La Thuile ski resort
About La Thuile
La Thuile is a firm favourite with the all-rounder ski crowd, the ones who want old style culture yet modern facilities, and serious skiing on the slopes yet fun activities off them.
La Thuile even accommodates those who can't settle on a single country, with the Italian resort's location, situated close to the French border, meaning keen skiers can cross over to France to try out the slopes at neighbouring La Rosière.
Nestled in the historic Aosta Valley, La Thuile itself is a captivating mix of old and new, having developed from several small Aosta Valley hamlets and an old mining town into the ski haven it is today.
The resort has been something of a slow burner, growing slowly in popularity over the decades after the Second World War. In many respects La Thuile has actually benefited from this, with the majority of the resort's businesses still remaining locally run and retaining a very personal feel.
However, serious investment in the cross-border ski area, known as the Espace San Bernardo, with fast new lifts, has helped raise capacity figures and with new slopeside bars, restaurants and shops springing up each year, La Thuile has proven it can still compete in the modern world.
La Thuile is in the Aosta Valley, in northwest Italy. It neighbours the French resort of La Rosière to the southwest and the Italian resort of Courmayeur to the north.
La ThuileResort Elevation: 1450m
Top Elevation: 2642m
Base Elevation: 1450m
On the slopes
La Thuile has excellent skiing for all ability levels, extending to a world-class 160km (100 miles) of runs thanks to its cross-border lift link to La Rosière in France. If that's still not enough, you can buy an Aosta Valley Pass that covers several dozen small to medium resorts in the area that are linked by a public bus service; altogether offering 1,200km (750 miles) of runs.
Beginners have their own ski area at the base of the mountain with its own lifts. This is separated from the throughflow of more experienced skiers and boarders moving up and down the mountain.
Intermediates have the most to enjoy, with more than two fifths of the terrain made up of red runs and some glorious cruisers up to 11km (7 miles) in length.
Experts have much more choice than usual with 14 black runs including classics such as the steep Franco Berthod (N3), which pitches at a stomach-dropping 73% gradient. This reputation for challenging terrain means La Thuile is a key location on the World Cup racing circuit. There's also plenty of excellent off-piste terrain after a snowfall arrives from nearby Mont Blanc.
Heli-skiing is big in La Thuile, with descents from the summit of Rutor Glacier (3,486m/11,437ft) or Miravidi Glacier (3,051m/10,009ft), where an Alpine guide leads the way down through spectacular scenery.
The heli-skiing season usually operates from New Year's Day until the end of May. The general ski season in La Thuile runs from late November until late April.