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Italy is a spectacular choice for a ski holiday, boasting some of the world’s best ski resorts it’s a destination that combines high altitude skiing, mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine plus an après ski scene in a league of its own. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the affordable price tag and just how far your holiday budget can travel. Italy offers a great collection of ski resorts and the diversity on offer means that everyone from pro skiers, to first time beginners and winter sports fans can find their perfect winter escape. Get started on planning your ideal Italian ski holiday with help from our top 5 resorts listed below.
Sauze d’Oulx has long held the torch for being a popular party destination and has had Brits flocking in for the infectious après ski scene for decades. But times have progressed from the days when parties overruled the pistes and Sauze d’Oulx now flaunts an attractive balance of quality ski runs, mountain village charm and just the right amount of entertainment to ensure you don’t miss a full days skiing on one of the best pistes in the country. Skiing at Sauze d’Oulx can be great fun for all levels with competent and skilled ski schools available for beginners, intermediates or those looking to pick up a few new advanced skills. Evening meal times are a real treat with a flavoursome Mediterranean menu offered at many affordable restaurants.
Settled in the mountains of Northern Italy and spilling over into Switzerland, Cervinia is a popular snow sure resort offering a fantastic grand skiing area with useful links to Zermatt and Valtournenche. Skiers of all levels can expect to be welcomed by excellent snow conditions with a virtually guaranteed top to bottom blanket of snow on the slopes. Cervinia is a perfect resort for beginners and intermediates with easy gradients providing ample opportunities for practice runs. Advanced skiers can enjoy a fantastic range of slopes by taking advantage of the easy links to other popular resorts. Fuel your days on the slopes with homemade Italian pizza and delicious fresh seafood. Make some time to fully explore the resort as some of the best mountain restaurants are not pinpointed on the resort piste map.
Meet the elite of the Italian ski world at Italy’s most fashionable and stylish resort. As a previous host of the 1956 Winter Olympics and popular stop on the World Cup skiing circuit, Cortina d'Ampezzzo boasts premier skiing amongst the unbelievably magnificent backdrop of the Dolomite Mountains. Shopping and lunching hold as much prime time here as skiing, due to the luxury boutiques and top class eateries lining the charming cobbled streets of Corso Italia, the epicentre of Italian skiing lux. Keen skiers will appreciate the less crowded circuits (whilst more than half of Italian visitors parade their fur coats), perfectly groomed slopes and excellent selection of main skiing areas. All levels of skier are welcome and if you want to learn how to ski in style then this affluently nicknamed “Queen of the Dolomites” is the resort for you.
A favourite destination for British visitors and affectionately known as the ‘holiday valley of the Dolomite’, Val Gardena is a fantastic ski area situated in the charming alpine region of South Tyrol. With stunning scenery, idyllic pistes and enchanting wooden chalet-style accommodation, Val Gardena has all the ingredients for your next superb ski holiday. Visitors to Val Gardena can choose to stay in one of three attractive villages, Ortisei, S.Cristina or Selva and make the most of the 1,200 km of pristine slopes. Advanced skiers will love the Saslong World Cup piste and the Dolomiti Superski area whilst skiers of all levels can enjoy leisurely pursuits on the Sella Ronda circuit. Accommodation ranges from 5* luxury hotels to friendly guest houses and comfortable self-catered apartments. Enjoy great music and cocktails from a stylish local lounge bar or admire the striking scenery and indulge in gourmet delights from any of the perfectly placed restaurants.
Be wowed by the magnificence of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain and experience la dolce vita in the traditional alpine village of Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley. Charming and rich in history, Courmayeur has the warm welcoming glow of a classic mountain community combined with a fabulous array of shops, restaurants and bars plus an alluring après ski scene. Bordering France and with close proximity to Chamonix, advanced skiers can take full advantage of first rate ski slopes and enjoy a large area of great ski terrain. Thrill seekers will be glad to know that Heli-skiing and off-piste skiing are popular past times in Courmayeur, whilst beginners and intermediates are well catered for upon the gentle mountain terrain.
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If you are looking for somewhere new to ski this season then take a look at our top 5 hidden gems to explore in 2014/15. Do you remember that feeling when you first discovered your favourite ski resort? Say yes to new adventures and try out these lesser known ski paradises.
Perfect for families Montgenevre is a pretty alpine village that sits on the French-Italian border. It has a fantastic ski area with varied runs and access to the 400km of the massive Milky Way ski circuit. It is particularly good for beginners and intermediates making it the perfect family resort. The traditional style town may be quiet but this is reflected on the slopes with minimal queues across the mountain. During a week in January, I often felt we were the only ones on the entire chairlift. With ultimate mountain time you can guarantee a memorable week on the slopes in Montgenevre.
