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La Thuile - La Rosière

La Thuile is one of two ski resorts of the bigger Espace San Bernardo ski area together with La Rosière. It is located in the Aosta Valley region in Italy, while the second one is in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France. That means you can ski or snowboard across the border and enjoy the slopes (and the two best cuisines in the world) on both sides of the mountain. Geographically, this is the Graian Alps in the Western Alps. The main feature of La Thuile (Espace San Bernardo) ski resort is Italy's steepest black slope, Nr 3, Franco Berthod, which has a maximum gradient of 76%. It is also located just nearby the southern, Italian slope of the Mont Blanc Massif with the second-highest mountain of Europe, Mont Blanc (4,448 m / 14,593 ft), after Mount Elbrus (5,642 m / 18,510 ft) in the Caucasus. So you can make a detour over there, too. The entire Espace San Bernardo ski area has 89 slopes of 152 km (95 mi) and 39 ski lifts. It is best suitable for intermediate and easy skiing but there are also some advanced slopes. La Thuile season is from mid-December to early April in general.

La Thuile, Italy

Location

La Thuile Ski Resort is located in the Unit of Valdôtaines Communes Valdigne-Mont Blanc (Unité des Communes valdôtaines Valdigne-Mont-Blanc), one of the eight administrative units of the autonomous Aosta Valley region in Italy.

But geographically, situated in the Graian Alps across Italy and France, both La Thuile and La Rosière ski resorts are in the same Ruiter Massif right between the Mont Blanc Massif on the north and Vanoise Massif on the south.

In particular, La Thuile ski resort altitude is between 1,441 and 2,641 m (1,441 and 8,664 ft) with a difference of 1,200 m (3,937 ft) from the village of La Thuile to Mont Belvedere (2,641 m / 8,664 ft), the highest peak of the resort, which you can reach with the namesake ski lift.

La Thuile, Italy

La Thuile is also located in a large basin on the cross-border road of the Little St. Bernard Pass (Col du Petit Saint-Bernard in French, Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo in Italian) of 2,188 m (7,178 ft), with the Rutor Glacier, one of the biggest in Aosta Valley named after the Testa del Rutor (3,468 m / 11,377 ft), the most prominent peak of the massif rising above (the highest is Aiguille de la Grande Sassière of 3,747 m / 12,293 ft). The Rutor Glacier and Testa del Rutor get their name from the local word “roése” meaning glacier and “tor” which means rocky peak.

The Little St. Bernard Pass is a mountain pass between Italy and France that is alleged to have been passed by Hannibal, a Carthaginian (modern Tunisia) general who commanded his forces against Ancient Rome, who led his army, complete with elephants, over the pass on his way to Rome.

You can access the ski area directly from the La Thuile town center from the gondola lift that takes you up to Les Suches or the Bosco Express chairlifts stations.

La Thuile, Italy

Getting to La Thuile Ski Resort

La Thuile is an easy-to-reach ski resort from two Italian cities: Turin and Milan, as well as from Geneva in Switzerland.

Nearest Airports

If you are traveling from afar you will also have no trouble getting to the area. All three of the abovementioned cities have international and regional airports (there are even three in Milan, including the Bergamo) with the following corresponding travel times by car from closer to more distant ones:

  • Turin Caselle Airport (TRN): 2 hours
  • Geneva International Airport (GVA): 2 hours
  • Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP): 2.5 hours
  • Milan Linate Airport (LIN): 3 hours
  • Milan Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY): 3 hours

Shuttle Services

There are several private and shared airport shuttle services available from all of the nearby airports. For example, Geneva International Airport offers private or shared services which connect to La Thuile via the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a highway tunnel that links France and Italy in the towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc Massif. You can also use services, such as Uber and Blablacar, to reach either resort.

There’s also a regular coach service from the town of Aosta to La Thuile, making it easy to reach by public transport. La Thuile even has a free shuttle service in the winter that takes you around the town, to the thermal spa in Pré Saint Didier, Courmayeur, and the Monte Bianco Skyway Lift.

La Thuile, Italy

Road to La Thuile village

Parking Lots

If you’re planning to drive to La Thuile, there are several parking options where you can leave your car during your stay. It offers free and paid parking with a shuttle bus that can take you and your ski gear through the town. Most accommodation, hotels, and chalets offer parking options either included in their offers, or as a payable extra.

