La Rosière is a picturesque French resort situated on the French/Italian border which it shares with La Thuile to form the Espace San Bernardo ski area. The Loveskiing team explored the 160km of piste and of course the powder to be found away from the slopes to find out what La Rosière has to offer! As always we will provide you with an unbiased and detailed review to help you decide if La Rosière is the place for you!
|Nearest airport||Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble and Lyon (all circa 2 to 3 hours transfer)|
La Rosière is one of the lesser known but more charming traditional resorts to be found in the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoy region of France. Surrounded by world renowned resorts such as Tignes, Val d’Isere and Les Arcs you would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of La Rosière before.
- Charming, picturesque and friendly resort
- Excellent beginner and intermediate slopes
- Small resort with easy access to the mountain
- Main resort lifts are modern, quick and without queues
- Almost guaranteed snow – the resort is based at 1850 meters
- The Espace San Bernardo ski area is limited in size
- Lack of challenging terrain for experts
- Long transfer times from Geneva or Grenoble (circa 3 hours)
- The link to Italy is antiquated and laborious
- It can get very windy, shutting the link to La Thuile and leaving you freezing and in Italy
Summary of La Rosière
La Rosière is a charming little French alpine town. The first thing that stood out to us was the friendly attitude of the locals, resort workers and everyone we bumped into. Lift attendants would jump out of their warm huts to help you on and off a lift with a “bonjour” even if you were the only people around and in a whiteout… unheard of! Everything was done with a smile and this really stood out in comparison with other resorts in the Alps – perfect for beginners or those new to winter sports and a welcome addition to those seasoned snow lovers!
Now it is fair to say that the ski region in La Rosière isn’t extensive and the advanced intermediate and above could quite easily cover every run on offer in La Rosière in a day’s skiing. The skiing on offer can be extended by taking the Fort lift (a brand new 6 seater express lift which has cut out the queues that used to be found at this link) and skiing down the short Bouquetin red run, hopping on the Bellecombe I and II drag lift and skiing off into Italy. This link between La Rosière and the larger Italian resort of La Thuile forms the Espace San Bernardo ski area and opens up the full 160km of piste to you. The link may sound simple as I have described however in practice the Bellecombe I and then II drag lifts are 1.7km and 1.1km in length respectively. Yes that’s right 2.8km of drag lift taking up 25 minutes of your day and to make things worse part of the drag goes downhill leaving you traveling faster than the pom itself… beginners beware! This is really an area that could do with updating to a chairlift. Once you have successfully navigated the drag lift the rest of the Espace San Bernardo area is open for you to explore… This area is covered in our La Thuile review – only fair as this is the Italian part of the Espace San Bernardo!
So back to La Rosière where the runs are wide and long. There is easy access to the slopes whether you are based in La Rosière itself or slightly further out in the hamlet of Les Eucherts via either the lengthy Roches Noires Express or the Eucherts Express respectively. It’s worth noting that both lifts are modern and speedy meaning a high uplift capacity and reduced queues. We had two favourite runs that we kept on returning to again and again… Marmottes and the Fontaine Froide. The Marmottes is a lovely flowing red run that has plenty of rollers, turns and length to get the legs burning by the time you reach the Petit Bois lift and the end of the run. From the top of the Petit Bois there is also a relatively easy black called the Marcassin which is good fun and gives plenty of chance to ski some steep powder…weather permitting! The Fontaine Froide is a curving red descending almost 800 vertical meters with lots of potential to mess around at the side of the piste popping in an out of the trees – a great run for the whole family. At the bottom of the Fontaine Froide you will find a lovely little rustic hut and unique teepee serving delicious vin chaud and hot chocolates.
After a hard day on the mountain La Rosière offers a good range of restaurants offering a variety of dishes to suit your pallet, from traditional Savoyard cuisine to rustic pizzas. ‘Le McKinnley‘ offers reasonably priced pizzas along with other delicious dishes and is handily situated at the foot of the Roches Noires Express lift – a good one with the whole family or lunches. For some traditional alpine mountain food with a great atmosphere we would recommend ‘Le Genepi‘ found opposite the Tourism Office or the Relais du Petit St Bernard located near the lift pass office. For some late night Jaeger fueled partying our favourite is Le Petit Danois based in central La Rosière which has live music two nights a week, dancing (on and off the tables) and to top it off serves delicious Thunder Toffee Vodka… yum yum!
To keep this clear and concise we’re going to answer a couple of simple questions:
Was it as we expected? Yes and no – the resort area was as we expected; a bit on the small side for cruisers or more advanced skiers but the resort itself exceeded our expectations and then some! Friendly, picturesque, lots to do, snowsure and with easy access to the mountains, La Rosière was a great family resort.
Who does it suit? La Rosière is perfectly set up to cater for families and beginners/intermediates with wide uncrowded pistes, several excellent English speaking ski schools, a safe compact resort centre and lots to keep everyone occupied.
Therefore not ideal for:
- Advanced skiers seeking steep challenging terrain
- Cruisers who like to ski different pistes every day of the week
- Those who are looking to improve their skiing
- “Hot chocolate” or “vin chaud” skiers who like to stop off at a range of restaurants
- Guaranteed snow
How does it compare to the rest of the Alps? There is a nice mix of tourists and French speakers in La Rosière and unlike some of its larger neighbours the resort doesn’t feel crowded and prices are slightly lower ( £150 instead of £200 for a 6 day adult lift pass in nearby Tignes). La Rosière is an incredibly friendly resort and this one simple thing really sets it apart from other resorts in the Alps.
Were there queues? The main lifts in La Rosière have all been recently updated to 6 man chairs and as a result the queues are almost non existent – just how we like it!