Skiing in Italy

Skifahren in Italien

Skiing in Italy

The highest mountain ranges in Europe - the Dolomites and the Swiss, French and Savoyard Alps - form Italy's borders to the north and west. The snow-covered slopes are home to some of Europe's most famous ski resorts. At these altitudes, in the Dolomites alone, more than a dozen peaks exceed 3.000 meter mark, snow is 70% certain from November to April, and the season is usually longer.

The most ski area and a large selection of options are in the Dolomites, where the 12 large ski areas with a total of more than 1.There are 200 kilometers of slopes. No matter which region you choose, the Aosta Valley, the Dolomites or the Savoyard Alps to the west of Turin, you will be rewarded with spectacular scenery and with separate runs that can last long hours and go from high up in the mountains to... the village at the foot of the ski area.

If you're used to skiing in North America, keep in mind that skiing in Europe is a little different. In Italy, blue is for beginners, red for advanced and black for everyone. However, the difficulty level is not necessarily the same; What Europeans consider beginner slopes are more likely to be classified as intermediate in the US, and safety fences are not as common. Snowstorms in the Alps can cause significant delays, so it is advisable to allow enough time for the return flight.

Like much else in Italy, skiing has a different pace than its northern neighbors, with a relaxed atmosphere where the emphasis is on having fun rather than breaking records. This and the lower entry prices make Italy a very attractive place for a ski holiday for families.

Changes for the 2021/2022 ski season in Italy: Health concerns have led to protocols that change the ski experience compared to previous years. The rules for the three major alpine ski resorts may differ, but you can expect there will be some safety measures in place. In addition, limited capacities at the lifts, in the huts and in other facilities are to be expected.

For lifts and other ski area services, such as: b equipment rental, you may need to purchase online tickets in advance; Please check the ski area's website regularly for current information. Some ski areas offer discounts for those who have unused ski passes from 2020/2021.

If you are traveling from outside Italy, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for current information.

Find the best places for your next winter vacation with our list of the best ski resorts in Italy. We have listed 8 of these popular ski locations for you.

Note: Some operations may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Cortina d'Ampezzo

The profile of vertical walls and rocky peaks carved by glaciers has earned the Dolomites the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the skiing here is world-class too. The most famous of the dozen Dolomite ski resorts has been Cortina D'Ampezzo since the Winter Olympics were held here in 1956.

The scenery is simply spectacular. The five peaks of the Cinque Torri tower above the city, which not only provide Cortina with a backdrop, but also enable all-day descents from the summit down to the city. More than 30 lifts transport skiers almost from the hotel door to the snow fields directly below the peaks. That's not all: with the Dolomiti Superski Pass you can also use the lifts and slopes of the other 11 ski areas in the region.

Families with beginners and advanced skiers will find a wide range of slopes and runs for beginners in Cortina d'Ampezzo, and around half of the ski area is suitable for beginners. The gentle, wooded slopes in the Mietres area are particularly suitable for children. Experienced skiers will not be bored, as the rest of the slopes are designed for them, including the Olympic slope in Tofane, which hosted the Women's Alpine Ski World Cup in 2019.

New this season is the 10-person gondola Son dei Prade-Cianzopè-Bai de Dones, which connects the Cinque Torri area with the Tofana, so that skiers can reach the Dolomiti Superski area from the center of Cortina on skis . This will connect the Tofane area with the Sellaronda and relieve pressure on the road between Cortina and the Falzarego Pass.

Cortina d'Ampezzo not only has the largest concentration of downhill slopes in the Dolomites, but also numerous cross-country ski trails that lead through spectacular mountain landscapes, as well as an illuminated bobsleigh track for nighttime sledging and the Olympic-sized ice rink for ice skaters.

Although some international ski competitions were canceled in 2021, the FIS World Championships took place as planned in Cortina d'Ampezzo. In 2026, the Tofane area will host the Alpine skiing competitions of the Winter Olympics, while bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, curling and biathlon will take place throughout the resort.

The town is well equipped with hotels of all categories, chic shops (it is by far the most modern of the Dolomite towns), restaurants, cafés and several spas. If jet-set glamor is part of your Italian ski dream, you'll find it here. But you can also find mid-range accommodation in Cortina, such as the Ambra Cortina Hotel, with luxurious, wood-paneled rooms in the heart of the old town.

