21 – Ski Resorts

Sources: Wikipedia, Google Maps, Abruzzo Promozione Turismo

From Cocullo, a short drive will take you to Abruzzo’s best-equipped ski resorts…

 

In the Sagittario Valley:

  • Scanno-Monte Rotondo, 4 km – 28 min: This area is one of Abruzzo’s best known tourist destinations. Scanno is one of Italy’s most picturesque mountain towns, with a charming historic centre that affords stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The beauty of its lake—a blue-green gem nestled between the mountains of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo and the Genzana massif—the number and variety of its accommodations, and the presence of summer and winter recreational facilities make Scanno an excellent year-round holiday destination. A road from the centre of town leads directly to the Monte Rotondo ski resort. There, a modern chairlift will take you up 1615 m to the lodge, where three other chairlifts provide access to more than 15 km of downhill runs and cross-country ski trails—the most extensive in the area. It is also possible to practise ski mountaineering and off-piste skiing in some spectacular parts of the national park. Telemark skiing, bobsledding and tobogganing are also available, so that everyone can enjoy a day in the snow, followed by a relaxing après-ski in the evening.
  • Passo Godi, 35 km – 46 min: This ski resort straddles the two large protected nature reserves of the Alta Valle del Sagittario and the Alto Sangro. It can be reached easily from both, and is equidistant (about 13 km) from the towns of Scanno and Villetta Barrea. It provides a relaxed alternative to the more popular winter destinations, and is ideal for families and organized groups. The resort has three ski lifts, and nine downhill runs of varying degrees of difficulty. It also has two very good cross-country ski loops (a total distance of 15 km), a snow park with a “magic carpet”, a snow tubing track, and extensive spaces for ski touring, ski mountaineering and Telemark skiing.

Scanno

 

On the Altopiano delle Rocche:

  • Ovindoli, 9 km – 41 min: Ovindoli is a scenic mountain town surrounded by peaks as high as 2487 m. It is one of the best-known communities in the Parco Sirente-Velino. In addition to possessing great natural beauty, Ovindoli has extensive and modern winter sports facilities, and this makes it a very popular winter vacation destination. The courses range in elevation from 1400 m to 2200 m, and are served by modern lifts. There is ample natural snow, but the resort has the latest automatic snow-making equipment, which can cover up to 10 km of trails. The Monte Magnola facilities are located at one end of the Altopiano delle Rocche, in a setting of stunning natural beauty. The resort has the longest magic carpet lift in Europe (235 m), and skiers can obtain a pass that also allows them to ski at Campo Felice, expanding their range of possibilities. Cross-country ski enthusiasts can take advantage of the trails at Piani di Pezza, which cross the splendid beech wood at Valle Cerchiata (there is a 3-km loop and a 5-km loop, at an elevation of 1900 m). The resort has 21 downhill runs totalling 30 km, which are served by three three-seat chairlifts, two six-seat chairlifts, one cable car, four magic carpets and one ski lift. There is also a modern and well-equipped snow park. Ovindoli is part of the “Tre Nevi” (three snows) complex, which also includes Campo Felice and Campo Imperatore.
  • Campo Felice, 8 km – 50 min: An impressive array of lifts has been put in place to serve the resort’s numerous (20, for a total distance of 40 km) and diversified courses: eight chairlifts (five of them four-seaters), two ski lifts and two rope lifts. The courses range in elevation from 1400 m to 2064 m. Skiers can purchase a ski pass that will also give them access to the slopes at Ovindoli (Monte Magnola). Campo Felice is one of the few ski resorts in central Italy where it is possible to ski from one mountain slope to another, namely, from Campo Felice to the Altopiano delle Rocche, which has facilities at Rocca di Cambio, Rocca di Mezzo and Rovere. Cross-country skiers can take advantage of the trails on the plateau, such as the Monte Puzzillo loop and various tracks appropriate for ski touring. Campo Felice also has a 90-m snow tubing track, an 800-m snow park, and a recreation area known as “Fun Park”.

Campo Felice

 

On the west side of the Majella:

