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Help with Skiing in Italy / Switzerland in Early January

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

I am a new member to Snowheads and have found your forums very enjoyable while I have been doing some research for our upcoming family holiday in Italy from Jan 1, 2017.

With a long Italian family heritage we are taking our two daughters (12 and 14) to visit their relatives in Rome and the Lake District of Italy over Christmas and will also spend a week skiing. With an initial desire to Ski in Cortina, or another very picturesque Italian resort, I have found that most say that this is too early or to cold to be in the Dolomite, with the only real Italian options Chervignon (which is noted to have good snow, but a industrial type village and no real charm).

Our preference would be a very picturesque village that has some local charm, with a very good chance of snow in the village at that time, and naturally with guaranteed snow on the runs. The kids are mostly beginners, and we don't mind if the resort is small or big as long as there is enough to do should it be a blizzard for 7 days. As we will be near Lake Como we don't want to go too far, so something from Chamonix to the Dolomites taking in all the upper part of Italy and the he lower part of Switzerland would be our preference to limit travel time.

It looks like most of the resorts the guarantee snow like Zermatt / St Moritz are a little expensive. We are not on a super budget, but are probably looking for something more of an average costing overall experience. We have looked at Saas Fee which seems great, is it? I can also see that in the Dolomites that many of the resorts like Cortina say they guarantee snow from November, but is this just on the high upper slopes leaving the village and surrounds to be mostly uncovered?

I would really appreciate some advice.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I assume you mean January 2018?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Look at corvara and other villages in Alta Badia. Highly scenic. Village snow never guaranteed in Dolomites but the snowmaking is amazing so pistes are usually good nonetheless. The areas I mentioned will be a little closer to the rest of your trip too.
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Swiftiod,

Sorry I do mean Jan 2018.

Mr Mike,

The Alta Badia region looks amazing, i will research a little more.

So from what you are saying if the resorts do have snow-making I can expect to get great snow at that time of year on the slopes, but not in the village. I can assume that this will also be true of Cortina.

Is what they say about it being too cold in early Jan true?

Thanks for the advice.

Marc
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
You are going to be at the mercy of the weather to some extent, so nothing is guaranteed.

The 2 greatest variables are the amount of village snow, and how cold it is, and unfortunately these conflict with each other; the villages most likely to have snow are the highest (e.g. Saas Fee, Zermatt), but their skiing is also the highest, so likely to be coldest. As to 'too cold', it's difficult to say - at a guess on the higher slopes of Saas Fee the temperature in January might be anywhere between 0 C and -25 C; it's relatively rare to be at the lower end, but definitely possible.

Based on areas I know, I'd consider the Monte Rosa area in Italy (Gressoney or Champoluc), or Val d'Anniviers in Switzerland (Zinal, Grimentz or St Luc). Both areas have decent village charm, are reasonably high so have a good chance of village snow, but don't have slopes as high as some, so won't be the coldest, and are not too expensive
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@marc.pizzi, the Dolomites are lovely, with plenty of nice villages and scenery, however it can be a little low for guaranteed Jan skiing. Further west the Aosta valley has lots of high skiing and more reliable snow. If you were based in Aosta town nice but definitely not a village you could ski Pila and also many other resorts if you had transport, incl Cervinia which gives an option to ski in Zermatt. What level do you ski it would make a difference. Also look at Courmayeur, a nice town with reliable snow, no need for a car, but with limited skiing not the best if you want big mileage.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

The Alta Badia region looks amazing, i will research a little more.

So from what you are saying if the resorts do have snow-making I can expect to get great snow at that time of year on the slopes, but not in the village. I can assume that this will also be true of Cortina.

Is what they say about it being too cold in early Jan true?


@marc.pizzi, We've just returned from a family holiday in the Dolomites, staying with Colletts in Chalet Haus Valentin which is in Badia, a few miles down the road from Corvara. Despite there being no snow off piste, the pistes themselves were in fantastic condition thanks to their superb snowmaking. The scenery is truly stunning, admittedly more so when completely covered in snow but that really is in the luck of the draw. I've been in mid January before (to Canazei) and it's been deeply covered and yet this time in mid Feb it was a little "brown" off piste." The skiing is fabulous for intermediate family skiing with something for everyone especially my nervous wife!

Cervinia has a far better snow record and I've skied there from late November to mid April but it's certainly more exposed and isn't the prettiest of towns, though it's not ugly. It's main street is relatively attractive however. Great views of the Matterhorn, some superb slopeside restaurants and some lovely skiiing in Zermatt if the weather allows.

As jbob says Courmayeur is a little limited but we had fab conditions there in early December last year. We were staying in Chamonix but had to catch the bus to Courmayeur for some skiing as Chamonix's slopes were all closed.

Of the above I'd go back to the Sella Ronda for a family holiday every time, but Cervinia for a boys short break.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
All,

Many thanks for the advice, lots here for us to consider.

Marc
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You should look at Madesimo. Very popular with the Milanese but not well know by Brits. It's north of Lake Como and should tick most of your boxes. We've been there for NYE the last two years but the snow at the time not very good which was in line with everywhere else in the alps at traditional village elevations that were suffering from poor snow - we were assured these years were exceptionslly bad. What we liked the most is the traditional Italian 'look and feel' of the village, really good value for money (espressos are €1 on the mountain), good places to eat on and off mountain, cheaper ski school and ski hire, and lots of activities off the mountain for kids.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Avoid Cortina!!

OK that's a bit harsh. I have been skiing in Cortina for the last couple of years for the odd days, and the snow making that you may be needing at that time of year, is no where near as good as the resorts directly connected to the Sella Ronda - tends to be a lot thinner and icier in Cortina vs the likes of Arabba / Alta Badia. The area is relatively small too and broken into several parts too which annoys me. That said, skied 3 days there this year as a warm up before moving on to Arabba and loved it - very scenic, but id be bored if there for a week.

Cortina is lovely don't get me wrong, nice town, plenty to do, but the snow making facilities need investment.

Alta Badia is a good shout.
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