Top Lift: 2125m
Ski area: 50km of piste
Adult lift pass: 118-196€ for six days
In a Nutshell
Andalo is big with the Italians – and almost no-one else. But this modest ski resort, perched on a cliff above the Val d’Adige, deserves wider recognition, both for the quality of its intermediate pistes, and its family-friendly atmosphere.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
The north-western face of the Cima Paganella is an obvious place to ski. You wouldn’t think it, looking up at the mighty cliffs that rise roughly 2000, straight up, from the Val d’Adige. But get round to its hidden, northern face, and you’ll find long slopes of even pitch, which start above the tree line, and keep going through thick pine forest to a plateau, 1000m below. Slopes like this are not something you’ll find every day in the mountains. So it’s no wonder skiing got going here early. By the early 1960s Andalo was famous for its “3-Tre” race – a key stage on the ski-racing circuit before the development of the World Cup.
In recent years, the resort has tried to cloak itself in ski-racing glamour once more, with a commercial deal which brought Team America to the resort for early-season training (cue pictures of Bode Miller on the piste map, and some toe-curling TV commercials). It also hosts a strange hybrid event called the World Alpine Rockfest which combines World Cup stars, a floodlit race with big cash prizes, and live music. The event draws big crowds – testament to Andalo’s continuing popularity – and high-profile – amongst the Italian skiing audience.
It’s ironic that so much effort is being put into this kind of event – because ski racing and rock music are not really what Andalo is about. Instead, this is a place that suits self-reliant families in search of good skiing and low prices; or someone who’s in the market for week’s holiday which mixes spa treatments and pool sessions with occasional bouts of good skiing, and which isn’t going to break the bank. Here’s why:
Quick airport access and high-quality piste skiing
Andalo is dead easy to get to from Verona airport. You bomb up the A22 motorway for 65 miles, and the resort is less than half an hour from the Trento Nord exit.
When you get there, you’ll find some good skiing, too. Several of the intermediate runs are gorgeous – notably the descent to Santel from the summit of Cima Paganella – a glorious sustained red (upper-intermediate) which seems to go on forever and is usually deserted in the middle of the week. It’s the kind of run that will light up an entire weekend. Or provide Mum or Dad with half an hour of secret, high-speed bliss, while their other half is shepherding the kids down something a little gentler.
Family-friendly hotels and reasonable prices
Andalo has some well-kept, family-friendly hotels. Yes, their clientele is overwhelmingly Italian, but a self-reliant family will still enjoy the facilities and laid-back attitude to children bombing about all over the place. The prices are reasonable, too. A smooth espresso is 1€, an off-season six-day ski pass is 114€, a really good mountain-top plate of spaghetti with chestnut and venison is 10€. The resort has a great big indoor pool complex: the AcqauIN centre is perfect for days when the children need some time off from the slopes.
There are only two drawbacks from a family-skiing perspective. First is the lack of long easy blue-rated pistes.There are a few of them, above the treeline, but really, you’ll enjoy it best if everyone in your party is comfortable on a red-rated, upper intermediate piste. Second, it is very Italian. There are no British family-ski specialists offering holidays to the resort – and in fact no British tour operators here at all. So you’ll need to be an adventurous and self-reliant group to get the most from it.