27 Dec 2013 Skiing in Italy: 6 amazing destinations for Winter vacations
A ski vacation in Northern Italy is big on slopes and snow and – needless to say – style. Italian ski resorts offer an experience where some of the world’s best slopes meet world-class cuisine, shopping and après ski. If you want to ski Italy in style, look no further than the list below.
Not only is it a UNESCO world heritage site, Cortina is known as the “Queen of the Dolomites” for its beautiful sunsets and magnificent scenery. Nestled in an alpine valley about three hours from Venice, Cortina promises a first-rate skiing experience for skiers of all levels. But the top-notch skiing amid breathtaking scenery here is rivaled only by one thing: Cortina is known as the “mother ship” of après ski and attracts a high-class clientele, many of whom never set ski on a slope.
This alpine town and commune sits at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc, or Monte Bianco in Italian, which provides the perfect backdrop to excellent skiing on more than 180 pistes. Courmayeur village offers a rustic experience with cobblestone streets and charming architecture. But Courmayeur is more than a charming face: it has a lively après ski life, powered by fashionable weekenders from Turin and Milan. Skiing here appeals to all levels, with an emphasis on beginner and intermediates. The area also boasts dozens of miles of cross-country skiing, making it an ideal hiking destination during off-season months.
Selva val Gardena
Located just 40 km from the bustling city of Bolzano, the 25-km-long tributary valley of Val Gardena sits northwest of the majestic Dolomites, or Dolomiti in Italian. The high-quality skiing on offer here has earned Val Gardena a place in the world competitive skiing circuit and skiers of all stripes flock to ski the circuit of Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva. While a place for serious skiers, Val Gardena is by no means short on “la dolce vita” and is home to its share of nightlife, shopping and cuisine.
Sitting high above the tree line, Cervinia is one of the highest resorts in the Alps. Cervinia means “Matterhorn” in Italian and this resort boasts this world-famous mountain as its stunning backdrop. One can expect sunny, open slopes and lots of even snow coverage. Beginners favor the slopes of Cretaz, while Intermediates go for the lengthy runs of the Ventina. Advanced skiers can enjoy a hop over the border to tackle the slopes of Switzerland’s renowned Zermatt.
Limone, in Piemonte, boasts an impressive 90 kilometers of pistes among several resort areas. The town itself, with its narrow cobbled walkways and a 12th century church at its center, will appeal to the history buff among you. Equidistant from Nice and Turin and only an hour’s drive from the sea, it has a rustic, “real Italy” feel.
Artesina offers 90 kilometers of downhill skiing on 15 pistes catering especially well to beginner and intermediate skiers. Located within comfortable driving distance of three airports, it is a good in-and-out weekend destination. While Artesina can hold its own in terms of après ski, it is known less for its nightlife and more as a friendly, down-to-earth place where skiing is taken seriously and slope maintenance comes before martinis.