From Aperol spritz on the slopes to celebrity sightings, Michelin star restaurants and magnificent alpine pistes, it is fair to say that Italian ski resorts are beyond compare. With the ski season already in full swing, Essteele has compiled a list of our favourite Italian resorts.
Enjoying the mantle as Italy's most glamorous and charming ski resort is Cortina d'Ampezzo, an ancient mountain town situated in the Dolomites. Not only a magnet for celebrities such as George Clooney, Audrey Hepburn, and Sofia Loren, the spectacular mountain scenery has appeared in several alpine adventure movies including 'Cliffhanger' starring Sylvester Stallone and the Warren Miller ski classic 'Vertical Reality. Skiers are well catered for with Cortina’s 115km of marked slopes which are best suited to intermediates and experts. For the particularly adventurous, there is a good selection of notorious black runs, plus a myriad of off-piste opportunities.
Madonna di Campiglio
With pristine peaks and a fairytale village, Madonna di Campiglio is a fierce contender beside Cortina when it comes to the style stakes, and was once a favourite of the bygone Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. Today, the expansive resort is a regular on the prestigious Ski World Cup circuit and a favourite destination for snowboarders. Should the 150km of the skiable area not be quite enough for serious ski enthusiasts, the regional Superskirama lift pass covers a total of eight resorts (including Passo Tonale) with 150 lifts and 380km of pistes making it possible to ski from sun up till sun-down without ever traversing the same slope.
The ski resort Alta Badia is located in southeast South Tyrol, in the Dolomites mountains, rising between 1,300 and 2,778 metres above sea level and thus is synonymous with excellent skiing. Families are especially well catered for with loads of off-duty activities including horse-riding, ice-skating and tours of the local 13th-century castle which doubles as a museum showcasing the history, language, culture, myths, archaeology, geology, craft work and development of the Dolomite valleys.
Located at the foot of Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc, this classic Italian Alpine village with its cobble-stoned streets and bustling trattorias is part of the famous Aosta Valley ski area, boasting over 180 pistes. With the main lift running until midnight Courmayeur also claims to have one of the best apr√®s-ski scenes in Italy. The resort has long been a favourite of extreme winter sports enthusiasts with dog sledding, heli-skiing, ice climbing, paragliding and snowshoeing on offer. For those with slightly more sedate leanings, the Mont Blanc cable car from La Palud up to Punta Helbronner is a sensational, bucket-list experience. Not to be outdone on the culinary front, Courmayeur also has its own Michelin-star restaurant, the Petit Royal, but be sure to be book ahead as it is a destination in its own right.