Snowfinders - Italy
December 1, 2014
Italy is a country that can offer a huge variety of scenic landscapes. The Adriatic and Tyrrhenian coastlines, with their Mediterranean climate, are attractive to beach lovers. The impressive lakes, such as Garda, Como and Lake Maggiore, are ideal for sailing and water sports. However, it is the mountain ranges – which cover approximately a third of the country – that will be of most interest to skiers.
Italy is characterised by two big mountain ranges: The Alps in the north, and the Apennines, which form the backbone of the peninsula. Unsurprisingly, as Italy shares the Alps with France and Switzerland, the country is one of the world's most popular destinations for skiers. However, add to this the Dolomites (used as a training ground for winter Olympians), as well as dozens of small ski areas along the spine of the Apennines, and Italy can offer many of its own unique skiing experiences.
Skiing in Italy offers great value for money, has numerous historic resorts and caters very well to families. More relaxed than its Alpine neighbours, you can enjoy high quality slopes in resorts of all sizes – plus, you can be sure to enjoy some fantastic food and drink in your downtime.
With over 300 resorts in Italy, we could not list them all, but here are some of the highlights:
This compact resort, situated in Northern Italy, sees snow from October until early May. Although it has runs for intermediates and access to more challenging slopes, Passo Tonale is a great choice for beginners, with an excellent nursery area to learn the ropes.
This resort in the province of South Tyrol is a homely and family-friendly destination and within the village of Corvara you can find a collection of well-respected hotels and delightful restaurants. On the slopes, you'll find a number of intermediate runs that are bound to boost the confidence of those developing their skiing skills.
If you are looking for luxury, this resort within the Dolomites – an area considered a UNESCO world heritage site – offers fantastic scenery, luxurious accommodation and an opulent après-ski scene. If you can tear yourself away from the Michelin star restaurants and high-end pampering, Cortina d'Amprezzo offers ski areas for all abilities.
If you plan to party as much as you ski, Sauze d'Oulx has a wide range of lively bars, pubs and clubs, along with some inexpensive places to eat. The resort also describes itself as a "red paradise", meaning there are many intermediate runs, but it also offers black runs at the top of Mount Motta and Mount Sises.
Near the city of Bolzano, at the foot of the Dolomites, Val Gardena repeatedly collects awards for the country's best ski resort. With snow from December until April and the world's largest ski carousel, this resort has something for everyone. In amongst the 1220km of slopes are runs for those taking their first tentative steps onto the piste, powder enthusiasts and snowboarders, right up to runs challenging enough for World Cup skiers.