Season

The Espace San Bernardo ski area usually opens at the beginning of December and closes around mid-April, thanks to a favorable microclimate that prolongs the ski season. The international connection via a ski lift between Italy and France typically opens from mid-December until mid-April, depending on weather conditions.

La Thuile, Italy

Snow and Weather Conditions

Thanks to regular and abundant snowfall, the slopes in both La Thuile and La Rosière are usually covered in snow. There are also 477 snow cannons to cover the slopes if there isn't enough snow. In particular, La Thuile faces north, and some of its lower slopes are shaded, meaning it can get very icy. This is true for slope Nr 3, Franco Berthod, a black run that takes skiers down to La Thuile which is very steep and often icy, and best reserved for expert skiers. There’s always the option to take the DMC gondola back down to La Thuile, avoiding the tricker lower slopes.

La Thuile, Italy

La Thuile Ski Map

La Thuile is a relatively small ski resort that is not hard to figure out. It consists of four areas formed around the three peaks of the resort in Ruiter Massif:

  • The first one is La Thuile-Les Suches, which, as the name suggests, consist of two smaller parts: the actual village of La Thuile, the resort's base station at 1,441 m (4727 ft), and Les Suches right above it at 2,200 m (7,217 ft). These two parts are connected by ski lifts.
  • The second large area of the resort is Les Suches-Chaz Dura on the slopes of the namesake Chaz Dura peak (2,579 m / 8,461 ft).
  • The third one is Belvedere S. Bernando at Mont Belvedere (2,641 m / 8,664 ft), which you can finally reach by taking the last chairlift to the top.
  • The fourth one is Argillien-Arnouvaz named after the two ski lifts at the bottom of the same mountain to the west of Les Suches.

There are two smaller ski areas in Espace San Bernardo: Snowzone and Liaison. The latter connects La Thuile and La Rosière with each other. In particular, this is Bellecombe 1, a 1,678 m (5,505 ft) long J-bar lift with just 231 m (757 ft) of elevation difference that although easy to use, can be challenging for beginner snowboarders who need to hold their balance on the long, flat terrain. It also starts with a bit of a pull, making it tricky to set off for beginners.

From here you can ski down a long blue run, Liaison, Nr 26, before briefly joining the end of red slope Nr 7, San Bernardo, Espace San Bernardo’s longest run, to take the chairlift over into Italy. Alternatively, you can head from Bellecombe 1 directly to Bellecombe 2 which will lead you directly to the Belvedere Pass.

La Thuile, Italy

When skiing at La Thuile, you’re surrounded by the towering peaks of other high and big mountains in the area. In addition to the snowy dome of Mont Blanc (4,810 m / 15,780 ft), these are dramatic peaks of Grandes Jorasses (4,208 m / 13,805 ft), Dent du Geant (4,013 m / 13,166 ft), and many others.

La Thuile Slopes and Ski Lifts

Thanks to the international connection between the Italian La Thuile and the French La Rosière ski resorts with a single Espace San Bernardo ski pass, you get access to 89 slopes of 152 km (95 mi) of slopes and 39 ski lifts with the ability to transport 63,000 people per hour.

From the beginning of December to mid-April, the area offer an extensive choice of slopes for all ages and levels: numerous long, wide, and gentle blue slopes for beginners, more challenging and adventurous varieties of red slopes for intermediates, and advanced black slopes where inclines can reach 76% for expert skiers.

La Thuile is also home to Italy’s steepest slope, Nr 3, Franco Berthod, named after the promising skier born in La Thuile, who made his World Cup debut at a very young age. Not only is it one of the steepest, but also one of the most difficult slopes in Italy, thanks to its north-facing icy slopes.

However, please note that the official coloring of the slopes is slightly different from the division above.

  • Thus, there are some green pistes for beginner skiers, which are designated as "Easy" ones.
  • In turn, the regular blue easy slopes are called "Medium”.
  • Next, the red runs of medium or intermediate difficulty are officially considered "Difficult".
  • Finally, the black pistes are "Very difficult".

La Thuile, Italy

At the right side of each slope, an orange marker aids you and helps you find your way in foggy weather. Beyond these signs, you are off-piste.

