How to recognise an Italian ski resort and differentiate it from its neighbours from France or Switzerland at first glance?
First things first, look at women’s blow-dry. If ladies look like they’re coming straight out of the hairdresser no matter how much snow and wind there is through out the day: no doubt, you’re in Italy.
Last summer when coming back from 2 weeks in Tuscany I was stunned by how pretty, and above all stylish, Italian grand mothers were (see the article “fashion lessons learnt from Italian grannies“). Guess what? it applies on the slopes more than ever.
Second clue? are people throwing their skis and poles on the floor nonchalantly, creating an ocean of eclectic boards, Prada shoes, Gucci goggles, gloves and so forth outside of bars and restaurants? if yes, you’re in Italy. (note: if they’re meticulously organised, you’re in Switzerland)
Extra clue: if people around you can telephone while skiing AND gesticulating….where else? Italian skills will never cease to amaze travellers….
The charming village of Madesimo
My first weekend skiing on the Italian side was fantastic. Two hours driving from Milan, Madesimo feels very Italian at the weekend albeit being nested in Switzerland’s Ticino. The resort benefits from 60km of runs, the comfort of the Alps, decent equipment at reasonable prices. That being it’s a very small village, and those who go apres-skiing may be disappointed: BYO friends !!!
I guess the clear-blue sky and the good company helped making the weekend amazing, but overall it’s a really decent escape for a weekend. Flights to Milan are regular and cheap, then it requires to rent or share a rental car and drive up for 2 good hours. Lots of hairpin-type curves, stay with me.
We had diner in that very typical little chalet, Osteria Vegia...dear lord it’s a LOT of food. They serve a fixed menu of pizzoccheri “starters” or primo (about 2 days worth of food intake for a starter isn’t bad…); and a “secondo” composed of about 6 different sorts of meats served with a “contorno” of polenta. Forget the gilt, it just has to be seen, and tasted… proper banquet that is! I strongly recommend the grapa di miele (honey flavoured digestive) to top all that.
On Saturdays a couple of runs stay open late at night for those who’d like to go for diner up in the mountain. Make sure you set your skis right, your weight may significantly change before / after dinner!!!
And the actual discovery of the weekend was the local drink made from warm egg liquor and a thick layer of whipped cream topped by crunched hazelnuts. So powerful (over 30 degrees) it’s nicknamed “bombardino”, don’t think it requires translation!!! One of those…”and you’re off again“!!