The giant Monterosa ski area is one of the world's largest, and thanks to recent investment in new lifts you can now ski or board without needing to stop for 180km between the resorts of Champoluc and Gressoney and Gressoney on to Alagna across three valleys. The skiing extends almost up to 3000 metres and there are spectacular views across Aosta Valley and Piemonte.
The ski area was 'reborn' for the 2003/4 season when the spectacular Funifor cable car finally completed the long planned link in the circuit between the Valsesia and Gressoney La Trinite resorts (themselves connected to Champoluc).
The most internationally famous resort on the circuit, Alagna, is known for its old world charm and having been preserved from cement with its Walser buildings dominant. It was founded in the 12th century and is built around the local parish church. Although there's skiing for all standards, Alagna remains a haven for expert skiers, the village sits beneath one of the world's greatest lift-served verticals skiable by many off-piste descents.
At the other extreme of the pass, Champoluc at 1570m is the main resort in the Val d'Ayas. Surrounded by pine woods, it offers spectacular views of the Monte Rosa glaciers and the rocky buttresses of Mont Sarezza and the Testa Grigia.
Antagnod above at 1710m also has spectacular views as well as well preserved old buildings, including the famous maison Fournier once the stronghold of the counts of Challant.
Between them Gressoney La Trinite - which is linked to the Monte Rosa circuit and Gressoney St Jean beneath it, which isn't. The architecture is again beautiful, with chalet style buildings and again spectacular views.