In the valley of the ancient Walser people the pistes of Monterosa Ski wind through woods and clearings, dominated by the spectacular glaciers of Monte Rosa. A century-old tourist tradition guarantees perfect, unforgettable hospitality.
At Pont-Saint-Martin (345 m.) a Roman bridge dating back to the 1st century B.C. spans the waters of the Lys torrent fed by the glaciers of Monte Rosa.
Following the smooth, delightful road you go up the Gressoney Valley meeting villages with diverse architectural styles on your way, in the first part of the valley revealing Franco-Provençal traditions, whereas the next part clearly display signs of the Walser culture, a German people who crossed the Alps around the 12th-13th century in order to colonise the valleys around Monte Rosa.
Gressoney-Saint-Jean (1385 m.) and Gressoney-La-Trinité (1624) m.) in an unspoilt natural setting and with the intelligent use of technology, introduce you to a real skier's paradise. The winding pistes cover the area of Monterosa Ski, which also includes Ayas Valley and Piedmont's Alagna Valley. Here skiing is a pleasant excursion, thanks to the 200 kilometres of various tracks, none of them too difficult, which allow you to discover, ridge after ridge, ever new vistas. The vastness of the area also leaves plenty of room for snowsurfing and off-track skiing. At Gressoney-Saint-Jean the runs cover the wooded slopes of Weissmatten and, thanks to their technical characteristics, have been the cradle for world-famous skiers.
Those preferring the gentle rhythm of cross-country skiing will find at Gressoney-Saint-Jean the entrance to a 25 Kilometre track, some parts easy and others more difficult, passing through clearings with views of the glaciers and through dense coniferous forests. Gressoney-Saint-Jean is also the ideal winter resort for nonskiers. Already popular a century ago, the Italian Royal family spent long holidays there, enchanted by the surrounding forests and the glaciers of Monte Rosa. On the edge of the wood of Cialvrina, Queen Margherita had the Savoy castle built in 1894, where today prestigious artistic and cultural events take place. Other traces of the past are in the streets and the harmonious square in front of the church - the starting point in the 18th century for the expeditions towards the peaks of Monte Rosa.
Gressoney-La-Trinité is in the heart of the Monterosa Ski area. From Punta Jolanda (2278 m.) you can easily ski to the lake at Gabiet, where there are intermediate level runs. The ski lifts go up as far as the Passo dei Salati (2970 m.) which is linked with Alagna Valley. Among the many, various runs the needs of the off-track skier are not forgotten; there are slopes for all, as well as the slope towards Valsesia which the more expert skiers can follow in the company of a ski instructor. At Gressoney-La-Trinité there is also a cross-country skiing track ideal for all techniques and fine also for the less expert skier.
The centre of Monterosa Ski is at Staval (1825 m.), the valley's topmost village: from here the ski lifts reach both Gabiet as well as the col of Bettaforca, where the pistes of Gressoney meet with those of Ayas Valley. At Staval those who enjoy climbing with skis can set off towards Monte Rosa: Punta Gnifetti (4559 m.) and the Regina Margherita mountain refuge, the highest in Europe, are among the most well-known objectives. From Staval expert skiers can go up by helicopter to the 4200 metres of the col of the Lys and from there ski down, accompanied by a mountain guide, either to Gressoney Valley or to Zermatt. Heliski is also popular in the Lys Valley, as well as paragliding - excellent courses are available if you want to learn this discipline.