Some of the most spectacular events staged during the Christmas and New Year holidays are the traditional torchlight skiing processions organised in the Val d’Aosta region of northwest Italy.
Various torchlight skiing parades set against breathtaking views of the Alps will take place in late December 2012 and early January 2013. The processions are all subject to weather conditions.
In the town of Valtournenche, the torchlight procession is scheduled for 29 December 2012. The programme starts at 8.30pm when ski guides with torches descend to the town, where the procession continues through the streets to arrive at the Piazza della Chiesa. The event ends at 10pm with a fireworks display.
On 30 December, a number of torchlight processions will be held throughout the region. In Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, people can gather from 4.30pm to 6pm for a toast at the Chanavey lifts and follow the procession led by the local ski school and Granta Parey Ski Club. At the Antagnod ski resort, the procession starts at 9pm at the local ski school and finishes at 9.30pm, when vin brulé mulled wine is served. At the Cervinia alpine resort, the parade ends with a pyrotechnic display to music. In the town of La Thuile, the procession is due to arrive at 7.30pm in Piazza Cavalieri or at the local ski school – depending on snow conditions – when mulled wine, tea and panettone cake is available to all. At the Torgnon ski resort, ski instructors will start the procession at the cable car at around 9pm, and the parade will end with music and fireworks. In Courmayeur, the procession kicks off at 5.45pm and in Champoluc at 9.30pm.
On New Year’s Eve, La Thuile is holding a torchlight procession for children at 5.30pm, which finishes with a chocolates giveaway. In Lillaz, from 5pm visitors can sample traditional mécoulin cake in the main square and the torchlight procession begins at 6pm; there will be a free bus service running between Cogne and Lillaz from 5.30pm to 8pm. In Chamois, there will be live music in the town square from 11pm to 3am, and at midnight, when the torchlight ski procession arrives, visitors can see in the New Year with free hot drinks and panettone.
On 3 January, there is a children’s torchlight procession at 6pm in Torgnon.