Italian skiing is all about la dolce vita, or ‘the sweet life". The locals see skiing as a friendly and relaxed affair, paired with copious amounts of culture, delicious food and fine wine. With some wonderfully scenic outlooks and a feeling of brimming joy de vivre, an Italian ski holiday will be unlike any other. Many Italians take a week off to ski in winter, so the resorts have a very local feel. Skiing here can work out a bit cheaper than other areas of Europe, and they don't skimp on the scenery - imagine gazing out onto the mammoth panorama of the Matterhorn or the Dolomites whilst sipping on a glass of grappa.
To the north, the Valle d'Aosta has a special unique flavour as French is spoken as well as Italian. Castles, pine forests and wooden chalets shelter in the shadows of high peaks including some of Europe's mightiest mountains - Grand Paradiso, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Courmayeur is one of Italy's chicest, most glamorous resorts, with a sophisticated Milan crowd and a raging nightlife. It's also high altitude skiing, as Courmayeur claims to be one of the highest resorts in the world.
In the Valle di Susa, Bardonecchia is a large border market town that is quiet on and off the slopes during the week, but comes alive at the weekend. The authentic town is settled in a sunny valley, with one of the longest shopping streets in the Alps and dozens of mouth-watering cafes and pizzerias. La Thuile offers more challenging skiing than many Italian resorts, with 29 black runs, and wicked off-piste.
Like most countries, a large proportion of intermediate and beginner terrain covers many of the resorts. Stylish Cervina is niche and upmarket, great for beginners with its nursery slopes always covered with snow, and offers the chance to catch the chairlift over the border to Switzerland! If you're young and you're conscious of money burning a hole in your pocket, Livigno is a fun, good value resort with a laid back atmosphere.
How to get to Italy
Flying is certainly the most popular, and most practical method of travelling to ski in Italy. Spread along the alps in the north of the country, the primary airports to access the Italian slopes are Turin, Treviso, and even the airports of neighbouring coutries such as Geneva and Innsbruck. See the individual resorts for the best connections.
Trains are never going to be overly straight-forward due to the distance but with an efficient European train network it is certainly possible. Please see the individual resorts for train connections.
During winter you'll need to plan ahead to ensure your path to the snow is actually open. With this squared away the major impediment to you driving is the sheer distance and time it takes to get there. See resorts for specific information.