La Rosière is without doubt a superb resort for beginners and families, but not exclusively so. There are plenty of pistes for all levels, even the most advanced skier or boarder, and other things to do away from the slopes.
While there may not be as many miles as in some of La Rosière’s neighbouring resorts, there is certainly more than enough for a week. At 1850m, La Rosière is a high-altitude resort and shares its ski area with La Thuile in Italy, with skiing possible up to a height of 2641m.
It might not match the likes of Tignes or Val Thorens in terms of height or mileage, but it is still high enough to be able to find great conditions throughout the season. Furthermore, the lift pass is one of the cheapest in the Alps and, unlike some places, queues are generally kept to a minimum even on peak weeks.
La Rosière is the ideal resort for beginners, whether you are staying in the centre of town or in the more recent development of Les Eucherts. The nursery slopes are just that; gentle and perfect for getting to grips with the basics of skiing.
Plus, they are in the resort, so you don’t have to go up and down in a gondola and when the children have had enough or their lesson has finished, you can let them have a well-earned rest in one of the nearby cafes or head back to your ski chalet, hotel or apartment.
After a couple of days on the nursery slopes, the greens and blues are perfect for progressing on to because they are nice and wide, not too steep and ideal for practising your new found skills on.
Intermediate level skiers/’boarders will absolutely love La Rosière. There is a fantastic mix of blue and red runs that are just ideal for anyone who has only done a few weeks of skiing and is still perfecting their skills, or who is confident but likes to cruise around. Taking the Roches Noires Express up to Le Roc Noir gives you a wide number of runs to choose from. Mouflon, Blanchot and Traversette are all excellent red pistes which are fairly wide but quite steep and superb in fresh snow. Head over the border and you can ski from the highest point at 2641m. A wide range of red runs on the Glacier du Freduaz lead half way down into La Thuile, before turning into tree runs which take you into the town itself. There will be no time for long, lazy Italian lunches though if you want to make it back on time!
Advanced skiiers who have been skiing for years, are confident on every type of terrain and want to explore somewhere new and without such a mass market appeal, then La Rosière should be top of your list. While there are nowhere near as many pistes as in places such as The Three Valleys or the Espace Killy, there is still plenty of terrain. Glacier skiing and tree skiing can be found on the Italian side, and there is a lot of off-piste terrain, which doesn’t get tracked out as quickly after fresh snowfall as it would in other resorts. The ESF have a freestyle and off piste division for teaching these skills if you aren’t as confident off piste as you are on. Also, heliskiing is available for the really adventurous, which takes place over on the Italian side of the border.
La Rosière ski Lift system
The lift system in La Rosière is quite mixed and appears to be in the process of being updated. The new, high-speed six man chairs leading out from the centre (Roches Noires Express) and Les Eucherts (Eucherts Express) help to eliminate any queues first thing, even in peak weeks. The rest of the area is a mix of old and new, and while most are chairs, unfortunately there are a few drags which will upset the boarders. Annoyingly, the Poletta lift by the park is a drag, as are the Bellecombe I and II which are the links to La Thuile. Therefore, you can’t get over to Italy without taking a drag but once you are over, it is mostly chairs and there are few flats which mean you won’t have to unclip very often, unlike in some of the more popular neighbouring resorts.
Snowboarding in La Rosière
La Rosière may not be top of the list of snowboarding resorts in Europe, and admittedly it doesn’t have the cool appeal of other major resorts, but that’s not to say that there isn’t some great terrain for snowboarders both on and off piste. On the La Rosière side of the border there is a wide selection of blue and red runs, perfect for improving your technique on. Over in La Thuile, there are more pistes on the glacier plus tree runs down into the town. Not only that, there is also a snow park, snow cross and boarder cross too.
If you fancy trying your hand at snowboarding then La Rosière is a great place to learn. As with skiing, the gentle nursery slopes and wide open blues above the town centre are ideal for getting to grips with the basics and perfecting your turns. Once you have got the hang of it, you can practise your skills on the fantastic range of blues and reds between the town and the Fort. Both the ESF and Evolution 2 offer snowboard lessons for adults and children from the age of 7 or 8.
Freestyle and Park
Boarders who want to do more than just ride the 150km of piste in the area will love the snow parks that La Rosière has to offer. They are all on the French side meaning you don’t have to venture very far. The main park is off the Poletta lift (unfortunately a drag) or you can get to it by cutting off from the top of the Roches Noires chair. There are different courses to do depending on your level and a mix of kickers, fun boxes, big air, tables and rails. The snow cross (des Zittieux) is a secure off-piste zone. It allows boarders to ride in un-pisted but patrolled terrain that joins up with the Fontaine Froide red run going through the trees down to the Ecudets chair. The boarder cross is underneath the Fort chair, leading up to the Fort and has banked corners, starting blocks and slalom doors. The ESF and Evolution 2 will also offer freestyle lessons for anyone who wants to improve their technique.