Yellow and black striped poles, ropes, and nets are a signal to not pass any further and signify danger.

Speaking again particularly of La Thuile, you can reach the lower slopes in just a few minutes from the town center thanks to the Piccolo San Bernardo DMC gondola, which transports around 3,000 people per hour to Les Suches, giving access to the many slopes on offer. La Thuile is best suited for intermediate skiers and snowboarders thanks to numerous red runs, moguls, and challenging black runs.

A long button lift connects France and Italy that although easy to use, can be challenging for beginner snowboarders who need to hold their balance on the long, flat terrain.

The Espace San Bernardo Ski Area also comprises two slalom stadiums: the Joël Chenal Stadium in La Rosiére and a slalom stadium in La Thuile close to the top of the Bosco Express Chairlift. The area also has a snowpark, a boardercross slope, two fun cross areas, a secure free-rider zone, and a snow kite zone, as well as two game parks for kids to keep the whole family happy.

So let’s sum up the information about the slopes, ski lifts and other skiing-related features and services of the entire Espace San Bernardo Ski Area:

Slopes

  • Total slopes: 89
  • Slopes total length: 152 km (95 mi)
  • Types of slopes: easy (blue) — 59 km (36 mi), 38.8%; intermediate (red) — 79 km (49 mi), 52%; advanced (black) — 14 km (8 mi), 9%
  • Longest slope: 7 San Bernardo (11 km / 6 mi) at La Thuile
  • Steepest slope: Nr 3, Franco Berthod, at La Thuile — 76%
  • Total skiable terrain: 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres)

La Thuile, Italy

Ski lifts

  • Total lifts: 39 (1 gondola, 20 chair lifts, 12 button/platter/T-bar lifts, and 5 magic carpets)
  • Lifts operating hours: 8:45 am to 4:45 pm in general
  • Top station: Mont Valaisan (2,800 m / 9,186 ft)
  • Base station: Les Écudets (1,190 m / 3,905 ft)
  • Difference between stations (max vertical drop): 1,610 m (5,281 ft)
  • Lifts capacity: 60,000 skiers per hour

La Thuile, Italy

Other features and services

  • Artificial snow: Yes
  • Night skiing: No
  • Cross-country ski trails: several routes up to 7 km (4 mi)
  • Snowshoe trails: several routes up to 7 km (4 mi)
  • Snowboard park: Yes
  • Sled slopes: Yes
  • Snow tubing: No
  • Ice-skating field: Yes
  • Snow kite: Yes
  • Slalom stadium: 2
  • Outdoor stores: Yes
  • Ski rentals and boot fitting: Yes
  • Ski schools: Evolution 2, Ecole du Ski Français (ESF), OriginAlps, and others
  • Ski guide and ski tours: Yes
  • Kindergarten: Yes

La Thuile, Italy

La Thuile Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

If you want to take things a little slower and enjoy the natural surroundings, there are plenty of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at La Thuile. There are loop and out-and-back trails of differing lengths and difficulty starting at 1 km (0.62 mi) long, up to 7 km (4 mi) through larches and firs in the Arly Plain under the San Carlo hills. You can rent cross-country and snowshoeing gear at many of the local ski rentals, and you can even book a guide through the ski schools.

La Thuile Backcountry Skiing

There is plenty of opportunity to get off-piste and enjoy the surrounding backcountry area in Espace San Bernardo. Off-piste excursions, cross-country skiing, and heliskiing are offered by certified guides; you can explore the nearby Rutor Glacier, Mont Pourri (3,779 m / 12,398 ft) or even Mont Blanc if you have enough courage.

As part of the “Nouvelles Liaisons Transfrontalières” project, a panoramic ski touring trail links Italy and France from La Thuile to La Rosière. The Italian track goes from Les Suches to the Belvedere Pass on a safely beaten track. With the Espace San Bernardo ski pass, you can continue down into France by taking the “Carabiners” slope and then the Chardonnay Chairlift which will bring you to the top of Fort de la Redoute, where you can descend into La Rosière. You’ll need the same Espace San Bernardo ski pass to get the lifts back over into Italy.

La Thuile, Italy

There is also a freeride area across the border in France at the top of the Mont Valaisan and Les Moulins chairlifts.

Important: when backcountry skiing and accessing the freeride area, always bring the required shovel, probe, and avalanche beacon with you and check the conditions with the ski patrol staff.

