Get to know Champoluc
The picturesque Italian resort of Champoluc sits close to the Swiss border, within the Valle d’Aosta – lovingly called The Heart of the Alps. With spectacular glacier views, the charming atmosphere and uncrowded slopes of Champoluc gives you an unforgettable skiing experience with over 100km of groomed piste on your doorstep.
Despite its acclaimed skiing and traditional character, the area of Monterosa along with the smaller Gressony and the demanding terrain of Alagna, is relatively undiscovered by British skiers. Stopping for lunch on the terrace or a quick hot chocolate at one of the superb mountain restaurants is accompanied by stunning panoramas, quiet runs and a relaxed atmosphere that truly sets Champoluc apart from other resorts.
Traditional and laid back, Champoluc continues to attract rave reviews from novice skiers to those that know skiing best. Dave Watts, Editor of Where to Ski and Snowboard has given it his stamp of approval time and time again and Gabriella Le Breton, journalist and accomplished skier, wrote for The Telegraph;
“Champoluc is a wonderful spot to make the most of the relaxed atmosphere in the Alps, with its naturally laid-back attitude, quiet slopes, fantastic restaurants (on and off the mountain) and countless sunny terraces.”
Even the most seasoned skiers can’t fail to be impressed with the unique terrain that the Monterosa area brings. Perfectly groomed pistes are a paradise for families and those looking to enjoy the leisurely pace of the area, while those looking for adventure will find challenging off-piste and heliskiing to satisfy even the toughest adrenaline junkie.
Champoluc cuisine is traditional, abundant and hearty with meats, cheeses, steaming hot stews and fragrant wines fuelling exhausted skiers after an action-packed day on the slopes.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with over 50 restaurants offering traditional food fresh from the mountain, pizzas, soups, salads and pasta betweeen a combination of hotel restaurants and independent eateries, both on and off the mountain.
In the village itself, Le Sapin offers locally sourced food at reasonable prices, whilst La Grange is cosy and welcoming, with knowledgeable staff who can recommend one of the 20 locally produced wines to accompany dishes. If you’re after a quick and authentic bite, then Pizza Churen offers hand-prepared pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven for only 10 euros. Osteria II Balivo is a newer addition to the main street and gets great reviews with its hearty seasonal menus and extensive wine list.
One of our standout tips is Stadel Sousson, a restaurant with rooms housed in an ancient wooden hamlet. It offers a range of authentic, local dishes, and their starter plates of cold meats, cheeses and warm chestnuts with local honey is typical of the rustic menu you can enjoy while there.
During the day you can ski down to Sousson through a narrow track where you can relax, enjoy the food, wine and atmosphere and when you’re finished the restaurant owners will whisk you back to the piste in their private snowcat.
Hotel La Rouja and the Relais Des Glaciers have restaurants worth a mention. Both serve traditional cuisine with smart dining spaces and first-class service. The Rascard Frantze is a private chalet but it opens its doors to non-residents at lunchtime which gives you a chance to visit one of the 20 coolest chalets in the Alps. Accessible only by foot or on skis, a warm welcome awaits when you sit down in the old cattle shed restaurant which is a beautiful blend of exposed stone walls and traditional mountain pine furniture.The fresh food is lovingly prepared by Francesca and her team and we’d recommend you make the most of your time there by enjoying a crisp glass of Limoncello before you whizz back down to Champoluc village.
L’Aroula is a small hotel based on the Ostafa piste; it’s a bit tricky to get to but really worth the effort. The pasta is outstanding and the evolving menu really showcases the local produce available in the Monterosa area.
Perhaps you’re feeling brave enough to try creating your own mountainside cuisine? You’ll have the best local food to work with to create mouth-watering dishes. Even though Champoluc doesn’t have a market (the nearest is located 30 minutes away in Verre), you can buy excellent cuts of meat from the local butcher, pick up a sweet treat from the patisserie and browse local cheese and wines to make your mealtime irresistible. Choose from red or white wines that are produced in the Aosta Valley Region or perhaps create your own fondue with Fontina, Valle d’Aosta’s own soft cheese made from the milk of cows that graze the valley in the summer (the cheese changes colour from summer to winter!).
If you want to travel a little further, then the just outside the main resort is the village of Brusson. Surrounded by fields and renowned for its cross-country ski tracks, it has superb facilities whilst retaining its alpine charm. Starting out from the Hotel Du Foyer, the cross-country tracks are some of the best in the world and it’s easy to hire equipment in the village.