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From experts-only to family-friendly: 12 of the best Italian ski resorts

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
From experts-only to family-friendly: 12 of the best Italian ski resorts
Skiers ski down a slope of the Italian ski resort of Sestriere, Piedmont in December 2022. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly resort, one with testing slopes or a place with options for non-skiers, Italy has no shortage of alternatives when it comes to holiday destinations.

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With more than 280 resorts and nearly 5,800 kilometres of slopes, Italy has options for all types of skiers and ski holidays. 

But picking the right spot can often be challenging, especially if you have little to no familiarity with the Italian ski landscape.

Where can I ski in Italy?

The most popular ski region in the country is the Alps mountain range, located in the north of the peninsula. 

With a surface of nearly 16,000 square kilometres, the Italian Alpi stretch across seven different regions and boast some of the highest peaks in Western Europe, including the imposing Mont Blanc, whose ownership Italy shares with neighbouring France. 

But, while the Alps are home to the majority of Italy’s ski resorts, and include some of the most prestigious pistes in Europe, they're not the only ski region in the country. 

While often overlooked by international visitors, the Apennines, which extend along the length of the peninsula and stretch across as many as 14 regions, are also home to a number of resorts, including Abruzzo’s popular Alto Sangro ski area. 

Finally, as surprising as it may sound, you can get a chance to put your skis on even in Sicily as there are three ski areas on the island, two of which are located on Mount Etna. 

Ski resorts in Italy

Ski resorts in Italy. Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Family-friendly resorts

La Thuile - Located in the Aosta valley region, right on the French-Italian border, La Thuile is closely linked to France’s equally popular family ski resort of La Rosieré. Most slopes are geared towards beginners and intermediates, with a good number of blue pistes young skiers can practise their turns on. At village level, there are two nursery slopes complete with magic carpets for those who are just getting started. 

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Paganella - Paganella is a fairly small but very scenic ski resort located north-west of Trento, Trentino Alto Adige. It has four ski school areas with classes for all ages and a host of nursery slopes that are just perfect for those that are starting out. And, if the kids still have some energy left in them after the pistes close, there are plenty of other ad-hoc activities they can join.

Champoluc - The largest resort in the Aosta Valley’s Monterosa ski area, Champoluc is one of Italian families’ favourite winter holiday destinations. It has plenty of red runs, which makes it the perfect spot for kids with a little bit more experience to hone their skills, and has a low-key, laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for some winter relaxation.

Picks for experienced skiers

Plan de Corones - If you’re an expert skier looking for the next big adrenaline rush, Plan de Corones in the South Tyrol Dolomites may just be what you’re looking for. The area features the so-called ‘black five’: five testing ‘black’ pistes fronted by the Hernegg run, which reaches an impressive 70-percent gradient.

Plan de Corones

A skier is pictured on a slope of the Plan de Corones (Kronplatz) ski resort in the Trentino Alto Adige region. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Ponte di Legno/​Tonale - This ski resort in northern Lombardy is another gem for advanced skiers as it features several steep slopes. It is mostly known for its Pista Paradiso, a 3-kilometre, 45-percent-gradient piste that’s considered one of the most challenging runs in the entire Alpine landscape.

Madonna di Campiglio - This resort in the Brenta Dolomites, just north-west of Trento, features as many as eight black pistes that guarantee to be a tough match for even the most experienced athletes. These include the fabled Spinale Direttissima, with its final 70-percent-gradient section. In the upper part of the ski resort, there are also opportunities to explore powder snow on off piste trails.

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Affordable resorts

Abetone - Located about a one-and-a-half-hour drive away from Florence, this ski resort has enough pistes to satisfy both intermediate and advanced skiers and enjoys good snow in the colder months despite its relatively low altitude. Here the price of a daily ski pass in high season is 48 euros – that’s nearly 30 percent less than in Cortina (67 euros). Accommodation in the area comes at an average of around 60 euros a day per person.

Tarvisio - With around 24 kilometres of slopes plus 55 kilometres of scenic cross-country trails, the Tarvisio resort (Friuli Venezia Giulia) is one of the best available options in terms of quality-price ratio. The price of a daily ski pass during high season is 44 euros, whereas accommodation in the area is around 40 euros a day per person on average.

Chairlift, ski

Skiers sit on a chairlift in the Italian resort of Sestriere, Piedmont, in December 2022. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Nightlife hubs

Courmayer - Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, Courmayer is the ideal destination for those looking to hit the dance floor after a day out on the slopes. The SuperG, which lies right next to the Plan Checrouit runs, is well-known for its terrace parties but other discos (Shatush, Club Haus and The Club) dot the area.

Cortina d’Ampezzo - There’s no shortage of stylish and entertaining nightlife options when it comes to the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’. Aside from the Chalet Tofane, which has been hosting international DJ sets for years now, Discoteca Belvedere, Jango Club and VIP Club are also worth checking out.

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Destinations for non-skiers

Livigno - While being a very popular destination among skiers, Livigno, just south of the Lombardy-Switzerland border, is also a perfect place for those who’re not fans of the sport. The resort boasts several stores, bars and restaurants, as well as a number of wellness spas. As a side note, all items and services on sale in Livigno are duty-free.

Sestriere - Located about a two-hour drive from Turin, Sestriere is the highest Italian comune as it stands some 2,035 metres above sea level. Besides featuring a large number of pistes for both intermediate and advanced skiers, it offers plenty of options for non-skiers: from snowmobile rides and dog sledding to ice skating and indoor swimming.

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Comments (1)

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gerald sanders 2023/11/25 09:29
I would appreciate information and a discussion on some of the ski resorts located in the Rome/Naples areas.
  • Clare Speak 2023/11/27 10:57
    Hi Jerry, Thanks for your comment. Look out for another article coming soon with more detail on ski resorts in southern Italy. All best, - Clare

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