Skiing in Italy
When you want a laid-back, family-focused snowsports break complemented by some of the world’s tastiest cuisine, skiing in Italy definitely fits the bill.
While apres-ski is an important part of any ski holiday, there are some Italian resorts where non-skiers outnumber skiers ̶ a fact which bears testament to the sky-high levels of hospitality on offer!
And as you’d expect in such an earthy and sociable culture, kids are very well catered for too, while the accommodation is comfortable and stylish, yet practical ̶ the perfect formula for an active holiday.
Don’t let the focus on food, refreshments and fun times fool you that the skiing here is anything but excellent though ̶ whatever your level of aptitude, there are some outstanding on- and off-piste opportunities for skiers and snowboarders available in ski areas like Monterosa, the expansive Milky Way with its 400km skiable area and, perhaps most notably, the gargantuan 1200km Dolomiti Superski area, located in the UNESCO-designated Dolomite Mountains.
Italian resorts like Cervinia, Sauze d’Oulx, La Thuile and Cortina d’Ampezzo offer all-round customer service excellence that can compare with that on offer anywhere in the world, the ski season lasts roughly from the end of November until late April with decent snow-reliability throughout, and Italian ski package holidays can be priced very competitively. Want to experience la bella vita on and off the slopes?
Choose Italian ski holidays from Erna Low.
Best Ski Resorts in Italy
Best for snow quality
With its own portion of the Alps and dynamic mountain ranges like the Dolomites, Italy is blessed by bountiful natural advantages for skiers and snowboarders and whether you’re a novice, intermediate skier or expert, solo skier, family, or group of friends, there are ample well-groomed pisted areas and plenty of off-piste havens where adventurers can carve up fresh pow.
Add a laid-back ambience that’s second-to-none and you’ve got all the advantages for the perfect ski holiday. If you’re tempted, take a look at the following Italian ski resorts which each offer something really special.
Snow-reliability is generally good in Italy, but a select few resorts are renowned for being especially snow-sure. Here are a few top picks for perfect powder:
Cervinia is located at a resort altitude of over 2000m, with skiing available up to a lofty 3883m at Piccolo Cervinia. Historical snowfall here is impressive and the area has witnessed huge 3 metre snowfalls in past seasons, while the Plateau Rosa glacier holds its snow so well that several runs are even open in the summertime. Freestyler skiers and snowboarders also love the Gravity Park ̶ at 2800m, it’s Europe’s highest snow park.
Passo Tonale is a rarity in the world of snow resorts as it’s south-facing and sun-kissed yet extremely snow-sure (most snow-reliable resorts face north). The Presena Glacier here tops out at 3016m and at a resort height of 2000m, Passo affords excellent access. There has been a mind-boggling 4 metre snowfall here during some seasons, with skiing available through to June on some occasions, while there are also 300 snow cannons to augment natural powder if necessary.
Arrabba is the highest ski resort in the Dolomites and most of its skiable area is over 2000m. This amazing resort benefits from its close proximity to Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites at 3342m and also the area’s most expansive glacier. Average snow depth is 2m and upwards and experienced skiers can’t get enough of the red and black runs down from Punta Rocca.
Best for families
Heading to Italian ski slopes with kids in tow? You’re in good hands because there are plenty of Italian ski resorts where facilities and amenities for families are fab.
La Thuile is part of the cross-border Espace San Bernardo ski area and it’s a fantastic pick for families. Snow conditions are excellent around school holidays like Christmas and Easter, there’s a dedicated children’s snow park called Fantaski and there are ski schools and childcare facilities aplenty. With qualified nannies and well-appointed creches, you and your partner can enjoy a rare night out sampling the apres-ski, while there are also plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurants on offer.
Cortina is another inspirational Italian family ski resort with plenty of family food outlets serving everything from artisan pizza to delicious ice cream, comfy accommodation with easy access to the slopes, the excellent Tofana’s beginner area, the superb Socrepes snow park and the magical Mietres area, which boasts terrific tree-lined pistes, mountain huts and a fun sledge run. The highlight might be the 1km floodlit toboggan run, further evidence that the fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets in Cortina.
