If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you might be wondering if you can manage to add a few days of skiing to your vacation.
Maybe you’re on a mission to ski everywhere, and you’re wondering what Italy has to offer in the winter sports department. Rest assured that you can find great skiing in Italy.
What’s Great About Skiing in Italy?
Enjoy long runs.
Most Italian ski resorts boast long ski runs. Bormio, the second resort on our list, has a drop that’s over a mile long from tip to base. Many runs start high on the mountain and finish in the midst of a picture-postcard mountain village.
The prices are lower.
Skiing in Italy costs considerably less than skiing at comparable locations in other European ski resorts. Lodging and dining in the small mountain villages are usually less expensive as well.
Some of these resorts may strike you as quiet when it comes to nightlife. They’re not known for the party atmosphere that prevails at many European and American ski resorts. That might be a plus or a minus for you.
The ski site OnTheSnow notes that “Skiing and riding in Italy are generally a bit less expensive than the neighboring resorts in France, Switzerland, and Austria.
Italian resorts are also known for their family-friendly atmosphere, sunshine, delicious food, and less crowded slopes.”
See spectacular scenery.
Most of the ski resorts in Italy are spread between the Dolomites and the Italian Alps. The Alps are some of the most spectacular mountains in the world, standing tall against the bright Italian sun. The Dolomites are so breathtaking that they’ve been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Check out this YouTube video that gives you a bird’s eye and skier’s eye views of skiing the Dolomites.
Bring the family.
The laid-back atmosphere and lower prices make Italy a great destination for family skiing. Most resorts have ski schools and enough beginner slopes to keep first-timers busy.
According to Ultimate-ski.com “Italy is an ideal skiing choice for a family skiing holiday, with excellent ski schools and a genuine delight in the welcome of small children.
The atmosphere in Italian ski resorts is cosmopolitan but the overall influence is definitely Italian; fun and relaxed with more traditional mountain villages than purpose-built resorts.
Italy’s picturesque Alpine villages offer some of the world’s best mountain cuisine and, though nightlife may be limited in some resorts, the old cobbled streets come alive in the evenings with buzzing bars, excellent restaurants, and good-value pizzerias.”
Take your time.
Italian ski resorts have a different atmosphere from resorts in the U.S. or other parts of Europe. Most people are there to have fun, not to compete or to show off. There are great skiers there, but the vibe is much more laid-back.
You won’t feel rushed while you’re skiing there. Like the lack of nightlife, this could be a plus or a minus depending on what’s important to you.
Writing for the travel magazine Planet Ware, Barbara Radcliffe Rogers offers these pointers for American visitors: “If you’re used to skiing in North America, bear in mind that skiing in Europe is somewhat different.
Trail level designations are not always the same. What Europeans call beginner trails may be more like American intermediate, and safety fences are not as common.”
Snow is a sure thing.
At an average height of over 9800 feet, the Alps and Dolomites are almost guaranteed to be thick with snow from November through April. Most resorts use artificial snow as a backup.
What Are the Top Five Ski Resorts in Italy?
The following resorts are those that consistently pop up on most travelers’ lists of the best places to hit the slopes in Italy.
1. Cortina D’Ampezzo
Cortina D’Ampezzo was the site of the 1956 Winter Olympics. Since then, it has become a favorite destination for wealthy Italians looking for a stylish winter vacation.
Cortina boasts high-dollar stores and high-quality restaurants. Its fashionable reputation shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the breathtaking scenery and impressive ski slopes.
In this YouTube video, a travel blogger gives you a detailed guide to skiing in Cortina D’Ampezzo. As she notes, the slopes often seem half empty, confirming Cortina’s reputation as a place where people largely go to be seen, to shop and to eat. Take advantage of the small crowds to enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful skiing.
Bormio is known for its long runs including a mile-long ride that takes you right into the middle of this picturesque Alpine town.
Bormio has some of the best skiing and beautiful scenery to be found among Italian resorts. It’s also a bustling, busy town with world-famous spas and highly-ranked restaurants.
This YouTube video gives a good rundown of what to expect from a Bormio ski vacation.
Livigno is a full-service winter resort, with lots of different snow-related activities for those who don’t want to ski.
Livigno is known by the nickname “Little Tibet” because it is rather isolated, and also because it’s one of the highest-altitude towns in Europe.
It’s an affordable resort with separate snowboarding terrains, plenty of beginner and intermediate slopes and a busy nightlife. Livigno recently added heli-skiing to its offerings. This YouTube video gives you a good overview of what to expect at Livigno.
This is a small, friendly ski town with a mix of slope levels. Madesimo seems unassuming compared to more glamorous resorts.
Don’t let that fool you, however, since Madesimo has hosted several European Cup races and has some famously challenging slopes including the Canalone.
According to Snow Magazine: “There’s one overriding reason to ski this friendly, traditional resort located in a sunny valley on the Swiss border: the famous three-kilometer Canalone black descent. It’s been called ‘the most beautiful slope in the Alps,’ and is definitely one for Alpine completists.”
5. Madonna di Campiglio
Called “the pearl of the Dolomites,” this is a lovely mountain town that’s well-known for its many good restaurants. It is surrounded by mountain streams, farms and the enormous Adamello-Brenta Natural Park, where you can hike or stroll through miles of pristine forest.
Madonna di Campiglio has some challenging runs, but it also has several well-rated ski schools and beginner trails. This YouTube travel video offers some insight and tips into getting the most out of a visit to Madonna di Campiglio.
Are There Any Multi-Resort Passes Available?
There are two multi-use passes you can buy once you’re in Italy. Ask about these passes at your hotel or when you purchase your ski lift pass.
- Dolomiti Superski gives you 12 ski resorts and access to 450 lift systems.
- Skiarama Dolomiti grants you access to 8 resorts and 140 lifts.
What Else Should You Bring to Italy?
When you’re making your travel plans, make room on your list for the following handy and useful items. They are all available from Amazon. They’ll make your Italian ski getaway easier and more enjoyable.
Dandelion Travel Adapter Outlet Adapter
This outlet adaptor works in 150 countries. It features two USB ports and an eight-hole socket that automatically adjusts itself to whatever country you’re in.
Just plug it in and the adaptor adjusts itself to fit. It could not be easier to use. Best of all, it’s compact and comes in its own cute pouch.
Winterial Double Ski Bag with Wheels and 5 Storage Compartments
This handy wheeled bag fits two sets of skis. It features thick padding and a multi-strap system designed to hold your skis firmly in place while they’re being jostled and tossed during your flight. It has four interior pole straps and built-in wheels.
Athletico Padded Two-Piece Ski and Boot Bag Combo
This protective sleeve fits most skis and is roomy enough that you can easily toss your hat, gloves, scarf, and socks in there too. It has a unique design that lets you adjust it for different ski sizes. The matching boot bag fits most boots up to size 13.
Sukoa Ski & Pole Carrier Straps
Carry your skis and poles easily to the slopes and the ski lift, then fold it away in your pocket while you’re skiing. This useful strap features an adjustable length, ergonomic style, and thick shoulder padding. The sturdy clips won’t break in cold temperatures. This strap is designed to last season after season.
Berlitz Phrase Book and Dictionary, Italian
This useful guide from a top language-learning company includes thousands of useful phrases in a conversational style. This edition includes a free app that lets you get phrases right from your smartphone.
Get Ready to Get Cold in Italy
Italy is a great choice if you want a fun, laid-back vacation but still want great skiing, food, and scenery. It’s a bargain compared to similar ski resorts in nearby European countries. Whichever resort you choose, you’ll be glad you chose Italy for your next ski trip.