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Posted: 27 February 2017

Italy's Hidden Gems

Hi, Beth here!

As part of Halsbury’s team of Ski Specialists, I’ve had the pleasure to visit many, many ski resorts in my time, from the world-famous to those I’d never heard of before.

In my experience, it’s often these smaller, lesser known resorts that make for the best school ski trips. There are usually less crowds and shorter or non-existent queues for the lift – which means more time actually spent skiing for your group.

You can also expect a really warm welcome. In these smaller resorts, hotels are often run by families, creating a very child-friendly atmosphere, which works really well for school trips.

So, here are some of what I think are Italy’s hidden gems:

Champorcher

• Doorstep skiing on a budget• High-altitude skiing (above 2500m)• Just 13 hours from Calais

The newest addition to our website, Champorcher is a charming resort in the Aosta Valley. Part of the Monterosa ski area, it’s just 2 hours north of Milan, so you could choose to fly here.

But if you’re looking to keep costs down, travelling to Champorcher by coach is also a great option – at just 13 hours’ drive from Calais, it does represent one of the shortest transfer times from the French port.

It also offers doorstep skiing at really affordable prices. The hotel we usually use here is just 150m from the ski lifts, which also means you can head back to the hotel for a hot lunch!

Although it is a smaller resort, it does offer a great variety of runs for all levels and is suitable for snowboarders too. There are two beginners’ areas, both served by magic carpets. And, for the more advanced skiers in your group, one ‘must-ski’ is the famous Bosco slope, which is used in training by the French, Swedish and Spanish national skiing teams!

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Italy's Hidden Gems

Hotel Sommeiller, Bardonecchia

• Oldest hotel in Bardonecchia• Next to the BEST pizzeria in Italy• Hotel restaurant also renowned for its cuisine

My next hidden gem is a hotel rather than a resort. Often group leaders hear ‘Bardonecchia’ and think of the Hotel Villaggio Olimpico, which accommodated athletes during the 2006 Winter Olympics. That’s a great hotel which we do often use for our school groups. But it is very big. The Hotel Sommeiller is a much smaller, charming option.

The hotel is still run by the same family as when it opened in the late 19th century. The lifts are about 1km from the hotel, but a shuttle bus means you don’t have to trudge through the snow to reach them.

Most importantly, your students won’t go hungry when staying at the Hotel Sommeiller. The hotel’s restaurant is famous for offering delicious, hearty meals – ideal for young skiers. And the hotel is also next to what we reckon might just be the BEST pizzeria in Italy (and we’ve been to a fair few!).

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Italy's Hidden Gems

Madonna di Campiglio & Pinzolo

• Charming village in the Brenta Dolomites• 150km of slopes• Plenty of après-ski activities to choose from

Madonna di Campiglio and its charming little neighbour, Pinzolo, are massive favourites of us here at Halsbury because they offer such great school ski experiences for our groups.

Set in the stunning Dolomites, if you’re looking for a resort that will leave an impression on your students, this is it. Many of our groups choose to stay in the smaller Pinzolo, which is centered around its 14th century church.

Apart from the 150km of slopes a huge highlight of this resort is Pinzolo Campiglio Express gondola. That may sound a little bizarre, but trust me, the ride from Pinzolo to Madonna di Campiglio, Folgarida and Marilleva, is breathtakingly beautiful.

As well as all this, there’s a great range of après-ski activities to try out, from dog sledding and snowmobiling to ice skating, swimming and snowshoeing.

I hope that’s given you some food for thought! If you’re interested in visiting any of these hidden gems with your group, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Beth Hall

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