soft Pastels, pan pastels and charcoal on La Carte Pastel. 65×50 cm (20″x26″) in my shop here.

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The Must-Read Guide to Portillo, Chile

Portillo Ridge Hike Upper. Photo Frank Shine.

Portillo is one of those ski resorts that should be in your bucket list. That is why I am putting together this Must-Read Guide to Portillo, Chile. Nested in the High Andes of Chile, in the border with Argentina, this boutique-ski resort is a little jewel. With a maximum 450 guests, and a 1-2-1 ratio of personnel, you will feel super pampered.

The perfect groomed slopes of Portillo. Skier: Chris Davenport. Photo: Tamara Susa Photo. Courtesy Ski Portillo.
The perfect groomed slopes of Portillo. Skier: Chris Davenport. Photo: Tamara Susa Photo. Courtesy Ski Portillo.

Located at 2,880 m (9,450 ft) over see level and extending to 3,322 m altitude (10,900 ft), Portillo offers 762 m of vertical drop (2,500 ft) lift served and1,235 acres. You have 35 runs including wide bowls and endless off-piste terrain accessible by traverses and short hikes. There is also heli-skiing, which is pretty affordable, comparing to prices abroad, giving you endless options.

Auberge de la Maison, one of my paintings of the Monte Bianco at dusk from the hamlet of Entrèves in Courmayeur. In my shop in this link.
Auberge de la Maison, one of my paintings of the Monte Bianco at dusk from the hamlet of Entrèves in Courmayeur. In my shop in this link.

The land of sun and snow, Portillo gets 80% sunny days, and usually storms last many days but are not that many in the season. Each storm can bring a big snowfall, which usually remains very dry and crisp thanks to Portillo’s altitude.

Ski season goes from late June to early October (check each year as opening and closing is mainly depending on snow conditions). They do have snowmaking to help with natural snow conditions if needed!

Ann Schorling and her students having a ball in Portillo, Chile. Photo courtesy Ski Portillo.
Ann Schorling and her students having a ball in Portillo, Chile. Photo courtesy Ski Portillo.

Not sure if folklore or not, but something I did for many years- the best time to go skiing is in August, (July is the school holidays), but if not, in September, as at the end of August, there is always a big snowstorm called Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa is on 31st August), that brings lots of fluffy snow. In September rates decrease as it is a lower season than August… But beware, as Portillo gets reserved from year -on-year for the 7th September is the Brazilian independence day, so Brazilians fill up the hotel, and on 18th September is the Chilean Independence…so those two weeks is difficult to get lodging! If you want to get a spot, reserve a year earlier!

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The Must-Read Guide to Morgex, the Heart of the Valdigne

View towards the Monte Bianco, Tête du Grand Monte, Tête des Jeunes, and Tête des Vieux from Morgex. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Why am I making a guide of Morgex? Because this place is such a well-kept secret. Morgex is the place where all savvy Milanese, Torinese and Genovese buy their second home. It is the spot where I have my second home and where we go year-round, around six times a year! A great spot for all your year-round outdoor adventures!

Chatelard- the turret overlooking the valley of Morgex. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.
Chatelard- the turret overlooking the valley of Morgex. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

In winter, is a strategic place where to go and ski in different resorts. You have Courmayeur in 10’, La Thuile in 20’ and the parking lot of Pila in Aosta in 30’. If you want, you can stretch it to Cervinia in 1h14’. Amazing cross country is just above in Arpy and many more further afield… like Val Ferret, Rhêmes-Notre-Dame and Cogne.

In summer, you have amazing hiking trails from Morgex to all over – for all kinds of fitness; also mountain biking, road biking, rafting in the Dora Baltea river, amongst many other things!

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What to Buy to Get Ready for the Ski Season

Going up the gondola, one happy child - Photo by The-Ski-Guru - Pila, Aosta Valley.

