Why you should buy a ski property in Pila

Written by on December 17, 2020 in Estate Agent’s Window, Property

The magnificent view over the Alps with the fog settling in the valley

Introducing Agenzia San Grato – Pila’s No. 1 estate agent

We are delighted that Agenzia San Grato has kindly agreed to help us with our Goodlife Property project.

Agenzia San Grato is THE estate agent for the lovely little Aosta Valley ski resort of Pila. They are the only agent with a shop in the resort, located in the Bellevue building. That’s at the top of the Aosta-Pila cablecar, overlooking the main car park.

From their other office near to Piazza Chanoux in the centre of Aosta they also cover the town of Aosta itself. Together with its popular surrounding villages like Gressan, Saint Christophe and Sarre.

Agenzia San Grato is owned by Signore Carlo Marcoz. He launched his company back in 1970 in a little log cabin up in frazione Modze. For who knows Pila, that’s near Plan Praz. His first property sales project was the Ciel Bleu Residence that was being built at the time. Since then he and his colleagues have been involved in most of the development projects that have taken place up on the mountain’.

So why should you look at Pila as a place to buy a ski property?

chair lift and apartment blocks on the ski resort

An lovely place to ski

First and foremost, Pila is a lovely, easy going and friendly place to ski. Ideal for families, beginners and especially intermediates. But all the local ski racers and instructors love Pila too. It is just about big enough for most people and has an almost perfect layout, with a great blend of pistes (and off-pistes). Apart from on Saturday and Sunday mornings and during Italian public holidays when it can get quite busy, it is lovely and quiet.

Ski racing is a very important part of Pila life. The resort is the home of a number of local Ski Clubs who are up there every day training on the specially prepared slopes. Pila also hosts lots of ski races throughout the season. Sharing the pistes with all these amazingly fast and supremely confident skiers is humbling but at the same time thrilling! Like it would be sharing a golf driving range with Tiger Woods.

The weather is usually amazing thanks to the special micro-climate that this middle part of the Aosta Valley enjoys. And being north facing, its snow record is very reliable. Everyone says that the piste maintenance guys in Pila are among the very best in the business.

The views from the top over to Monte Bianco, Monte Cervino and Monte Rosa, are ridiculous.

pila telecabina convinently fit 6 people - why you should buy a ski property in Pila

With brilliant on-piste bars and restaurants

You won’t find a kinder, more welcoming or more reasonably priced collection of ski in/ski out bars and restaurants anywhere in the Alps. Hermitage, Societe, Yeti, Baoutson, Baraka, Chatelaine, Grimod, Trattoria dei Maestri, Maison de Jean, Chalet du Soleil and Baita Chamole. Its difficult to pick a favourite. They all have something special to offer.

OK, they are not offering fine dining and they are probably not going to win any interior design awards. But Pila isn’t a big money resort so that’s not what the people who come here are looking for. And there are no thumping party bars on the slopes either. Apart from on a few special occasions when things do get quite lively it’s all very natural and laid back.

What you do get in Pila’s bars and restaurants is a warm welcome, a happy atmosphere. Lots of delicious home cooked food, great coffee and incredible value for money.

A great central base for skiing the other Aosta Valley resorts

Pila is a great home-base from which to access the other famous Aosta Valley ski resorts. All of which are included in the All-Valley Ski Pass. From here at the centre point of the Region, within a 30-minute easy motorway drive you are in Courmayeur. And in 60 minutes you are in Cervinia or Champoluc. 60 minutes also gets you to Chamonix in France via the Mont Blanc tunnel. And in 90 minutes you are in Verbier, Switzerland via the Grand Saint Bernard Pass.

beautiful mountain lake and hikers climbing the mountain

And a stunning place in summer

Outside of the ski season, Pila is a stunning place to be if you like hiking, cycling or just being in the great outdoors. Step out from your apartment and you have immediate access to glorious hiking and biking through the forests, across alpine pastures and up to high altitude lakes and refuges.

