Early morning skiers boarding chair lift with snow-covered mountains in background.

La Rosière

Espace San Bernado, Savoie, French Alps

Set high above the Tarentaise valley, where it looks across to Les Arcs, La Rosière is easily accessible from Bourg Saint-Maurice, which has good onward road and rail connections.

In summer the route continues to the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard (2188m) where Savoie meets the Aosta Valley in Italy, but in winter heavy snowfalls close the route just above La Rosière.

Rear view of two skiers on piste among vast snowy mountain landscape.

The Ski Area

La Rosière’s ski area is for the most part south-facing, and is integrated with that of its Italian counterpart La Thuile to form the extensive area covered by the Espace San Bernardo lift-pass. Closer to home there are accessible novice areas and lots of Blue-graded cruising, along with some more challenging Reds including the wooded Fontaine Froide which drops right down to 1176m. More experienced intermediates, though, head off to Italy in search of fresh challenges, new surroundings and often better snow quality. There’s also plenty of off-piste, to which cross-border heli-skiing brings near-instant access - at a price...

From winter 2018 / 2019, the La Rosière-Espace San Bernardo ski area will expand into a new sector on Mont Valaisan. Located on the French side of the ski area, to the right of the Redoute Ruinée Fort, five new red pistes and two six-person chairlifts will offer a more technical ski area and more freeride opportunities.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1190m - 2800m
Espace San Bernardo
Pistes Total:
152 km
8 Green
27 Blue
38 Red
18 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 38
4 Magic Carpets
13 Draglifts
20 Chairlifts
1 Cable Cars

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Late afternoon walkers on footpath with snow-covered chalets at La Rosiere.

The Ski Village

The purpose-built ski village of La Rosière 1850 is linked by a pedestrian footpath (an agreeable 10-minute level stroll) to the newer Eucherts development, expanding the possibilities for both accommodation and access to the skiing. Les Eucherts, the original mountain hamlet, has in recent years been rediscovered by developers and skiers alike. It makes a good base, although so far the 1850 village still has the edge in terms of services and general energy levels, particularly once the lifts close. Architecturally things are pleasing to the eye, and becoming more so as the few outmoded structures are gradually replaced with new hotels and chalets in traditional wood and stone.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Skier above ski chalets with mountains in background at La Rosiere.

Best For

La Rosière’s premium quality image is well-founded in terms of both accommodation and services, but it clearly has no intention of becoming another Courchevel. It’s a fun place, with no sense of detached exclusivity for those on a real-world budget. Skiing-wise, it will suit those happy to take it easy, or fit and confident skiers prepared to ski over to Italy, where the real challenges and greater sense of freedom lie. Finally, like nearby Les Arcs, La Rosière's proximity to Bourg Saint-Maurice makes it an obvious contender for anyone thinking of taking the rail option for their travel.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

Fun areas for boarders though only draglifts over to Italian side.
8 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross


Cross-Country Skiing

Free though limited.
6+km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

Handiski...

  • Half price ski pass (conditions apply).
  • Accessible public toilets.
  • Adapted accommodation available. Contact reservation service for advice on +33 (0)4 79 06 83 92
  • Access to all lifts (except the Sévolière draglift) in La Rosière. Sit skis are not authorised in La Thuile.
  • Specialist ESF instructors cater for all types of handicap from tetraplegic, paraplegic, mentally handicapped and blind skiers (English spoken).
  • Lesson price includes equipment (2 dualskis, 1 tandemski,
    1 uniski) - also available for individual hire.
  • Experience in welcoming groups of mentally handicapped children and adults.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Quality experience, both on and off the slopes.
  • The resort's location guarantees excellent snowfall, so much so that skiers enjoyed over 11m of snow depth during the 2017-2018 season.
  • There are safe learning areas for children and novice skiers and an easy progression onto the easy slopes.
  • Choice of five new red runs on Mont Valaisan in the French sector adds to the intermediate terrain in the Italian sector and offers more free-ride opprtunities.
  • Exciting range of premium accommodation and restaurants.
  • You can ski over to Italy for lunch.
  • Alternative activities including skiing first tracks, ski touring and snow-shoe walks, dog-sledding experiences and an ice-rink.
  • A walkway at the summit of the Fort Express chairlift gives a breathtaking 360° panoramic view over Mont Blanc, and the peaks in France and Italy.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Drag-lift link to Italian sector isn’t ideal for snowboarders and early intermediates.
  • The geographical location exposes the area to frequent high winds.
  • Much of the best terrain is on the Italian side - getting there can take awhile but is well worth the effort.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Make the most of good weather early in your stay to explore the excellent skiing above La Thuile.
  • Discover La Rosière beyond the pistes by taking part in snowshoe expeditions or ski-touring courses.

Practical Information

Getting there

By Car
For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

Autoroute A43 Lyon / Albertville, then N90 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Follow the signs to La Rosière and the Petit-St-Bernard pass via Sèez on the RD1090.
(The pass is closed in winter.)

By air
Snowjet offers flights to the nearest airport at Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc. Transfers are just 1½ hours from Chambery. Lyon, Geneva, Grenoble and Turin are all within 3 hours.

