Madonna di Campiglio is officially rated the top resort in Italy for piste-grooming – which is handy, because it’s also home to several classic blacks, and the combination of smooth corduroy and challenging gradients will put a smile on any confident intermediate’s face. Because of the quality of the grooming and the relatively uncrowded pistes in the main sectors, many will find they can handle steeper slopes in Campiglio than elsewhere in the Alps.
Best for enthusiastic intermediates and advanced skiers
As a result, we think it serves fit and enthusiastic intermediates and advanced skiers best, because the steeper pistes are so much fun (especially in mid-winter when the snow’s in good nick). There are some decent nursery slopes here, but to come all this way and not have a crack at the Schumacher Streif or Amazzonia (see below), would be missing the point.
Freestylers will like it too, thanks to the Ursus terrain park, which is set on the rolling, ex-glacier terrain at Grostè. However, if you’re really serious about your jumps and tricks we’d recommend a pilgrimage to one of the greats instead – Laax, Breckenridge or Whistler.
By contrast, powderhounds will be frustrated. Much of the surrounding land is National Park, and off-piste skiing is restricted as result.
Three local sectors to choose from
The ski area is split into three distinct sectors – Cinque Laghi, Pradalago and Monte Spinale/Grosté – cunningly linked by a piste at resort level which is maintained with snow cannons. All three are of modest size – totalling only 60km – but the quality of the slopes is consistently high (and there’s more skiing nearby).
The first area, Cinque Laghi, is reached by a five-minute cable-car ride from the centre of the village. It’s most memorable for the 3-Tre piste, which starts red, but turns a wicked shade of black as it becomes the notorious Canalone Miramonti, which used to be a World Cup slalom course.
Next up is Pradalago (above) which is the largest of the three sectors, and offers consistently stunning views across to the western wall of the Brenta Dolomites. The Amazzonia black, from here back to the resort is a stunner, and the blue Pradalago Facile run is a lot of fun too. In mid-winter, the snow on these slopes is usually in excellent condition – and midweek the slopes are empty.
The third and final area is Monte Spinale/Grosté, on the opposite side of the valley and reached by a two-stage gondola from the east side of town. At 2443m this is the high point of the ski area. Up here you’ll find the terrain park (which is where all the snowboarders are), as well as the extraordinary Spinale Direttissima black, beneath the gondola, which is really just a red until you get to an insanely steep bit at the end called the Schumacher Streif, in honour of Ferrari’s famous F1 driver. It’ll give most skiers a bit of fright, the first time – but it’s only short, and in fact a real confidence-booster (because nearly everyone makes it down without falling).
Pinzolo is the best of the ‘extra bits’
Once you’ve explored the main slopes above Campiglio, you’ll more in the neighbouring resorts of Marilleva, Folgarida, and Pinzolo – provided you’ve invested in the more expensive Superskirama lift pass (which we strongly recommend if you’re coming for more than three days).
Marilleva and Folgarida lie to the north of Madonna di Campiglio and you can ski your way over to their pistes from the Pradalago sector. Pinzolo is reached form the Cinque Laghi sector by a spectacular 16-minute gondola ride. Chances are, in a week-long ski holiday you’ll ski all three, but all the same Pinzolo is the best of them. It offers a good mix of slopes, wonderful up-close views of the Brenta Dolomites, and quieter pistes. Marilleva and Folgarida can be a bit hectic, especially on the easier blues and reds – a stark contrast with the empty slopes of Campiglio.