The 10 Best Ski Resorts in Italy

The 10 Best Ski Resorts in Italy
Jack Taylor
Written by Jack Taylor / Photos by Jack Lee
Last updated August 31, 2020
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Italy is home to hundreds of places to ski, ranging from intimate mountain retreats to mega resorts that link up with France and Switzerland. Here, enjoying the scenery and dining in style is just as important as scoring your snow fix, so get ready to enjoy 'la dolce vita'!

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Known for

Sophisticated alpine town boasting exquisite piste skiing and gourmet on-mountain dining

Highlights

  • Linked to the enormous Dolomiti Superski area
  • Unbeatable views of the highest peaks in the Dolomites
  • Quality groomed black trails
  • It’s the expensive choice for an Italian ski trip

Closest airports

Venice Marco Polo Airport - 91 mi (2 hour drive)
Convenient slope side lodging (Photo credit: Cortina D'Ampezzo)

Cortina d’Ampezzo has been the poster child of Italian skiing since forever, and found international fame after hosting the Winter Olympics back in 1956 (which is now returning in 2026). It’s home to three impeccable ski areas each with its own unique character, and iconic mountain formations like Cinque Torri provide a spectacular backdrop. Rustic restaurant terraces are the best places to enjoy the views, where you can also sample mouth-watering specialties created by expert Italian chefs. Corsa Italia lies at the centre of Cortina, with elegant Victorian buildings housing fashionable boutiques, upscale hotels, and cosy coffee shops. Luxury lodgings are aplenty here, but there’s also the option of waking up in a high-alpine rifugio if you wish!

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Known for

A modern resort with snow-sure slopes and cross-border skiing into Switzerland

Highlights

  • Wide open slopes are perfect for groomer cruisers
  • Lots of ski-in/ski-out accommodation
  • Ride up to 12,575 ft on the highest cable car in Europe
  • Highly exposed so lifts often close during bad weather

Closest airports

Turin - 75 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Milan Malpensa - 113 mi (2 hour drive)
Cruise through wide open slopes 

Once a famous base for mountaineers looking to take on the mighty Matterhorn, Cervinia has now transformed itself into one of Italy’s top ski resorts. This south-facing ski area enjoys plenty of sunshine and is linked with Zermatt to create an international ski paradise totalling 140 trails. There’s fun for freestylers too in Europe’s highest terrain park, situated at 9,186 ft. And from the top of the Klein Matterhorn Aerial Tramway you can ski down the Theodul Glacier with epic views of the Alps on all sides. Everything from 5-star luxury chalets to budget self-catering apartments are available around the base area, so take your pick!

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Known for

Stunning views of Mont Blanc and awesome off-piste options at this chic ski destination

Highlights

  • Diverse ski area featuring groomed pistes, powder runs, and tree skiing
  • Off-slope attractions include spas, shopping, and scenic walks
  • Pedestrianized old town with cobbled streets and classy restaurants
  • Not a great deal of terrain for beginners wanting to progress

Closest airports

Turin - 93 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Milan Malpensa - 132 mi (2 hour drive)
Take a ride on the Skyway Monte Blanco

Adventurous skiers flock to Courmayeur for its challenging terrain and with the Mont Blanc massif towering over the resort, it’s a truly inspiring location. Intermediates and above will get the most out of the 62 mi of inbound skiing on offer here, and the cable car connecting the ski area to the medieval town centre is the height of convenience. A wonderful experience for skiers and non-skiers alike, the Skyway Monte Bianco is a glass gondola that slowly spins on its way up to the Punta Helbronner station at 11,370 ft. Almost all of the visitors just admire the view from up here, but don’t be surprised to see a few experts skiing back down!

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Known for

Sunny slopes and dramatic scenery to blow your mind

Highlights

  • Incredible scenery of the Dolomites
  • World-renowned snowmaking
  • Abundance of lively apres ski
  • Limited steep and challenging runs

Closest airports

Innsbruck Airport - 72 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Bolzano Airport - 27 mi (50 minute drive)
Ski through charming winter trees

The spectacular mountain ranges surrounding Val Gardena are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can enjoy a 25 mi loop of skiing right around the Sella massif for an unforgettable day on the slopes. Sëlva is the highest resort in the valley, providing easy access to both the Sella Ronda ski circuit and Dolomiti Superski area. Its challenging Saslong course has hosted World Cup races for the past 50 years. Further down the valley is the charming town of Ortisei, home to quieter ski slopes which are perfect for beginners. Across Val Gardena you’ll find a huge variety of accommodation options, from rustic mountain chalets and family-run bed and breakfasts to plush apartments and luxury hotels.

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Known for

Historic mountain village with a buzzing après-ski scene and access to over 249 mi of ski runs

Highlights

  • Lots of options for deep snow tree skiing
  • Lively and friendly atmosphere is perfect for groups
  • Good value dining, drinking, and accommodation available
  • Has quite a few old lifts that need replacing

Closest airports

Turin - 58 mi (1 hour drive)
Chambéry Airport - 81 mi (2 hour drive )
A beautiful bluebird day 

Skiing at Sauze d’Oulx can be traced all the way back to the 19th century, when it was a sleepy farming village taking its first steps to becoming one of the very first Italian ski resorts. It’s prized for its broad snow-carpeted slopes from the top that run into tree-lined pistes, where fresh powder stashes lie waiting in the pockets of forest. Thrust into the limelight during the 2006 Winter Olympics when it hosted the freestyle skiing events, it’s also now part of the Via Lattea ski area. But perhaps Sauze d’Oulx is most famous for its nightlife. Duck inside the Ghost Bar next to the Clotes chairlift to kick off the après-ski fun, then try a few of the happy hour drink specials at the bars lining the road down into the town centre!

