Traditionally considered an economical option for those looking to ski the Alps, Italy’s resorts provide beautiful surroundings and great skiing that is generally suited to beginner and intermediate skill levels.
Italians view skiing as part of a relaxed overall affair that includes eating, drinking, and sunbathing. This carries over into après-ski as well, with many resorts featuring the sort of stylish, sophisticated nightlife for which the country is famous.
Whether dropping in for the day or spending a week in one of the many holiday villas in Italy, this is a great region for a winter ski trip. Let’s take a look at some of the notable resorts.
Located in the Dolomites near the Austrian border in northeastern Italy, Cortina consistently ranks among the top ski resorts in all of Europe. Featuring breathtaking scenery and close to 50 lifts suiting all skill levels, it’s easy to see why Cortina is known as the “Queen of the Dolomites”. Their relatively long season opens in November and runs through April.
If you have a fur coat, bring it. Cortina is a true jet set destination, and it’s not uncommon to rub shoulders with European aristocracy out on holiday.
Along with Cortina, this is one of the most popular ski resorts in the Dolomites. Val Gardena offers spectacular scenery and 80 lifts, best suited for beginning to intermediate skiers. Like Cortina, the season here runs from December through April.
In addition to excellent gastronomic and nightlife options, Val Gardena is also home to a thriving wellness infrastructure that includes spas and other holistic treatment centers.
Moving west toward the Swiss border, this tiny village located in the Monte Rosa glacial region is a great option for expert skiers and snowboarders. Monte Rosa is the second tallest peak in the Alps, and Alagna Valsesia is known as the freeride capital of the region.
Indeed, there are many famous runs here, with most surrounding Punta Giordani at 4,046 meters and Malfetta at 2,914 meters.
Just across the border from the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt, Cervinia is less expensive and offers excellent Italian cuisine in addition to one of the longest ski runs in the world. This resort sits at the base of the Matterhorn and boasts nearly year-round skiing thanks to heavy snowfall and high elevation.
Cervinia’s seemingly endless supply of long, wide runs is heaven for the intermediate skier, and its vast network of lifts is fast and efficient.
The Milky Way
Along the French border, Italy’s northwestern ski region is known as The Milky Way (“Via Lattea”). Located just west of Turin, it is comprised of five excellent resorts: Sestriere, Claviere, Sansicario, Pragelato and Sauze d’Ouix. Together, these offer 400 km of ski slopes with nearly 100 lifts.
Some of the country’s best conditions can be found in this region, illustrated by the fact that it hosted many events during the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Finally, Coumayeur sits on the opposite side of Mont Blanc from Chamonix, France. This traditional alpine village features breathtaking scenery and is generally considered one of the best all around resorts in all of Italy.
There’s something for everyone here, from expert runs along majestic peaks to intermediate slopes and even cross country options. Après-ski is outstanding as well, with fine dining and nightlife on offer.
About the Author
Jason Laloux is a freelance travel writer. When he’s not planning his next surfing vacation, you might find him being a cosmopolitan hedonist and devouring haute cuisine from around the world. His favorite travel destinations include Costa Rica, France, and Las Vegas.