By train
Ski trains run from late December to early April and take you direct into Bourg Saint Maurice.

See Altibus for details of connections and to book your journey. An adult return journey will cost around €23.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with OUI.sncf

Transfers
Visit Ski-Lifts for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main rail stations.


Things to do

Tried and testedÉvolution 2 Ski & Adventure

73700 La Rosière
+33 (0)4 79 40 19 80

Evolution 2 offers private and group ski and snowboard instruction, off-piste and heliski adventures with a guide and excursions on snowshoes for the slightly less adventurous.
We joined a twilight snowshoe walk where a knowledgeable guide (English speaking) introduced us to the natural beauty of the mountains, and a little local culture and heritage. Prices from €9 for a gentle introduction, suitable for everyone.


École du Ski Français (ESF)

Front de Neige / L’Averne
73700 La Rosière
+33 (0)4 79 06 81 26

Instruction in a diverse range of snow sports including freeride, handiski, telemark, off-piste and heliski or try something new such as cross-country or snowshoeing. Group or private lessons for all ages.


Tried and testedElite Ski

Front de Neige / L'Averne
73700 La Rosière
+33 (0)4 79 40 22 44

British ski school with fully qualified British or English speaking instructors. They offer private lessons and improver clinics, English group lessons with ESF, plus off-piste or heliski days.


Where to stay

Tried and testedLe Refuge

L'Averne
73700 La Rosière

Le Refuge apartment interior, Les Eucherts, La Rosiere

Chalet Le Refuge houses 11 luxury apartments. We tried out one of the smaller apartments (sleeping 6-8) which we judged as being among the most comfortable we've stayed in. With 3 double bedrooms (2 ensuite), there’s another bathroom, plus a spacious lounge (with sofa bed) and kitchen dining area with an open fire for cosy evenings in. The kitchen is extremely well equipped with a full size oven and microwave, dishwasher, and full size fridge - you even have a raclette set.

There’s a pool and sauna for residents and an underground car park (extra) and secure ski lockers. A huge benefit is free wifi access in every apartment.

Situated near the Eucherts area, there’s a small selection of shops and restaurants nearby and good lift access to the slopes. You can ski back - almost into the ski lockers if the conditions are right, but it took us a couple of attempts to find the route.
It’s a 10-15 minute walk to the main part of the resort via a pleasant snowy footpath with spectacular views or you can use the free shuttle service.

Enquiries and bookings:
Ski Collection
023 9289 0960
reservations@skicollection.co.uk


Le Lodge Hemera

73700 La Rosière

Le Lodge Hemera, La Rosiere

Luxury CGH residence in the heart of the village just a few steps from the pistes, bars and shops. The residence faces south with a staggering 180 degree view over the Tarentaise and Les Arcs. Le Lodge Hemera offers 37 luxury apartments spread over two chalets and will have all the amenities that CGH clients expect. Visitors have free access to the pool, spa and fitness centre.

Enquiries and bookings:
Ski Collection
023 9289 0960
reservations@skicollection.co.uk


Where to Eat

Tried and testedLo Riondet

(Piste no.7 San Bernardo)
La Thuile
Tel: +39 (0)1 65 88 40 06

Lo Riondet mountain rstaurant, La Thuile

We loved lunch at this really cosy and friendly restaurant situated on the long red graded San Bernardo piste, normally the road descending from the Col du Petit Saint Bernard to La Thuile. We enjoyed simple but perfect pasta meals at €10 (vegetarians well catered for) followed by a choice of cakes. The enclosed terrace is comfortable with fur blankets and cushions though try to get a table inside to enjoy a warm fire and the authentic chalet interior.


Tried and testedArpin's Bar

Le Centre
La Rosière
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 06 81 39

Arpin's Bar, La Rosiere

Lively central bar with karaoke nights. We visited early evening and found it packed with people enjoying après ski drinks and the free WiFi.


La Montagne des Saveurs

Les Terrasses, 73700 La Rosière
+33 (0)4 79 06 80 28

Wonderful selection of regional produce including cheeses, charcuterie, jams and honey, wine, pasta and polenta. They’ll also prepare beautiful gift hampers to order - ideal for gifts. Open from 15/12 to 01/05 in winter and from 01/07 to 31/08 every day without interruption.


Insight: Espace San Bernardo

Low, wide view of ski piste sign with sow-covered fort above La Rosiere

Insight: Espace San Bernardo

We’d glimpsed La Rosière and its’ broad, south-facing slopes shimmering in the distance during our visit to Saint-Foy Tarentaise. On that occasion bad weather had thwarted our attempt to ski here, a situation we’d resolved to remedy as soon as another opportunity presented itself. Several seasons later, we’re finally here, and rolling into the village of Les Eucherts with more than our usual sense of curiosity at just what might await us this time.

After installing ourselves in our apartment we head back out to stretch our legs by walking the forest path over to La Rosière 1850. When we get there the late-afternoon buzz is infectious. We grab one of the last available tables in the hugely popular Arpin’s Bar and peruse the piste-map over a vin-chaud before returning to Les Eucherts, while an evening chill descends from the mountainsides.