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Known for

High-altitude resort serving up snow-sure slopes and plenty of non-ski activities

Highlights

  • Excellent position in the middle of the vast Via Lattea ski area
  • Off-piste powder is slow to get tracked out
  • Ride a sled pulled by Siberian huskies!
  • Not the prettiest ski destination in Italy

Closest airports

Turin - 68 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Chambéry Airport - 91 mi (2 hour drive)
Plenty of amenities at the base area

Just over the mountain from Sauze d’Oulx is the purpose-built ski resort of Sestriere, perched high up at 6,677 ft. There’s excellent skiing for everyone here, no matter what your ability is, and many of the 65 trails are covered by snow cannons. Pick yourself up a surprisingly affordable Via Lattea lift pass and you’ll have your choice of more than 250 pistes, with the longest running for 4 mi! All the shops, bars, restaurants and other resort facilities are conveniently located around the base area, so choose a hotel or apartment nearby to have everything you need at your doorstep. For something a little quieter try the slope-side lodgings in the lift-connected village of Sestriere Borgata.

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Known for

Enjoy one of Italy’s longest ski seasons and tax-free shopping at this top winter sports centre

Highlights

  • Wide variety of mountain terrain for first-timers to experts
  • Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and snowmobile rides!
  • Free bus service to shuttle you around the town
  • Long transfer times from the closest airports

Closest airports

Milan Malpensa - 143 mi (2.5 hour drive)
Explore two mountainsides at Livigno

Livigno is nestled deep in the Italian Alps, enjoying a powder-drenched locale that helps keep the slopes here open longer than most other ski resorts in the country. The ski area is spread across two mountainsides and provides easy access to ungroomed sections for testing your off-piste skills. There are also four terrain parks, with the biggest boasting over 50 freestyle features, not to mention a boardercross course and a forest freestyle trail. Livingo’s isolation earned it its tax-free status centuries ago, with luxury fashion boutiques and ski gear stores now offering plenty of bargains. Lodgings in town include half-board hotels and self-catering apartments, just try to stay close to the lifts to avoid a bus ride before your ski day.

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Known for

Family-friendly ski town offering many off-slope activities in beautiful natural surroundings

Highlights

  • Easygoing ski area that’s perfect for building confidence
  • Dedicated grooming operation keeps slopes in great condition
  • Relaxed atmosphere makes the town a pleasure to stroll around
  • Some frustrating flat sections linking different parts of the ski area

Closest airports

Valerio Catullo - 93 mi (2 hour drive)
Milan Bergamo - 109 mi (2.5 hour drive)
Ski through the beautiful Adamello Brenta Nature Park (Photo credit: Madonna di Campiglio)

Located in the centre of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park, this fashionable winter resort is popular with Italians who come for the scenery as much as the skiing. The majority of the slopes here fall into the beginner to intermediate category, so it’s a fantastic place to let the kids find their ski legs. And if you do find yourself craving something steep, take on the black trail from Monte Spinali back into town to get your adrenaline pumping. Don’t miss the toboggan run for an exhilarating ride that’s fun for the whole family, and a snowshoeing trip is perfect if you need a relaxing day off from skiing. You’ll also find many hotels here with wellness facilities, including steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs and swimming pools.

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Known for

Excellent beginner terrain plus scenic glacier skiing at this relaxed full-service mountain resort

Highlights

  • Gentle ski trails and comfortable lifts are great for learners
  • High-quality ski schools with English-speaking instructors
  • Accommodation, dining, and lift pass are good value for money
  • Aging buildings and treeless surroundings gives it a bleak appearance

Closest airports

Milan Bergamo - 79 mi (2 hour drive)
Milan Linate - 108 mi (2 hour drive)
Gentle ski trails (Photo credit: Passo Tonale)

Passo Tonale is the highest resort of the Adamello Ski area and a wonderful place to learn to ski. Occupying a mountain pass above the treeline, the gradient of the wide slopes slowly increases the higher up the mountain you go so it’s simple to stick to terrain you’re comfortable with. Confident skiers can take on back country routes and steep black runs from the Presena Glacier station at 10,070 ft, but the gondola can also bring you back down again if you just want to admire the view. Many of the slope-side hotels are positioned conveniently close to chairlifts, and the compact one-street resort centre puts all the essentials within easy reach.

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Known for

A charming ski village with easy access to uncrowded slopes and spectacular freeride terrain

Highlights

  • Big mountain skiing spread across three valleys
  • Local heli-skiing operation opens up endless backcountry options
  • Resort amenities are very reasonably priced
  • With just a few bars and restaurants it’s often quiet after dark

Closest airports

Milan Malpensa - 106 mi (2 hour drive)
Turin - 67 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Looking over the charming alpine village

Tucked away in a peaceful corner of the Valle d’Aosta region is Champoluc, the largest ski resort connected to the sprawling Monterosa Ski area. With excellent pistes for intermediates and a decent beginners area too, you can ski groomers with few others around here. But most visitors come for the epic off-piste routes and deep powder that stays untouched for days after a fresh dump. Backcountry guides are ready and waiting to show experienced skiers around this freeride paradise, and when you’re done for the day the Monterosa Spa Center is a welcoming haven of relaxation. Laidback alpine hotels are the mainstay here with a few self-catered apartments available too, but if you’re ready to splurge try the new five-star eco resort CampZero (complete with its own helipad!)

The 10 Best Ski Resorts in Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cervinia
Courmayeur
Val Gardena
Sauze d'Oulx
Sestriere
Livigno
Madonna di Campiglio
Passo Tonale
Champoluc
Cortina d'Ampezzo