Italy - Skiing and snowboarding around the Monte Rosa
Living in Switzerland close to Interlaken on the Lake Thun it sounds crazy to go skiing somewhere else than in front of our doorstep. But, well, a day of "only" skiing in Switzerland for two people costs about the same as a day skiing in Italy including accomodation, sauna and food. And sometimes it is just great to escape your daily life for a few days, isn't it? So that is what we did. For 5 days to packed the car and drove south for some serious skiing and boarding.
We had decided to discover a new region for us. Our final destination was Alagna Valesesia in the Sesia Valley on foot of the gigantic Monte Rosa. Well, Monte Rosa is not one mountain - it consists of many summits which are the highest in the Alps like Dufourspitze, Signalkuppe. To 1/3 it belongs to Switzerland and 2/3 to Italy.
On our way, we had to visit some lients first (first work - than holiday ;-)) this is why we drove via Lucerne and the Gotthard Tunnel south to the Lago Maggiore. It was our first time in Ticino, the italian speaking part of Switzlerand in winter. It looked beautiful with the snowcapped mountains in the back and the quiet and empty lake with palm trees on the shore! We went for a quick walk on the lake in Brissago as it was a wonderful sunny winter day. Then we continued to the Lago di Orta which we had visited in october. We stocked up with food supplies before we continued our trip over a mountain pass near Arola and down into the Sesia Valley. We loved this valley instantely. There is not much tourism here, traditions are well kept and no big and fancy hotels can be found here. But lots of nature. Strike! This was what we were looking for. Finally we reached Varallo, a very famous pilgrimage town with the oldest and biggest Sacro Monte. Unfortunately it was getting dark and we had no time to visit this place this time (but plan to come back later that year). It was 40 more minutes till we reached Riva Valdobbia, the village we stayed for the next 4 nights. It is 2 ks away from Alagna Valsesia, the last village close to the Monte Rosa where the skilifts start. We had a wonderful appartment for a perfect price in a modern little ressort that was built according to the old Walser traditions. It was peaceful and had great views. The Pietre Gemelle Ressort can only be recommended. And how lucky we were. We had booked the smallest and cheapest option: a one-bedroom appartment but we got an appartment with a big douple bed, huge kitchen and a living room with another sofabed. So we had lots of space, it was amazing. As vegans, it is nearly impossible to eat in a restaurant or hotel in Italy - that is why we stayed in an appartment. So we had the freedom to cook whatever we liked. And the kitchen was fully equipped and super clean. So we settled in our home for the next days, unpacked and enjoyed a cozy, lazy evening.
The next 4 days we did not do anything else than being outside on the slopes. We got up early, drove 5 minutes to Alagna, walked through the beautiful, little village and took the cablecar up the mountain. On our first day, the weather was really bad. It was snowing, it was foggy - and as it was our first time in this ski area, we mainly had no idea where we were. We just took one skilift after the other. But anyway, the slopes looked amazing, there were only few people around and we found some small little huts for a break to warm up. 3 Valley form the ski area of the Monte Rosa. This is the Valsesia Valley where we started. In the middle there is the valley with the villages Stafal and Gressoney-la-Trinité and the last valley in the Aosta is where Chamopluc and Frachey are. The area is worldfamous for freeride skiing. But as we were not equipped for this and rental of all the gear is expensive we "just" stayed on the slopes. The following days the weather cleared up and finally we could see this amazing landscape. While skiing we were constantly surrounded by mountains which have an altitude 4000 meteres and higher. And the slopes were AMAZING! We were carving like crazy each single day. In the evening we could not do much more than going to the sauna, cooking, eating and sleeping.
We had a busy time before and it was so great to be outside all the time, enjoy the fresh air and the sun, have time for each other and sleep a lot. Much to quick the 5 days were over. But we will come back here again. This is an amazing ski area and in beautiful landscape with only few people.
Out way back home was again a little adventure. From the Sesia Valley we drove back over the mountain pass to the Lago di Orta. We stocked up with more food supplies as it is so much cheaper than in Switzerland. Via Domodossola we drove north up the Passo Sempione. On this mountain pass we entered Switzerland again. Then it was down the pass and half way through the Valais. In Goppenstein we had to take our car on the train to pass through the Lötschberg Tunnel. Then it was only another 40 minutes drive back home.