Where to learn? Where to start? Madonna di Campiglio and its neighbour Pinzolo have twelve – TWELVE – ski, snowboard and cross-country skiing schools, a ridiculously high number for a medium-sized ski area.
Nevertheless, despite the fierce competition for custom, prices are a shade higher here than in other Dolomite ski resorts. Best value – compared with the rest of the skiing world – are the private lessons. They cost roughly 2/3rds of the price of private ski lessons with a British instructor in an A-list French resort. In fact, if there are four of your in the group skiing more or less at the same level it makes more sense to get your ski lessons privately than booking places on a group glass. With the 5 Laghi School in 2012, 4x2hr private lessons cost €160. 6x2hr group lessons cost €165.
Under those circumstances, we’d strongly advise booking the private lessons. You won’t have to worry about being landed in a multilingual group, and you’ll find that in four private lessons your to skiing to develop much more quickly than in six group lessons. The close personal attention and more relaxed atmosphere will see to that.
Given how strong (for an Italian resort) snowboarding is in Madonna di Campiglio, it’s no surprise that there are two specialist snowboarding schools here: the Zebra Snowboard School and Professional Snowboarding. The focus of the scene here is very much on freestyle rather than freeride, because of the limited off-piste opportunities in the resort.
One final point. We don’t rate Madonna di Campiglio as one of the best ski resorts for complete beginners. The nursery slopes are at Campo Carlo Magna – which is a bus ride away in the next village, and at modest altitude to boot, so that whenever there’s a thaw you’ll be learning on slush. After that, there are two areas of relatively easy skiing to progress to: at the top of the Pradalago and Grosté sectors, but coming back down into the resort is tricky as the slopes are mainly steep. This is a place to come and improve as an intermediate, rather than a first-time skier.