Italian land and nature: The twelve best Italian ski areas
- WTI Magazine #134 Dec 17, 2020
Those looking for ideas and inspiration for the top resorts for skiing in Italy have a wide interesting range of options in front of them: along the Alpine range there are some of the top-end ski slopes in the world, many glamourous ski resorts, high-end hotels and spa facilities, gourmet lodges and every kind of outdoor activity for grown-ups and children.
With such a big offer, making a choice can be far from simple. That’s why we have decided to recommend twelve of the best ski resorts of the Italian Alps. Ready to take out your skis? Here we go!
Where to ski in Trentino
Framed by the majestic peaks of the Pala Group, San Martino di Castrozza is one of the most scenic destinations of the entire Dolomites. Included in the Dolomiti Superski area – with 1,200 km and 12 different ski areas, the biggest in Italy – San Martino di Castrozza boasts 60 km of slopes, three snowparks and two ski schools.
There are three ski-areas, connected by a comfy skibus service: Ces-Tognola, with wide, easy blue slopes and more adrenaline-filled slopes, like the legendary Tognola Uno, Col Verde, where you can ski during the day and at night at the foot of the Pala Group, and Rolle ski-area, at an altitude of 2,000 m, with slopes for all tastes, also for families.
A skiing holiday in San Martino di Castrozza also offers the chance to visit the village of Mezzano where thanks to its characteristic historic center with typical Alpine-style houses was enlisted among the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Among the top places for skiing in Italy, in Trentino as well, we have Madonna di Campiglio, nestled in a wonderful location among the Brenta Dolomites and Adamello-Presanella Alps. Madonna di Campiglio is a historic destination for winter tourism, part of the Skirama Dolomiti ski area, the largest in Trentino.
Connected by skis to the nearby areas of Folgarida-Marilleva and Pinzolo, it offers 150 km of slopes of all levels where it’s possible to ski up to an altitude of 2,600 meters, a 70,000 square meter snowpark, 40 km for Nordic skiing and more than 60 modern ski lifts.
The “3Tre” race (“Three races in Trentino) has been taking place each year in Campiglio since 1949, it is one of the oldest skiing competitions in Europe. The Hapsburg Carnival, with a parade in historic costumes, also takes place each year.
Where to ski in Alto Adige
On the Alto Adige side, a true ski paradise is the area of Val Gardena-Alpe di Siusi, with its highly scenic landscapes, where the Sasso Lungo massif stands out.
With ski lifts in Ortisei, Selva and Santa Cristina, this area belongs to the Dolomiti Superski district and offers ski slopes suitable for beginners and families with children, as well as for experts and tracks for cross-country skiing.
From Val Gardena you can also challenge yourself along the Sellaronda (the well-known “Four Passes Tour”), an engaging 40 km-long ski route.
In Ortisei, the Gherdeina Local Heritage Museum, an ethnographic museum dedicated to Ladin culture and its characteristic wooden carvings, is also worth visiting.
In addition to the connections to nearby valleys, this ski area offers 130 km of slopes fit for anyone (74 km of blue slopes, 47 km of red slopes and 9 km of black slopes) and 53 ski lifts.
In the Upper Badia Valley it’s also possible to enjoy a delicious cuisine and excellent wines: unusual for such a small valley, there are even three Michelin starred restaurants.
Where to ski in Veneto
Iconic queen of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the province of Belluno, is an exclusive, classy resort for winter tourism, venue of international ski events (it will host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2021 and will be one of the key players of the 2026 Winter Olympics).
With three ski areas (Faloria – Cristallo, Tofana and Lagazuoi - 5 Torri), connected by skibus, for an overall 85 km of slopes, well-known for variety in difficulty levels: from slopes for beginners to more technical slopes, from mild slopes for a slow skiing to the snowparks for freestyle enthusiasts.
At the foot of the Pordoi Pass lies the Arabba ski area, among the most popular destinations of the Dolomites. Arabba has 76 km of high-quality ski slopes directly connected to Marmolada and Sellaronda, 31 modern ski lifts, educational camps, easy slopes and slopes where you can really see if you have what it takes. Also located here, the longest slope of the Dolomiti Superski area: “La Bellunese“, an exciting 12 km-long slope.