A brilliant sunrise and barely a breath of wind tell us in no uncertain terms that today we should aim high and head straight over to Italy…
Shops, Les Eucherts, La Rosiere
La Rosiere

No time to lose…

If our countless ski visits have taught us anything then it’s that when the weather’s perfect just get out and go for it; you never know what tomorrow might have in store. A brilliant sunrise and barely a breath of wind tell us in no uncertain terms that today we should aim high and head straight over to Italy to see what the Espace Saint Barnardo’s La Thuile section might offer. The Eucherts Express lift drops us onto Tetras, a blue-graded run over to the Roches Noires Express, which offers a more direct haul up to 2330m. From here we take Belette, a long blue piste which drops us at the base of the Fort 6-seater chairlift serving the 2383m Col de la Traversette, still dominated by the ruins of the 19th-century Fort de la Redoute.

From here we get our first tantalizing glimpse of the snowy vastness which lies ahead. A spirited chilly onward descent on the red-graded Bouquetin piste brings us to the famous Bellecombe I draglift whose slow and near-silent progress feels somehow appropriate to the wildness of the setting. It also allows plenty of time to look around at the wonders of the 2188m Col du Petit Saint-Bernard, and broad valley totally subsumed in winter snows. Somewhere beneath it lie the remains of a Roman temple and possibly the route across the Alps taken by Hannibal and his troops.

Bellecombe draglifts, La Rosiere
Col piste, La Thuile

Into the Aosta Valley…

Once liberated from the lift we’re more than happy to pass on its steeper companion the Bellecombe II (which would drag us up to 2891m) and instead take the red-graded Col piste to our left for a jubilant schuss which finally sees us across the Franco-Italian border to explore Espace Saint Bernardo’s La Thuile sector. The run brings us to the foot of the Piccolo San Bernardo Express high-speed quad chairlift, whose snug Perspex weather-protection hoods would probably also make a lot of sense back in La Rosière. At the top we peer over into a subtly different landscape, much of whose ski terrain is usefully north- or east-facing, helping to preserve good snow conditions. First impressions are that it’s also relatively gentle, although as we’ll discover, more challenging terrain is out there if you want it.

We set off first to explore the terrain below Le Belvedère, most of it graded red or black apart from a useful blue which cuts across the lot to provide intermediates with a direct route to the Fourclaz Express lift. Once across the Col du Fourclaz there’s a healthy selection of red- and blue-graded runs to enjoy below several peaks: Belvedère (2641m), Gran Testa (2379m) and Chaz Dura (2579m). In practice the terrain is generally more user-friendly than the piste-map suggests thanks to Italian grading, which (a) doesn’t employ green for easier runs, and (b) takes the length of pistes into account.

The latter comes home to us when we can no longer ignore the urge to head off to enjoy a real Italian lunch. The plan takes us back to the base of the Piccolo San Bernardo lift and onto the San Bernardo piste (signed no. 7), which would qualify for gentle blue- rather than red-grading if its impressive length were to be removed from the equation. Just past the mid-point we reach the welcoming Rifugio Lo Riondet, which in winter (when snow covers the road on which we’re actually skiing) feels remote enough to have real adventure value, and serves up perfect meals for appreciative, hungry skiers. We love it – and we’ll definitely be returning sometime.

Onto the steeper stuff…

When we finally wrench ourselves away and snap back onto our skis we continue down the epic piste until things become steeper and we finally enter the tree-line. It’s possible to continue to red-graded terrain by switching to piste 3 for the final drop into La Thuile, but instead we take one of the blacks. Predictably, things soon get really steep but the snow quality is good, our edges bite and for the next couple of minutes we have a ball before rejoining the red piste, where things revert to cruise mode through a forested section.

Down in La Thuile (originally a coal-mining town) temperatures are falling fast and the ski village is about to pass into shade. We therefore take the Les Suches cable-car (more a gondola lift, really) straight back up to 2200m for another black run, this time on No. 5 (shown on the piste map as ‘Muret’). Once again this feeds onto a red-graded lower section for the approach to the village, where we again ride the lift up to Les Suches.

Heading back to France and La Rosière

This time, though, we head back towards the border. A couple of chairlift rides drops us efficiently above the Col de Fourclaz for a gentle blue-graded cruise back towards the Chardonnet chairlift above the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard. A couple of minutes’ impressively steep haul up the north-facing mountainside brings us back to the sunlight and faced with several options for our final runs back to La Rosière. By now the blue-graded Choucas is taking most of the returning skiers, so we take the less-travelled Blaireau for a red-graded drop onto the Lauzes piste.

One gentle blue cruise later, we’re skiing back into Les Eucherts just as the lifts are closing and the sinking sun is turning the peaks of the Tarentaise Valley to pale, pastel pink. We won’t forget our first day’s skiing in La Rosière, and know that whatever the weather cares to throw at us from now on we’ve done the Big One – and we can also say we’ve finally seen the point of skiing here in La Rosière and the Espace San Bernardo.MountainPassions heart icon