From Valle d’Aosta to Trentino-Alto Adige passing through Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont, there is no shortage of ideas for those who want to enjoy winter holidays in the snow since November when the winter season open.
Those who want to ski in Italy have a wide and interesting range of possibilities: along the Alpine chain, there are in fact some of the highest level ski slopes in the world, numerous ski resorts, hotels and spa facilities of excellence, shelters, and outdoor activities of all kinds, for young and old people. Faced with such a wide range of offers, making a choice can turn out to be anything but simple. For this reason, here we report a small guide to the best ski resorts in Italy.
In Alta Badia, in Trentino Alto Adige, the ski slopes are truly vast and connect the ski resorts of Colfosco, La Villa, Corvara, San Cassiano, Pedraces which – with S. Leonardo – form Badia and La Val. The ski area offers easy access through Colfosco and the Gardena Pass to the Sellaronda circuit and the stations connected to it: Arabba – Corvara – Colfosco – Malga Ciapela – Canazei – Val Gardena. The giant slalom World Cup race takes place on the Gran Risa slope or the Armentarola slope that descends from Lagazuoi and climbs from Passo Falzarego. The descent from Passo Gardena is very peaceful, but it is exceptionally spectacular. Alta Badia is part of the large Dolomiti Superski area (450 ski lifts with over 1200 km of slopes).
For cross-country skiing enthusiasts there are 9 tracks for 35 km divided into two centers: Alta Badia – Enervit in San Cassiano / Armentarola and Corvara-Colfosco.
Freeride lovers will find a 3 km long descent in the Val Mezdì where the difference in height to overcome is 1,100 meters and the average gradient is 34%. Alta Badia Freeride takes place here every year in March. A less demanding variant is the descent of Piz Ciampei towards Armentarola.
Equally famous is the Tour de Sas ski mountaineering race which takes place every year under the Sasso Croce in the Fanes-Senes-Braies nature park. The distance to overcome is about 20 km, the difference in height over 2000 m. The offer of snow sports is completed by 3 toboggan runs (15 km), the Alta Badia snow park on the Piz Sorega plateau, a fun park for snowboarding, 4 playgrounds for children’s fun in the snow, 80 km of winter trails and countless ski mountaineering climbs accompanied by guides.
Still, in Trentino Alto Adige, Val Gardena offers one of the largest and most fascinating Italian ski areas with 175 km of slopes for alpine skiing and 115 km of cross-country trails divided among the resorts of Selva di Valgardena, Santa Cristina, Ortisei. Selva di Val Gardena and Santa Cristina are connected to the Sellaronda circuit, the ski tour around the Sella massif. With the connection to the Alpe di Siusi and thanks to the Dolomiti Superski (12 ski areas and 1220 km of slopes), over 500 km of connected slopes are available to enthusiasts with just one ski pass.
The expert skier cannot miss the very famous Saslong, theater of the World Cup downhill competitions that descend to Santa Cristina. For those who want strong emotions, we recommend the descent from Passo Gardena to Selva.
For free riders, the Forcella Mezdì, Val Lasties and Forcella del Pordoi offer some of the most beautiful descents. Two snow parks for freestylers: the 750 m long Piz Sella which is located at the foot of the Sassolungo and offers various kickers, boxes and rails for beginners and professionals, the King Laurin Snowpark, a fun park that extends for over 1.5 km, with more than 60 obstacles and a 120 m long halfpipe.
Val Gardena is certainly one of the top resorts for the quality of the slopes, snow, facilities, overall tourist offer and views under the Sasso Lungo, the Sella Group and that of the Odle.
Madonna di Campiglio
Madonna di Campiglio is one of the historic Italian ski resorts. Always an elegant and fashionable location, it has been able to renew itself over time remaining at the national and international top.
Madonna di Campiglio is located at 1550 meters above sea level among the mountain group of the Brenta Dolomites and the Adamello and Presanella glaciers. The variety of its mountain environment ensures in winter the possibility of traveling, starting from the town center and returning without taking off your skis, countless kilometers of slopes up to 2600 meters, always different in degree of difficulty. The 3-Tre di Campiglio slope is historic, where all types of alpine skiing competitions took place (slalom, downhill and giant descent) and today the venue for slalom competitions. For those who love long, panoramic and not very steep slopes, we recommend the Graffer slope, while for the more experienced we recommend the Spinale Direttissima that descends from the homonymous mountain to the town. The mythical Canalone Miramonti, theater of World Cup competitions, is available for those who want to ski at night.
Adrenaline is offered by the Ursus Snowpark, consisting of 3 zones, with more than 8 hectares of freestyle terrain and about 40 structures including kickers, step-ups, step-downs, funboxes, spines, boxes and rails, a boardercross track. In addition, there is a 3 km long toboggan run that descends from Monte Spinale served by the homonymous chairlift.
The Madonna di Campiglio ski area is the center of the new Madonna di Campiglio – Pinzolo – Folgarida – Marilleva ski area which boasts 63 ski lifts and extends along 150 km of slopes, 70,000 m2 of the snow park, 40 km for Nordic skiing, and connection with Pinzolo and Folgarida – Marilleva.
Val di Fassa
Val di Fassa is a splendid valley in Trentino, with numerous spectacular skiable areas, included in the Dolomiti Superski ski area. The largest area is undoubtedly that of Canazei and Campitello where you can ski in the Belvedere and Col Rodella areas, both in the Sellaronda circuit, connected with Val Gardena and Arabba. Since December 2015 the opposite side where the small but very interesting Ciampac – Buffaure ski area is located has also been connected by means of the new funifor that climbs from Alba di Canazei to the Belvedere. At the other end of the area is Pozza di Fassa, at 1320 meters above sea level, also equipped with an illuminated slope for night skiing.