Arabba was the scene of severe clashes during World War I: in homage to the Great War, a museum, a military charnel house close to the Pordoi Pass, the military memorial of Pian di Salesei and some monuments to the fallen were built.
Where to ski in Lombardy
In Lombardy there are two especially interesting ski destinations that will soon become even more popular: Livigno and Bormio, both chosen to host the 2026 Winter Olympics together with Cortina.
Close to Switzerland, often called “Little Tibet” because of its high position in the heart of the Rhaetian Alps, Livigno is the perfect spot for winter holidays with a high level of fun. There are 12 black, 37 red and 29 blue slopes, as well as one snowpark for snowboarders and untouched snow for those wishing to safely enjoy some freestyle skiing.
Bormio, is just 30 km away. It is another cult destination for skiers, hosting in December, the customary Alpine Ski World Cup. This ski area offers 1,800 meters in varying heights with 18 ski slopes – also over 3,000 meters - and 15 ski lifts. Furthermore: a snowpark, a snow obstacle course, a family park, freeriding areas and the possibility of night skiing are also available.
Bormio is well-known not only for skiing but also for its thermal baths, already known in Roman times: nowadays you can relax at the Bormio Thermal Baths, at Bagni Nuovi or Bagni Vecchi.
Where to ski in Piedmont
With more than 400 km of sunny ski slopes and 70 ski lifts, the Vialattea area is second largest in Italy.
It includes seven resorts between the Upper Susa Valley (Oulx, Cesana, Claviere, San Sicario, Sauze d'Oulx and Sestriere) and the Chisone Valley (Pragelato), with long, demanding slopes and beginner slopes, snow parks for children but also for expert snowboarders.
The Upper Sesia Valley, at the foot of Monte Rosa (to which it’s connected by means of a cable car) is also worth considering, to discover the ski area of Alagna Valsesia: a historic ski resort in Piedmont region, it is nowadays an international benchmark for freeride skiing enthusiasts. Besides being a freeriding paradise, Alagna offers nine ski slopes served by seven ski lifts and 10 km for cross-country skiing.
Its territory - the Valsesia Geopark – listed as Unesco World Heritage since 2013 because of its special geologic and nature heritage.
Where to ski in the Aosta Valley
In Valtournenche, in the sight of the Matterhorn, lies the Breuil-Cervinia ski area, one of the largest in the Alps. It stretches to the Swiss side of the Matterhorn with the slopes in Zermatt and allows skiing up to an altitude of 3,480 meters on the Plateau Rosà.
There are 72 slopes in Breuil-Cervinia, in addition to the 78 in Zermatt, in Switzerland, one snowpark (the Cervinia snowpark, the highest in Europe), more than 50 ski lifts, 13 km for cross-country skiing, 3 ski parks for kids and, thanks to the glaciers, 26.5 km of slopes for summer skiing.
In downtown Valtournenche, the permanent exhibition of the “Maison de l’Alpage de la Vallée d’Aoste”, with a “rascard”, or raccard, a typical house made of wood and natural stone dedicated to mountain pasture life and culture, is worth a trip.
Last but not least, we recommend La Thuile, another ski resort among the most famous for skiing in Italy, with its Espace San Bernando, connected to the French resort of La Rosière, offers a varied, exciting ski area with 85 slopes (36 easy, 36 medium, 13 difficult) for a total of more than 150 km, 39 modern ski lifts and 20 km tracks for cross-country skiing with different levels of difficulty, as well as areas for secured freeride skiing, two stadiums for slalom, boarder crossing, a snowkiting area and a playground for kids.
From La Thuile it takes less than 15 minutes by car to get to the thermal baths of Pré-Saint-Didier, historical baths already known during the Roman age. From the baths a suspended panoramic boardwalk leads to the Verney gorge, a very spectacular itinerary suitable for anyone.