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Italian Alps: A pocket guide

Northern Italy encompasses a large and varied area bordering Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. The mountains of the Dolomites offer incredible walking and gastronomy and are also perfect for a ski holiday. The Italian lakes of Garda and Como are found here, too, amid an Alpine landscape dotted with medieval villages. Perched on the Adriatic Coast is Venice, while just down the road is the wonderful city of Verona. The Italian ski resorts are scattered across the Dolomites, and skiing is generally a bit less expensive here than at the neighboring resorts in France, Switzerland, and Austria. Italian resorts are also known for their family-friendly atmosphere, sunshine, delicious food and less crowded slopes. Italy is also blessed with a number of giant ski areas. For beautiful scenery and a wide variety of terrain, none beat the central core of the Dolomites.

The Dolomiti Superski lift pass covers 12 ski areas and an amazing 1220 kilometers of pistes linked by 450 lifts. Included on this pass is the famous Sella Ronda, a circular network of lifts and pistes around the Gruppo del Sella, a limestone massif, taking in several resorts. The most popular ski resorts in the Dolomiti Superski include Cortina d’Ampezzo, Val Gardena, Kronplatz, Alta Badia and Val di Fassa. The other ski carousel in the Dolomites is the Skiarama Dolomiti with its 360 kilometers of slopes, 140 lifts and eight ski resorts, including Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Folgarida-Marilleva, Pejo, Tonale, Andalo, Monte Bondone, and Folgaria. The most popular is Madonna di Campiglio, with its 150 kilometers of pistes connected by 24 lifts. The resort is suited to all skiers, with its 21 blue runs, 12 red, and six black. Skiers and boarders can reach an altitude of 2,600 meters. The easiest way of getting to the Dolomites is using Milan Airport.

The six ski resorts of the Milky Way differ in size and atmosphere: Claviere, Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere, Sansicario, Cesana and Montgenevre. However from the peaceful cobbled streets of Sansicario to the night life of Sauze d’Oulx, skiers will find a resort that suits them. The lift-linked ski area extends 400 kilometers and straddles the Italian-French border, and the resorts are staggered at very different altitudes. Also nearby is the ski resort of Bardonecchia with 100 kilometers of separate slopes. In the northwest of Italy, on the borders of France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley offers a combined 180 pistes and skiing above 2,500 meters. The most popular resorts here are Courmayeur, Breuil-Cervinia, and Pila. The Italian Alps are perfect for skiers who enjoy wonderful skiing for a reasonable price. Skiing is never cheap, but the Italian resorts are definitely good value, which is why so many of us start our ski experiences on the slopes of the Dolomites.

Italian Alps/Dolomites/iStock

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