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Cervinia - Very disappointing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Had a week b4 Xmas skiing (or not) in Cervinia.

Ok, I knew the links to Zermatt were high & often closed due to wind, but hadn't twigged from the piste map how poorly linked the Cervinia/Valtournenche side is.

We had waaay too much snow all week, crap visibility & flat light which I absolutely hate on the odd occasions when it wasn't actually snowing

When links to Zermatt are shut & you want to make use of the additional skiing over at Valtournenche you are dependant on the Plan Maison/Cime Blanche gondola. If the Plateau Rosa cable car is closed (which was often & frequently didn't open until gone 10.30am) you have then no choice of link other than a ropey 3 man chair with no cover to head up to a high ridge with high winds - great combination

Coming back from Valtournenche, unless you want to take the bus (I generally prefer skiing to buses - I can get a bus back home! Confused ) you have a delightful long, slow button lift that goes downhill as well as up, it again runs up a high ridge, so for the last 150m or so you get "sandblasted" by ice particles! Lovely!

Another little gem, red run 16 back to the bottom of Plan Maison according to the map, actually finishes on the other side of town leaving you a 10 minute uphill walk to get back to the lifts! Deep joy & great planning!

For our final day, Saturday 21st Dec, weather dawns sunny & fairly clear as the forecast had promised - today they'll open the links surely - did they bo%$*x, instead they shut the aformentioned gondola for maintenance, which left us with 5 chair lifts & the Plan Maison gondola - great value for a £300 lift pass. We took the multiple chairs to get to the top of Theodulpass so we could actually see Zermatt, the link was, I think, technically, sort of, open, however as we could see only one T bar drag that even looked capable of operation & that had people stationary sitting on the T bars halfway up we decided discretion was definitely the better part of valour & headed back down into Cervinia to do the same few runs over & over again Mad Mad Mad

Will we be going back? No thanks, not unless I cam see a whole new lift & links system going in, I can honestly say it's one of the worst linked (& almost zero signage as well) resorts I have ever had the misfortune of going to - on the upside it was cheap (apart from the lift pass!) Confused
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Slight comfort: the skiing in Zermatt is overrated too Toofy Grin
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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?
Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing time. When the weather is bad though and lifts are closed it's never going to be a great holiday wherever you go. We've been to Valtournenche at Easter for a number of years and have enjoyed some great skiing.
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I went to Zermatt a few years back and 5 out of the 6 days I went over to Cervinia to carve the wide sweeping runs, have a lunch on a sunny terrace...yes, it was a gloriously sunny week, I guess that's the difference!!

When the weather is poor, it limits what you can do, wherever you go!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Cervinia and Zermatt are at their best in the Spring, particularly April. Generally much more snow, better weather, longer days and warmer temperatures.
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It's gotta be 10 years since I was in Cervinia and although we were blessed with good weather, even then it couldn't be said that modern lifts were one of the area's strong points...

If they haven't invested since then things must be getting very tired indeed.

I suggest writing to Silvio Berlusconi to demand your money back
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red 27 wrote:


I suggest writing to Silvio Berlusconi to demand your money back


I thought it was Mussolini that established the place in the 1930s.

Mind you, he would be unlikely to reply!! Laughing
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
March and April. Otherwise it's too bleak
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luigi wrote:
When the weather is poor, it limits what you can do, wherever you go!

True, but you can mitigate this by staying somewhere with some good treelined skiing and lower lifts that generally stay open. For example, this is why Plan Peisey or Montchavin/Les Coches are good bases for the Paradiski - you've still got easy access to high altitude skiing but have great skiing even in poor weather. (Have a look at Layne's live trip report for validation). I've had a brilliant day's skiing in amongst the trees either side of the Vanoise Express when the Arcs 1950/2000 bowl didn't open all day. On the flip side, it's why staying somewhere high altitude like Tignes or Val Thorens can seem like a great idea but be really miserable if the weather closes in.
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Oh well that's made me feel great, I'm out there in a couple of weeks with my skiing buddy. We chose a tame resort this year as he broke his collar bone last year on the Sasslong and needed to get his mojo back. Hopefully we'll have better weather than the OP.
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luigi wrote:

When the weather is poor, it limits what you can do, wherever you go!

