Lombardy flexes its ski prowess
Lombardy hosts snowshoe hikes of varying degrees of difficulty, dog sledding on sleds pulled by Siberian dogs and fat bikes with oversize tyres that ensure great stability and ease of control on all types of snowy terrain and slopes.
However, Lombardy is a true paradise for ski enthusiasts: 27 ski areas, 467 downhill runs, 324 kilometres for cross-country skiing and 14 snow parks.
Valtellina is one of the areas that will host the Olympic Games in 2026. This valley encompasses several ski areas, such as Bormio, which has 110km of slopes including the Stelvio, the traditional stage for World Cups. Bormio belongs to a larger ski district, which includes Santa Caterina Valfurva and Cima Piazzi San Colombiano, all served by a single ski pass.
The Livigno ski area is no less impressive: 115 kilometres of slopes that include the famous black one named after Giorgio Rocca, a former Alpine skier and World Cup winner. Also in Livigno is Mottolino Fun Mountain, one of the best snow parks in Europe.
Near Sondrio, on the other hand, the Alpe Palu area in Valmalenco offers 50 km of downhill slopes and Europe’s largest cable car, the Snow Eagle, which goes from 985 metres to 2,078 metres above sea level.
Aprica, with the legendary Baradello, the longest floodlit slope in Europe, and Madesimo with around 40 km of slopes complete the package for skiers in the province of Sondrio.
STEP INTO PARADISO
Pista Paradiso in the Brescia area, at Pontedilegno-Tonale, on the border between Lombardy and Trentino, is one of the most famous ski slopes in the Alps: a 3 km concentrate of adrenalin, speed and thrills covering 700 metres of difference in altitude. The Paradiso cable car takes you to the start, at an altitude of 2,500 metres. Here, thanks to its northern exposure and altitude for at least five months of the year more experienced skiers can try their skills on one of the most fascinating ‘black’ descents. It is possible however to start even higher up as a second cable car takes you to the 3,000 m above sea level of the Presena Pass, to the top of an 11-km slope that goes down to Ponte di Legno, through some very different snowy landscapes on one of the longest slopes in Europe.
The Bergamo Valleys offer numerous districts to choose from, each one packed with things to do. Presolana Monte Pora has slopes suitable for everyone, such as the 22 on Monte Pora, perfect for lessons with the Presolana ski instructors. The Valle Brembana, on the other hand, is home to Bergamo’s flagships ski areas: Foppolo, Carona and Piazzatorre ski areas and their 30 kilometres of slopes and 9 ski lifts, as well as the Piani dell’Avaro, ideal for beginners, baby parks and bobsleighs.
The valleys and mountains of Como and Lecco are a treasure chest containing a small jewel much loved by skiers, just 70 km from Lombardy’s capital city, Milan. The Piani di Bobbio and Valtorta ski area includes 17 blue, red and black slopes totalling 35 km of skiable piste, suitable for all levels of difficulty, and a kid’s area with conveyor belts for bobsleighs, sledges and ski schools for little ones. The area is suitable for both families and the most experienced of downhill skiers, and its location in a dip, means good snow cover is ensured until April.
Sliding silently over animal tracks in the woods and pine needles, surrounded by snow-capped peaks: cross-country skiing is not just sport, it is pure meditation in nature.
Stelvio National Park in Valtellina has Nordic skiing trails, as does Aprica in the Pian di Gembro Reserve and, a short distance away, Trivigno, without forgetting Livigno, a paradise for enthusiasts thanks to its 30 km of trails and Valmalenco, with three loops suitable for all.