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Why Don’t People Ski in Italy?

Back at the start of this year, 2013, Italian newspaper Il Corriere Della Sera ran an article with the headline – only 5 in every 100 skiers choose Italy. Very odd, I thought.

Having skied in Italy and visited quite a number of resorts in the north of of the country, I never had any problems. Admittedly I didn’t go skiing during peak holiday periods but the resorts I saw, I liked. I skied at Breuil – Cervinia Valtournenche, Madesimo, Domodossola and a few other resorts, the names of which I have long forgotten. I always had a good time. The slopes were rarely crowded and the views spectacular. I can’t really comment on the quality of the skiing because I was never the world’s greatest skier, but the pistes were always in a good condition. Ski and boot hire were painless too, as was getting hold of a ski pass.

I often went skiing in Italy with people who could ski properly and they seemed to be happy with where we went – most were Italian friends. So what are the problems? Why don’t more people chose Italy as a ski destination? I asked this question on Twitter.

Some Comments on Skiing In Italy

One reply I got from a British skier was a complaint about bad mannered, queue jumping Italians.  Smoking also put this skier off the made in Italy ski experience. Then there’s this post by Italy based snowboarder, Tiana Kai who wrote: How to Ski Like an Italian. Tiana also found the queuing habits of Italians oafish and was irritated by smokers too. Personally, I can’t remember having problems with ski lift queue jumpers and didn’t notice the smokers.

A number of years ago, some UK friends of mine went skiing in Cortina. While they liked the area and the skiing, they found the locals to be a little snobby. It didn’t sound as if they would return to that resort in the future. Another Briton found Cortina dripping with bling and thought Cortina was more of a posers’ than a skiers’ paradise. An American skier rates the skiing at Cortina very highly.

Another couple of replies came from the USA too. The comments were that Italy is usually associated with the sun and many Americans simply do not realise that Italy has snow covered mountains. I suppose this is possible, but America does have plenty of its own ski resorts which are much closer to home than Italy is for Americans.

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Others spoke highly of the Livigno and Val Gardena ski areas. La Thuile is apparently a good resort to visit if you have children as the pistes are easy to get to and from in your ski clobber. As anyone who has worn them will know, walking in ski boots is not easy!

A Marketing Issue?

Could another problem be that of marketing? Italians do tend to promote areas of Italy within Italy and often ignore foreigners. This title of this recent article on the Canadian Globe and Mail website implies that poor marketing could be an issue: The Italian Alps resort town most skiers don’t know about

A Presentation Problem?

Some Italian ski resorts still have websites which are in Italian only. This won’t help foreign skiers find them, but the main ski resorts do have websites in English, even if some, such as the Skipass Valle d’Aosta website could be better.

Though it has an English section, the Vialattea website is rather grotty alas, and this may hide the fact that the Vialattea area has no less than 250 miles of runs. A one day pass is not too pricey either, though the information on ski pass prices is not at all easy to understand. This article on the Outside website indicates that the Vialattea area is far from well-known: The Best Undiscovered Ski Resorts in Europe: Pragelato, Italy

Then again, the Val Gardena website certainly looks impressive, while the Livigno ski resort website, which might be the official website, though it is hard to know, is a little lacklustre.

And You?

Have you skied in Italy? If so, where did you go? Did you have a good time, or did you have problems? Would you return to Italy for a ski holiday? Let us all know via a comment!

Let’s find out why only 5 out of every 100 skiers choose Italy.

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