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

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

Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne (Il Cuore della Valdigne) to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta for your ski or summer holiday.

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The Aosta Valley is magnificent from wherever you look at it. Great mountains, from the Mont Blanc, Monte Cervino (Matterhorn) and Monterosa, to glaciers, rivers, hot springs, lakes, you name it.

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

Having a holiday there is the best way to disconnect from everyday worries, the rat race and why all of us who love the mountains, want to at least, do once a year.

Il Cuore della Valdigne is a beautiful stone and wood apartment in the middle of the Valdigne, the valley of the Mont Blanc, what in my opinion, has the nicest vistas of the Aosta Valley and one of the nicest of the Alps.

Being in the middle of Morgex, just 10’ outside Courmayeur, 3 minutes from the Pré Saint Didier terme (natural hot springs) and 20’ from La Thuile, and to the other side, 25’ to Aosta and the gondola of Pila, the chalet is located in a great strategic location for going skiing, cross country skiing (in Arpy, Val Ferret or Cogne), mountain biking, snow shoeing, winter walking, white water rafting and relaxing in the hot springs.

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

The apartment has two bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers in two floors, a living room with a double-sided chimney that also opens to the dining room. The wooden kitchen with the slate kitchen top is a delight, with all you need if you fancy doing a big meal. If you don’t, no worries, you are a stone throw away from many bars and restaurants in Morgex: Mont Blanc Café, Café de l’Archet, La Locanda, Trattoria da Bepe, and if you fancy something much more deluxe, the renown Casa Quinson, all within two blocks from the apartment.

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A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.

Plampincieux Iconography - from Daily Mail. A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.

A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.

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

The Planpincieux glacier on the Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif, which marks the border between Italy, France and Switzerland is fast-melting and could provoke a collapse of 8.8 million cubic feet mass of the 512 square mile glacier.

A helicopter rides on top of the glacier. Photo: Antonio Calanni AP - The Guardian. A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.
A helicopter rides on top of the glacier. Photo: Antonio Calanni AP – The Guardian. A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.

The glacier overlooks the Val Ferret and Planpincieux, 7 km up from Courmayeur. Experts from Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation), a charity in charge of monitoring the glaciers of Aosta Valley, said that this glacier has been moving since they have been monitoring it closely starting in 2013, but the size of a recent fracture and the increase of the speed at which the ice is melting raised the alarm.

This area is popular with hikers, so Courmayeur’s Major Miserocchi closed as a safety measure, mountain refuges and part of a road upon which the ice could directly fall. Contrary to first reported, only one home had to be evacuated. The rest of the 10 homes in the hamlet beneath the glacier are empty summer holiday homes.

A group of 160 or so pupils marched on Friday to protest against climate change with banners and slogans from “Ban plastic, save our planet” to “You broke our glacier”.

Continue reading “A fast-melting glacier in the Mont Blanc raised an alarm in the area of Val Ferret of Courmayeur.”

Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Courmayeur in the summer. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Since I first went to Courmayeur, having stopped there for breakfast, on our way home from our annual ski week in Pila, driving through the scenic SS26, I fall in love with the place. When we were coming up, just after coming out the Mont Blanc tunnel, you see the gondolas and the tram on top of the route, plus the town with all its buildings very prettily aligned around the route and I knew I wanted to check it out! Being working in the ski biz for almost all my life, before moving to the UK (in the US/Canada and Argentina/Chile), I knew about Courmayeur as a name, but I have not visited many ski areas outside America.

Summer in the mountains? Why not? The look from Plan Chécrouit in Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.
Summer in the mountains? Why not? The look from Plan Chécrouit in Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Our summer in the mountains – one week in Courmayeur.

Of all places in our first family ski holiday in Europe, we’ve finished in Ollomont – a small ski ‘field’ – I would say, in the end of the road where mountaineers go to ice climb – but I will write more of this in another post.

But back now to Courmayeur. Since our first breakfast there, we had a second one on the following trip with my friend Claudine from the Tourist Office of Courmayeur and her baby – and then again we’ve been up the Skyway coming back from Lago di Como, and finally we’ve stayed  for some nights in winter for two years now – and managed to ski the mountain! First time only one day and the last time, for two (even though my knee was not up for skiing!).

But last summer, I’ve convinced my husband to go at least one week during our summer holidays. I would love to uproot my family there, (to the answers of my husband of what will I do, I don’t speak the language – and me telling him to just learn it!) I wanted to stay in the summer, to see how it is life in Courma in the summer. I’ve been in the fall, seeing at all the hotels – for my Must-Read Guide to Courmayeur. Even many hotels were closed, they’ve opened them to me, and I could see them while many of the maintenance and upgrades were taking place.

