Italy offers a wide range of ski options. There are dozens of resorts that offer top-quality skiing in Italy, from the Dolomites in the north to the majestic Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), the largest mountain in Europe, in the northwest. You can expect excellent pistes and lively apres ski scenes, all combined with great food and a laid-back attitude.
It is easy to decide to ski in Italy. It can be difficult to choose the right resort for you trip. Every resort offers something unique to its guests… so we did the hard work. This is our list of Italy’s top ski resorts. It depends on whether you are looking for glamour, family fun, expert or novice skiers, and many other factors. Don’t forget to read our post about deciding between the Italian Alps and the Dolomites. ).
Best for… international glamour: Cortina d’Ampezzo (Veneto)
Cortina D’Ampezzo is the James Bond in the Dolomites. She is glamorous, chic, and well-put together. Its slopes were used for a scene in For Your Eyes Only. Cortina is a traditional Italian Alpine town. However, it attracts a large international crowd. Many of them come not to ski (or even to the slopes), but to shop at the trendy boutiques on Corso Italia, and to soak up the winter sun.
The glamorous lifestyle comes at a high price. Cortina, which boasts 120km of pistes and the Dolomites in the background, allows visitors to truly live la bella Figura… and also lets them ski in style.
Venice Marco Polo and Venice Treviso are the nearest airports to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Another option is the Innsbruck airport, Austria. A private shuttle or taxi can transport you to Cortina from the airport. The train from Venice can also take you to Calalzo di Cadore, where you can transfer to Cortina via a bus service. There are also bus services that take you from Bologna and Venice to Cortina. However, the trip is quite long.
Best for… a weekend trip: Courmayeur (Valle d’Aosta)
Courmayeur, a traditional Alpine village, is located under the majestic ridges at Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc). You won’t find soft Dolomites landscapes here, but rather the wild, Alpine scenery in the Valle d’Aosta. Another thing you won’t see? Crowds! Courmayeur is less expensive (or international) than Cortina. Enjoy a relaxing weekend on the slopes and enjoy delicious Alpine food.
Courmayeur is a great place to visit, but it only has 36km of mostly intermediate runs. This makes it best for weekend or short trips.
You can take a shuttle or taxi from the Turin or Milan airports to Courmayeur. There are buses that leave frequently from Turin or Milan to Courmayeur. However, a train will only take you into the Aosta valley. A bus transfer is required to complete the trip.
For families with children under five and for beginners: Pila (Valle d’Aosta).
Pila is a hidden gem among Italian ski resorts. It’s not well-known outside of Italy. However, it has quiet slopes and short lift lines that allow beginners to practice a lot. Pila offers 70km of slopes for all levels. For the younger ones, there are the Baby Pila and Grimod slopes. Lessons can also be taken at any of the many open ski schools. The Miniclub is open to children 12 years and younger. Children under 7 get a ski pass for free. Pila is easy to manage, functional, and comfortable for beginners as well as little ones.
Pila’s closest airport is Turin, but Courmayeur, Geneva, and Milan also offer reasonable options. Each of these airports offers a shuttle bus or private taxi service to Pila. Although it is more time-consuming and difficult to get from each city, this option is still available if you have a limited budget. The bus company website offers online bookings and quotes.
Alagna Valsesia, Valle d’Aosta is the best for… experts or off-piste enthusiasts
Alagna is part of Monterosa Ski. It consists of three valleys that are formed by several peaks, all at 4,000m above sea level. Although the slopes are primarily intermediate, the real attraction is off the trails. Alagna quietly attracted expert skiers because of its powder, off-piste terrain, and affordable heli-skiing (which, unlike other countries, is still permitted in Italy). Heli-skiing allows skiers to access nearly every inch of these magnificent mountains, including Monte Bianco and the Matterhorn. For those who love off-piste skiing, there are plenty of unexplored powder fields, cliff drops, and back-country routes that offer major challenges… but also great fun.