2. Val Gardena

Smaller ski resorts like Val Gardena offer a more intimate ski area than their larger, more glamorous neighbor in the Dolomites, Cortina D'Ampezzo. Val Gardena is one of several neighboring valleys between the peaks known as the Sella Group and has 160 kilometers of pistes and lifts that connect to the other valleys, creating almost 400 kilometers of connected ski area. From here you can ski on the Marmolada glacier.

Gröden also has the longest ski slope in South Tyrol, La Longia, which stretches over 10 kilometers from the Seceda to St. Ulrich extends. The slope leads to 1.273 meters elevation through varied terrain, including a natural gorge with a frozen waterfall. Although Val Gardena is also suitable for beginners and advanced skiers - you won't be bored here - about 65 percent of the terrain reached from here is intended for intermediate and experienced skiers, one of the highest levels in the Dolomites.

Skiers don't come to Val Gardena to have fun in the evening or to be seen, but to ski and then relax in the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the authentic Val Gardena mountain villages of St. Christina, St. Ulrich and Wolkenstein to recover. Several challenging routes begin in each of these locations. One of them offers the opportunity to ski four slopes that were used for the women's and men's downhill and giant slalom races at the 1970 World Championships, with an average gradient of more than 25 percent.

The 2021/2022 season brings some exciting new slopes. The new La Ria piste, accessible only to experts, opens, starting from the Dantercepies cable car. In places it has a gradient of 52 percent. Also for experts is the former Pilat off-piste area from the Seiser Alm to St. Ulrich now a curvy 4th.670 meter long downhill slope with a gradient of up to 58 percent.

3. Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche

The Italian region of Val D'Aosta, northwest of Milan, offers you an experience that is on almost every skier's life list: skiing over the border ridge between Switzerland and Italy, just below the peak of the most famous mountain in the Alps - the Matterhorn .

The jumbled resort of Breuil-Cervinia (in Italy) isn't nearly as pretty as Zermatt (in Switzerland), but its location beneath the mountain's steep south face, whose profile is just as striking from this angle, is incomparable.

Get on the lift right in the center of Breuil-Cervinia to ski the 350 kilometer long Matterhorn piste system that connects these two countries and the three ski areas. The lifts reach a height of more than 3 at Piccolo Cervino.500m. and make Breuil-Cervinia one of the best ski areas in Europe in terms of snow reliability at higher altitudes.

The third ski area connected to this network is Valtournenche, which is connected to the Breuil-Cervinia lifts and has a total of 23 lifts. The terrain at this point is surprisingly gentle, with lots of beginners and intermediate skiers - about half of the 150 kilometers of slopes are designated for beginners.

Most experienced skiers will want to switch to the more challenging slopes on the Swiss side. The infrastructure and hotels of Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche do not have the glamor of Zermatt, but neither do they have the prices in Switzerland and you get comfortable accommodation, chic restaurants and also tourist attractions and activities for the non-skiers.

4. Sestriere and Val Chisone

The ski area of ​​Sestriere in the Savoy Alps to the west of Turin is the legacy of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, who built several hotels and the four cable cars for skiers in the 1930s. This makes this area one of the oldest ski areas in Italy and the first purpose-built ski area in the world.

For a while it was popular with the rich and famous and served as a training location for some well-known winter sports enthusiasts, but Sestriere was best known to ski enthusiasts from Turin until it came back to life during the 2006 Winter Olympics. The competitions in the disciplines of downhill, freestyle, combined downhill, women's and men's slalom and giant slalom were held here, the facilities were improved and modernized, which brought the Val Chisone and skiing in Piedmont into the spotlight of the world.

The Val Chisone is part of the Via Lattea - Milky Way - which includes around 163 interconnected slopes. More than half of them are medium difficulty, approx.40 are for the beginners and 30 for the experts. Sestriere lies at an altitude of up to 2.800 meters and, like Breuil-Cervinia, is one of the snowiest ski areas in Europe at high altitudes.

Although the resort has a long skiing history, Sestriere itself has little character or visual appeal, at least until you move away from the buildings and see the beautiful mountain peaks that form the backdrop to the ski slopes. If you're looking for accommodation with a little more character than the big, cookie-cutter hotels, consider the chalet-style Albergo del Centro.

In addition to skiing, you can also go bobsledding, ice skating and dog sledding here. The Chisone Valley also includes the smaller Pragelato ski area, where you can ski the trails of the Olympic cross-country skiing competitions and perhaps watch the competitions on the Olympic ski jump.

