Winter is coming, some may say, and I’m dreaming of white powder, high mountains, cool ski resorts, and large slopes.
I am not that winter fanatic as you may think. I’m not ashamed to admit, I don’t like winter and cold. I’d go for a sweltering day than a freezing cold winter. But the mountains landscape and the adrenaline rush you get on the slope it’s different. We have a few options for skiing in Romania, but in Europe, nothing compares to the Alps.
Italian Alps: Breuil-Cervinia
This is the Italian side of Matterhorn: that beautifully pyramid shaped and sharp mountain climbed by professional alpinists. You probably know it from your Toblerone. And to be honest, this is more photographed from Zermatt, from the Swiss area, rather than Breuil-Cervinia.
Breuil-Cervinia it’s one of the highest resorts so here’s a good option for the long ski season. Also, going here for the summer glacier skiing and snowboarding sounds pretty cool.
The awesomeness of the resort is that Italians share Matterhorn mountain and a large ski area with Switzerland. So you can stick with the Italian ski area or you can go nuts on both Cervinia and Zermatt.
Just make sure you check the ski lifts program and get back in time in Italy. Consider queues and bad weather conditions when the ski lifts which connect both areas are closed. Otherwise, you’ll spend so much money and hours in the cab coming back.
Between these two resorts, I recommend Breuil-Cervinia for accommodation, especially due to the price value. Also, I’ve heard the food is more delicious in this Italian region, Aosta Valley.
How to get there
The closest airport is Turin Airport and you have good bus transfers from there. Anyway, Geneva and Milan’s airports are a good alternative, if you are fine to add an extra hour driving. Milan runs a lot of low costs, so we took this option and rented a car.
Ski pass and domain
- 200 km of snow fun: 72 ski runs in Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche and 78 in Zermatt. Here’s the ski map.
- You can take a full pass for 6 days in Cervinia for 220 euro or pay 290 euro for the stretched Italian – Swiss ski area. Ski pass tariffs in 2017 for Breuil Cervinia here and for Breuil Cervinia Zermatt here. As Cervinia offers a lot of options, I have combined the tickets and took only 2 days in Cervinia & Zermatt.
Tip: Zermatt has more ski runs for experts and stunning panoramic views. However, if the weather is not good, you may not fully enjoy the combi ticket all the days.
In Zermatt, you can go up at Matterhorn glacier paradise (3.883m) and also take a train that runs through the heart of the ski domain and stops at Gornergrat platform (3.089). Do not miss this!
You can stay in the heart of the resort, in Breuil – Cervinia (see picture below) or in Cielo Alto. You’ll save some money but spare some minutes walking to the main ski lift, to the main restaurants and supermarket. Cielo Alto means 5 min drive with your car or with the bus (1 euro) or simply walk for about 15 min, or even better, jump on your ski or snowboard from the backyard.
I’d say this is a great option for large groups, as there are many apartments to rent. And you can start your day on a quiet black slope. Accommodation for 7 days at 140 euros – 150 euros (in March) it’s a good deal.
Ski Resort tips
- Food: try baked polenta, pasta, and pizza. Aosta Valley offers a wide range of local products, and I know you’re thinking of delicious types of cheese, prosciutto, and other dry hams.
- Not a place for huge after-parties and long night dancing, the average age is probably 35 +. A lot of grandpas and grandmas (I mean 60 yrs old, not joking!!) which you’ll envy and you’ll wish to be like them 30 years later. However, Friday late evenings, after 10 pm, are known for pub-crawls.
- Apres-sky and a good meal (around 15 – 20 euros, reservation recommended) at Chalet Etoile, Plain Maison. At least have a hot tea break here. The view is enchanting with the Matterhorn reigning over.
- Great for intermediate and advanced intermediate, but lots ski runs are large and off-piste skiers have a good playground for their own!
Why I loved it?
You can’t get bored on the mountain! I loved the mix of options, the shared Cervinia and Zermatt ski area, and the fact that I could get up to 3800m.
Plus, I’ve read here that: “if you ski continuously for 4hrs every day for 6 days you would not do the same run twice.”