Looking for a skiing holiday with superb slopes, cosy chalets and outstanding apres action - without the queues endured at big resorts? Then head to La Rosiere, France's best-kept skiing secret
In the heart of Europe’s premier ski region, La Rosiere is often overshadowed by its famous larger neighbours. While unable to match the piste area of some, it still has much to offer skiers of all abilities.
At 1,850 meters and with more than 150km of pisted skiing La Rosiere is guaranteed to have something to match every skiing ability. Known primarily as a family resort, it also provides exceptional off-piste action for the advanced, which would be tracked out in a matter of hours in many other resorts.
The major bug bearer for every skier is the inevitable 20-minute battle to get a lift – during which time you’re separated from friends, stabbed by poles, leaned on by snow boarders and are forced to watch local toddlers effortlessly weave their way to the front. However, La Rosiere, even on school holidays, is devoid of these trials, with an easy passage to the front guaranteed any time. Unfortunately you will lose some of the time you’ve made up due to the often antiquated lift system,.
Known as the Sunshine Resort due to being south-facing, La Rosiere has stunning views down the valley and across to the neighbouring Les Arcs resort.
It retains a local mountain feel, unlike many other resorts which have had their natural beauty tarnished by an array of concrete blocks (I’m looking at you, Tignes and Flaine!).
The resort also provides the opportunity to ski across the border into Italy's La Thuile resort, which appears to be even quieter. This provides some serious black runs for experienced skiers and heavier snow as it is part of another valley and subject to different weather conditions. For the real daredevil, it also has the added attraction of heli-skiing – banned in France, but perfectly legal in Italy.
Like all ski resorts, don’t expect great value for money on the piste (or off it), with the honourable exception of La Rascade in La Thuile, where you can get a beer and traditional Italian pizza for €10.
Food in the town centre, although not cheap, is of a reliably high standard. A visit to Marmottes or La Genepi is strongly recommended for anyone who likes traditional French food and cheese.
Chalets are the favourite places to stay at La Rosiere. Included in the price are flights, transfers breakfast and an evening meal, so they tend to be the most cost-effective places too. Anyone wishing to go it alone can stay at the Relais du Petit Saint Bernard, which provides reasonably priced quality rooms, the option to ski-in-ski-out and stunning views.
Anyone at a ski resort who does not ski will struggle to fill their day, although there is a newly- opened bowling alley and ice skating rink, as well as the usual guided walks. For those with energy left after a hard day on the piste, Le Petit Danois has live bands and sport on every week, although I challenge anyone to say that the Faxe larger served up is their favourite tipple.
Like most ski resorts, La Rosiere isn’t without its faults. As mentioned many of the lifts need upgrading and the weather isn’t guaranteed. However, for anyone wanting to avoid the queues at more well known resorts - and the expensive prices they command - La Rosiere is an ideal option.