(Madonna di Campiglio, Italy)
After 5 days of spring in Orvieto and Padova, it was finally time to jump back into winter with a week’s skiing in Madonna di Campiglio! Within Italy, Madonna di Campiglio is known as being a rather posh resort…perhaps second only to Cortina d’Ampezzo in terms of prestige. Outside of Italy, however, it seems to be attracting mainly skiers from eastern Europe.
We took a train from Padova to Verona, where we caught a shuttle bus that would take us directly to Madonna di Campiglio in just over three hours. Well, it should have been just over three hours. In reality, a massive snowstorm struck as we neared the village and the road to the resort was closed at Pinzolo. We patiently waited on a bathroom-less bus for nearly 3 hours until the road had been cleared (and I use that term lightly) and we were able to proceed.
Yes, a three-hour delay was an inconvenience. We never really knew when the road would eventually reopen and, even once we got going, the steep and winding road was pretty scary in the snowy darkness. However, this sort of thing needs to be viewed from the perspective of a skier: we were getting 41cm of fresh snow on the eve of our first day of skiing! This is awesome!
Our arrival in the resort was wondrous: with all of that fresh snow still fluttering down and the narrow streets lined with wooden “alpine” architecture, Madonna di Campiglio looked like a old-fashioned Swiss mountain village on Christmas Eve. Our hotel was strategically located just above the Piazza Brenta Alta and just a short walk from two ski lifts. When you consider that our hotel last year in Sestriere was next to what smelled like a sewage plant, we felt incredibly lucky to be in Madonna di Campiglio.
We awoke to mostly sunny skies and a vast new ski area to discover. We spent the first day mostly in the Marilleva area, adjusting back to life on two skis after nearly a year away from the slopes. By lunch, the weather was warm enough for us to have lunch on an outdoor terrace overlooking the slopes at the Orti Rifugio. With disco-schlager music (Anton aus Tirol never seems to go away) providing the pumping soundtrack, it seemed like just yesterday that we were last skiing in Italy.
Our first impressions: the mountains here are beautiful and there is a huge amount of snow. The pistes were not too challenging…but we suspect that some worthy challenges are just around the corner. And the dinners at our hotel have been fabulous so far, with an antipasto-laden open salad bar in addition to the three-course meals.
Stay tuned for more skiing!