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Spot on: Gran Baita Hotel – Courmayeur

Gran Baita Executive room with outside pool with jacuzzi. Photo: Gran Baita Hotel Courmayeur. Spot on: Gran Baita Hotel – Courmayeur

Spot on: Gran Baita Hotel – Courmayeur

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

The Gran Baita Hotel is a four starts hotel, part of the Alpissima group of hotels in the Aosta Valley. It is located in Courmayeur, 15 minutes from the Armani funicular, 10 minutes from the Via Roma, the elegant pedestrianised shopping road in Courmayeur, and five minutes-drive with a free hotel transfer to the Dolonne gondola.

It is located in a quiet and elegant neighbourhood in Courmayeur, with amazing vistas of the Mont Blanc chain, and the characteristic Dent de Géant peak. I totally recommend it as a lovely hotel to go for your ski or summer holidays.

Restaurant of the Gran Baita. Spot on: Gran Baita Hotel – Courmayeur
Restaurant of the Gran Baita. Spot on: Gran Baita Hotel – Courmayeur

Decoration is all in the Valdostan style, with lots of wood and cosy interiors. The hotel has 54 well-appointed rooms, many of them with balconies offering magnificent views of the Alps, as Courmayeur is located just by the Mont Blanc and the views everywhere you look at, are amazing! From the regular rooms, many of which are being renovated for the next winter holiday, to the Executive Rooms, with a wooden rustic-chic feel and mini private outside pools with jacuzzi, you have a choice for your stay. Some of the rooms are connecting, to house families. I’ve recently stayed in Room 222, that does not look towards the pool, but has a lovely feeling, with two balconies, and you can see the Dent de Géant while in the balcony. Completely loved my room. Travelled with my mum and she said she wants to buy it!

The in-house restaurant is lovely decorated in wood with oozes cosiness and offers local and international dishes.  La Sapiniere, is their newest addition, a stübe, typical from the Alps, serving Valdostan cuisine in a super cozy ambiance. The American bar has a welcoming fireplace and a spacious terrace with amazing views of the Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains.

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Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy

A stop for lunch at Notre Dame de Bellecombe. Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy.

Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy

This past summer we went to have a holiday in the mountains. From Chamonix we were off onto Courmayeur. But it was a Saturday – what is considered here in the mountains as a Samedi Noir or Sabato Nero, meaning very long queues to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

This past summer was ridiculously hot – even in the mountains – with the temperature being 31 C in Chamonix in the morning – imagine staying a couple of hours in line to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel did not seem too much fun at the time.

How adventures start - with a good map. The IGN Route des Grandes Alpes. Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy.
How adventures start – with a good map. The IGN Route des Grandes Alpes. Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy.

I’ve asked the evening before some friends I have in Chamonix on how other way we could go – and how about taking the Petit St Bernard Pass. Arnaud Jamson, the deputy director of the Chamonix Tourism Office suggested me to go all around and stop in Megève for lunch, then go to the Lac du Roselend and from there go up to La Rosière to cross into La Thuile through the Petit St Bernard. This is a typical road for motorcyclists and bikers alike – many of these roads have been used by the Tour de France!

As I have a memory of a mosquito, I’ve asked at the hotel’s reception where I could get a good map, and I was told to go into the main street in Chamonix. There is a wonderful books and magazine store – that I could stayed for hours just looking around, where I bought the IGN Map of Route des Grandes Alpes. I love maps and this one was a great addition to my collection.

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Planning your summer holiday in the mountains and beach – our next trip

The view from the top of the Skyway Monte Bianco - Punta Hellbronner- Amazing rotating gondola that takes you up to the highest point in Italy to see the Mont Blanc and all the surrounding mountains. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

The summer holidays are coming upon us and I am counting the days to leave this hot city and have some days off. I have been planning this summer holiday for at least half an year and cannot believe it is finally coming! We will be going to the mountains and the beach in one trip, to please all the members of the family.  Even though I will be having a couple of meetings here and there, it is still time to spend with the family and enjoy being and playing outside.

I love planning where we are going to go each year. For winter we always go to the Alps driving, and we have done already 5 years of going to Pila, just up from Aosta, one going to Madonna di Campiglio and one adding Courmayeur to the end of our stay in Aosta/Pila. We always travel by car, as we take all our equipment with us, and we are well positioned in SE London to get to Folkestone for the Eurotunnel station.

