As you strap your boots on, load your skis into the back and hop into Bertha the bus in the morning, winding your way out of Champoluc a few minutes up the valley to Frachey, have you ever stopped to wonder what else is in this small village, other than the funicular that takes you up the mountain towards Bettaforca? Have you ever noticed, for example, the small chapel on the right as you pull into the Frachey funicular car park?
This area is popular with walkers and if you look around you will see why. Numerous sign posts point you in the direction of paths along, across, up and down the sides of the valley. From here, you can make your way back through the forest to Champoluc (beware the weird and wonderful wooden woodland creatures that greet you along the way) or further up the valley to the village of Saint-Jacques.
What you may not have noticed, however, is the modest chapel building inscribed with Saint Roch (San Rocco, in Italian). Originally dedicated to San Claudio by Jean-Claude Frachey, the chapel was built in 1653. By 1820, it had fallen into a state of disrepair and was restored in 1837.
In September 1860 the Ayas Valley was hit by an unexpected and catastrophic glacier melt, caused by hot torrential rain, swelling the river Evençon, destroying the road in 12 places and turning the fields into glaciers. In 1888, Frachey was once again hit, this time by an avalanche, which flattened four houses, but left the Saint Roch chapel standing.
Having survived all of this, the chapel made it to 1978, when it witnessed the construction of a chairlift next door. It then went on to outlive the chairlift when, in 2009, it was taken down and replaced by the funicular that carries you up the mountain today. The first funicular in the Valle D’Aosta dedicated to skiing, each of its two cabins can carry up to 110 people (but are rarely full).
Give us a call and we’ll happily drive you up there so that you can hop on the funicular and be on your way to a fantastic day of Monterosa skiing.