Alagna , Italy
Alagna is the Eastern most of the three villages making up the extensive Monterosa ski area (the other villages being Champoluc to the West, and Gressoney in the middle of the system). In fact the ski and board domain is much, much larger than the 180kms of piste suggests and is a paradise for expert skiers looking for uncrowded terrain. The long, empty pistes are all blues and reds (no black pistes as all the challenging skiing is to be found off-piste).
Alagna is a peaceful, rustic village with an old church and many traditional wooden Walser chalets - it bears no resemblance to a ski resort and that is its charm. Luxury ski holidays in Alagna cannot be compared with those in Courchevel or Val d’Isere as the two experiences would be like chalk and cheese. Tourism is yet to taint the village or the attitude of the locals who are all welcoming and helpful. If you want to know what skiing was like 50 years ago then this is surely the place to find out. Nightlife is very quiet but there are some great family run restaurants serving up fantastic pasta and carne as well as a couple of rustic bars where you will find the locals and visitors mixing together very amicably.
If you are a confident intermediate skier then you will have a great time in Alagna. If you are an expert who likes to ‘freeride’ then you will be in heaven. Stunning scenery; a massive, high, snow-sure ski area (empty during the week); friendly locals and great traditional Italian mountain cooking await you. This is a resort well worth hiring a mountain guide for a couple of days to get the most out of a short break or even if you stay for a week.
A word of warning - ski hire shops in Alagna are not well stocked and their choice of equipment is limited. We recommend taking your own skis.
Pros & Cons
- Fabulous off-piste for experts and intermediates in Alagna's "Freeride Paradise"
- The mountains are empty during the week. No lift queues and no skier or boarder traffic
- Good snow reliability and grooming
- Quiet, totally unspoiled village
- Three valley lift system gives skiing over a very large area
- The challenging skiing is all off-piste. Most pistes are suitable for intermediates
- Very limited nightlife scene in any of the villages
- Few off-slope activities
For those not dining in their hotel, Alagna has some fantastic restaurants well worth trying. Dir und Don is in the centre of Alagna. There are two parts to it, the interior has been beautifully decorated in wood, and there is one section which is mainly pizzas, calzone, pasta and some meat dishes and salads, as well as delicious desserts. The second part is more formal, serving really excellent food. Bar Union is a family run restaurant serving the very best of local cuisine such as Polenta e Selvaggina (polenta and game) and of course Fonduta di Formaggi (cheese fondue). If you are after a very special treat you must go to the Montagna di Luce hotel & restaurant. This is a really traditional mazot style buiding with a fantastic chef. Other favourites of ours are the Restaurant Ca Nosta. The new restaurant Il Corno Bianco in the latest hotel to open in Alagna is getting good reviews.
La Baita on the run back into Alagna is a traditional mountain resturant offering exceptionally good local specialities.
Once you have dropped your skis back at the hotel, Alagna apres ski is open to all looking to enjoy some fine Italian wines and delicious local delicacies. Vineria An Bacher Wi is by far the most popular apres ski bar, and definitely the place to go - often serving complimentary local hams and cheeses between 5pm & 6pm. If you are after something a little livlier then try the popular Cafe Della Guide situated just below the Monterosa Hotel. Alagna may be a small resort but it is a great place for a Bombardino or hot chocolate!
Nightlife is fairly sparse in Alagna. Hotels, bars and restaurants are the best places to soak up the local atmosphere.