Alagna (or Alagna-Valsesia to give it its full name) in The Piedmont region of Italy is known for its old world charm and off piste skiing. Having been “preserved from cement” the village architecture is dominated by buildings in the Walser style dating back to the 12th century. Although Alagna ski holidays are suitable for all standards, it is best know as a freeride paradise and remains a haven for off piste skiing.
The village of Alagna-Valsesia sits beneath a vertical of over 2000m, 1700m of which can be accessed by taking just 2 lifts (a world best vertical for 2 lifts). Just 3 lifts takes you to Indren sitting at 3275 m which is the starting point of much of the off piste skiing and the many descents available.
But its not just off piste to get you excited, Alagna is part of the Monte Rosa ski area which offers over 180km of pisted runs covering the 7 resorts of Champoluc, Antagnod, Brusson, Gressoney-La-Trinité, Champorcher, Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Alagna. The skiing reaches over 3000 metres and is comes with stunning views across Piemonte and Aosta Valley.
To ski Alagna you will start with the modern cable car from the village centre taking you straight up nearly 850m to Pianalunga. From there take the spectacular Funifor cable car which opened in 2004/5 season a further 850 metres to Passo Salati (2971m). It was the opening of this lift which saw Alagna reborn as it joined the rest of the Monte Rosa ski area. From there you can ascend the cable car to the Punta Indren Glacier and enjoy the full 2000m+ decent back to Alagna of either on pisted runs or by a variety of off piste routes.
There are also off piste routes that will take a trek to reach such as the Olen and Bors Valleys which offer fairly difficult skiing but spectacular freeride opportunities. If you really want to push your freeriding limits there is also heliskiing available so you can ski with just mother nature for company.
There is a learner area for beginner skiers and early intermediates called Wold. It is around 500m north of the village and has ski schools and all the facilities you would expect to help beginners find their feet. Although it is low altitude it has full snowmaking cover meaning beginners will not have to venture out onto the main piste until they are ready.
If the 180km of the Monte Rosa are not enough for you the area is included on The Aosta Valley pass covering 800km including Cervinia which is linked to Zermatt and other famous resorts in the area such as Pila, La Thuile and Courmayeur which is linked to Chamonix. All in all there are over 200 lifts in over a dozen ski areas however to make the most of the pass you will need your own transport. To be honest with all the off piste opportunities there is more than enough to keep you entertained within the Monte Rosa ski area on Alagna ski holidays.
Restaurants in Alagna provide the typical range of regional meals and wines from Piedmont and across Italy. So expect hearty and delicious food that will sustain you though all the physical activity. In the area you can also try cross country skiing, ice climbing, ski mountaineering and snow shoe walks on nature routes in the Valle di Otro and the Parco Alta Valsesia. Alagna also has a sports centre with an ice rink nearby as well as a museum and a newly opened ice karting track.
The nearest airports to Alagna are Turin and Milan Malpensa which are 100-150km away and served my good road links. The closest train station is Varallo Sesia from where you can hop on a bus to your Alagna ski holiday.
For a small town there is a good range of accommodation available in Alagna.