Ski in Italy
The holiday emphasis in Italy tends to be on fun and relaxation rather than sporting excellence. And as a result, the enjoyment factor is all the higher. Italy is blessed with a number of giant ski areas. In Italy you can look forward to 5,829 km of slopes: the ski resorts are served by 1,765 ski lifts. If you still think where to spend winter holidays, choose Italy!
Why should I go skiing in Italy?
If you want to ski in Italy, you have a huge list of resorts to choose from! From the breathtaking Dolomites in the northeast to the staggering Monte Bianco, Europe’s largest mountain, in the northwest, dozens of top-notch resorts span the Italian Alps. Expect excellent piste (slopes) and lively après-ski scenes — all combined with the great food and laid-back attitude that’s the mark of bell’Italia.
Deciding to go skiing in Italy is an easy choice, right?
But choosing the right resort for your trip can be much more difficult. Each resort has something specific to offer its guests… So we’ve done the work for you. Here’s our list of Italy’s best ski resorts, depending on whether you’re looking for glamour or a family trip, and more!
Pila for families with young children and ski beginners!
Pila remains a relatively hidden gem among Italian ski resorts, and is not very popular outside of Italy. But it offers quiet slopes and short lift lines, allowing beginners to get in a lot of practice! This ski resort has about 70 km of slopes to offer all levels, but the little ones can try the Baby Pila, Baby Gorraz and Grimod slopes, or take lessons from one of the multiple ski schools open. The resort’s Miniclub caters to kids 12 and under, and children under seven get a free ski pass. Manageable, functional and relaxed, Pila is a fun, comfortable resort for both beginners and little ones!
Bormio for SPA-lovers!
A top ski’n’spa resort, Bormio is an historic Lombard spa town with bags of character and an continuous summit-to-base run that delivers the greatest vertical drop in Italy. Irresistible! Bormio offers skiers a compelling blend of traditional town buzz, authentic Italian ambiance, beautiful scenery, and snow-sure slopes; it’s spot-on for discerning intermediates who can also enjoy day trips to Livigno and Santa Caterina.
Cervinia for budget travelers!
Sharing the Matterhorn massif with its Swiss neighbour Zermatt, Cervinia occupies the highest pisted ski area in Europe. At a maximum height of roughly 3,500 meters, and with its own glacier, Cervinia is the first to get snow and the last to end the season. If you’re a big-mileage cruiser who loves mountain landscapes, you’ll adore Cervinia.
Moreover, Cervinia was rated as one of the least expensive world-class resorts by The Post Office Resort Report for the second consecutive year in 2013, offering a top-of-the-line resort at a decent price. The resort contains plenty of cosy café-bars and good restaurants and some good upmarket hotels. In fact, just over the mountain from Cervinia is Zermatt. You can buy a ticket that gives you access to both resorts’ pistes, but Zermatt is extremely expensive —so staying on the Cervinia side will save you lots of money.
Alagna for powder hounds!
This picturesque little village – complete with stone church and attractive old wooden farmhouses – in the giant Monterosa ski area has a cult following among powder hounds. Away from the limited local pistes, glorious snowfields provide endless entertainment and tough challenges for experts. It’s not a place for beginners though. Alagna itself has only 15 km of pistes. But it also has links to more intermediate-level resorts of Gressoney and Champoluc. And it is offering 200 km of pistes of varying difficulties. By the way, Monterosa Ski lift pass covers all of these resorts. However, it’s best to stay in Alagna for the off piste.
Cortina d’Ampezzo for luxury weekend!
Cortina d’Ampezzo is the James Bond of the Dolomites: glamorous, chic and always put together! In fact, its slopes were even used as the set for a stunt scene in For Your Eyes Only. The glacier-carved profile of vertical faces and rocky pinnacles won the Dolomites a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, and the skiing here is world-class as well. Families with beginning and intermediate skiers will find plenty of terrain at Cortina d’Ampezzo, where there are slopes and pistes for beginners, and about half the skiable terrain is intermediate. The gentle wooded trails in the Mietres area are especially good for children.
There are plenty of hotels in every range, smart shops (this is the most fashionable of the Dolomite resorts by far), restaurants, cafés, and several SPAs in Cortina. Of course, the glamorous life comes with a glamorous price. But if you can swing it, with its 120 km of slopes and the Dolomites as a backdrop, Cortina truly lets visitors embody la bella figura… and ski in style.
Abetone for ski freestyles!
With an altitude of 1388 metres, Abetone is located on the pass between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, on the Apennines. There are 4 valleys in this ski resort – Valley of the Scotenna, Sestaione Valley, Valley of the Lima and Valley of Luce. And in total they offer skiers 54 kilometres of slopes and 26 lifts. If you happen to visit this ski resort in the heart of Italy, don’t miss out on 18 kilometres of track specially for cross-country skiing. Abetone is a great pick for freestyles because of two snowparks. The first one at Pulicchio and the other in Val di Luce, more suitable for advanced skiers. Don’t worry about accommodation, since there are many hotels, tourist resorts, alpine lodges, B&Bs and campgrounds.
It was hard to narrow the list down to only 5 ski resorts from the total of 294!
Nevertheless choosing any of these resorts for your next vacation won’t disappoint you. Italian resorts are also known for their family-friendly atmosphere, sunshine, delicious food and less crowded slopes. Moreover, its laid-back ambiance makes it natural for anyone who is more interested in just enjoying the snow rather than skiing faster, further and steeper than the next person.
To sum up, Italy tends to be cheaper than its main European rivals France, Austria and Switzerland. No doubt, Italy offers a great collection of ski resorts and the diversity on offer means that everyone from pro skiers, to first time beginners and winter sports fans can find their perfect winter escape. Have lots of fun skiing in Italy!
P.S. If you have already been to Italy and want to discover a new destination for the winter holidays, then read our article on skiing in Austria. Get started on planning your ideal ski holiday with our help!