The Aosta – Pila cable car runs during the peak summer months of June, July and August and most of Pila’s bars and restaurants are open during this period. It has to be said that it does become a bit of a ghost town during the parts of the year when the funivia is not running, apart from on weekends when people drive up to go hiking etc.

But if it does get a bit quiet sometimes, simply get in the car. After an easy 20 minute drive down the hill to Aosta you are all set to go and explore the rest of the stunning Aosta Valley Region. Thanks to the A5 motorway that runs along the length of the main Dora Baltea valley, all of the other beautiful valleys that run into it are very accessible.

And don’t forget the proximity of France and Switzerland. Within 2 hours you can reach places like Annecy and Geneva. A 1 hour drive gets you out of the Aosta Valley into Piemonte, so Torino, the Langhe wine area and lots of other classic Italian places are virtually on the doorstep. The Ligurian seaside is only just under 3 hours away.

Throughout the Aosta Valley, from May to November, there is an endless calendar of traditional events and festivals being held, celebrating everything from wood carving, cow fighting (yes, cows!), apples, nuts, wine, beer, cheese and bread.

And if you can’t resist getting the skis on in the middle of August, Cervinia has great summer skiing up on the Plateau Rosa glacier.

Pila Bikeland

Over recent years a lot of work has gone into developing Pila as a major European mountain biking destination. Now it has a large number of exciting downhill tracks suiting all abilities, from professional competition riders to first timers. While the funivia runs between Aosta and Pila during the summer, so does the Chamole chairlift, specially adapted to carry bikes. There is even a bike track running all the way back down to Aosta itself.

mountain biking on top of the mountain

Pila ‘village’

Although Pila does have a nice community feel to it, it lacks a ‘Centro Paese’. Overlooking the car park at the arrival of the Aosta-Pila cable car there is a small supermarket and a few little bars and restaurants. And there are one or two other restaurants, pizzerias and bars dotted about the place in the apartment complexes and attached to the hotels. But there is no proper ‘high street’ of shops, bars and restaurants to head to for apres-ski or for non-skiers to hang out in during the day.

Most of the development here happened in the 70’s and 80’s. The architecture and the haphazard layout, strung out in separate blocks up the mountain, does all make Pila a bit of an ugly duckling if we are being honest. So in terms of aesthetics, atmosphere and apres-ski it is fair to say that other Aosta Valley resorts like Champoluc, Cervinia, Cournayeur and La Thuile have more to offer.

‘Pila-Aosta’ ski resort

On the other hand, Pila has its proximity to and connection with Aosta, which more than compensate for any shortcomings.

Over recent years Pila has concentrated on its primary daytime purpose – to provide an excellent skiing experience. And has largely left it to the lovely old Roman town of Aosta, just a 17 minute cable car ride away, to provide the majority of the night-time leisure and entertainment. Something that it does extremely well.

It hasn’t always been like this. Once upon a time Pila was a big party place, with rocking apres-ski, 5 heaving nightclubs and a large under 30’s hotel. But then policy shifted to make Pila first and foremost a family friendly resort and since then it has quietened down and handed over the night-time shift to Aosta .

So when we talk about Pila Ski Resort, what we are really talking about is the ‘Pila-Aosta’ Ski Resort. A double act between an historic and vibrant tourist town and its high quality ski-station, linked together by a super efficient cable car. Combining their assets and working together to create a unique winter sports environment, to provide a great all-round service and to make sure everyone has a brilliant time.

people are finishing their skiing day - why you should buy a ski property in Pila

Future developments

When buying a property in a ski resort it is important to know that the place isn’t just standing still in terms of improvements and investment. Although little has been done over recent years on the resort development front in Pila, a lot of investment has gone into the pistes, the snow making equipment and the piste maintenance machines. So you need have no worries for the future regarding the skiing side of things.