Some of my very best days skiing have been as heavy snow falls. The tree lined runs of many Austrian resorts give the most fabulous conditions for skiing; sheltered, shadows, quiet...... absolutely superb.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Love Cervinia’s wide cruisy runs, much preferable to Zermatt’s icy busy pistes. Skied Cervinia a few times in November/December and had only one total lift closure day (due to winds) out of roughly 3 weeks.

Cervinia town is welcoming with great food - it’s a cool place, if sometimes a little forbidding surrounded by looming peaks. Would recommend.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
5RED wrote:
Love Cervinia’s wide cruisy runs, much preferable to Zermatt’s icy busy pistes. Skied Cervinia a few times in November/December and had only one total lift closure day (due to winds) out of roughly 3 weeks.

Cervinia town is welcoming with great food - it’s a cool place, if sometimes a little forbidding surrounded by looming peaks. Would recommend.


That's made me feel a lot better.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Like any life system straddling the main alpine ridge, it’s vulnerable to getting smashed by wind. Best as a pleasant sun trap in spring (when it can still be smashed by wind).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Went there once, over New Year for a week, and had a day when everything was closed due to high winds. The pistes were ok but suffered from the winds and were hard to bullet-proof in areas. Had a good trip over to Zermatt for sausage and chips and enjoyed the top runs near the link to CH.

Stayed half-board in a mid-class type hotel and booked in for the New Years Eve meal. This was a weird affair held in a very brightly lit dining room, in near total silence, with the proprietor pacing the length of the room slowly..... We ate the 7+ courses and legged it into the street before midnight to watch the fireworks and toast our freedom in a bar with other normal people. Probably won't return.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Like most resorts, it depends on conditions. We had a great time last season in Cervinia- fantastic snow, sunshine and lovely hopistaility in a 'cheap' hotel. Off piste was good, the guide was great and a really memorable piste run from the Swiss side down to Valtourneneche in perfect conditions. It was April.....
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Pre-Christmas skiing is overrated!

Ok, it’s for skiing practice (to prepare your legs for more trips in the main season), not skiing holidays.
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www.opensnowmap.org is useful for checking the geography of places as opposed to the marketing departments sometimes fanciful depictions on their piste maps. However you've got to be either really interested in maps or have the inclination to investigate it before you go.

There's not much you can do about the weather, the shape of the mountains and quality of the lifts once you're there. Just have to make the best of it. Although on a long term view highlighting the inadequacies of the lifts compared to what people have experienced elsewhere is driving competition between resorts. It has come up on a few threads recently.
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Cervinia is very high and exposed, so more susceptible to weather problems. I spent a week there in Feb 2011. It was very warm and sunny all week, up to +18º, so no issues with wind and lift closures, but very patchy snow conditions.

The village was quite nice, and there were some lovely good value restaurants, but on the whole I found the skiing rather bland. There was much better skiing, better snow conditions and variety on the Zermatt side, but you need a mortgage to pay for lunch!
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suggest skiing in Fridges in the UK. You are in the mountains for goodness sake. Skied in Cervinia a number of times, its very easy to navigate I would say. Its altitude, has all the very obvious pros and cons. Snow sure, generally good snow condition, v cold, and subject to high winds. It is a fabulous place to gain intermediate mileage and confidence. When the weather is bad you have a problem, as anywhere with no tree cover. suggest getting an old copy of 'where to ski and snowboard' when planning the next trip, or indeed one of the newer country specific titles. As@queenie pretty please, says, the skiing is relatively bland, but this is what makes it a great confidence building intermediate resort, - over the hill for the more exacting stuff.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
luigi wrote:

When the weather is poor, it limits what you can do, wherever you go!

Some of my very best days skiing have been as heavy snow falls. The tree lined runs of many Austrian resorts give the most fabulous conditions for skiing; sheltered, shadows, quiet...... absolutely superb.


