Italy has the beautiful mountains, good snow and skiing facilities in their resorts, but they also have the edge on friendliness. Skiing in Italy is relaxed and welcoming with equal emphasis on good runs, good food and wine and good friends. With 45 ski resorts and over 450 lifts there are 12 km of groomed runs in the Dolomite Superski Area, many of them accessible with one ski pass.
Italy has many family friendly ski resorts that offer good child care services and ski schools for young children. With the excellent on-mountain dining, skiers can go up the mountains and stay there all day.
Val di Fassa
In the northern Italian Alps is the Dolomites, possibly the most beautiful mountains in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Trevalli ski area of Val di Fassa are three villages, Moena, Passo San Pellegrino and Falcade. Together they form one of the best ski areas in the heart of the Dolomites.
The area has well maintained snow and slope management with 27 lifts that access more than 100 kms of slopes with 1,300 metres of vertical runs. They also have pipes and terrain parks and one of the most extensive artificial snow making systems in Europe. With this, every piste is covered.
The longest run is 4 km and most of the runs are suitable for intermediate skiers. They can also access the Sella Ronda which is 26 kms that circle the Sella Massif and can be used to ski to other areas. There are blue runs at the village level as well as at the top of the Col Rodella cable car. For advanced skiers, there is the north facing slopes with the Dolomites most challenging skiing. There are 15 kms of cross-country as well as off-piste runs.
Other winter activities are toboggan runs, ice skating, ice climbing, snow park, hockey and hiking.
Cervinia and the Matterhorn
Cervinia offers top class skiing with the majestic Matterhorn as the background. One of the highest resorts in the Italian Alps, the Matterhorn dominates several other grand peaks. It has very good snow conditions because of its altitude. The ski pass includes Zermatt in Switzerland which is good news for advanced skiers. The resort centre is closed to coaches, so visitors may have to carry their own luggage to the hotels on arrival and departure.
There are beginner slopes at the resort centre and other places. There is also a ski school which promises fast progress to the intermediate stage. Intermediates enjoy long runs with mogul fields as well as the eight kilometres run to Zermatt with another selection of lifts and runs. There are seven black runs, several of which are truly challenging with the famous run under the Furi cable car. It also has a night slope and a snow park.
The après ski is also convivial with lively cafes, clubs and bars. For those looking for other winter sports, there is ice karting, a natural ice rink, heli-skiing, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and a swimming pool.
Passo Tonale is another one of the highest resorts in Italy, and has outstanding slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers. Mainly above the tree line, there is guaranteed snow. This is a good place to bring the family as it offers excellent value for money.
There are six lifts at the village level for beginners, so progress is fast. The English speaking ski instructors will have most beginners on the higher slopes in a few days. Intermediates take the four-seater chairlift for a 4.5 kms run through the spectacular scenery. With the same ski pass, skiers can also ski at Marilleva or Madonna di Campiglio. There are several black runs for advanced skiers as well as off-piste routes with a local guide. There are also black routes through the trees.
Delicious inexpensive food is available as well as supermarkets. There are also many lively bars and nightclubs as well as relaxing cafes for après ski. For non-skiers and skiers who want to take a break, there are dedicated tobogganing lifts, skidoos, fitness room, a natural ice rink and swimming pool. Skiers can explore the pistes on hired jet skis or have a two hour snowboarding session.