The nearest station, Varallo Sesia, is where trains depart from Turin and Milan. You can then take a taxi or bus to Alagna. Alagna Valsesia can also be reached by bus from major northern Italian cities, such as Vercelli, Milano Lampugnano and Varallo Sesia.
Livigno (Lombardy), best for… snowboarders and shoppers
Non-Europeans often overlook Livigno in favor of Cortina or the traditional Courmeyeur. But the remote resort has much to offer and is very affordable: Livigno, which is duty-free, is one of the most affordable resorts in Italy.
There are 110km of slopes in Livigno, which range from beginner to advanced. The Mottolino Snowpark is its main attraction. It features rails, half-pipes, and professional-sized jumps. Mottolino offers areas for everyone, from beginners to seasoned terrain park enthusiasts. Livigno’s large slopes are great for snowboarding, even if the park isn’t your thing. Some European resorts can make it lonely for snowboarders, but Livigno’s large piste and terrain park will ensure that they are not alone in this town.
Although the transfer to Livigno from a city nearby is quite long, it’s still possible. However, the village’s isolation means that there are fewer people! Milan and Bergamo are the nearest airports, while Zurich in Switzerland is also an option. All have shuttle transfers to the central station. Tirano is about 70km away from Livigno. To get there, you will need to take a bus or taxi. Local buses run direct from Milan to Bormio during high season. There is also a connection from Bormio into Livigno.
Bormio (Lombardy), is the best for… social butterflies
Bormio is close to Livigno both geographically as well as in terms of the services it provides. Bormio is part of the Alta Valtellina Ski Area. It has access to 112 individual slopes of all levels. Although its slopes may not be as extensive as Livigno, its social scene makes up for that. Start your weekend with “Stelvio Sotto Le Stelle” (Stelvio Under the Stars): Every Thursday, Bormio lights the Stelvio-Genziana slopes with music and entertainment for après-hours skiing. Enjoy great apres ski drinks, parties, and dancing on the slopes. You are looking for something more tranquil? You can choose from a variety of restaurants or relax in Bormio’s famous thermal baths. Or, you can head to the central cinema.
Private transfers are available from Bergamo or Milan airports to Bormio. There are two options: you can take the train from Milan to Tirano or take the short bus ride from Tirano and Bormio.
Best for… apres-ski: Sauze d’Oulx (Piedmont)
Sauze is one of the most well-known resorts in the Via Lattea (“Milky Way”) chains. It has 400km of skiing. Sauze has a laid-back skiing atmosphere with mostly intermediate slopes. But the après-ski drinks are even more delicious! Sauze has reverted to its former wild party-oriented reputation, but it still offers a great apres ski with many options of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Our recommendation: Del Falco is a great place to eat dinner in the Old Town. You can choose from a three-course skier’s menu or a la carte. It will help you to recharge after a long day on the slopes. Paddy McGinty’s is the place to go for drinks. You don’t want the night to end? Schuss and Banditos are two nightclubs that stay open late after bars close.
The closest airport to Sauze d’Oulx is Turin. It takes approximately an hour for an on-the-ground transfer. The quickest and most cost-effective way to get to the airport is by private transfer. However, a bus can be taken to the Turin train station, where you can then catch a train to Oulx.
For budget-minded travelers and sure snow: Cervinia (Valle d’Aosta).
Cervinia is located at the foot of the Matterhorn in Aosta Valley. It’s one of the most popular resorts in the Alps, with its snow-covered slopes almost always! Cervinia, at a height of approximately 3,500m, has its own glacier (the Matterhorn), and is the first resort to receive snow. For the second consecutive year, The Post Office Resort Report rated Cervinia as one of the most affordable resorts in the world. This means that it is a top-of-the-line resort for a reasonable price. Zermatt can be found just above Cervinia. However, Zermatt is very expensive so it is worth staying on Cervinia’s side.
How to get there:
Private taxis and shuttles can be taken from Turin, the nearest airport, or from Geneva or Milan. Or, from each of those cities, you can take a train to the nearest train station in Chatillon/Saint-Vincent, and from Chatillon, Turin, and Milan buses run directly to Cervinia.