Poor vis, heavy conditions underfoot, snow melting on goggles, cold and damp inevitably finding their way in...good for a few hours maybe, but not really conducive to a full day on the slopes...hence why it's so quiet!! wink
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Russbost wrote:
... We had waaay too much snow all week, crap visibility & flat light which I absolutely hate on the odd occasions when it wasn't actually snowing...
Skiers who don't like snow... possibly a beach holiday would work better? Most people I know can't get enough fresh snow. Skiing and ski resorts aren't for everyone. "too much snow" is when the slide risk means you can't ride the steeps and you can't get enough speed to penetrate your own bow wave. It happens, but it settles fast.

Cervinia is a bit pedestrian, but that's well known and most people know that you can't really get Zermatt skiing on the cheap quite that easily.
Flat light... find some trees, develop some skills, or depending on age get your cataracts done.

Zermatt may well be overrated by some, but it's an excellent place in good conditions. At this time of year the layout (check the piste map...) may mean you'll not ride the best stuff. That's true of many places.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I was two valleys east before and over Xmas and I can’t remember better conditions for tree sking with a few high mountain excursions weather permitting, true it got windy and kept activities low but it also kept the majority of locals away.
Adapt and survive
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went once in jan, was crap ........ white out and wind all week
Persuaded again on a trip with friends against my better judgement , same again . Had to wear Google’s down the street .
Been back for a few days in spring ........ whilst watching the weather ... it’s a different place
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Guess that’s the risk of Cervinia

Been a number of times and skied Zermatt most of the time (90%) .. few issues with wind but as said above it is exposed.

Plenty of investment going in the Zermatt side but little has gone in on Cervinia side. IMHO investment is urgently needed .. a single breakdown at key point can result in a long bus journey!

Cervinia can be Zermatt on the cheap weather allowing ..
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@FrequentFaller, funnily enough we'd chosen it as being a "tame" resort as this was first time skiing for my wife following an arthroscopy earlier this year.

Don't get me wrong, there's some good skiing to be had there & the town itself is lovely, but by modern large resort standard (PoS, Espace Killy, 3 valleys etc) the lifts & links are poor & what I really don't understand, as it would cost next to nothing, is that there is virtually no signage, you frequently struggle to find out what a lift's called until you're in the Q to get on it, & there's no general signage pointing you the right way to Valtournanche/Zermatt/Cervinia etc
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Russbost, I think the point about the ageing lift system is probably fair but the rest is, unfortunately, luck of the draw for a really high alpine resort.

For balance I had a great week there end November/first few days of December a few years back. Previous week was probably like you experienced but we had perfect long cruising pistes on the Italian side including the long run from the top right down through the Valtourneche sector. Several days over in Zermatt skiing trickier pistes then coming back for a late more affordable lunch on the Italian side.

In those conditions it was an intermediate paradise with the bonus of Zermatt with great food on and off the slopes.

So a large part is luck of the draw on conditions. Lifts could definitely be improved though I found the signage pretty clear.

@FrequentFaller, fingers crossed you'll be luckier with the conditions in which case it can be great!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@philwig, "Skiers who don't like snow... possibly a beach holiday would work better?" - ReallY??? I love snow, but I want to be skiing on it rather than trying frantically to clear goggles or glasses to actually be able to see from one piste marker to the next, if that's your idea of fun I can only guess you have X ray vision or are some form of masochist!
"Most people I know can't get enough fresh snow" - well, yeah, if it falls overnight or you get snow in the morning & get to ski the fresh stuff in reasonable visibility in the afternoon
"Flat light... find some trees, develop some skills, or depending on age get your cataracts done" - not a great deal of tree skiing available in Cervinia, particularly when you're cut off from Valtournanche by a single gondola being out of action & trees only help a little, they don't solve the problem of not being able to tell what's underfoot. I'd say my piste skiing skills are above the vast majority of British skiers other than those that have skied a season or have other privileged access to the slopes, off piste I'm fairly crap - but I wouldn't be venturing off piste when I can't even see the piste markers on piste!
Optician says I don't have any eye problems other than short sight corrected with glasses or lenses, I have little doubt however that my "old" eyes don't see contours as well as some young ones
You are obviously entitled to your opinion, but no reason to be deliberately insulting. I was simply trying to offer information to others such that they don't take a glance at a piste map thinking there's loads of skiing available, when in fact, it is very quickly limited by even just one gondola closure!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Russbost, Sorry you had a crap time, so annoying when skiing hols cost so much. Early season if you go low you risk poor/limited snow cover so it's hard to always get it right.
For balance we had a few days in Cervinia at the end of November and had a great time, some of the lifts are older but I wouldn't say it impacted our enjoyment at all. Drag lifts are a lot more resilient to wind so there is usually a good reason they are there.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
We had the same with the weather a couple of years ago. Amazing snowfall but wind meant the lifts where closed for 3 days out of 6. Such a shame but it’s a resort that does seem to get lots of closures. For that reason we won’t be going back.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Italy is often very poor for logistics. I've had good and bad experiences in cervinia. The good include probably my favourite piste descent ever after the lifts closed on empty pistes with alpenglow of sunset on the Matterhorn. Absolutely superb.

