As we were driving towards Alagna, one of the three main points of entry into the Monte Rosa skiing area, the change in landscape came quite sudden. In the plains northwest of Milan, spring had already begun, flowers had started to appear, and only the white cover on the distant tops of the Alps reminded one of the vicinity of snow. But as we drove into the valley of the Sesia river, we quite soon spotted remains of snow a little higher, and soon thereafter, next to us. Before we knew it, we were in a white winterland. Unfortunately, we did not make it to ski that same day, but the late afternoon light on the snowy mountains certainly whetted our appetite for more.
The next day, we were all eager to go up the mountains and explore the Monte Rosa skiing area. From the window of our bathroom, we could see the snowy mountains lit by a soft morning light. Even though it was a Saturday, we were in a gondola before we knew it, and a little later, were on our skies. Shades were an absolute necessity in this bright world of a very thick layer of snow with sunlight all around us, and we got used to moving on skies again. After a few runs, we went to the upper, black, slope, the Olen, which turned out to be one of the best of the Monte Rosa area. The gondola on the other side of the Passo Salati was only working at the end of the day, allowing us only a few tries of the Salati downhill trail. We soon discovered that the restaurants, even high in the mountains at around 3,000m altitude, were of very good quality, serving all kinds of Italian classic meals as well as local fare. Some of those places have great views over the area.
The next days we spent discovering the Gressoney and the Champoluc areas, both of which are more interesting than the Alagna side of Monte Rosa simply because they have many more downhill runs. Since it was late March, the sun was already gaining strength, and this resulted in the snow getting quite soft at the end of the day. Especially the last slope, Alagna, suffered greatly and turned out to be the biggest challenge on some days. I even saw people taking their skies on their shoulder and walking down. The fine weather lasted until the last day, when a strong wind prevented us from going back up to the Passo Salati, and we were stuck on the Alagna side, which only offers few runs. On the positive side, some fresh snow made those few slopes very good to ski; moreover, since most people had left already, the slopes were virtually empty.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Monte Rosa skiing (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Monte Rosa skiing. Read more about this site.