Ski Resorts in Italy | Ski Chalets Italy | Ski Hotels Italy
Italy has a large and varied terrain with four main ski areas that run along the line of the Italian Alps from East to West, along which you will find the Milky Way, Aosta, Monterosa and Dolomite ski areas. Italian skiing is relaxed and never taken too seriously with an emphasis on flattering terrain, late starts, long lunches and early finishes (sounds like our kind of skiing).
For an authentic European skiing holiday without the pomposity and eye watering prices, then Italy is just for you. Italian hospitality is warm and benevolent, food is great quality and cheap and the lift systems are up to date and efficient.
Skiing the Milky Way
In the West, The Milky Way offers probably the best budget ski resorts outside of Eastern Europe. The 6 resorts that make up The Milky Way are Pragelato Sauze d’Oulx, Claviere, Sestriere, Sansicario and Cesana in Italy and Montgenevre in France. These 6 resorts are all within such easy reach of Turin airport that a last minute weekend ski jaunt is totally doable. All offer some spectacular high altitude skiing with the area lift pass enabling you to ski two countries in the same day. Snowboarders will not be disappointed on the Milky Way with the superb new snowboard park in Sestriere and each resort having their own mini snowboard park.
Sauze d’Oulx is a definite party destination for those fancying more than a quiet après beer. Though as much as you will find party goers, drinking their way through bright coloured cocktails, you will also find fine diners sipping expensive bottles of Barolo, the local wine from North West Italy.
Claviere is a family friendly resort with oodles of character and a real blend of old and new. If you are heading to French Montgenevre for skiing or lunch then it’s worth paying a quick visit to Claviere first since it sits right on the French border. It’s a really pretty town popular with Italian families, a nice mix of France and Italy and a great base to ski the Claviere and Montgenevre pistes. A nice trip up the La Coche chairlift will take you halfway up the mountain in Claviere to the charming Italian café Chalet Monsoleil where you must try a Bombardino. Eggnog and brandy with whipped cream and perhaps a shot of espresso included. It would be rude not to indulge in a local favourite tipple! Claviere also conveniently has Pepi Penguin Nursery based in one of the hotels, The Grande Claviere, for 6 months to 4 year olds and also Whizz Kids Club for 4 to 11 year olds. Anyone staying in the resort can use their childcare facilities which includes a snowy activity each day such as sledging, bum boarding and snowman competitions. They even do evening clubs. All worth knowing about when deciding on which resort to stay at!
Nicely sitting in the heart of the Milky Way, Sansicario is in a natural bowl, traffic free, peaceful and picturesque with a quiet après ski. Its position between Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere means that you will never tire of skiing the same terrain. You can stay local and enjoy the gentle quiet blues or more challenging reds, or venture out to enjoy the more challenging terrain of Sauze and Sestriere.
Sestriere is purpose built, not particularly attractive but has great snow conditions. It is high up and faces North West and has superb snow making equipment. This is possibly why it was chosen to host the 2006 Winter Olympics. Sestriere was originally built in the 1930’s under the instruction of the boss of Fiat, who wanted all his employees to enjoy winter sports. It has good skiing, some nice shops, plenty of options to eat and drink, great non-skier activities with snowmobile, dog sled rides, snow biking, husky sledding, paragliding, cinema and ice skating. All in all it’s a good all round resort, just not too pretty.
The Aosta Valley
The high mountains of the Aosta Valley mean that this ski area has the best ski conditions you will ever find. Up in the Aosta Valley you will find the high altitude resort of Cervinia. With a village height of 2,050 metres it is one of the highest villages in Europe and with pistes from a massive 3,820 metres, it is a particularly snow sure resort. Cervinia boasts one of the longest runs in the world and is pure heaven for intermediate cruisers. In fact, whatever type of skier you are, you are certainly catered for here. Snowboarders rate the area too, since there are several good snow and terrain parks.
The Monterosa includes the towns of Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna and we, at Snowfinders, believe that this is an undervalued gem of a ski area for all levels with the bonus of offering some of the toughest off-piste skiing anywhere in Europe. Really popular with expert off-pisters and with Italian weekenders, it has good snow reliability, quiet, charming, unspoilt villages and breathtakingly stunning views. A winner in our book!
In the Brenta Dolomites, you will find the lovely and elegant town of Madonna di Campiglio. Popular with weekenders from Trento and Verona. To the East are the picture perfect and unique Dolomites with wonderful striking mountains, excellent food and low prices. Set in a beautiful wooded valley, Madonna di Campiglio is pretty and traditional yet on point for being one of the most fashionable ski resorts around. More fashionable still, is Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites where people take their fashion and shopping as seriously as they do their skiing. Smart bars, shops and restaurants, quiet slopes (since everyone is shopping), no queues and its setting amongst limestone cliffs that look almost pink first thing in the morning make Cortina a really special ski resort.
Ski Resorts in Italy
Accommodation Options for Italy
There are limited numbers of chalets in a limited amount of Italian resorts. With a few in the Dolomites and in Cervinia, chalet options in Italy are very thin on the ground. Hotel accommodation in all Italian resorts is plentiful but can be quite limited at the top end especially in the less swanky resorts. There are apartments for rental in some Italian resorts although as is often the case a budget Bed and Breakfast can be equally good value for money.
The Sella Ronda area offers the most options for those looking for chalet accommodation in Italy with the hugely popular Chalet Brigitte and Soldanella in Selva selling out early every season. Another Snowfinders favourite is the Chalet Karin in Arabba. For those looking for Chalet accommodation in Cervinia the only options open to them are the Chalet Hotel Petit Palaisand the
Chalet Hotel Dragon
Hotels and Apartments
There is a distinct lack of top quality four star hotels in Italy and it has to be admitted that some of the grading can be sporadic. Having said that, there are always exceptions to the rule with one of our favourite 3 stars being in Champoluc , the Hotel Le Rocher . If you are looking for the all inclusive package the Hotel Cervinia is a great base for skiing this area. There are a small number of self catered apartments dotted throughout Italy of which the Planibel apartments in La Thuile are always popular .
With the main arrival airports for the Milky Way and Aosta resorts being Turin(TRN) and Milan Malpensa(MXP) Linate(LIN) and Bergamo(BGY) there is a host of options for those wanting to arrange their own flights. For the more westerly resorts the airports of Bolzano(BZO) Verona(VRN) Venice(VCE). For the Dolomites one of the most convenient airports in the Austrian airport of Innsbruck(INN). Few people choose to drive due to the distance from the UK and whilst it is possible the train is a convoluted and disjointed method of travel.