Valle d’Aosta is renowned for beautiful, snow-capped peaks such as the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc. It is home to the town of Champoluc, nestled in the Ayas Valley. Not only a fantastic place for a ski holiday, it’s also the perfect venue for training to become a future star.
We recently trained a team from Moreton Hall School who went on to win 8 medals at the British Schoolgirls’ Races in Flaine and are hoping for the same success for Simon’s son, Ryan Brown, who at the age of 17 has been selected as one of 17 future winter sports stars who will travel to Erzurum in Turkey from 11th to 18th February to compete for Great Britain in the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF).
The European Youth Olympic Winter Festival is a hugely important event for young alpine skiing athletes between the ages of 16 and 18 who hope to go on to compete in the Winter Olympics. This year, around 1300 participants will travel to Erzurum in eastern Turkey. At 1757m above sea level, it is the largest city in the region and has some of the best winter sports facilities in Turkey.
Ryan will compete in alpine skiing, which has been an event at the Winter Olympic Games since 1936. Currently training in Courmayeur, Ryan had the following to say “training is going really well, if a little cloudy. I’ve been focusing on keeping my top line still and making sure my movements are as smooth and streamlined as possible. I’m really excited to ski in a new country and looking forward to competing”. Ryan has raced before, but this will be the biggest event he has taken part in and hopefully the first of many. Good luck Ryan!
Four girls from Moreton Hall School in Shropshire have returned from the famous British Schoolgirls’ Races held in Flaine, France, with the trophy for the Best Overall Non Registered Combined Team having swept up 7 other titles between them!
Sisters Charlotte and Alysha Brown, team mate Freya Reeves and her sister and reserve Georgie Reeves trained in Champoluc with Ski 2’s lead instructor John Stewart in the three days before the race. Alysha and Charlotte may have grown up in England, but have close links to Champoluc, where their father Simon Brown runs Ski 2.
Simon said: “It was an obvious choice for the girls to train here in Champoluc, the conditions are fantastic and we know the resort like the back of our hand – our son Ryan has just qualified for the Winter Youth Olympics – so you can’t argue with the fact the valley has some of the best training conditions in the world!” (As if that weren’t enough, Simone Origone, 9 time World Record Holder for speed skiing is Champoluc born and bred.)
The girls had a brilliant time competing against over 150 girls from 31 schools. Both non registered and registered racers can take part with prizes for the different categories. The first day saw the girls competing in Giant Slalom (GS) and Parallel Slalom and the second day saw the Slalom. The events concluded with a prize ceremony in the Flaine auditorium where the atmosphere was alive!
Next year, Ski 2 hope to enable more schools to bring their girls to train in Champoluc.
In Coach John’s words: “It went really well! The girls smashed it in some tricky conditions!”
Full list of prizes: 2nd Non Registered U 14 GS (Charlotte), 1st Non Registered U16 GS (Alysha), 2nd Non Registered GS Team (Moreton Hall A), 1st Non Registered U 16 Slalom (Alysha), 1st Non Registered SL Team (Moreton Hall A), 2nd Non Registered Best Overall U14 (Charlotte), 1st Non Registered Best Overall U 16 (Alysha) and 1st Best Non Registered Overall Combined Team (Moreton Hall)
At just 2 miles long this lovely flat circular walk can easily be done in under an hour even with little ones. Plus, if you are staying at Hotel California, Le Petit Tournalin or Le Campagnol it’s right on your doorstep. If you are starting from Champoluc centre we recommend starting by heading up the private road next to the Penguin Club as this way around you get the sun on your back at the start of the walk and save the magical sculptures, which are usually in a bit of shade, until last.
The directions here start and end at the Thermal Spa by the main carpark at the end of the village as it’s nice and easy for everyone to find:
Facing the spa look left and cross over the road bridge, on your right you’ll see a private road, ‘strada privata’, at the top of it there is a large stone house with a pretty garden, this is our Ski 2 Penguin Club for the tots during your stay. Head straight up the road and keep going up the valley with the River Ayasse on your right. After 10-15 minutes you’ll see Frachey over the river and the funicular going up the mountain. A few minutes later cross the wooden bridge, don’t forget to pause and look at the view up the valley!
