Ski holidays in Italy rarely disappoint. In between runs on perfectly groomed pistes accessed by state of the art lifts you’ll dip into a mountain restaurant or rifugio for a Michelin starred meal paired with a beautiful local wine. After you rip down the mountain soak away your worries in a sauna or spa before another delicious meal in a chic or quant town.
Trentino has long been famed with Italians for delivering a healthy dose of the Italian ski spirit and the secret is starting to get out. Ski holidays in Italy do not only offer better value than their counterparts in Austria or Switzerland visitors can expect a more relaxing vacation.
How to Plan Perfect Ski Holiday in Italy?
Pick the Right Location
There are a plethora of towns in the Trentino province that can operate as an enticing base. On our last trip to enjoy the Superski Dolomiti, we were based in the quaint Moena, which is a convenient base near Trento.
On our second ski trip to the Italian province of Trentino, we based ourselves in the small town of Moena and made full use of the Dolomiti Superski Pass. A lift pass that provides access to a seemingly endless amount of ski. In all, we were surrounded by 12 ski resorts, manicured pistes, and crisp sunny days the trip secured a place in our hearts.
Choose Central Accommodation
Once you narrowed down the region or specific resort weigh your options on what you’d like in accommodation along with budget. There are so many great ski-in/ski-out accommodation choices in the many villages in the Dolomiti Superski.
We stayed in the small and quaint town of Moena. Moena is located about 60 kilometers northeast of Trento and makes a great base for visiting places like Val di Fassa and Val di Fiemme. More specifically, it’s within close reach of the Alpe Luisa ski area.
It also has many restaurants and shops to enjoy. We stayed at Central Hotel Moena, which is family run and has clean and comfortable rooms! They’ve also got key amenities like a private sauna and ski room to dry out your gear each night.
Pick up a Dolomiti Superski Pass
The first thing to do when arriving at your base in the Trentino region of Italy is to pick up a Dolomiti Superski Pass. The pass provides access to 12 different ski areas with 1200 kilometers of sunny and snowy slopes that one has access to!
I really loved that we were able to get this pass on the first day of our trip, and not worry about buying any other passes for the remainder of our trip. Included in this pass are 450 super modern lift facilities, 50 charming villages, and neverending groomed pistes.
When you visit Dolomiti Superski and Trentino you’ll be taken aback by the vastness of the area. It is literally the largest ski carousel in the entire world! There’s always a village somewhere around, pistes for all levels of riders, mountain huts, and a great apres-ski scene.
Dolomiti Superski Details
What makes this Superski pass great? For one, you can always count on there being snow thanks to the advanced snowmaking facilities and 6000 snow generators. The groomers are always in fantastic shape – there are 320 snowcats grooming the piste every night.
Seriously, coming from Canada where groomed runs are a rarity and most resorts only have a few slow old chairlifts the size and professionalism of the operation in Trentino floored us.
To break it down even more across the 12 ski areas there are 40% blue slopes, 46% red slopes, and 14% black runs. As well as 18 snowparks, 32 family fun lines, and the most important part – 400 mountain restaurants (14 of them Michelin starred). The food is everything you could hope for.
The Dolomiti Superski Pass cost €56.00 for a one-day lift ticket, which is leaps and bounds cheaper than in North America. The longer you stay the more of a deal you get!
Pick Up a Guide
After visiting almost 50 different ski resorts in the world we have found without fail the best way to ensure we enjoy our day is to pick up a guide. Generally the larger the resort the more you will benefit from a guide/instructor, and these ski areas in Europe are large! It doesn’t matter your ability level, even expert riders and professionals hire out a local guide who knows the mountain to show them the best places to head.
Every day on a new mountain area we had a guide who helped us navigate our way around the resort. We would have been completely lost and constantly looking at a ski map without our guides. This was especially true on the Sellaronda day, where we skied over 30 km of pistes in four hours.
Rent or Bring Your Own
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to bringing your own gear or renting ski and snowboard equipment. If you have your own equipment and are flying from overseas I would recommend to at least bring your boots as a carry-on. Nothing will fit like your own boots and no rental will ride like your own gear.
However, it can be a real pain to lug all your ski and snowboard equipment with you when your traveling (we lug it everywhere and it is a pain!).
Sometimes it makes sense to rent your gear when traveling. If you are a beginner skiier or snowboarder I would recommend renting your gear for your first trip. If you are intermediate plus you’ll probably want your own gear with you even if it means carrying it around. You can see our epic skiing and snowboarding guide here.
