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'!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by Italy which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included lockdowns in the majority of regions, and government restrictions on the operation of ski resorts. In the Veneto region which is home to Cortina d’Ampezzo, ski lifts were not allowed to operate. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)