Going down the valley we find the skiable area of Catinaccio and Vigo di Fassa. Then follows the Carezza – Passo Costalunga ski area, with its 40 kilometers of slopes suitable for children and families, and finally Moena and the Tre Valli area.
Canazei is included in the Sellaronda Skimarathon, the ski mountaineering competition for couples, at night, which winds for 42 km along the Dolomiti Superski ski carousel and which connects, through the four Dolomite passes (Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, and Campolongo), the 4 valleys that surround the Sella massif.
The Breuil Cervinia ski area, in Aosta Valley, is among the largest and most spectacular ones in Italy: 350 km of slopes wind through beautiful mountains (including Cervino and Monte Rosa) and connect the Italian towns of Cervinia and Valtournenche with the Swiss Zermatt area in the ski Matterhorn Ski Paradise (Cervino in German is called Matterhorn). To cross the border, you need a valid identity document and a ski pass with the extension for the Swiss side.
In Cervinia there are 46 tracks for 150 km. Among the slopes for alpine skiing worthy of note is Ventina, 11 km long, which along the homonymous glacier descends from Plateau Rosà to Cervinia, at 2000 m. The slopes are mostly quite gentle. Exceptions are the black one of the Matterhorn in the Cretaz area and the Cielo Alto area. For snowboard lovers, at Plan Maison, there is the Indian Park. The snow cover is also excellent: thanks to the height of the slopes, the snow is always in excellent condition and also allows summer skiing, on the Plateau Rosà, with 26.5 km of slopes. The area is served by 2 cable cars, 5 covered chairlifts and a cable car with a capacity of 140 people. For cross-country skiing there are 3 km of tracks in Breuil-Cervinia, at 2050 m; in Valtournenche, in the locality of Champlève (1524 m), there is a ring route of about 4 km. Finally, the Maen cross-country track (3 km from Valtournenche) winds for 6.5 km.
Cortina, in the Province of Belluno, is undoubtedly the best known and most prestigious Italian ski resort, partly thanks to the World Cup races that take place there every year on the Olympia delle Tofane slope. Today it certainly remains the most fashionable resort in the Italian Alps. Lying in the wide and sunny Ampezzo Valley, with the Dolomites surrounding it, it offers splendid slopes in three districts: Tofane, Faloria – Cristallo and Lagazuoi – 5 Torri.
Among the black slopes we point out Forcella Rossa, the Staunies slope, Vertigine and the legendary Canale Staunies; among the red ones Armentarola and Olympia; Tofanina among the blue ones. With the valley ski pass you can ski on all the slopes of Auronzo – Misurina, San Vito di Cadore and Cortina area: 140 km of slopes included in the Dolomiti Superski circuit.
Starting from the Lagazuoi – 5 Torri area, numerous ski mountaineering trips can be made. A well-equipped snow park is located in Socrepes; it is divided into two areas: the Easy Line for beginners and the Media Line for more experienced skiers.
In the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites, cross-country skiers find 7 km of ring routes, 2 of which with night lighting and beaten routes with guaranteed snow for 70 km of slopes. The Dolomiti NordicSki is a card that entitles you to ski on approximately 1300 km of slopes in 12 locations.
At the foot of the Monte Rosa massif stands the Monterosa Ski area, a carousel of high-altitude snow sports, divided into three valleys. In this context, a considerable variety of proposals and activities for all seasons are intertwined with the peace and beauty of the landscapes.
180 kilometers of snow-covered slopes wind around the Rosa massif. You can choose to cross the whole area with skis on, starting from Champoluc and Frachey in the Ayas Valley, from Gressoney-La-Trinité in the Gressoney Valley, from Alagna in Valsesia. Antagnod, Brusson and Gressoney-Saint-Jean are local stations that can be reached with convenient shuttle services. The vast area is connected by ski lifts that offer skiers and snowboarders the maximum variety of slopes, wide and sunny slopes or steep slopes in the woods: increasing technical difficulties, to be faced based on experience. A state-of-the-art programmed snow-making system allows you to maintain optimal coverage even in the event of less abundant snowfall. The Monterosa Ski resorts are: Alagna, Antagnod, Brusson, Champoluc, Gressoney-La-Trinité, Gressoney-Saint-Jean.
Livigno, in Lombardy, is one of the most complete ski resorts both from a strictly skiing point of view and in terms of hospitality and services. Thanks to the harsh climate, the snow remains until late in the season and is always floury and soft; and if the natural one is missing, the numerous cannons for programmed snowmaking are ready to prepare excellent slopes. The locality lies in a small valley, while the slopes are placed on the sides of the mountains that surround it. You can ski from the end of November to the beginning of May: 115 kilometers of slopes of various levels from 1,800 to 2,900 meters above sea level, with 12 black, 37 red, and 29 blue slopes served by state-of-the-art ski lifts which include 6 chairlifts and 11 ski lifts arranged on two mountainsides. For cross-country skiing in the valley, there are 30 km of tracks that are constantly groomed and free; 5 km are covered by artificial snow. In Livigno, there is also the possibility of practicing biathlon. Every year, in December, Livigno hosts La Sgambeda, a cross-country skiing in the Visma Ski Classics circuit.