I would suggest bringing all of your winter clothing items with you to Trentino before you arrive because if you find yourself needing a pair of mittens in a European ski town you’ll pay a steep price for them. Here’s our guide to packing for a ski and snowboard trip, which showcases an extensive list of items you’ll want to have.
If you’re heading to big cities in Europe, Decathlon is a great option for finding outdoor gear at a reasonable price. They have a few stores in Milan! We’ve been shopping here for years, and it’s safe to say it’s our favorite store in Europe.
Nail Your Transportation Plans
Once you’ve settled on your Italy ski trip you need to firm up flights and transportation. Milan is one of the best international destinations to fly into, although Verona, Bologna, and Venice work well too.
We’re often big advocates of renting a car and driving ourselves from sight to sight. However, it’s important to be a good winter driver. Both times we have visited this area of the world we have rented a car in Milan and used it for transport around the region. See more logistical information here.
Eat all the Delicious Food
One of the main reasons to go skiing in Italy is for all the delicious food. Breakfast in Italy usually consists of pastries and a cappuccino, while lunch on the mountain can be (and should be) a full-blown extravaganza. We’re talking three or four courses in between runs.
Every day for us in Trentino was a spectacle. Lunch on the mountain is nothing without a glass of vino or a spritz, while the meal usually consisted of Aperitivo, followed by Antipasto, and then Primo, and Secondo, and of course Dolce. Don’t forget at the end of the meal to finish off with a Digestivo con caffè (typically espresso).
Don’t worry about the calories, you’re on holiday and doing all that work skiing and snowboarding down the mountain. Get ready to do it all again at dinner! Don’t forget the Apres Ski scene either.
And Drink all the Amazing Drinks
You can’t visit a region like Trentino and not enjoy all the drinks that come with it. You’re on holiday so remember to enjoy all the wine at lunch and dinner as well as TrentoDoc.
Hit Up the Spa
There’s nothing better than hitting up a luxurious spa after a day on the slopes. The best part about skiing in Europe is that most hotels and guesthouses have a sauna to relax in.
After completing the Sellaronda ski circuit we made our way to QC Terme in Val di Fassa for a memorable evening soaking in the thermal baths with views of the Dolomites.
Try Other Activities!
If tackling the pistes or free ride options are not your calling there are other activities to give a try. There is a wide array of winter activities to enjoy in Trentino.
Strapping on a pair of snowshoes and getting into the woods is a popular way to feel closer to nature. And cross country skiing is a fun way to get outside and active in the beautiful Dolomites.
A few other activities you can try in Trentino are dog sledding, horse carriage riding, fat bike riding, and sledding!
Although we love to snowboard and spend most of our holidays on the slope it’s best not to assume the only thing you can to do on a ski or snowboard holiday is ski or snowboard.
We’ve done all sorts of activities around the slopes and suggest you research the individual offerings of every village and resort. Winter brings about so many fantastic and exciting opportunities.
Plan and Pack for Italy
Get a Travel Credit Card
How do we travel so much and avoid going broke? Well, we actually have many travel rewards credit cards. How many? Over 20 to be exact. If you’re a responsible credit card user I highly recommend looking at these travel rewards credit cards and earning points and air miles for your purchases.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun in Italy. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
I ALWAYS have a down jacket with me when I’m traveling in the winter, fall, or even spring, even in Italy. They aren’t just good for hikes, but doing anything outside. Mine came in particularly useful in the Dolomites.
Down jackets pack up light and small so there is no reason NOT to have one in your bag. Seriously it could save your life in a bad situation. We wrote a whole post on our favorites (hint –Feathered Friends, Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket, Patagonia Down Sweater, REI Coop Down Jacket)
I love real books, but for traveling it can be easier to carry a lighter and more compact item like a Kindle. Plus, then you can download new books on the go!
Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourist that buys plastic water bottles in Italy. It’s a waste of money and plastic!
Delsey 24″ Spinner
Delsey makes my favorite hard side luggage and after five years of travel around the world, they have yet to let me down. Plus their bags look incredibly stylish, which is essential in countries like Italy. Many of their bags have heavy duty wheels, TSA accepted locks and two full packing compartments with tie-down straps and a zippered divider. If you want something different, check out our other favorite carry on luggage pieces.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the Italian beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
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Pack Your Bags
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