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The best ski resorts near Milan

Diana Skok Corridori

Contributor

Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, and few would likely associate winter sports with it, but Milan is located in a strategic spot for visiting some of the best skiing spots Europe has to offer. With just two to three hours by car, you can hit a variety of slopes from the ultra-chic ski resorts of Switzerland to the Olympic worthy slopes of Piedmont and France. Here are six of the best ski destinations near Milan.

CHAMONIX, FRANCE

Chamonix was the site of the first winter Olympics in 1924 and is located at the foot of Mont Blanc where France, Switzerland and Italy all meet up and is three hours from Milan. It is known as “the death-sport capital of the world.” It got that scary nickname because it has long been associated with adventurous winter sports including ice climbing, paragliding and freeriding. But if you are a beginner, no worries because at the bottom of the valley, there are some easy slopes for newbies and children.

If you are not a skier at all but love the mountain life, Chamonix makes for the perfect getaway. Make sure to “step into the void,” which is the name of the glass cube situated at the top terrace of the Aiguille du Midi at an altitude of 3842 metres offering 360° views of the Alps.

If you are afraid of heights, take a stroll inside the Glacier des Bosson, a glacier cave that takes on various shades of blue and feels like walking through an ice sculpture. 

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND

St. Moritz known as the birthplace of winter sports was home to the 1928 and 1948 Olympics as well as the location to the opening scene of the James Bond movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me.” It is a mere three-hour drive from Milan.

This glittery Swiss town has fewer than 5,000 citizens, but hosts more than half a million visitors each year and is considered one of the most exclusive mountain resorts in all of Europe. There is no doubt that St. Moritz is the winter wonderland of choice for the ultrarich, but also for serious skiers. In addition to the endless daytime ski options, make sure to take advantage of Corvatsch Snow Night with its four kilometre illuminated ski run.

After a day of non-stop ski, make sure to indulge in the healing springs that made St. Moritz famous long before it was known as a top ski destination.

Other fun interests? The exclusive annual Snow Polo World Cup that takes place on the frozen lake of St. Moritz. 

ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND

Another Swiss town only three hours from Milan is Zermatt, a car-free hamlet with the most photographed mountain in the world, the Matterhorn, acting as its backdrop.

Zermatt offers 360 kilometres of pistes, the highest peak at Klein Matterhorn, with an altitude of 3,883 metres. With this kind of height, in addition to great skiing comes spectacular views not only of the “shark tooth” peak of the Matterhorn, but also Mont Blanc and the Gran Paradiso.

There are slopes suited to all levels, and for more adventurous skiers, because of Zermatt’s extremely high altitudes and numerous north-facing slopes, there are extensive off-piste options as well.

Don’t think the ski fun ends when winter does. Zermatt is a snow-sure resort and the Theodul Glacier is suitable for skiing and snowboarding during the summer months too.

CERVINIA, ITALY

Just on the other side of Zermatt is the Italian side of the Matterhorn, (Cervino in Italian). The town is Breuil-Cervinia aka Cervinia and is about two and a half hours from Milan.

The lure of Cervinia is the amount of snowfall this area gets. Given its top altitude of 3,500 meters, snow is guaranteed - and like Zermatt - summer ski is available for all levels.

BORMIO, ITALY

This alpine destination is in the Valtellina Valley of Italy and is known not only as a ski destination, but also for its thermal waters. The hot springs have been in use here since Roman times and Leonardo himself even took a dip in these healing waters. In addition to skiing, there is also the option of snowshoeing in the Stelvio National Park – one of the largest nature reserves in Europe and where the snow-covered summits exceed 3,000 metres.

Only three hours from Milan, Bormio is the go-to destination for ski and spa. 

VIA LATTEA, ITALY

The Via Lattea (Milky Way) straddles the French-Italian border and was the site of the 2006 Olympics. It is less than a three-hour drive from Milan. There are five Italian resorts here; Sestriere, Sauze d´Oulx, Sansicario, Pragelato and Claviere and one French; Montgenèvre. You can easily check out the other resorts in the compound by taking the interconnected slopes. Some of them even take you across the border between France and Italy. This way, you can have a croissant for breakfast and enjoy Italian cuisine for dinner. 

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