Winter Sports update in Italy | by Carole Thorburn at Pila Ski

Sitting here in my office in the middle of a ski resort, perfectly prepared runs all around me…. but we can’t ski!

So, what’s been happening in Pila Valley D’Aosta this winter?

Things started off looking so positive (relatively speaking) Pila spent a fortune getting all the runs prepared for opening, that included snow cannons blasting day and night.

To start with the Italian Government indicated that we would be able to open with very tight restrictions, limited numbers, ski masks etc….so all was put in place for this.

We kept getting new opening dates, but as you all know none of these ever happened. Probably a wise decision but it certainly has not made things easy for any of us who work in the Alps in the ski industries.

All are suffering from small ski hires to large hotels.  We can only hope all will survive.

Emotions have been up and down all season, people are trying to keep positive….

It was decided here that all local ski clubs could train, they opened one chairlift and they had 7 different slopes to train on, they all have numbered bibs and masks for the chairlift and are having a great time to themselves every weekend, Wednesday and during the holidays.

A few races have also taken place, again no spectators and all in bibs.

We on the other hand have had perfectly prepared slopes to go ski touring around which has been one plus…but it’s a long walk up just to ski down, this season everyone’s fitness levels have gone way up!!

Unbelievable how many short turns you can put in to make the most of the run down.

On the whole people are being very respectful of all the Covid rules and regulations there are in place in the Valley.  It is pretty strict, and so are the fines, but in saying that all shops, bars and restaurants are open until 6pm (this depends on the Zone you are in, Christmas and New Year we went Red and everything was closed and you were not able to move anywhere ) Just now you can visit one family indoors but you have to be home by 10pm as there is a curfew until 5am.

I can hardly believe it was a year ago when everything went pear shaped. I had just hosted the SIGB ski test for the second season.  The year before there were about 400 suppliers and testers at the event….as it got closer last year one by one they started to pull out even though the resort was open, it ended being about 30 of us and although not the test we had hoped for we had a brilliant week in powder and sunshine and I actually got to ski and not just sit at a desk all week.

The Test is important for both Pilaski and Pila, the resort do everything they can for me to make the test a successful event. 

I personally think it would also be a great thing for the public to be able to take part in, I have noticed over the years (I have been involved in the test in the past, although only hosted it myself twice) that much of the serious testing is finished by the Wednesday and many testers leave resort then.  Would be great to offer a long weekend test for 3 days to the public, Thursday to Saturday…who would not want to test gorgeous new equipment!

This way all the brands could invite their guests to test…unfortunately this is not my decision to make…just putting it out there!

At 7,30pm on the 8th March last year the resort was told to close and Italy was going into full lock down. My clients had just arrived…. not the best of times!! I had 24hrs to get them out, so it became a bit like the ‘Sound of Music’ out through Switzerland, although they were not dressed in curtains and singing ‘Climb every Mountain’.

Many companies thanks to covid, are having a tough time, but not giving up and trying to find positives.

I had many people booked also for this season too, they all knew it might not happen but booked anyway.

Because of Covid my normal terms and conditions did not apply, or will they apply next season if we are still in a Covid state.  All deposits are retained by Pilaski and moved to when travel is possible all other payments are returned in full.

For season 2021 / 22 anyone booking and paying a deposit before 15th April 2021 will pay this season’s prices.

So, who are Pilaski?

Pilaski is a very small company that organises ski holidays for families, singles, couples, groups, race camps and short breaks in Pila in the Aosta Valley, Italy. It is run by myself a race coach and ski instructor I have been in Pila for over 30 years.

The resort itself is pisted to perfection with spectacular views around the whole of the Alps. It is a high resort and north facing so holds the snow well.

Pilaski offers tailor made ski holidays, there is a package in place, but it can be adapted to suit people’s preferences, I also work with the Special Olympics West Midlands Ski group, they usually come out in January bringing about 70 people.

All our accommodation in Pila is doorstep skiing, Hotels, B&B hotels and apartments, Ski passes including ski insurance will be waiting for you on arrival. We do not offer flights but do organise Airport transfers which are included in the price.

We also book ski hire and lessons for anyone who wants them.

I ski guide most mornings Monday to Friday and am always around if anyone needs anything. My ski suit is pink so also easy to avoid me if you so wish or find me if you need to…you can see me coming a mile away.

Tel: 0044 7732837111 / 0039 3284278451 ( WhatsApp )

[email protected]

5 Replies to “Winter Sports update in Italy | by Carole Thorburn at Pila Ski”

  1. We went skiing in pila for the first time last year in pila(we have skied for about 30 years in europe and canada)
    And have to say we loved it, snow was amazing and the people and resort were lovely we actually came back to the uk on the 8th of March booked again for this year but got cancelled.
    we will be back again when conditions allow.
    Take care and we will see you next year.

  2. We went skiing in pila for the first time last year in pila(we have skied for about 30 years in europe and canada)
    And have to say we loved it, snow was amazing and the people and resort were lovely we actually came back to the uk on the 8th of March booked again for this year but got cancelled.
    we will be back again when conditions allow.
    Take care and we will see you next year.

  3. Carole, I came across your Pila article today by chance based on your 🇮🇹 comment in the ongoing 🇦🇹 V 🇫🇷 debate on FB.
    That piqued my interest and I was rewarded with such and informative & well written article.

    I run ski groups annually ( have 3 going to 🇮🇹 in 2022) so I would be interested in checking out Pila as a suitable Resort for future trips. I will keep your email address on file and be in touch at a future date.

    I hope that the 21/22 ski season goes well for you and all those whose livelyhoods depend on the industry.

    Best Regards,
    Mark

  4. PS: I especially liked your suggestion that members of the public be given the option of visiting Pila for a few days (which would suits the hotels as well) after all the expert testers leave & we get to test different skis. Could be a very interesting few days and something different to promote first visits to Pila.

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