Start of the trip at the Eurotunnel - can't wait! Photo by The-Ski-Guru.
Start of the trip at the Eurotunnel – can’t wait! Photo by The-Ski-Guru.

Summer is not different. I find that purchasing flights for the family during the kids’ school holidays is very expensive, plus I do love our road trips. So off we’ll be going soon to Folkestone to board the Eurotunnel and get into another adventure.


One thing to remember is to get the car lights stickers that are obligatory for UK cars driving in the Continent, so you do not blind the cars coming the other way, the yellow vests per each person in the car, a triangle and I am not sure if the breathalysers are still requested in France. It was the case, then I’ve read that it was not the case anymore – just check online before travelling just in case! Have all these things inside the car, reachable if you are stopped by the police, not in your car boot, as you could be fined if you need to get out to get them!

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The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift, that connected Aiguille du Midi with Punta Helbronner has fallen down and will be closed this coming summer.

The gondolas that go on top of the Mar de Glace, from Aiguille du Midi in France (Chamonix) to Punta Helbronner in Italy (Courmayeur)

The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift finished in the ground after suffering very weird conditions. A thick ice cover, thicker than the width of the cable covered a very long stretch of cable creating a very heavy mass, which made the cable collapse.

The Mont Blanc Panoramic Lift has fallen to the ground due to the weight of ice on top of its cable.
The Mont Blanc Panoramic Lift has fallen to the ground due to the weight of ice on top of its cable.

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Taste of Courmayeur will start on January 26th and go through the 28th at the Courmayeur Mountain Sport Center

Taste of Courmayeur is starting this coming weekend! Photo Credit: Taste of Courmayeur and Centro Servizi Courmayeur

From January 26 to 28, the Italian resort of Courmayeur hosts an amazing gourmet event: Taste of Courmayeur where people have the chance to sample the best delicacies from the Aosta Valley and Italy as a whole with a beautifully scenic backdrop, enhanced by lights and music.

Taste of Courmayeur - 26-28 January 2018 at the Courmayeur Mountain Sports Center.
Taste of Courmayeur – 26-28 January 2018 at the Courmayeur Mountain Sports Center.

For this year’s event at the Courmayeur Mountain Sport Center, six renowned chefs will prepare their most refined and delicious dishes in a special tasting menu. The 24-course menu will be accompanied by a rich programme of activities – it’s a gourmet dream for foodies, a great festive occasion, and a unique opportunity to attend food and wine tastings and workshops with top chefs. The three-day festival aims to make haute cuisine accessible to everyone – each of the 24 dishes is priced between €6 and €10, with good-quality wine and beer as an accompaniment – and there’s also a kids’ area for young foodies.

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Courmayeur is opening the ski season this Saturday 25th November

Courmayeur is opening the ski season this Sunday 25th November. This is a partial opening on the Checrouit side of the mountain with the following lifts:

-Funivia Courmayeur (tram)

-Telecabina Dolonne (cablecar)

-Telecabina Checrouit (cablecar)

-Seggiovia Maison Vieille (chairlift)

-Seggiovia Gabba (chairlift)

-Seggiovia Bertolini (chairlift)

The trails that will be opened are Internazionale and Lazey.

There is a unique rate for this Saturday 25th of 25 EUR. Note that this rate does not include access to Skyway.

Photo: Gughi Fassino – Courmayeur Mont Blanc Tourism Office

Lifts for this opening date have to be purchased at the Telecabina Dolonne on or before this Friday 24th November – the ticket office opens from 9:30 till 12:30 and from 14:30 till 18:00.

More trails and lifts will be opening soon!

More information at http://www.courmayeur-montblanc.com

http://www.courmayeurmontblanc.it/lang/EN/homepage

The Armani Funivia takes passengers to Plan Checrouit from downtown Courmayeur- Photo: Gughi Fassino

Photos Courtesy of Courmayeur Mont Blanc Tourism Office – 

Featured Image: Photographer Gughi Fassino

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You can read how the Panoramic Mont Blanc lift fell to the ground.

A great way how to see the Mont Blanc Massif

Check out the video I took this week flying on a helicopter of GMH Helicopters, thanks to Claudine David of Courmayeur – great adrenaline rush! I would suggest it to anyone!

 

For more information go to http://www.courmayeurmontblanc.it/lang/EN/homepage  

and https://www.gm-helicopters.com/ 

To keep on reading more ski news at your fingertips, visit The-Ski-Guru

Follow us in social media with our hashtags #theskiguru #skinewsatyourfingertips

For preparing your perfect holiday in Courmayeur check our MUST-READ guide to Courmayer.