5. Courmayeur

If you're looking for glitz and glamor in the Aosta Valley, head to Courmayeur, high on the shoulder of Mont Blanc, close to the French border and the Mont Blanc Tunnel. The beauties of Turin and Milan have made the pretty little ski village a place to be seen on the weekend, but the quality of the skiing - or the scenery - is undeniable.

For a view of the top of Europe from its highest mountain, take the Funivie Monte Bianco cable car up to the ridgeline, where the snow-capped peaks seem to stretch on forever.

Experienced skiers looking for a thrill should hire a guide and hope for perfect conditions when the unmarked and expert-only slopes are open from the Arp - otherwise you won't be allowed to take your skis up on the lift, but You should enjoy the view. The area offers many opportunities for off-piste skiing, for which you will also need a guide.

Not everything is for experts: beginners have gentler slopes in the Courmayeur suburb “Dolonne”, but most of the terrain is suitable for intermediates and experts. In Val Ferret, a little outside Courmayeur, a 20km route begins. long network of cross-country ski trails that run through a wonderful landscape.

Look forward to first-class restaurants, chic shops and luxury hotels. The resort's chic reputation and proximity to Chamonix mean accommodation prices here are higher than in most other Italian resorts, but you'll also find traditional inns here like the eco-conscious Auberge du Manoir, a former farm.

6. Alta Badia

As the ski area of ​​the Sella Group, Alta Badia is very popular with families with beginners and advanced skiers. Not only does it have good, easy beginner terrain, but around 50 percent of the slopes are classified as medium difficulty. But it's not just for beginners: every December, La Villa hosts the Alpine Ski World Cup, as the Gran Risa slope is one of the most technically difficult in the entire Alps.

A little further challenge for experienced skiers who have the necessary stamina begins in La Villa. The ski touring route known as the Gardena Ronda Express connects the series of lifts and slopes to form a full-day circuit that runs to Wolkenstein and via the World Cup downhill run to St. Christina leads. From here you take the lifts uphill again for 10km. long descent to St. Ulrich and then uphill again for the return journey to Alta Badia. This route includes 35 kilometers of slopes and 24 lifts.

The Sodlisia four-person chairlift will be replaced this season by a detachable eight-person chairlift with bubble domes. The capacity of the new railway is 3.000 people per hour.

7. Madonna of Campiglio

With some of Italy's best-groomed slopes (and awards to match), ski lifts right in the town center and a stylish ambience rivaled only by Cortina d'Ampezzo, Madonna di Campiglio is no longer a secret to Italian skiers. The location in the Brenta Dolomites, north of Lake Garda and Verona, is not as easy to reach as the better-known Dolomite towns to the east, but once you're here you'll find enough snow and terrain to keep you busy for an entire holiday.

The more than 150 kilometers of slopes include the challenging 5.75-kilometer-long Dolomitica with a gradient of 70 percent, and on the equally challenging Canalone Miramonti, which is illuminated for night skiing, the skiing doesn't stop even at sunset. Advanced skiers will appreciate the well-groomed slopes, and the Ursus Snow Park for freestylers is considered one of the best in Europe.

In addition to skiing, the four villages also offer cross-country skiing, ski touring, ice skating, snowshoe hikes, a toboggan slope, dog sledding and ice climbing.

Throughout December and until the 6th. In January, the town transforms into a fairyland of lights and Christmas decorations, and there is a Christmas market with small huts selling local crafts and food.

8. Livigno

Best known for its excellent terrain parks, considered the best in Europe, and its remote location, Livigno is far from a household name among skiers. But its relative inaccessibility makes it even more attractive to those who find their way to these three dead-end villages. This also applies to the low prices and the guaranteed snow at an altitude of 1.815 meters.

Skiing can be done on both sides of the long valley, with the best beginner and advanced slopes on the western Costaccia-Carosello side and the freestyle parks in the eastern Mottolino area. The main terrain park has more than 60 elements for all skill levels as well as an airbag. Experts can enjoy off-piste powder or reach greater heights with the newly added heli-skiing options.

Livigno is slated to host the snowboard and freestyle skiing competitions of the 2026 Winter Olympics. In total, Livigno has 110 kilometers of slopes: 12 for experts, 37 for advanced skiers and 29 for beginners. For non-skiers there are around 250 VAT-free shops, as this small valley just behind the Swiss border is a duty-free zone.

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