Monterosa Ski's resorts - Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna - have long been among our favourites and are popular with experts going off-piste and with Italian weekenders. Until recently they have not made much impact on the international ski market but now things are changing. Champoluc was put on the UK map on a small scale by single-resort operator Ski 2, which has been operating there for 16 years and has built a great reputation. This season Ski Total and Inghams will both have chalet hotels there. And family specialist Esprit Ski has a chalet hotel in Gressoney in the next valley.
The resorts retain a friendly, small-scale, unspoiled ambience that we (and a growing band of readers) like a lot. They share a network of pistes that is modest in size but suits intermediates well, and areas of off-piste that suit everyone from adventurous intermediates to experts (but guidance is needed).
There is one main village in each of three adjacent valleys: Champoluc in the western Val d'Ayas, Gressoney in the central valley and Alagna to the east. Champoluc and Gressoney are both reached from the Aosta valley, to the south. Alagna is more remote and isolated, and approached by a quite different route from the east.
Day trips to other resorts are hard work, but Cervinia, Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila are reachable by car from Champoluc and Gressoney and are covered by the Aosta Valley pass.
All three villages are small-scale (Champoluc is the largest) and pleasantly rustic, without being picture-postcard pretty. Like most Italian resorts, the villages really come to life only at weekends.
Monterosa Ski is surrounded by a string of peaks over 4000m, and some over 4500m; the panoramic views from restaurant terraces are fabulous.