Take the path back down the river and through the woods on the other side (behind the bus stop), you can’t miss it and the sunlight through the trees is enchanting. Here you’ll pass behind the Hotel California and Le Petit Tournalin, and start to spot the wooden sculptures.
More sculptures appear every year and the woodland creatures, cheeky faces and fairies are sure to capture the imagination of children and adults alike. You’ll pop out next to the thermal spa, and from here you can walk straight down the road, which takes you back to Ski 2 office, where you can tell us what fun you’ve had. If you have really young kids with you, you could always just do a short there and back through the sculptures!
As you strap your boots on, load your skis into the back and hop into Bertha the bus in the morning, winding your way out of Champoluc a few minutes up the valley to Frachey, have you ever stopped to wonder what else is in this small village, other than the funicular that takes you up the mountain towards Bettaforca? Have you ever noticed, for example, the small chapel on the right as you pull into the Frachey funicular car park?
This area is popular with walkers and if you look around you will see why. Numerous sign posts point you in the direction of paths along, across, up and down the sides of the valley. From here, you can make your way back through the forest to Champoluc (beware the weird and wonderful wooden woodland creatures that greet you along the way) or further up the valley to the village of Saint-Jacques.
What you may not have noticed, however, is the modest chapel building inscribed with Saint Roch (San Rocco, in Italian). Originally dedicated to San Claudio by Jean-Claude Frachey, the chapel was built in 1653. By 1820, it had fallen into a state of disrepair and was restored in 1837.
In September 1860 the Ayas Valley was hit by an unexpected and catastrophic glacier melt, caused by hot torrential rain, swelling the river Evençon, destroying the road in 12 places and turning the fields into glaciers. In 1888, Frachey was once again hit, this time by an avalanche, which flattened four houses, but left the Saint Roch chapel standing.
Having survived all of this, the chapel made it to 1978, when it witnessed the construction of a chairlift next door. It then went on to outlive the chairlift when, in 2009, it was taken down and replaced by the funicular that carries you up the mountain today. The first funicular in the Valle D’Aosta dedicated to skiing, each of its two cabins can carry up to 110 people (but are rarely full).
Give us a call and we’ll happily drive you up there so that you can hop on the funicular and be on your way to a fantastic day of Monterosa skiing.
There is little doubt that Hotellerie de Mascognaz offers the most luxurious accommodation in Champoluc and whilst its location will not appeal to all, its delightful position set high above the village which gives it a massive amount of charm. Originally a hamlet of farm buildings, it has been skilfully converted to offer modern 5* accommodation, whilst still retaining the ancient charm of the property.
The location of Mascognaz means a 10 minute ski-doo or 4 wheel drive transfer to and from the village at the end of each day along a steep track through the woods. Provided, on request, by the hotel staff, these transfers and the onward connection between the bottom of the track and the main gondola (a 5 minute drive), might seem an inconvenience, but are in fact part of the adventure of staying in one of the chalets at Mascognaz.
There is a main building with a wonderful restaurant serving fine local dishes, a further large building containing an imposing ‘wellness area’ (with swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, etc).
Chalet lo Miéte has space for 12 or 14, seven comfortable rooms are furnished with wood panelling. When the whole chalet is booked out for a week, the cost is £760 per person for two sharing a double or twin room. For a group of 12 adults, there is 1 free space offered.
Call 01962 713330 for details or email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your group for a no-obligation personalised quotation.
Finding reliable snow forecasts for the Alps can be a challenge. During the season keep an eye on this account to see the most up-to-date weather information we have for Champoluc. This will be updated from forecasts we trust and from staff in the resort.
Do you help to arrange ski trips for your school, college or other educational institution? We regularly welcome large groups to Champoluc and we've started this account to help promote and market this service.