Champoluc, Italy; Fine food and skiing….
We are blessed with some fine resorts around Geneva both in the Swiss and the French Alps (and some smaller ones in the Jura) but occasionally it’s great to venture further afield into Italy for a taste of something different.
Courmayeur is one of the closest and nicest resorts in Italy near Geneva and has some fine hotels, restaurants and shopping but one of my favourite resorts feels a little more traditionally Italian and is comparatively undiscovered;
Around 2 and a half hours from Geneva, lies the Italian 3 valley resort of Champoluc in Monterosa, largely undiscovered by tour operators. The resort is at almost 1600 metres but the mountains of Arosa are high and reach up to 3,200 metres with plenty of opportunities for both intermediate skiers and off piste powder hounds. It is perfect for a long weekend from Geneva and is accessed via the Mont Blanc tunnel. The season lasts until Mid April (April 14th).
There are some excellent long red pistes for intermediate cruising with some challenging runs and the slopes here are relatively quiet (particularly if you can avoid peak weekends).
For the more adventurous, there is superb off piste from the point of Indrun with over 1000 metre descents. Heliskiing is also very popular here and you can organise a trip for around 210 Euros and ski right into Zermatt.
Here you can benefit from fantastic Italian food and a rustic alpine charm in a stunning setting.
There are some nice hotels in the village including the Breithorn (breithornhotel.com) and La Rouja (hotellarouja.com) and some lovely on piste restaurants.
On the slopes there are some lovely restaurants including Rascard Frantze which is a stunning renovated building and offers traditional home cooked italian dishes with local wines in a rustic ambience with warm hospitality. There are cosy rooms here where you can stay also (Frantze.it) – reserve in advance as this is now becoming very popular.
Stadel Soussun is also highly recommended (although I didnt manage to visit there on my trip). (stadelsoussun.com)
In town, try Osteria il Balivo and the restaurants at the Hotel Breithorn.
You can also buy some nice Italian ski gear in the village at some of the local shops. Twiner has a good selection of ski jackets with brands like Moncler.
The village is relatively quiet so don’t expect raucous nightlife but do take advantageous of the fine italian food, local wine and the warm welcome (and maybe the odd Limoncello or two).