The Matterhorn, a giant mysterious mountain that has fascinated people for years, and drawn skiers in droves to the challenging slopes of Swiss resort Zermatt. But it also has another worthwhile destination - on the Italian side. Cervinia sits in the stunning Aosta Valley, and as a part of the Breuil-Cervina Valtournenche ski area, has access to 150 km of piste. It is lift-linked to Zermatt, so you can ski over to Switzerland and add an extra 200 km of magical skiing. This is definitely a high-altitude resort, with lifts linking up to 3, 899 m, meaning pretty well guaranteed snow.
It can also mean that it is sometimes a bit exposed. Cervinia's terrain is really best suited to beginners and intermediates. There are good nursery areas right near the resort, covered in good snow all season, with lots of terrain to move onto when you feel you're ready. The rest is all about the intermediate - it is wide open tree-less skiing, with big bowls, valleys, and some of the longest runs in Europe because of all the interconnected pistes. Try the 13.5 km red down from Plateau Rosa. Advanced skiers won't find too much to test them at Cervinia, but can head over to the scarily steep chutes of Zermatt to get their adrenaline fix (You will have to pay extra to do this however).
The lift updates are excellent, with most of the drags replaced with high speed lifts to whisk you up the mountain. Freestyle skiers and boarders will rate the snow park, which is one of the best in Italy. It sits at nearly 3, 000 m, and 400 m plus long and over 100 m wide. You can work your way through the three, six and 11-metre kickers, until you feel ready to take on the Decolletor - at 18 m high... The village itself was one of the first to be purpose built in the 1930's, and it doesn't really have the alpine charm of many other resorts in the Alps. They have been working hard to soften up the village's look though, and it is a cheaper way to see the Matterhorn, Zermatt and the stunning mountains unfolding all around you. The après-ski scene is not huge, so Cervinia is best suited for those chasing great snow, learning, families and those on a budget who want to ski a massive area including Zermatt.