For mountain-lovers, skiing, snowshoeing or walking in the mountains of Bergamo, surrounded by snow-clad peaks and deep valleys, is an unforgettable experience.
With the first snowfalls the ski-lifts start working, allowing skiers to reach the top of the long ski-runs leading down to the valleys below. The passion for skiing is not a new one – it goes back to the early part of the last century when there were no skilifts, chairlifts and other means of reaching the mountain tops.
The ski resorts in the Bergamo area offer the chance to try various winter sports: downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, hot-dogging and tobogganing…..as well as freestyle and para-skiing.
And why not try travelling across the snowfields by snowmobile, even nicer at night under a full moon, or skating on one of the several ice rinks.
Lovers of high altitude alpine skiing can get to places which in winter can’t be reached by road or skilift. For example you can get up to the Passo San Marco and visit the military trenches from the First World War. Or up past Schilpario to the Passo dei Campelli, white rocky flats overshadowed by the towering Dolomite-type peaks of the Cimon della Bagozza, then on to another mountain pass, the Passo del Vivione leading to the Val Camonica.
At Monte Pora, chairlifts take you up to wide, sunny ski slopes, where, as you ski, you can enjoy pleasant views over Valle Seriana and Lake Iseo and on towards Val Camonica and the Adamello peak. As well as skiing you can also try your hand at tobogganing at the Presolana Pass.
Surrounded by the Presolana mountains are the Colere ski-runs, while other important ski resorts include Spiazzi di Gromo and Lizzola.
For lovers of cross-country skiing, the ski-run through the fir trees at Schilpario, in the Valle di Scalve, is of high international standards.
In the Valle Brembana, Branzi and Oltre il Colle offer enjoyable cross-country ski-runs, and the resorts of Foppolo, San Simone, Carona, Valleve, and Valtorta offer wonderful downhill pistes.
Near the ski-runs there are comfortable, well-heated mountain chalets where you can relax and taste the typical dishes of Bergamo.
When the day’s skiing is over, you can stay up near the slopes to enjoy après-ski activities. Alternatively you can go back down to enjoy the entertainment offered by the villages in the valleys: festivals, a wide choice of bars, pizzerias, family-style restaurants and shops selling local products including typical mountain cheeses.
And if that is not enough, the valleys offer even more: evening ski excursions, snowshoeing trips and torchlight processions down the mountains, not to mention thrilling trips by snowmobile, ski races, and cross-country motorbiking.
And in December a focal point is the traditional lively Christmas market.
A holiday spent in the snow-covered mountains of the Orobic Alps is an unforgettable experience.
The Orobie Ski Resort
The ski resorts in the province of Bergamo are diverse and close at hand. Here are the details of the various resorts, so that you can organise an unforgettable holiday on the snow.
RESORTS: Foppolo; Carona; SanSimone – Valleve; Piazzatorre; Valtorta – Piani di Bobbio; Oltre il Colle – Zambla – Alpe Arera
TOTAL KM OF DOWNHILL RUNS: 171
NO. OF RUNS: black (difficult) 13; red (medium) 36; blue (easy) 27
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: loops of distances from 1.5km to 16km for a total of 72km
NO. OF SKI LIFTS: 35
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE OF SKI RUNS: 2,163m (Foppolo)
SERIANA VALLEY AND SCALVE VALLEY
RESORTS: Monte Pora – Castione della Presolana; Passo della Presolana; Lizzola – Valbondione; Selvino – Aviatico; Gromo – Spiazzi – Timogno; Schilpario; Colere
TOTAL KM OF DOWNHILL RUNS: 106
NO. OF RUNS: black (difficult) 6; red (medium) 24; blue (easy) 17
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: loops of distances from 3km to 10km for a total of 44km
NO. OF SKI LIFTS: 35
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE OF SKI RUNS: 2,250m (Colere)
A Weekend on Skis
Here are some ideas for a two-day holiday on the snow suited to all tastes:
Skiing and good cuisine
1st day: Our first day’s skiing should take place in Foppolo, one of the major ski resorts of the Alpine region. The ski lifts climb up to 2,100 metres, giving skiers the opportunity to use dozens of kilometres of sun-kissed pistes. The day can be spent skiing, winding down slopes through striking natural environments, or there is the option for variation with ice-skating and cross-country skiing. At the end of the day, an excellent meal made with traditional produce and the valley’s special cheeses can be enjoyed, without forgetting to taste polenta taragna, which is renowned in this area. Discos and after-ski clubs complete the evening.
2nd day: We continue on, with a ski on each foot, to the Bremboski area which also includes the San Simone-Valleve and Carona resorts, making a total of 80 kilometres of pistes. Piazzatorre and Valtorta, a small centre hidden away between the mountains, whose ski lifts reach the Piani di Bobbio resort, are not to be missed. In the afternoon, we can visit a few dairies, such as Branzi and Val Taleggio, to taste the best of the local dairy produce, and then descend to the valley to dine in San Pellegrino Terme, the famous spa location, where we can admire splendid “Art Nouveau” buildings, testimony to the glories that the city experienced during the “Belle époque”.
Sun, ski and wellness
1st day: We immediately strap on our skis and start from the best known resort of the Presolana area – Monte Pora with its wide slopes, out of which 14 pistes with a total length of 40 kilometres have been carved among exciting views of the Presolana mountain. After a brief stop in a mountain refuge, we continue on to nearby Passo della Presolana. The pistes here, which are 15 kilometres long, are preferred by families: there’s plenty of space for children to have fun. After a day of sport, what could be better than a wellness experience for relaxation and regeneration, enjoying the treatments and natural products of the mountain environment?
2nd day: We arrive in Lizzola and ski in the extraordinary amphitheatre offered by some of the highest peaks in the Orobie range. There are 5 ski lifts, with 6 pistes and 20 kilometres of slopes, and a wide choice of trails of varying difficulty. Alternatively, Spiazzi di Gromo offers a quieter environment, where 15 kilometres of slopes, suitable for all, extend along its beautiful valley. In the evening, we can walk through the alleyways of Clusone, a town located at the foot of the valley, which offers many characteristic places for dinner and after dinner, as well as a delightful historical centre.
VALLE DI SCALVE
Skiing and ancient traditions
1st day: The queen of the downhill slopes in the province of Bergamo is Colere with its Ski Area 2200. Its lifts, as described by the ski resort’s name, take skiers up to 2,200 metres among the majestic scenery of the Presolana mountain. With FISI approved slopes, skiing here satisfies even the experts.
2nd day: For the next day we make a radical change and move to the other record-breaking piste of the valley: the cross-country skiing track which, from Schilpario, disappears into the pine forest, with trails of varying difficulties (including a competition one) and truly special natural panoramas. The small Val di Scalve is rich in traditions, the mining industry being the most fascinating one; a visit to the ancient mines is not to be missed. To discover the real lives of the inhabitants of this part of the Alps, we conclude our day with a visit to the ethnography museum, one of the most interesting in Italy.