It is starting to snow (and rain) in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a sign that the ski season is coming around the corner! This is a list I have done quickly of what you should think of getting, if you are planning to go skiing.

If you are a seasoned skier or boarder, you must have all your equipment, even though sometimes you want to upgrade something. If you are starting, this is a good guide of what to think to be warm in the mountains. And how to keep your family happy and warm…. Nothing is worst than having a crying kid because is cold!

I am putting all items you can find on Amazon, for a fast easy shop.

And here is a link for some coupons on Amazon, on the Capital One Shopping site. 

My youngest with my husband after his ski lesson in Madonna di Campiglio. 7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing.
My youngest with my husband after his ski lesson in Madonna di Campiglio.  What to Buy to Get Ready for the Ski Season.

Merino Base Layers

Nothing helps you better to stay warm than a thermal layer. I love merino as it keeps you warm and dry, and it does not stink as quickly as other materials. It is also cool for summer, so a great material!

Another thing to think, to keep happy feet, is to get at least two or three pairs of ski socks – so you can alternate during the week (more if you do not have a washing machine!)

You also want to have a warm head. Heat leaves you fast through your head and your extremities (feet and hands). So here is a selection of beanies – I prefer wool to synthetic ones, but that goes with taste. A beanie is also useful if you wear a ski helmet (it is obligatory for kids to wear helmets while skiing). If it is very cold, you can add the beanie under the helmet.

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Reasons Why Morzine Resort is Loved by Brits

Morzine photo by The-Ski-Guru. Reasons Why Morzine Resort is Loved by Brits

Winter is a great time when you can make the most of the holiday season and spend quality time with your family and friends. Many people prefer to head to some of the popular ski resorts in Europe and North America where they can have fun and enjoy skiing and snowboarding activities. Even if you are not much into skiing and snowboarding many people would want to explore these ski resorts and enjoy apres ski and other non-skiing activities.

Morzine ski area, a grand expanse for all kind of skiers. Reasons Why Morzine Resort is Loved by Brits.
Morzine ski area, a grand expanse for all kind of skiers. Photo: Pixabay. Reasons Why Morzine Resort is Loved by Brits.

If you are in the UK, you can browse from a list of many ski resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland that offer you the best deals. Morzine, however, has remained one of the most obvious choices as most Brits prefer it to any other ski resort in the French Alps. Hence, you can always look for excellent Morzine ski holidays plans that allow you to make the most of your time and money.

Here are 7 reasons why most British skiers prefer Morzine over any other ski resort.

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Using the Grand St Bernard Tunnel as the Mont Blanc Tunnel is closed till 18th December.

Grand St Bernard Tunnel, another option into the Aosta Valley. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Using the Grand St Bernard Tunnel as the Mont Blanc Tunnel is closed till 18th December.
On our recent trip to our home in Morgex, we have to use the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel, instead of the Mont Blanc Tunnel. This is because the latter has closed for repairments. It will be doing so for many more years to come. The Mont Blanc Tunnel will open in the night of 18th December 2023, in time for Christmas.
Grand St Bernard Tunnel, another option into the Aosta Valley. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Using the Grand St Bernard Tunnel as the Mont Blanc Tunnel is closed till 18th December.
Grand St Bernard Tunnel, another option into the Aosta Valley. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Using the Grand St Bernard Tunnel as the Mont Blanc Tunnel is closed till 18th December.
Coming from Britain, the way to come into the Aosta Valley is then via the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel. That implies driving through Switzerland.
Martina Diez-Routh with her painting of the Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado. Soft Pastels on paper, 60 x 80 cm (24"x31") You can check it out in the shop here.
Martina Diez-Routh with her painting of the Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado. Soft Pastels on paper, 60 x 80 cm (24″x31″) You can check it out in the shop here.
It has some pros and cons.
 

Continue reading “Using the Grand St Bernard Tunnel as the Mont Blanc Tunnel is closed till 18th December.”