Skiing, wining, dining and enjoying the good life in Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Alps is a true delight that has to be experienced to be believed.
Fortune favours the brave they say. Travelling to Trentino, Italy for three wintery weeks with two kids (10 & 2 years old) certainly put my wife and I in the brave (or crazy) category. Scoring a new year’s eve Etihad upgrade to business class was indeed fortunate. Snow falling as our Fly Ski Shuttle bus from Verona arrived in beautiful Madonna di Campiglio was nothing short of miraculous. The fact it gently snowed for another couple of days was everything I’d been praying for for the months, weeks, days and hours prior. And my prayers were answered as we skied in fresh shin deep pow for our first couple of days.
It’s no secret that Europe has had a less than spectacular 2015-16 season – on paper. However, as luck would have it we didn’t have to ski on paper, we skied on snow and plenty of it. In true Italian style the snow, along with the amazing food, wine and our meticulously tuned rentals, were prepared to perfection. And when I say prepared I mean made, groomed, made again, groomed again, made again …. you get the picture.
Over 100 kilometres of faultless snow covered the pistes from 2,504 metres at Passo Grostè to 1,400 metres in the neighbouring and interconnected Folgarida-Marilleva ski resorts. In such a massive area there’s something for everyone with safe wide long blues, including a 7km thigh burner from the top of Grostè to the Val Rendena valley floor through 900 odd vertical metres; to seemingly endless red runs, like the 3.5km Spinale Diretta; to seriously steep blacks, like Little Grizzly with a maximum gradient of 69.4%.
With snow guns humming day and night in the sub zero conditions the pistes were an absolute delight to rip up. Luckily I left the fat skis at home and opted to rent a pair of Rossi GS speed demons from Mauro and the crew at Noleggio Des Alpes. In return I gave them my 10 year old Porshia for three mornings of ski lessons with their sister company Scuola Italiana Sci Nazionale – Des Alpes. A fair trade I think, Porshia loved her awesome English speaking instructor Danilo and the mixed group of kids from Australia, Italy and Russia was a great cultural experience.
Madonna di Campiglio is nestled at 1,524 metres in the heart of the 618km2 Adamello-Brenta Nature Park with incredible panoramas of the magnificent Brenta Dolomites with their sheer grey limestone facades reaching skyward almost in defiance of gravity. The dominance, grandeur, rawness and power of these massive ancient rocks is unlike anything else in the world, as duly recognised with its inscription on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List in 2009; and with a total of 51 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy (the most of any country) the breathtaking skiing is but one reason to visit gorgeous Italy.
Another fine reason is the food, wine and grappa, not forgetting my personal favourites – bombardino for me and real hot chocolate for the kids; as for aprés it has to be Aperol Spritz or Campari Spritz, as our delightful waitress Anastasia would say in the hotel bar “as you prefer”.
The 4 star Hotel Miramonti directly adjacent the famous 3Tre FIS ski world cup slalom course, with almost ski in ski out access was a brilliant choice with a delightfully comfortable 2 bedroom family room, balcony and enough space for everyone. With two baby grands, rich red carpeting, wood panelling, a grand dining room and a lovely lounge bar it oozed 50s cool and I was expecting the rat pack to turn around the corner at any time.
As for the food, don’t get me started. Every night Chef Marco created a deliciously different and amazingly inventive four course dinner from homemade lobster ravioli to a carpaccio mille-feuille to pink grapefruit semi-freddo with grand marnier sauce, accompanied by a delicious Sicilian Nero d’Avola or Trentino Pinot Grigio or Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino, delivered with silver service (naturally!!) from maître d’hôtel Roberto and his excellent team. Whilst on mountain Chalet Fiat proudly serve an inch thick medium rare Angus for lunch at 2,101 metres.
Remember, you don’t come to Italy just for the brilliant skiing, the splendid scenery, the warm glow of the sun and even warmer hospitality, you come to Italy to spoil yourself, enjoy life and live it to the full – just like the Italians.
For packages, inspiration and know how: contact specialist travel consultant Tania Peccedi at www.skiitaly.com.au
The resort: www.campigliodolomiti.it
Where to stay & eat: www.miramontihotel.com
Who to learn with: www.scuolascidesalpes.it
What to rent: www.noleggiodesalpes.it
How to get there: www.etihad.com into Milan or Venice, then these guys www.flyskishuttle.com or for special treatment call Giulio www.ingoviaggi.com
The region: www.visittrentino.it
What to eat: Chocolate coated profiteroles of course