Ski Pass and Discounts

An Espace San Bernardo ski pass gives you access to all of the lifts and runs in both La Thuile and La Rosière. Your ski pass loads onto a hands-free card, which you can keep in the pocket of your ski jacket as you pass through the barriers. The card costs an extra €2 and can be used multiple times to upload ski passes in the Aosta Valley as part of a sustainable incentive to limit the number of disposable ski passes.

Discounts are often available when booking ahead and online, for multi-day passes, families, or groups, and offers with access to other ski resorts in Aosta Valley.

Espace San Bernardo ski passes are available to purchase for 2 hours, an afternoon, a full day, multiple days, and even the entire season. Beginners can buy a special pass that gives access to Edelweiss magic carpet, discounts are applied to multiple-day passes, and non-skiers can buy round trips on the DMC gondola to Les Suches at a discounted rate.

Speaking about the children ski pass in Espace San Bernardo Ski Area, there are some differences between the resorts:

  • La Thuile. Children up to the age of 8 are entitled to a free pass for the same period as a paying adult or teen. Any child under the age of 8 who is unaccompanied will be charged 75%. Discounts are also available to children up to 14 years old, teenagers up to 18 years old, and adults over 65 years old. Always make sure to bring your ID for proof.
  • La Rosière. Children from ages 5 to 12 years receive a discounted rate (as well as senior citizens from 65 to 74 years old). You can opt for a ski pass that only gives access to the La Rosière ski area, or get a pass for the Espace San Bernardo ski area for access to both resorts.

Groups of four or more that purchase all passes together will get a 10% discount on ski passes for six or more days. Beginners get a discount for the La Rosière ski area for 3 hours and access to 5 lifts. Online promos are available via La Rosière’s website, and a pedestrian ski pass is available for non-skiers, giving access to five ski lifts.

There is also an opportunity to buy an X-PERIENCES ski pass for the Espace San Bernardo, a multi-activity pass. This is a 6 or 7-day pass that includes an extra half a day skiing on arrival, a “first tracks” sunrise experience with breakfast at a mountain restaurant, unlimited access to lifts with snowshoes, and access to off-piste activities such as cinema, ice rink, and the XTreme luge.

La Thuile, Italy

Tourist Information

Before or after skiing, visit the La Thuile official tourist office:

La Thuile Tourist Information

Via Marcello Colombo, 36, 11016, La Thuile, Aosta Valley, Italy

+390165884179

lathuile@turismo.vda.it

Turismo.vda.it

La Thuile, Italy

Dining

Italy and France have arguably the best cuisines in the world. When skiing in the Espace San Bernardo across both resorts, you can sample some of the best of each country’s mountain food, from raclette, fondue, and tartiflette in La Rosière, to polenta, cured meats, lard, game, Soca (a traditional soup), and fontina cheese in La Thuile.

You’ll find plenty of restaurants in each resort, along with supermarkets to buy groceries for picnic lunches on the slopes. If you’re planning to stay out skiing all day, you’ll also find mountain huts along the slopes that offer plenty of lunch options and snacks, including warm food, or a typical bombardino drink to warm you up and give you a boost of energy. For example:

  • Bistro Alpino. An informal yet stylish restaurant that serves pastas, salads, soups, and pizza. The bistro is open all day and perfect for a quick lunch or an early dinner.
  • La Crèche. For cozy dining with a dash of local charm and decor, La Crèche serves traditional Italian cuisine, specifically food from the Aosta Valley area, and you can find a refined list of wines. The romantic setting lends itself well to couples and private parties. However, it does also offer a kids menu and there is a list of gluten-free options.
  • Restaurant Lo Riondet. Take a snowcat up for dinner on the slopes where Lo Riondet offers delicious seasonal cuisine. The restaurant is available to book for large parties thanks to several large dining rooms. It’s the perfect place to fuel up for an afternoon’s skiing while taking a break with a cozy lunch on the slopes.

