The Alagna ski resort is located on the southeastern slopes of Monte Rosa. The area has limited groomed runs but is open of off-piste skiing, making it the Freeride destination in Italy.
The town of Alagna is a small village on the far eastern slopes of the Monterosa ski area, in the Lombardy Region of Italy. The old wooden buildings and quiet streets make it feel distinctly different from the conventional ski resort. But the three-valley network of lifts and pistes is anything but small-scale, and the slopes offer some of the ski area’s best off-piste opportunities. Expert skiers have plenty of bowls to play in, and the black Olen piste is a superb challenge.
When there is plenty of snow Alagna is one of my favorite areas to visit, however, high winds can close the lifts. There are three other resorts connected to Alagna to create Monterosa Ski area, so if you tire of the groomed runs on Alagna side head for Gressoney and Champoluc. Just give yourself time to get back over to Alagna before the lifts close dorwn. There is also very little night life in the area so it is ski hard, off to bed, and an early rise to catch first tracks.
ON THE MOUNTAIN
Skiers in Alagna can take the modern cable car from the village centre straight up to Pianalunga (a rise of nearly 850 vertical metres) and from there decide whether to take the new cable car a further 850 metres higher to Passo Salati (2971m - 1,700m vertical ascent from two lifts!) - which opens up the links to Gressoney and Champoluc; or whether to take the chairlift to Bocchetta elle Pisse (2396) and the slopes used for competitions. From there its possible to ascend to the Punta Indren Glacier and the full 2000m+ vertical.
The Olen and Bors Valleys offer fairly difficult skiing and spectacular off piste opportunities.
For beginners and early intermediates there's a special separate area, Wold, some 500m north of the village. Although low altitude it has full snow-making cover. This is a good place to get your ski legs on morning of the first day and then move to higher altitude.
From Gressoney, the central valley, lifts stretch up on either side to reach trails back down to Champoluc on one side and Alagna on the other. Runs of all standards descend on either side and back down to the resort.
There are many on and off piste itineraries in the area including the most popular Mount Rose Grand Tour which begins at 8.30 with a rendezvous at the Monterosa Ski offices in Champoluc. There's a bus link to Frachey, from where you can ski to the Gressoney Valley via Colle della Bettaforca (2701m) continuing on to the Passo dei Salati (2967m) and then descending along the Valsesia face of the slopes. An ascent to Punta Indren (3260m) follows with an off piste descent towards Gressoney. The tour ends back in Champoluc at 4pm.
Heliskiing is another popular activity given the wide range of high peaks in the area - and the proximity to France where heliskiing is banned. There's a wide choice of descents available to suit almost all ability levels. You can also take a helicopter to the top of the Lys mountain pass for a descent along the Grenz glacier down to Zermatt. Two or three day variants of the tour, staying overnight in Cervinia or Zermatt, are available.
Away from the main Three Valleys area, there are small separate ski areas on the Pass, including an area of mostly red and blue slopes above Antagnod, famous for their sunshine record, and at Gressoney St Jean there are famous slopes down through the old Swiss pines of Weissmatten.
Telemarking is also popular in the area and there' a special club for Telemarkers. Cross country skiers have valley trails around the area. However summer skiing ended here several seasons ago when work began on the lift upgrades.
Restaurants in Alagna offer typical regional meals and wines from the Piedmont region and across Italy.
Milan Malpensa is just under two hours away from Alagna, whilst the city’s other airport, Linate, lies on the other side of the city – the drive takes around two and a half hours, depending on traffic. Turin airport is also around two and a half hours away.