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Perfect for snowboarders Sallbach is a superb ski resort and is renowned for its excellent range of pistes and efficient list system linking over 200km to Hinterglemm and Leogang. Snowboarders will relish in the varied terrain and 3 snow parks while on powder days you can enjoy pockets of powder and making fresh tracks through trees off piste. The fun doesn’t stop once the lifts are closed, after sunset the party sets in. Saalbach has one of Austria’s liveliest party circuits with 40 bars and discos to experience the famous Austrian après.
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Perfect for intermediates and experts Ideal for intermediates and experts, this beautiful ski area offers long wide red runs and amazing off piste skiing. Snowboarders will like the wide slopes and freeriders will find plenty to do with little jumps and bumps and challenging runs further afield. Champoluc is a hidden treasure in Italy; the charming, unspoilt village creates a magical feel for your ski holiday. It is inexpensive with great food across the resort.
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Perfect for off piste Klosters has acquired international status from the presence of the Royal Family and film stars. This beautiful resort oozes Swiss charm with its picturesque chalets and horse drawn sleighs. The Klosters/Davos Rega ski pass gives access to a fantastic 310km of runs that are serviced by an extensive lift system. The glittering powdered snow stretching far as you can see makes Klosters an incredible place for off piste skiing and snowboarding. As it is relatively unknown, there are many opportunities for first tracks.
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Perfect for a ski holiday you’ll never forget Arosa is an alpine fairy-tale resort nestled in the Swiss Alps. With spectacular mountain views and a village-life atmosphere, you will fall in love with this beautiful resort. This gem is part of one of the largest linked ski areas in Switzerland now there is a new lift link built from Lenzerheide to Arosa, creating 225kms runs. With enough skiing to keep all abilities happy and minimal queues, you couldn’t choose a better ski resort for a ski holiday. If you have any non-skiers in your group or you seek a more relaxed afternoon after a morning on the slopes, there are walking and sledging routes in the town and it is easy to meet up for lunch in one of the numerous mountain restaurants and sample a delicious Swiss fondue.
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Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday is a fantastic way for family and friends to get together. Here are our top 5 resorts that will keep any group of friends or family happy throughout their ski holiday.
If you love the choice of skiing and attractions of large French resorts, but seek for a more cost-effective alternative then look no further than Soldeu. The attractive Pyreneean resorts sits at the centre of the Grandvalira ski area with access to a fantastic 210 km of pistes, so there is enough variety to satisfy the most demanding skier. With large properties, numerous restaurants, shopping and bustling night life there is plenty to do off the slopes as well. Andorra is well known for its duty free status and drinks are not served in uniform measures but by the amount that you want. This all helps to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere on ski holidays in Soldeu.
Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski terrain and is snowboard friendly, with one of the best freestyle parks in Europe. With an impressive snow record, the ski area peaks at a huge 3600m so is guaranteed snow throughout the season. This mixed ability ski domain lends itself to all levels of skiers and snowboarders alike with endless fun to be had both piste side as well as village side in the bars, restaurants and other sports facilities that this fun filled town has to offer.
Set in the beautiful Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen has long earned its place as one of the world's top ski and snowboard resorts. The ski area is large, varied and high. The terrain offers a good mix of cruisers and steeps and is well laid out for beginner skiers around the mid station of the Finkenberg. For advanced skiers there is the Harakiri piste, as well as some impressive off piste ski terrain. There are good quality and affordable accommodation options which makes Mayrhofen a top resort choice for families and large groups . Mayrhofen is famous for the legendary end of season blowout, Snowbombing and has some of the finest Austrian après bars to keep you entertained throughout your holiday.
Skiing in Tignes in so vast, it is great for all abilities. Joint with the just-as-amazing resort Val d’Isere, the 300km Espace Killy ski area is one of the most loved circuits in the world. Tignes is perfect for adult groups with the large selection of accommodations and après across the resort, and families will love this ski area with the fantastic beginner areas and excellent ski and snowboards schools. Children will love the activities in Tignes, with ice skating, bowling, swimming pool and Husky rides on offer. I have had amazing ski holidays in Tignes with both family and friends groups, and still consider it to be one of my favourite ski resorts.
There is no surprise that Sauze d’Oulx is a firm favourite amongst British skiers, with over 400km of pistes over the extensive Milky Way ski area there is excellent skiing available for all skiers. From the stunning tree lined runs of Sportina to the black runs of Mount Motta and Mount Sises. With long hours of sunshine you can ski all day long then party all night long in the lively town. Down in resort, Sauze d'Oulx's original village has retained its old world charm, while the newer part provides all you need for a fun-filled holiday. The transfers are short, the accommodation is good value and the food is delicious.
