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Overview

The formidable line of Alps that separate Italy and France, dominated by Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian) are nirvana for skiers. The chic resort of Courmayeur offers several different lifts to marked trails and ungroomed off-piste skiing. For winter sightseeing, as well as for skiers, there are few places to match the ride up the Funivie Monte Bianco cable car. From this ridgeline, at a chilly altitude of more than 12,000 feet, views stretch forever. Skiers should check before taking the Arp cable car to 9,000 feet, since they will not be allowed to carry skis on the lift unless the conditions on these unmarked ...

The formidable line of Alps that separate Italy and France, dominated by Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian) are nirvana for skiers. The chic resort of Courmayeur offers several different lifts to marked trails and ungroomed off-piste skiing. For winter sightseeing, as well as for skiers, there are few places to match the ride up the Funivie Monte Bianco cable car. From this ridgeline, at a chilly altitude of more than 12,000 feet, views stretch forever. Skiers should check before taking the Arp cable car to 9,000 feet, since they will not be allowed to carry skis on the lift unless the conditions on these unmarked and expert-only runs are safe – which they often are not. But on a clear winter day the trip is worth the time just for the views. Beginning skiers will find gentle terrain in nearby Dolonne and an occasional green (beginner) trail higher up, but beware that green in Europe is more like blue (intermediate) in the U.S., and even beginner trails often have terrifying drop-offs alongside them. In Val Ferret, just outside of town, 12 miles of trails provide some of Europe’s most breathtaking cross-county ski scenery. On the opposite side of town, Dolonne offers more trails. Courmayeur has a lively après-ski scene, and pricey boutiques to browse when the weather turns truly bad. These are busiest on weekends, when the beautiful people from Milan and Turin ascend en masse.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    High altitude skiing usually lasts from late November through early May, lower altitude from December through mid April.