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CAMP ZERO - Katie Bamber, Champoluc, Italy
Tuesday February 5, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Skiing right - the Italian way. That's high mountains to ski, ride and explore, eating excellently, and resting up and relaxing in super 5*s.

The Aosta Valley is quite possibly my favourite mountain area for a winter sports holiday.

I learned to ski in La Thuile, then to snowboard in Courmayeur 10 years later.

A decade on from that I returned to explore further and get a piece of the freeriding, for which the area has quickly become well known.

And I go for the food, always the food.

It's where I chose to show off the Alps to my American partner skiing in Europe for the first time.

And I'm back again to fill in the gaps.

This time it's for the ulatimate Italian winter experience.

Exploring the mountains in several resorts, eating fantastically and resting very well.

5* hotels in Champoluc and Cervinia, on-mountain restaurants to kill memories of good ones that have gone before, and extensive skiing.

From Champoluc through Gressoney to Alagna, and from Cervinia to Zermatt (and back again to the good life).

Katie in ChampolucKatie in Champoluc

Why do I love it?

Well apart from the Italian charm and hospitality, and the more respectable prices of food and stay, it's the mountain scapes, the twisting-turning ski routes and the views that have me declaring my true love for Valle d'Aoste.

Look any direction and you'll see white and jagged peaks stretch for as far as you can see.

The skiing will wind you down, around, up and over, across to some other village and back again.

A guide or pre-mapped out ski routes to navigate the three areas of Champoluc mean you can take in as much of the area at its best time.

Champoluc sunsetChampoluc sunset

First port of call: accommodation.

Not your normal accommodation, either.

It's not the camper van in the sunset picture - next time - but the new 5* hotel, Camp Zero at the top of Champoluc village.

A mountain modern 5* that offers much more than expected.

It's an active person's five-star.

Are there always pink sunsets in Monterosa?
Camp Zero Katie BamberCamp Zero

Camp Zero, Champoluc is the most impressive 'outdoorsy' five star I've come across in Europe.

The lobby is like the most luxurious leisure centre.

There's bouldering and a climbing wall in the centre of the hotel, next to the cocktail bar, if you're watching from firmly on the floor.

Behind the hotel there is an ice climbing wall, and both inside and out there are experienced instructors are on hand to help out.

Wall Camp ZeroWall Camp Zero

Ice wall Camp ZeroIce climbing wall - Camp Zero

For those that skiing isn't enough on an active holiday, there's a 25-metre swimming pool on the lower floor.

The views look out over the garden and snow, of course up to the peaks.

It's stone and slate and wood, mimicking the outdoors.

As well as the saunas, plunge, jaccuzis and steam rooms you wan't for the wind down.

Camp ZeroCamp Zero

Camp ZeroCamp Zero

Dramatic craggy mountains are the backdrop to the hotel.

The exterior reflects the rocks behind - multi-faceted and imposing, though the hotel is designed and built using modern materials.

It's your base camp for the bigger playground of the mountains and the Monterosa ski area beyond.

A white, winter walk way through the woods and following the stream will bring you into the sweet town in 25 minutes.


Comparing it to other linked ski areas, the Monterosa is really quite unique.

Monterosa is a pretty solid red ski area - nearly all pistes are red.

The runs wind and travel, roll and undulate between the valleys of Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna.

A good day is spent travelling over the three valleys down into Alagna, and back over and over again before the lifts shut you off.

Don't get caught in the wrong valley, it's a long old drive back to Champoluc.

If you can hold out, a long, late lunch on the lower pistes of Champoluc would be my recommendation. 

It's a smooth ski back down to the village, in the knowledge you're safe to enjoy it Italian-style without having to hoof it back.



Alagna is the furthest point from Champoluc in the Monterosa, a rustic farming village with a typical Aosta church.

It's wonderful to descend into the village on the easy black Olen run over 1,700m.

Try to catch it when it's quiet, and it's the stuff that piste skiing dreams are made of.

In fact, I can think of a few of these in the Aosta. But more of these later.

There's also an easy access off piste route down to Alagna which is hella good and a long 5 miles down.

AlagnaAlagna in the Piedmonte

More food, skiing and relaxation to come on this ultimate Italian ski trip.

Camp Zero's breakfast buffet is up there among the best.

Pastries, cheese, fresh fruit, strong coffee and an array of cakes, tarts and chocolates to rival any pattiserie.

A traditional Bombardino in the Gressoney Valley - a taster of the Italian treats to come.


Pumpkin soup with beef tartar on top, followed by beetroot spaghetti and artichoke foam on the mountain.

Creamy polenta topped with veal ragu, and cheese, lots and lots of Aostan cheese, cured meats and red and white wine.

Bliss so far.

Read my next piece as I move round to Cervinia, the newest resort of the Aostan collection.

It's more on luxury accommodation, fabulous mountain food (different from the usual features on the Alpine menu) and gorgeous skiing.

Camp ZeroCamp Zero

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