Canazei is another good choice for kids as it’s peppered throughout with playgrounds and kindergartens for kids not quite big enough to enjoy the slopes, nursery slopes where they can find their feet and supportive ski schools where they can polish their technique amongst peers and under the watchful eye of expert instructors. The Belvedere Park is a favourite hangout for snowboarding kids, with its boardercross area, lines for all aptitudes and big air bag for practicing jumps without rough landings. The food’s pretty good too ̶ you’ll find everything from authentic Italian mountain fare to gorgeous German-style hotdogs.
Best for groups of skiers or snowboarders
Heading off to Italy with a group of friends and wondering which resorts have brilliant boarding parks, freestyle areas and off-piste areas? You’re in luck ̶ here are a few hotspots in these chilly climes:
Livignio is an awesome Italian ski resort for riders and even includes a snowpark with a gnarly jump over retro Fiat fighter jet. There’s lots of off-piste terrain and you can hire a local guide to take you to the best areas to find fresh pow and carve up the slopes as safely as possible. Furthermore, you’ll also find a network of lively red runs rushing down from the peak of Vesta Blessanccia and the classic, cruisey, Degli Amanti blue.
Madonna di Campiglio is, for many visitors, home of the best conditioned pistes in Italy and some of the finest in the world. There’s a huge network of blues and reds which are popular with improving skiers of all ages and a few brilliant black runs, perhaps most notably the wood-lined, rollercoaster Spinale Diretissima ̶ not for the faint hearted! Last but not least, the Ursa Park boasts 8 acres of freestyle terrain, with more obstacles than you can shake a snow stick at.
As you can see, Italian ski resorts really do have something amazing to offer every type of visitor!
Ski Areas in Italy
There are several Italian ski areas, and each is blessed with its own advantages. Here are a few highlights for your delectation:
Dolomiti Superski is nestled in the shadows of the mighty Drei Zinnen and comprises 12 ski resorts and 1200 km of manicured slopes (making it the world’s largest ski area). The 200 million-year-old Dolomites are a stunning natural amphitheatre and span everything from rugged, rocky peaks to serene mountain lakes, and a Dolomiti Superski pass entitles you to take full advantage of 12 resorts, 50 ski villages and 30 snow parks, all connected by a super-efficient network of 450 cable cars. Apart from chic cafes, cool restaurants and great clubs, off-piste activities include cross-country skiing, tobogganing and ice skating. Favourite resorts here include Cortina, Alta Badia, Kronplatz, and Val Gardena.
Milky Way has a 400km skiable area and includes the resorts of Sansicario, Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere and Montgenevre. The host site of the 2006 Winter Olympics, there are some legendary black runs here, including the Moncrons and Fraiteve pistes, but there’s also 35km of cross-country skiing routes, some lovely wood-lined runs which help novices progress toward intermediate level and a snowpark to keep riders satisfied. Meanwhile, for something a little different, you can visit the Olympic bobsled run or try ice skating or skidooing. Finally, the apres-ski is diverse, with everything from chic cafes to bouncing clubs, and it’s particularly sociable in Sauze d’Oulx.
Monterosa ski area includes top resorts like Brusson, Alagna Valsesia, Champoluc, Gressoney Saint Jean and more ̶ the entire area comprises seven resorts, 213km skiable area and 64 well-groomed pistes connected by a convenient network of 52 ski lifts that reach a top height of 3550m. This area has a great reputation for fresh powder and off-piste adventures, so it’s particularly popular with snowboarders. The entire ski area is spread over three valleys close to the Monte Rosa massif, which is Europe’s second-highest glacier, so it’s very snow-sure and great conditions are guaranteed at almost any time of the season.
Seasonal Snow Conditions in Italy
With a long season that lasts from November through April and plenty of mountainous regions that from natural snowsports playgrounds, Italy’s ski areas are typically very snow-sure. Take Arrabba in Dolomiti Superski as a prime example:
- In the most recent season, Arrabba had a total snowfall of 219cm, 9 total snowfall days, an average summit depth of 165cm, maximum summit depth of 295cm, average base depth of 102cm and maximum base depth of 124cm, and a biggest snowfall record of 90cm.
