When we think of Italy, we think of lemon groves bathing in hot sunshine, warm sandy beaches, clear blue skies, azure seas, and some of the world’s most Instagrammed monuments. What we don’t tend to think of however, is snow and skiing.
Shocking as it may be to some of you, though, Italy is actually home to some of the best ski resorts in the entire world. The Dolomites are amongst the highest mountain ranges in all of Europe. On Italy’s borders, the Dolomites mountain ranges offer skiers the perfect conditions for hitting the slopes.
From November through to as late as April, snow here is guaranteed, although the season can actually run even longer than that. If you’re thinking of booking a skiing holiday, forget the Alps, Italy is where it’s at. Here’s a look at 7 of the best ski resorts in the Dolomites.
If you’re new to skiing and want to ease yourself in gently, Val Gardena is perfect. This ski resort is much quieter and more laid back than some of the other resorts in and around the area.
Val Gardena offers skiers an impressive 160km of trails, with ski lifts connecting to the rest. In total, there is close to 400km of skiing on offer here, all interconnected, so you certainly won’t be short of slopes.
Even though Val Gardena is ideal for beginners, those who have been skiing for years will still be in their element here, as there is roughly 65% of advanced terrain here which is ideal for those who have plenty of experience.
A few years ago in 2017, Val Gardena actually made Italian history, as the country’s first 8-seater chairlift was installed, which also featured heated seats for added comfort. Val Gardena is a beautiful and laid back resort, and is ideal for people looking for a quieter skiing experience.
Up next we have Cortina d’Ampezzo. This is a truly special ski resort as it actually helped to earn the Dolomites a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
With frozen glaciers, stunning mountainsides, and tranquil surroundings, this is a very special resort indeed. In 1956, the Winter Olympics were actually hosted here, so that gives you a clue as to just how awesome the resort really is.
Here, everybody is catered for, whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, an advanced skier, or part of a large group or family. In fact, in 2019, the Olympia Slope in Tofane was home to the Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup, so the Pistes are not to be taken lightly.
The ski facilities here are top notch and the town itself is littered with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants to keep you entertained for weeks.
Third on our list today is Courmayeur. Situated on Mont Blanc and located in close proximity to the French border, Courtmayeur is a stunning little resort that is one of the most popular in the region.
It is worth visiting here just for the views alone, as high up on the tops, the view is really quite stunning. There are unmarked expert-only pistes here, which are not always open, in which case skiers will not be allowed to take skis up on the lift.
As mentioned, though, even if you can’t use them, you should still head up to snap some pics. Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of instructors who will be more than happy to provide expert advice and instruction for those new to skiing, so all bases are covered.
Alta Badia is one of many ski resorts located in the Gruppo Del Sella Peaks. This is the perfect resort for families, and those who just want to ski at their own pace, at their own leisure, without taking things too seriously. Novices and intermediates are catered for especially well here.
With that said, though, each December, La Villa is host to the Alpine Ski World Cup. This is because it features a slope which is one of the toughest and most technical in all of the Alps.
As this place is so relaxed and tranquil, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. La Villa, which is the main village here, is equally as quiet as it is beautiful.
Livigno looks like something out of a fantasy epic set in a winter wonderland. It also feels like it when you hit the slopes.
It is home to some truly spectacular vistas and amazing terrain parks which are considered to be amongst the best in all of Europe.
It also happens to be the most remote ski resort on our list today. To some, that is a negative, yet to others, it is a huge positive.
It provides escapism at its finest with 110km of ski runs. All skiing abilities are catered for here, as there are 12 expert runs, 37 for intermediates, and 29 for beginners who are new to skiing and want to hone their skills. There’s even an airbag for those looking to catch some air.
Up next, we have Bormio, which is located just north of Verona in close proximity to the Swiss border. Bormio has a whopping 1,787 metres of vertical drop, which is the largest in the country.
The primary ski area is Vallecetta. This is the ideal resort for skiers with some experience, yet who can’t quite claim to be experts.
58% of the runs here are ideal for intermediates, though there are still opportunities for experts. In fact, the summit-to-base run is an experience in itself. Bormio offers amazing views, friendly locals, beautiful cuisine, and there is even a snow park.
Val di Fassa
Our final Italian ski resort for you today is none other than Val di Fassa. This is a ski resort that is ideal for those of you who take your skiing seriously.
Beginners will be well out of their depth here, and there isn’t actually all that much by way of intermediate slopes and runs either. It is a resort aimed primarily at expert skiers with years of experience under their belts. The valley here, which is formed by the Gruppo del Sella peaks in the Dolomites is roughly 80% runs aimed at experts.
Of the resort towns here, Canazei is the most famous as it combines a combination of modern and traditional Italian architecture. The apres-ski facilities and options here are especially impressive, so after a long day on the slopes, why not unwind in front of a roaring log fire with a hot chocolate, or perhaps something a little stronger?
So, as you can see, Italy isn’t just vineyards, lemon groves, hot sunshine, and pizza. Italy also has some of the best ski resorts that Europe has to offer. If you’re hoping to get on the piste and hit the slopes this year, be sure to check out Italy and the Dolomites. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Until then, don’t stop wandering!