Extension of the Aosta – Pila funivia

Lift infrastructure wise, Pila is about to benefit from a significant new investment. An ambitious new euro 22 million project has already been launched by the authorities to extend the Aosta – Pila funivia from its current arrival station at 1,800m, right up to a new station to be built at 2,750m, at the top of the resort’s highest chairlift, known as Couis 1.

To be completed by December 2023, this project will make a huge improvement to the convenience and enjoyment of skiing, as well as mountain biking and hiking, in Pila. It will also significantly extend both the beginning and the end of the ski season by allowing direct access to the higher, snow covered slopes when snow on the lower slopes has yet to appear or has melted.

Aosta – ‘Porta Est’ Development

There are other less advanced plans on the drawing board to redevelop the land around the bottom ‘Aosta Station’ of the funivia, with commercial facilities and a new dedicated motorway junction, together with a new Piazza to be built over the railway tracks and a pedestrianized street leading to Piazza Chanoux.

huge snowplow is working on getting ready the runs

What next for Pila?

Back up in Pila, as soon as the ski industry and Italy’s general economic situation are able to recover from the current crisis, it surely has to be the case that after nearly 20 years of inactivity, a period investment and development can’t be far away. Especially given the imminent boost that the funivia extension will provide.

There is plenty of room around the place for individual new hotels, condominiums and chalets.

There could also be space on the site of the current main car park for a more integrated complex of accommodation and leisure facilities, including the obligatory ‘village’, that would better connect the existing upper and lower sections of the resort. But this is just my own silly idea, so please don’t take it seriously!

summer mountain biking season - taking the chairlift up the mountain - why you should buy a ski property in Pila

A small selection of interesting property investment opportunities

If you are tempted to set up your skiing base here in Pila now could be a good time to do it. And Carlo and his team at Agenzia San Grato are the people to help you.

Here is a little selection of some of the opportunities that they are currently offering in the price bracket of euro 130,000 – 500,000.

Euro 130,000 will buy a nice 1-bedroom apartment.

For Euro 500,000 you can buy the only ski in/ski out chalet currently on the market.

They do have a number of smaller, single room studio flats priced at between euro 60,000 – 90,000 but I have not included these here. If that is the kind of thing you are looking for Agenzia San Grato can send you all the available options.

Brenva

apartment block up on the ski resorts of Pila

For euro 130,000 you can buy a nice, small 1-bedroom apartment in the Brenva building. It comes with 2 parking spaces and a large south facing terrace. From here you have a walk of approximately 200m to the arrival station of the funivia and the pistes.

Bouton d’Or

nicely furnished apartment for sale Pila ski resort

At euro 220,000 is a larger duplex 1 bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in the Bouton d’Or building, right next to the arrival of the funivia and the pistes. It has a car parking space and a large corner terrace.

Bellevue

apartment with a beautiful view over the mountains - Why you should buy a ski property in Pila

Euro 320,000 will buy you a 2-bedroom, 2 bath-room duplex apartment in the Bellevue, the newest building in Pila situated next door to Bouton d’or. It looks directly out onto the pistes from the top floor, with a big terrace, large sitting room and a separate kitchen. It also has a ski-box, a cantina and a parking space.

Miosotys

ski resort apartment with the view of the snowy mountains

Alternatively, for euro 350,000 you can be right on the piste and in the centre of the resort, up near the main ski school. The building is called Miosotys and this is a large 80sqm 2-bedroom apartment on one level with two terraces, cantina, ski-box and a parking space.

Villa Parroncini

old fashioned house on the ski slopes of Pila - Why you should buy a ski property in Pila

Villa Parroncini is an independent, 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom ski in/ski out chalet located very near to the wonderful Chalet Bethere. Both properties share an access from the road just below Pila and are situated on the piste that runs down to the Plan Praz stop of the funivia. It has just come onto the market for euro 500,000. With some careful alteration, extension and modernization it could be turned into a very attractive, unique and highly rentable property.

Further information on properties in Pila – Agenzia San Grato

Further information on skiing in the Aosta Valley.

 

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