TOP 6 ITALIAN SKI RESORTS

Categories Italy
Dolomites, Italy

Italy’s all about the slower pace of life. Quiet slopes, minimal lift queues and a whole host of scenic mountain lunch stops are very much the lure here. Peppered along the Alps and into the Dolomites, the traditional farming villages and working towns have a relaxed atmosphere – think authentic Alpine hotels and family-run spots to grab a bite to eat or catch up over a glass of local wine. And the few purpose-built resorts at the foot of the slopes add convenience and the chance to get out on the mountain straight from your doorstep. So whether it’s great value, high altitude or beginner friendly you’re looking for, use our quick-glance guide to find the Italian resort that’s right for you.

Best for beginners: Passo Tonale

Passo Tonale, Italy
Passo Tonale, Italy

Ski area: Adamello Ski, 100km
Resort height: 1,883m
Snow range: 1,121-3,016m
No. of easy slopes: 9
No. of intermediate slopes: 26
No. of difficult slopes: 7

This small resort is packed with plenty of piste suited to first-timers. Good-value hotels – many in a typical Alpine style – sit close to beginner slopes, with lots of ski-in, ski-out stays. A handful of lifts will swoop you up to an array of quiet, gentle green and blue runs that finish up right back in resort.

Newbies and ski lessons go hand in hand, so with English-speaking instructors at your service, you’ll have your ski legs on before you know it. And once you’re ready to step it up a level, you can head up the Presena Glacier’s blue run to get your first taste of glacier skiing.

If you’re not planning on skiing all day every day, then check out some of the other activities Passo Tonale has to offer – snowmobiling, snowshoeing and outdoor ice skating are just a few.

Where to stay in Passo Tonale

Grand Hotel Paradiso

With virtually ski-in, ski-out access, this contemporary hotel is a popular pick for couples and families – thanks to its two restaurants, spa and onsite Crystal Childcare.

Hotel Cielo Blu

A small family-run hotel just minutes from the centre of town and the piste. Take advantage of the regular happy hour and relax in the cosy bar, surrounded by wood panelling and wall murals.

Best for great value: Sestriere

Sestriere, Italy
Sestriere, Italy

Ski area: Milky Way, 400km
Resort height: 2,035m
Snow range: 1,350-2,823m
No. of easy slopes: 57
No. of intermediate slopes: 109
No. of difficult slopes: 36

Purpose built by Fiat back in the 1930s, Sestriere was later revamped to host the 2006 Winter Olympics.

With easy access to the Milky Way, there’s plenty to ski. And the high-altitude slopes have great snow conditions all season. Wide, rolling runs cover the majority of the mountain, and confident skiers can also try the three Olympic runs – the Kandahar duo and Olympica. While these are graded as black runs, they’re more like challenging reds.

Sestriere has lots of wallet-friendly places to stay – from homely slopeside hotels to spacious, no-frills apartments with indoor pools, spas and bars galore.

In the evenings, head to the popular Pub du Col for live bands, pub quizzes or a game of cards over a glass of wine.

Where to stay in Sestriere

Olympic Village Apartments

Built for the 2006 Winter Olympics, these great-value apartments are right opposite the lifts. And there are loads of facilities in the complex too – including a coffee shop, pizzeria, mini market and wellness area.

Hotel Du Col

With the slopes and lifts on one side, and the high street on the other, hotels in Sestriere don’t get more central than this. There’s a friendly vibe throughout – from the panoramic lounge to the Pub du Col – and the stylish rooms come with sleek wooden décor and mountain artwork on the walls. And many have views of the piste.

Best for racking up miles: Val di Fassa

Val di Fassa, Italy
Val di Fassa, Italy

Ski area: Val di Fassa, 120km. Dolomiti Superski, 1,220km
Resort height: 1,320m
Snow range: 934-3,342m
No. of easy slopes: 30
No. of intermediate slopes: 41
No. of difficult slopes: 3

The Dolomiti Superski – Europe’s largest ski area – is right on your doorstep in Val di Fassa. Seven picturesque villages sit at the foot of the hill, all with breathtaking views of the UNESCO-protected Dolomites.

This winter paradise is home to a heap of scenic tree-lined slopes suited to intermediate skiers and boarders, as well as a vast collection of off-piste routes. And from the villages of Canazei and Campitello, there’s direct access to the famous Sella Ronda. This 40km circuit spans four Ladin valleys and usually takes 5-6 hours to complete. It’s a must-do for every ambitious skier.

Challenging, high-altitude runs can also be found up on the Marmolada Glacier, known as the Queen of the Dolomites.

