At most Italian snowboarding resorts you will see ridiculous retro one-piece suits (worn by skiers) and posing glitterati. However Italy actually offers a great deal more to the snowboarder than cheap laughs, it has great terrain, very good and reasonably priced food, affordable accommodation and the beer is cheaper than in France and Switzerland.
So if you are planning a snowboarding holiday you should consider Italy but where should you go? We have put together the below guide to the 10 best Italian snowboarding resorts to help you decide.
Being host to the XX Winter Games Torino 2006, the Vialattea ski area boasts of improved lift facilities, advanced snowmaking systems, and technically advanced runs to challenge even the most advanced snowboarder.
Areas included in Vialattea (or the Milky Way in English) are Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, Oulx, Sansicario, Cesana and Pragelato Claviere plus the French resort of Montgenèvre.
Both beginners, intermediate and advanced riders will be satisfied on snowboarding holidays here. Cruising down the panoramic terrain that connects the traditional villages and modern towns. Make sure you also make an effort to eat out often, as the food establishments in this region of Italy are plentiful, and immensely satisfying.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes, 7 spread over the whole area. Freeride / Off-piste – Varied and Vast. Tree runs – Some. Nightlife – Traditionally Italian.
For more information visit: http://www.vialattea.it/en
Livigno is the heart of the Italian freestyle scene, and is home to the ‘Mottolino Swatch Snowpark’, coveted by riders all over Europe. This February it is staging the sixth annual Burn River Jump, organised by Burton, and awarded the top 5-star level rating by the TTR World Snowboard Tour. Expect to see riders going huge in the slopestyle contest in the hope of qualifying for the right to battle it out with the best, on a specially designed kicker spanning the Spoel River.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes, 3. Freeride, Off-piste – Good, easy access, but officially banned. Tree runs – Some. Nightlife – Not massive, but enough to party.
A modern and well-developed resort, popular due to its variety of runs as much as its traditional Italian architecture. Situated on the opposite side of the Mont Blanc Valley, access to the expansive Chamonix resort in France, through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, is quick and easy for those boarders wanting to experience some of Europe’s best freeriding.
Quick View Guide: Parks – No. Freeride, Off-piste – Very good, plus potential for riding in Chamonix. Tree runs – Good. Nightlife – Good, but busy, and can be expensive.
If you can bare rubbing shoulders with the massive influx of Italian glitterati during weekends and holidays, then Cortina D’Ampezzo offers some pretty good riding.
Easily accessed off-piste opportunities are abundant, and the rugged features of the Dolomites will leave even the most advanced freerider drooling. It goes without saying: hire a guide or risk dropping some unintentional, gnarly cliffs.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes, but small. Freeride, Off-piste – Good, reliable powder and easily accessible. Tree runs – Good. Nightlife – OK
Becoming a firm favourite with snowboarders, this less-visited Italian resort has plenty to satisfy the more experienced rider. Natural hits and testing tree runs are in abundance – search out the Spinale and Fortini areas in particular. The real reason Madonna Di Campiglio is one of the 10 best Italian snowboarding resorts is the well-maintained park that spans over 50,000 square meters. Plus of course the reputable, lively nightlife.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes, well maintained. Freeride, Off-piste – Some. Tree runs – Some, good. Nightlife – Lively, don’t stay in!
A charming, yet fair-sized town, Canazei sits in a magnificent basin along the Fassa Valley. Making up part of the Dolomiti Superski area, this can make a great base for boarders wanting to get some mileage under their belts – although to cover the whole 1,200 kilometres may take more than one trip! Also, with a huge variety of natural terrain and features to play with, it proves popular for freeriding.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Not great. Freeride, Off-piste – Worth a visit just for these. Tree runs – Very good. Nightlife – Good
Val Gardena could be the perfect traditional Italian resort for snowboarding holidays. With access to the huge Dolomiti Superski area, good restaurants serving hearty Italian cuisine, and reasonably priced accommodation in the hamlet of Selva, Val Gardena is a gem to be discovered. The snowboarding doesn’t fail to deliver either, with great freeride possibilities, and a modest freestyle scene making it one of the 10 best Italian snowboarding resorts.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Good beginner + intermediate. Freeride, Off-piste – plenty of freeride opportunity and off-piste. Tree runs – Yes. Nightlife – Laidback
Perhaps the most exquisite of resorts in the list, the scenery from this alpine pasture is magnificent. The South Tyrolean Dolomites are the backdrop to this expansive ski area, on Europe’s largest high altitude plateau. The third in our list to be included in the Dolomiti Superski area, the Alp di Suisi possibly has the best location to access all this area has to offer, without sacrificing on views.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes. Freeride, Off-piste – Yes. Tree runs – Few. Nightlife – Family friendly
Sitting adjacent to the mighty Matterhorn of Zermatt, in the Aosta Valley, Cervinia boasts all the benefits of this overpriced Swiss resort, without the extortionate costs. A new, highly modern cable car has been installed for this winter, the Plateau Rosa, giving unsurpassed views and quick access to some thigh burning powder runs. Best for intermediate boarders, the 22 km Valtournenche red run is wide enough for fans of carving, and is not often very busy.
Cervinia also has a lively nightlife. Join the apres ski here at 3pm and you could still be going at 3am.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Decent. Freeride, Off-piste – Some. Tree runs – Some. Nightlife – A few lively bars
With a total ride area of only 70 km, and the longest run at 4.75 km, Pila is not the biggest so why does it make the 10 best Italian snowboarding resorts list? In this case size doesn’t matter and you will be sold when you see the abundance of potential tree runs, challenging off-piste, and crowd-free pistes. This resort has something for every snowboarder, and is a great alternative to the more popular, busy, and overpriced ‘mega’ resorts in France and Switzerland.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes, 1. Freeride, Off-piste – Great varied terrain. Tree runs – Many, can be tight in places. Nightlife – Is what you make of it…
The last on our list, Arabba, also situated in the heart of the Dolomiti Superski area, has 62 km of groomed runs accessed by 31 modern cable cars. Flanked on either side by the Pordoi and Campolongo Mountain Passes, almost all the accommodation here is ski in, ski out. Steeped in history, those looking for something a little extra on their snowboarding holidays can also follow the Great War Tour, riding around the area where the soldiers fought.
Quick View Guide: Parks – Yes. Freeride, Off-piste – Yes, expansive. Tree runs – Yes. Nightlife – Some
As with any top 10 this list of the best Italian snowboarding resorts is the opinion of the author. I have not been to all the resorts but have boarded in 6 out of 10 – although those on the Dolomiti superski area were all experienced in 1 very good holiday. Let me know your thoughts on the list – I would love to hear of a great Italian snowboarding resort that I have missed as perhaps i will go there next season.
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