If sociable soirees are as high on your priority as skiing or snowboarding, you’ll be in your element in Italy, because you’ll find some of the best apres-ski in the world here. Take a look at a few of our highlights for 24-hour party people:
Selva has a particularly lively and eclectic apres-ski scene, so you’ll never be stuck for spots to socialise in. If you fancy Go-Go dancers and stunning views over Val Gardena, head to Piz Seteur, while La Stua at the Costabella lift is another busy hub which offers live music and a fine selection of ice-cold German beers. However, the most legendary venue here is Luiskeller, which is regarded by some aficionados as one of the best bars in the whole of the Alps.
Cortina offers high-end apres-ski, with the scene ably represented by fancy wine bars like Enoteca, which has a labyrinthine wine list featuring hundreds of expensive bottles, and Bar LP26 which specialises in exotic cocktails. However, if tabletop dancing, champagne and busting a few moves on the dancefloor floats your boat, head to the Bilbo and VIP clubs, where you can party til the wee small hours.
Sauze d’Oulx is certainly one of the liveliest Italian ski resorts for apres-ski, and it offers a mixture of chilled-out and bustling bars and clubs where you can completely unwind after a day on the slopes. Head to Moncrons for beers, cocktails and a buzzing atmosphere, the Derby Bar has awesome ambience with DJs whipping the crowd up into a storm and Ghost Pub is another popular stop for revellers.
Livigno is the perfect place for price-focused partygoers to have a great time because it offers very low, duty-free prices and there are around 150 pubs and clubs to choose from. Kuhstall is a terrific cellar bar which converts to a bijou but banging disco after 10pm, Daphne’s is another perpetually popular and Stalet bar at the Carosella 3000 gondola is a favourite haunt for snowboarders meeting for a few beers after their sessions.
These are simply a select few Italian resorts, but you can see that there’s something to suit partygoers of every taste ̶ Italian apres-ski is always awesome!
Ski Accommodation in Italy
Your ideal Italian ski accommodation will depend on your plans and the needs of your travel party, but there’s always plenty to choose from with Erna Low.
To help you choose, here are some advantages of ski apartments and ski hotels:
Italy Ski Hotels
If you want to feel pampered, an Italian ski hotel might be the best choice. Your salubrious suite will have all the mod cons and home comforts, you’ll be a stone’s throw (or shuttle bus) from the slopes and (depending on the standard of establishment) all the facilities and amenities you need under one roof, such as gyms, saunas, restaurants and bars. If you love the privacy of your own living space, combined with the luxury of having staff cater to your every need, perhaps an Italian ski resort is your best option.
Italy Ski Apartments
Do you value independent living and the privacy of choosing whether, and to what extent, you mix and mingle with other holidaymakers?
If you’re nodding your head, then ski apartments in Italy probably perfectly fit your preferences. Italian ski apartments are available in various styles, but whether the exterior is a traditional chalet design or has more contemporary styling, suite interiors always prioritise comfort, safety and security, along with a dash of legendary Latin style.
Some apartments also have onsite pools, gyms and saunas, thereby offering some hotel-type luxuries, while strategically located apartments will also offer doorstep skiing.
Whichever Italian ski holiday accommodation type you choose, Erna Low can help find the best possible residence for your requirements and budget.
Ski Flights and Transfers to Resorts in Italy
Self-drive and self-catering Italian ski holidays are becoming increasingly popular, so if the thought pf holidaying with minimum contact with people outside of your group sounds appealing, contact us to find out more ̶ we’ll explore all the possibilities and make the arrangements.
However, if you prefer the speed and convenience of flying over driving, we can offer ski transfers from Italian airports like Verona, Venice, and Milan Malpensa to your resort and you can connect directly or indirectly to these destinations from a range of UK airports. Whether you fly or drive, Erna Low is here to make your holiday hassle-free.
Ski Passes and Other Extras in Italian resorts
With generations in the European ski holiday business, we have a vast partner network in Italian ski resorts, therefore we can easily arrange your Italian ski passes and ski equipment hire, find an excellent price and conveniently include these extras in your package.