My best day's off piste was also there, super cold powder and the only genuine face shot I've ever had opening up a route under the main lifts with a guide and a bag.

But also some of my worst moments - having to drive to Pila, one hour each way, two days out of a four day trip because all the lifts were all shut due to wind. Then having to buy an additional lift pass when there because, despite having paid an extra ten euro a day to get the international pass and ski into Switzerland, said more expensive pass doesn't cover the other aosta resorts if the wind is up, even though the cheaper valley pass does.

That was pretty sickening though I think I can blame the Swiss for that. And the 70 euro roaming bill my phone company tried to charge me for a few texts on hallowed swiss turf.

Fwiw I much preferred the skiing in cervinia and the ambiance, food, coffee and wine. The only good thing about zermatt was the swiss view of Matterhorn and the very impressive lift infrastructure.
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Zermatt and Cervinia....my two least favourite places to ski, we went there 20 years ago and on separate holidays both resorts, we have never been back, poor infrastructure, vastly overrated skiing, nightmare to get to, Zermatt especially poor compared with the hype.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Markymark29, 20 yrs us a long time ago Zermatt has since installed many new lifts which are fast . .
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8611 wrote:
And the 70 euro roaming bill my phone company tried to charge me for a few texts on hallowed swiss turf.

That's because the EU forced the mobile operators to drop rip-off roaming charges across the EU a while back. But not of course in Switzerland. When you ski backwards and forwards between Zermatt and Cervinia, you soon learn to switch data off, and use the wifi in CH, but go wild as soon as you see I-Wind or whatever on your phone...
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@vipul, fair comment, never queued as much though, and found the Zermatt ski area was not easy to get between the 4 distinct areas, has that improved now?
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Markymark29 wrote:
@vipul, fair comment, never queued as much though, and found the Zermatt ski area was not easy to get between the 4 distinct areas, has that improved now?


It's now materially better. We go most years and you can now easily ski between all 4 mountain areas in a day without much worry. We love the place I must say!


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 2-01-20 17:46; edited 1 time in total
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Cervinia is where Zermatt sends the poor people.
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Run28 wrote:
It's now materially better. We go most years and you can snow easily ski between all 4 mountain areas in a day without much worry. We love the place I must say!


+3.

But it is a bit of a 'Marmite' place.... for example, you can end up doing quite a bit of walking, and the electrobuses can sometimes get a bit...cosy.

Today's Zermatt trivia: it's the only place where I've seen a street name with 12 letters, 6 of which are 'S': Spissstrasse. There you go.

This is probably in the wrong thread.
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@vipul, those 20 years did not change anything to pistes...the actual skiing in Zermatt/Cervinia is mediocre compared to Arlberg, 4V, Espace Killy and 3V
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Langerzug wrote:
@vipul, those 20 years did not change anything to pistes...the actual skiing in Zermatt/Cervinia is mediocre compared to Arlberg, 4V, Espace Killy and 3V


I'd have to disagree there. The pistes are kept in far better condition than anything you get in the 3V in my opinion. Last year and the year before in VT the piste bashers tended to get bored and leave runs untouched and unmanaged...pretty crap considering the amount to pay for a ski pass!
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