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We've pulled together our booking data from the 2013/14 season to bring you a selection of the most popular places to go and the most popular months to visit the mountains.
Val d’Isere has been voted one of the top places for winter sports holidays in Europe. With plenty of piste to explore, as well as three glaciers, Val d’Isere is a consistently popular resort amongst skiers and snowboarders. It’s also the home to one of the popular Folie Douce bars, offering great après to complete a long day out on the mountain.
Meribel lies at the centre of the Three Valleys ski area, where it is linked by lift to both Courchevel and Val Thorens. Meribel is known for its efficient lift systems, which virtually eliminates the need to queue. The resort offers plenty of great runs, as well as the opportunity for some great off-piste skiing too.
Tignes is part of the large Espace Killy ski area, which is known for its consistent snowfall. The resort provides excellent skiing and boarding for the absolute beginner right through to expert due to its varied terrain. Tignes is also well known for its après ski and party atmosphere.
The resort of St Anton is popular due to its reliable snow coverage and brilliant piste conditions. It’s also well in reach of other ski areas, opening up your choice of pistes. St Anton also has a particularly good reputation for its lively nightlife.
Solden has an excellent lift system, with little to no queues. It is situated at a high altitude, bringing reliable snow conditions and some brilliant off piste skiing opportunities. It is also home to two glaciers, extending the resorts season and making for some great springtime skiing.
Obergurgl is located at a very high altitude, resulting in guaranteed snowfall throughout the season. The runs are never crowded and you’ll never find yourself queuing for a lift. The ski area is very easy to access, with the lift running straight out of the main village where most of the resort accommodation is situated.
Sauze d’Oulx is part of the popular Milky Way ski area. It offers long skiing hours, some excellent runs and great snow conditions. The resort has a traditional Italian village feel to it, complete with some fantastic bars and restaurants, serving up delicious Italian cuisine.
Cervinia is a high altitude resort, bringing great snow conditions across the season. Its runs are particularly suited to beginners and intermediates. For those wanting to experience more advanced runs, the resort is linked to the nearby resort of Zermatt by lift, opening up your choice of ski area.
Cortina is a great resort with a real traditional Italian feel. The town is bustling with lots of shops and the large number of restaurants and bars attract plenty of non-skiers too. The resort has great snowmaking facilities and the pistes are kept in brilliant condition throughout the season.
Soldeau has a relaxed, laid back atmosphere with some great duty free prices and rather large drink measures! The resort is particularly great for beginners and intermediates and it offers fantastic snow due to the majority of pistes being situated above 2000m.
Arinsal has a great ski school with English speaking instructors, making it an ideal resort for first timers. There are some top runs, with many passing through picturesque woodland. The resort is also known for it’s cheap, lively après ski, making it particularly appealing to a young crowd.
Pas de la Casa is one of the highest resorts in Europe, giving it a long season with plenty of good snow. The resort has a French feel to it, as it is situated close to the French border.
Zermatt plays host to the stunning backdrop of the Matterhorn, offering challenging intermediate and advanced runs, heliskiing opportunities and the chance to ski to the nearby resort of Cervinia.
Verbier is part of the vast 4 Valleys ski area, giving guests access to some wonderful intermediate and advanced runs. It offers excellent après ski, but also features plenty of quieter areas, which are well-suited to families.
The resort of Saas Fee boasts three world records – it is home to the highest revolving restaurant, the highest metro train (which runs right up into the mountains) and the largest ice pavilion. It also offers huge amounts of snow, glacier skiing and a large variety of runs.
Whistler offers wonderful skiing across both the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and receives a whopping nine metres of snow on average each season. Here, you’ll find the famous PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, offering stunning views across the valley. The resort has something for everyone and is family friendly.
The resort of Tremblant is known for its varied terrain, as well as having the biggest half pipe in Canada. Situated on the East Coast, it is one of the easiest resorts to access for those coming from Europe. One part of the mountain is dedicated specifically to beginners, making it a great choice for a first ski holiday.
Banff is part of the Big 3, along with Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. You can gain access to all three resorts with your lift pass. The resort boasts over 200km of pistes, stunning views and some fantastic après ski and dining opportunities.
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"I was so impressed with the way Laura handled my initial call that as soon as I got home I decided to forget all of the other agents and companies and call her straight back and book the holiday. Thank you again Iglu for being so user friendly and more importantly thank you to Laura for being such an asset to your company and the sales profession."