Ski Holidays in Italy
Italy has stunning scenery, excellent snow making systems, perfectly groomed pistes, challenging off piste runs and some of the world’s best mountain food and wine. Add to that endless fun and the inimitable Italian style, and it’s no surprise that snowboarding and skiing in Italy is increasing in popularity every year.
Sloping off for short breaks has become a growing trend, and Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley is perfectly positioned to do so, with fast, easy access from Geneva. The charming traditional village is cradled by Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), Europe’s highest mountain and one of the most popular destinations for skiing. Italy more than proves it has plenty to offer intermediate skiers here, while still catering for the more advanced aficionados with plenty of off-piste runs, including the opportunity to ski across to Chamonix, in France.
Close by, Italian La Thuile links with the French resort La Rosière. The contrast between the immaculately groomed velvety slopes on the Italian side and those ‘au naturel’ on the French is dramatic. To the east, Pilais perfectly placed for visiting Aosta and, still in the Aosta Valley, the Monterosa ski area covers 180 km (112 miles) of pistes and is often referred to as ‘Europe’s best kept secret’. Off-piste opportunities are fabulous too, especially at Alagna, which has gained cult status for powder hounds skiing in Italy.
There are few more romantic cities than Venice, the jumping-off point for many resorts in the Italian Dolomites. And there are few skiing destinations in the world that can match these resorts’ jaw-dropping scenery. Pretty Madonna di Campiglioin the Brenta Dolomites is chic, long established and very popular with affluent Italians. Also very popular with the fashionistas is Cortina d’ Ampezzo, which is superb for skiing. Italy displays its best here, with dramatic pink-tinged peaks that could make you believe you were literally on top of the world. There are long runs, fabulous mountain restaurants, and it is Italian down to its voluptuous heart.
When it comes to skiing in Italy, many of the 45 resorts and 460 lifts covered by the area’s Dolomiti Superskilift pass are in the German-speaking area of Alto Adige/Sud Tirol. All benefit from state-of-the-art snow making and superb grooming. One of the most popular resorts is Selva Val Gardena, which is well positioned for access to the 23 km (14 miles) famous Sella Ronda circuit. It is ideally suited to intermediates and passes through simply magical scenery.
Other opportunities for skiing in Italy include the Via Lattea (Milky Way), which straddles the border between Italy and France and is easily reached from Turin, the host of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Sauze d’Oulx continues to charm visitors, with its buzzing bars and tangle of ancient cobbled streets in the old town. Nearby is snow-sure Sestriere, the Alps’ first purpose-built resort, designed by Fiat magnate, the late Giovanni Agnelli. Today it is renowned as the Milky Way’s smartest resort, offering some of the most challenging skiing in Italy. In true Italian style, it also has a galaxy of good restaurants and glorious scenery.