The original La Rosière resort (now known as La Rosière Centre) was developed in the 1960s and 1970s at the head of the Little St Bernard pass road into Italy, which is closed in winter. The most recent development has been concentrated in Les Eucherts, about a kilometer away and linked by a lovely snow covered path through the trees which is lit up at night and makes for a lovely walk.
Both parts of the resort feature low-rise chalet-style wood and stone buildings and have fast lifts to the slopes. They are very popular with families due to the easy slopes and good ski schools. The views over the Tarentaise valley from both the resort and the slopes are stunning.
The slopes join those of La Thuile in Italy to form the Espace San Bernardo. This vast 152km ski area is suitable for beginners and intermediates, although there are attractions for the more experienced with some steeper runs and attractive off-piste on both the French and Italian sides.
Stay up-to-date with essential resort facts below, and scroll down for our insider guide to a day on the slopes, expert ratings and advice. For more inspiration at La Rosière, check out our guides to the resort’s best accommodations, restaurants and après ski.
Inside the resort
Both parts of the holiday village have a very friendly atmosphere due to their small size, cute chalet-style buildings and lack of traffic – although not car-free, the ends of both parts are cul-de-sacs, so don’t there is road passage.
In addition to the footpath between La Rosière Center and Les Eucherts, there is a free bus that runs in the evening.
Most of the accommodation is in apartments, including some very smart complexes with swimming pools and spa areas, and there are also some luxury four-star hotels.
The resort is family-oriented and après ski is fairly quiet, although some bars occasionally have live bands. The Moo Bar in Les Eucherts is the place to go for late night dancing and sometimes has children’s discos in the early evening. The Igloo Village at the foot of the Plan du Repos chairlift is open every day, with an Ice Bar and a restaurant serving cheese fondue every Wednesday evening.
The ski resort’s link with Italy increases its attractiveness due to the contrasting cultures of the two countries and cheaper restaurant prices on the Italian side.
Both the French and Italian sides of the slopes are best suited to beginners and intermediates, thanks to some very wide and easy runs that are delightful cruising, but both present challenges for experts too. There is a network of red runs and plenty of easily accessible off-piste high up on the La Rosière slope, serviced by two fast chair lifts.
There are also three dedicated climbs next to the slopes at La Rosière for ski tourers: a very innovative idea.
On the slopes
While much of La Rosière’s local pistes are suitable for beginners and novice intermediates, advanced intermediates are well served by the Mont Valaisan piste sector, with five red runs serviced by two fast six-seater chairlifts. Experts can also use these chairlifts to access a large area of off-piste.
The local slopes join those of La Thuile in Italy to form the Espace San Bernardo. This has 152km of piste, equally divided between France and Italy, and its pistes have been independently measured and verified by Christoph Schrahe, who has developed a standard method for measuring piste kilometres, which makes accurate comparisons of the extent of trails between locations. Most resorts exaggerate their claims by adding kilometers to allow for the turn – using that method would give Espace San Bernardo 198km. In any case, the combined area makes for a fairly extensive ski area.
The slopes at La Rosière get significantly more snow than many nearby resorts such as Les Arcs due to its location in the Tarentaise valley and exposure to oncoming storms. But most of its slopes face south, so snow quality can deteriorate quickly in warm, sunny weather. The slopes of La Thuile, on the other hand, are mainly exposed to the north, so the quality of the snow is generally excellent and powdery.
Most of the main elevators at Espace San Bernardo are now fast chairs. But there are still a few slow chairs on the lower slopes of La Rosière and the connection to Italy involves a long and often busy ski lift.
Both parts of the village of La Rosière have good beginner areas and longer, easier runs. And there’s a fun children’s slope with St. Bernard dog-themed obstacles to traverse and get around, reached by the Lièvre Blanc ski lifts from the La Rosière centre.
Intermediates will find some fun wide, shallow blue runs that make cruising easy. These include Perdrix and Tétras up to La Rosière Center and Papillon up to Les Eucherts. Most of the descents on the Italian side towards La Thuile are also very gentle – many of the Italian reds should really be marked in blue.
The reds on the La Rosière side however are true reds, considerably steeper than the blues but without very steep sections and therefore great fun for cruising.
Experts will appreciate the two black runs on the lower slopes below village level if the snow conditions are good. But the main attraction locally is the off-piste, including the area served by the lifts on Mont Valaisan and a freeride area called The Zittieux Snow Cross which is avalanche controlled and marked on the piste map.
In Italy there are some very steep black runs (like runs 2 and 3 on the lower slopes), more off-piste and some heliskiing options including a run from the Ruitor Glacier which ends in France, a short taxi ride from La Rosière.
The local terrain park is aimed more at beginner and intermediate freestylers than experts. The ESF and Evolution 2 ski schools both enjoy excellent reputations.
For extracurricular activities there’s also the X-treme Luge, a single track toboggan ride on a 1,000m downhill circuit of steep drops where speeds can reach 45km per hour. Open daily until late evening (late Wednesday evening), departs from the main car park at the entrance to the resort. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Who should go?
Both the French and Italian sides of the slopes are best suited to beginners and intermediates, thanks to some very wide and easy runs that are delightful cruising, but both present challenges for experts too. The resort is family-friendly and après ski is fairly laid-back – its small size and charming vibe add to the friendly vibe.
Know before you go
British Embassy/Consulate: (00 33 1 44 51 31 00; ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk)
ambulance (samu): dial 15
Police: dial 17
Fire (pompiers): dial 18
Mobile emergency response: dial 112
Touristic office: See larosiere.net, the La Rosière tourist board website, for weather reports, lift status, webcams, traffic details, and listings of local events. Pick up maps, brochures and other information at the offices. There are two tourist information points throughout the resort: one at La Rosière Center and one at Les Eucherts
Area code: from abroad dial 00 33, then omit the zero at the beginning of the 10-digit number.
Time difference: +1 hour
Local laws and etiquette
When greeting people, formal titles (Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle) are used much more in French than in English.
The laws of vouvoiement (which version of “you” to use) take years to master. When in doubt, except when talking to children or animals, always use the formal vous (second person plural) form rather than the more casual tu.
While driving it is mandatory to keep fluorescent bibs in the car and an emergency triangle in case of breakdown. From 2021 it is also mandatory to have snow chains on cars or winter tires from the beginning of November until March.