La Thuile, Italy

La Thuile Accommodation

There are numerous accommodations in La Thuile to fit most budgets. I would recommend checking these particular options:

  • Montana Lodge and Spa. A five-star resort complete with art gallery and wellness spa, Montana Lodge and Spa is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for unpretentious luxury. Experience fine dining at the hotel’s restaurant, relax and rejuvenate while taking in the beautiful natural scenery at the wellness center, complete with sauna, Turkish baths, and treatments. You can even charge your electric car at one of the four charging stations, so you can explore the rest of the Aosta Valley during your stay.
  • Hotel du Glacier. Located just outside La Thuile, Hotel du Glacier offers comfortable rooms, a buffet breakfast, and a mountain-view balcony. Rooms come complete with everything you need for a comfortable stay and the hotel is just 200 m (656 ft) from the nearest ski lifts, with a free shuttle bus to take you there. You can buy ski passes directly from the hotel reception, so you’ll be able to hit the slopes straight away.
  • Rifugio Lilla. Pick from guest rooms or self-catered apartments at Rifugio Lilla, a home away from home with all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay in La Thuile. Rooms are clean and comfortable and a buffet breakfast is served daily. This accommodation is also a 10 minute walk from the ski lifts and a bus stop to the town center, although the refuge also provides a free shuttle for guests to get to the ski lifts. The refuge also offers babysitting and dogsitting services, as well as a heated ski room to leave your equipment.

La Thuile, Italy

Events and Apres-Ski

Nightlife in La Thuile is low-key, although you can find a bit more going on in nearby Courmayeur. But of course it has celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, along with several other activities throughout the year.

As for sport events, La Thuile is much more active. It has hosted the women’s Alpine Ski World Cup on slope Nr 3, Franco Berthod, in the past and hosts an annual international ski tour competition, the Millet Tour du Rutor Extrême, over 3 days, 59 km (36.6 mi) and 7,000 m (22,965 ft) of elevation change. The Freeride World Tour Qualifier will also be held in La Thuile in March 2023 on the north face of Monte Belvedere.

Nearby Towns and Cities

La Thuile is a small, traditional town with easy access to bigger nearby towns:

Courmayeur

Based at the foot of Mont Blanc, from Courmayeur you can take the Monte Bianco Skyway up to Helbronner’s point at 3,462 m (11,358 ft), giving you breathtaking views across the surrounding mountain peaks. The town itself offers plenty of restaurants, outdoor sports shops, as well as luxury shopping and is a favorite with the well-heeled Milanese, thanks to its proximity to the city. From Courmayeur, you can take a bus or drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to reach Chamonix in France and in the summer join the Tour du Mont Blanc trek around the Mont Blanc Massif.

Helbronner peak, La Thuile, Italy

Helbronner’s point

Aosta

Surrounded by the towering peaks of Mont Blanc, Matterhorn (4,478 m / 14,691 ft), Monte Rosa (4,633 m / 15,200 ft), Gran Paradiso (4,061 m / 13,323 ft), and others, Aosta is a small town at the junction of many valleys in Aosta Valley. It’s linked to France through the Little St. Bernard pass and to Switzerland via the Great St. Bernard Pass. From here you can access a ski lift to Pila, or head up the valley to La Thuile or Courmayeur. It’s known for its Roman architecture, including a Roman theater and the Arch of Augustus.

La Thuile, Italy

mountain lifts
Status Type Name
Opening Hours
close
Argillien Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 991 m - 2 392 m
close
Arnouvaz
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 933 m - 2 231 m
close
Baby Nastro 1
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 469 m - 1 472 m
close
Baby Nastro 2
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 472 m - 1 477 m
close
Belvédére
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 402 m - 2 608 m
Bosco Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
unknown
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 471 m - 2 085 m
Chalets Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
unknown
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 084 m - 2 341 m
close
Chaz Dura
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 302 m - 2 571 m
close
Chaz Dura Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 159 m - 2 561 m
close
Fourclaz Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 012 m - 2 481 m
close
Gran Testa
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 298 m - 2 391 m
close
La Combe
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 172 m - 2 321 m
close
Les Suches
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 461 m - 2 171 m
close
Maison Blanche
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
1 472 m - 1 648 m
close
Nastro Gallery
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 384 m - 2 390 m
close
Piccolo San Bernardo Express
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 181 m - 2 528 m
close
Piloni
09:00-17:00
09:00-17:00
Status
closed
Opening hours
09:00-17:00
Schedule period
4.20.2024 - 4.27.2024
Start - End
2 029 m - 2 175 m
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