Where to stay in Val di Fassa

Hotel San Nicolo, Pozza di Fassa

The traditional chalet-style décor gives this hotel and warm, homely feel. It’s in a perfect location next to the gondola – and in the evenings, you can take a short stroll to the centre of Pozza village to try out the local restaurants.

Hotel Soreghes, Campitello

This charming hotel sits in a peaceful spot in the centre of Campitello, just five minutes’ walk from the Col Rodella cable car. Go for a dip in the cave-like indoor pool, then drift off to sleep in your cosy, wood-panelled bedroom.

Best for nightlife: Sauze d’Oulx

Sauze d'Oulx, Italy
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy

Ski area: Milky Way, 400km
Resort height: 1,509m
Snow range: 1,350-2,823m
No. of easy slopes: 57
No. of intermediate slopes: 109
No. of difficult slopes: 36

Sauze d’Oulx has a reputation for lively nightlife. And while there are a bunch of pubs, clubs and karaoke bars open until the small hours, trendy wine bars and sports cafés add a somewhat more civilised vibe for grabbing a drink with the gang. Hidden drinking spots and local restaurants serving superb Italian fare are tucked away down narrow cobbled streets too.

Well-priced hotels also make for a great-value base for exploring the famous Milky Way ski area. Perfect for skiers and boarders who love longer runs, there are tons of wide, open reds and some attractive woody slopes that snake back down into the town. The Sauze bowl’s series of enjoyable, criss-crossing runs are great for popping off the side into the powdery middle ground.

Where to stay in Sauze d’Oulx

Hotel Miravalle

This popular hotel has a friendly, laid-back feel and a great location in the pretty old town. After skiing, relax in the sauna and whirlpool before tucking into a delicious 3-course evening meal.

Hotel Relais des Alpes

Great food, its very own pub and a wellness area – this hotel’s got it all. And it’s located in the main piazza of Sauze d’Oulx, so it’s a great base for making the most of one of Italy’s liveliest resorts.

Best for high-altitude slopes: Cervinia

Cervinia, Italy
Cervinia, Italy

Ski area: Cervinia, 150km. Cervinia-Zermatt, 350km
Resort height: 2,050m
Snow range: 1,524-3,883m
No. of easy slopes: 23
No. of intermediate slopes: 67
No. of difficult slopes: 26

At the top of the Aosta Valley, Cervinia sits at the base of Monte Cervino – also called the Matterhorn. The ski area’s known for its excellent snow record, thanks to its lofty height and glacier slopes at over 3,800m.

On the mountain, there are heaps of wide, well-groomed reds that cross the border into Switzerland. And with ski school at the top of the gondola, even first-timers can experience great snow and impressive views from day one.

Back in the resort, the compact town is centred around a traffic-free cobbled street, lined with shops, restaurants and bars that get lively after dark. And when you’re not out and about the town, several of Cervinia’s hotels have got impressive wellness areas with saunas, steam rooms and indoor pools.

Where to stay in Cervinia

Hotel Petit Palais

A great-value slopeside hotel with beautiful views of the Matterhorn. The Plan Maison gondola is just a few steps away, and the 8km-long Ventina run finishes just outside – so you can ski back to the door and head straight to the stylish bar to celebrate another great day on the slopes.

Hotel White Angel

A luxurious retreat on the edge of Cervinia, this hotel oozes modern Alpine style. Treat yourself to a trip to the spa with indoor pool, sauna and steam room. And finish the day with a fine-dining meal designed by a Michelin-starred chef – think roasted quail or salmon with gin sorbet.

Best for families: La Thuile

La Thuile, Italy
La Thuile, Italy

Ski area: Espace San Bernardo, 155km
Resort height: 1,441m
Snow range: 1,175-2,610m
No. of easy slopes: 34
No. of intermediate slopes: 29
No. of difficult slopes: 15

Great for the kids and kind on the wallet, La Thuile is ideal for families. Sitting comfortably under the Espace San Bernardo umbrella, you can ski two countries in one day with easy links over to the French resort of La Rosière.

On the Italian side, the slopes are crowd-free and lift queues almost non-existent. The easier slopes sit high up too, meaning everyone’s treated to glimpses of the iconic Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc peaks.

Down in the village, the nightlife is quiet, so a good night’s sleep is easy to come by. Even better, Crystal Childcare is on hand to keep your little ones entertained. Plus, Beanie Bear Club includes ski lessons, meaning everyone can make the most of the mountain.

Where to stay in La Thuile

Planibel Hotel and Apartments

The Planibel complex sits right next to the gondola and ski school, so it’s a convenient choice for families – especially with Crystal Childcare based here too. And when you’re not skiing, everything you need is nearby – there are bars, restaurants and a huge indoor pool and wellness area all on site. Stay half-board in a hotel room, or spread out in a self-catering apartment.

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