  • Campo di Giove, 8 km – 51 min: This is one of Abruzzo’s traditional winter and summer tourist destinations. It is situated in the western sector of the Parco Nazionale della Majella, on the pass that separates the Majella and Morrone mountains. The facilities include a chairlift that goes to the Guado di Coccia zone, and four ski lifts. The elevation ranges from 1145 m to 2350 m, which is impressive for a ski resort in the Apennines (Campo di Giove has the highest downhill courses in Abruzzo). The resort is well suited to families, but also has a 1.5-km expert (black) run and a 1-km intermediate (red) run, in addition to two easy (blue) 2.4-km runs. There are 5 km of cross-country ski trails that begin at Lake Ticino, cross the woods, and end at the Majella railway station. The ski lifts are managed by SANGRITANA. Those currently operational are the chairlift from Le Piane (at 1160 m) to Guado di Coccia (at 1676 m), which travels 1455 m and ascends 513 m; and the Serra Campanile ski lift, which goes from Guado di Coccia to an elevation of 1787 m. The ski runs currently available are those of Serra Campanile (an easy 900-m run with a 120-m descent), Le Capre (an intermediate 1900-m run with a 520-m descent), Porrara (an expert 2100-m run with a 700-m descent, one of the loveliest and most challenging in the Appennines), Pareti Rosse (an intermediate 1100-m fun with a 350-m descent), and Delle Signore (an easy 1200-m run with a 350-m descent). The resort has two ski camps equipped with magic carpets (one camp is at the base of the resort, and another at the top, where the chairlift stops), to meet the needs of families and those just learning to ski or snowboard. Recent additions include an artificial skating rink open year-round, and a snow tubing track. It is also possible to go on Freeride excursions to Tavola Rotonda with trail-laying equipment in the company of ski experts and alpine guides.
  • Passo San Leonardo, 6 km – 55 min: This mountain pass, located 1282 m above sea level, separates the spectacular Valle dell’Orta, in the province of Pescara, from the side of the Majella overlooking Sulmona. There are courses on the slopes of Mount Morrone, and next to them is a cross-country ski loop. The area, which gets ample snow although it is not high-altitude, is ideal for families, beginners, cross-country skiers and downhill skiers. Nearby are the towns of Caramanico, well known for its first-rate spa facilities, and Pacentro, one of the prettiest medieval towns in Italy. In Pacentro-Passo San Leonardo it is possible to enjoy an active vacation close to nature in both summer and winter. The resort is in the heart of the Parco Nazionale della Majella, where it is possible to ski in a fairy-tale landscape of beech and eucalyptus forests. The resort also offers excursions on Mount Morrone and Mount Amaro, as well as snowboarding and rock climbing facilities.

Campo di Giove

 

On the Altopiano delle Cinquemiglia:

  • Roccaraso, 4 km – 54 min: Situated at an elevation of 1250 m, between the Abruzzo and Majella national parks, Roccaraso is the leading ski resort in south-central Italy. It has been popular since the early 1900s, and is currently the best-known and best-equipped resort on the great plateaus, in the province of l’Aquila. It has 30 modern cableways and 110 km of downhill runs, supported by an extensive and modern system of snow-making facilities. The resort also offers cross-country skiing, snowboarding, off-piste skiing, and skating in an ice hockey rink, all in a stunning natural setting.
  • Pescocostanzo, 6 km – 1 h: This is a jewel among Abruzzo’s smaller ski resorts. The town, which is ancient, boasts much well-preserved religious and civilian architecture. It is located at 1400 m above sea level, in the middle of the system of great karst plateaus known as the “Altipiani Maggiori d’Abruzzo”. In winter, the Vallefura ski resort, which is very close to town, provides a very good alternative to the larger resorts. It has some good downhill runs served by two modern ski lifts, as well as a snow park and facilities for children. In the Bosco di Sant’Antonio (Saint Anthony’s wood) there are cross-country ski facilities that include well-maintained trails, a ski school, equipment rental, ski waxing services and a restaurant.
  • Rivisondoli, 3 km – 56 min: The town occupies a dominant position on the eastern side of the Prato Plateau, at an elevation of 1365 m. It is located in the centre of the Abruzzo Region’s great plateaus, in a uniquely beautiful setting surrounded by snow-capped mountains that mark out the large protected territories of the Abruzzo and Majella national parks. The ski resort, one of the largest in Abruzzo and one of the best in the country, has long been a popular winter sports destination. The Monte Pratello courses (35 km) are served by a cable car, two chairlifts and six ski lifts rising from 1390 m to 2056 m. Some of the runs meet the standards for national and international competitions. Together, the Monte Pratello facilities and those of Pizzalto and Aremogna, in Roccaraso, offer 110 km of runs, suited to every level of difficulty.

Roccaraso

 

On the Monti Simbruini:

  • Camporotondo di Cappadocia, 9 km – 53 min: Camporotondo is located 1400 m above sea level on the Abruzzo side of the Monti Simbruini. It has always been a popular tourist destination. Just outside the village are quiet green spaces, stunning scenery, and the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity, a popular pilgrimage site. In winter, when the landscape is covered with snow, a new magic carpet lift makes it possible to ski up to an elevation of 1750 m on the Monna Rosa Mountain. Near the resort, there are cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails, and it is possible to rent all-terrain vehicles.
  • Marsia di Tagliacozzo, 69 km – 1 h 1 min: Surrounded by the beech woods of the Monti Simbruini, the ski resort in Marsia offers good slopes and a quiet atmosphere. The main facility is located at an elevation of 1450 m, but a chairlift and two ski lifts go up to 1740 m on Mount Midia and serve six downhill runs (6 km in total, with a capacity of 2300 people per hour). There is also a snowboarding track, as well as numerous possibilities for cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering.

Camporotondo

 

In the Alto Sangro:

  • Pescasseroli, 9 km – 59 min: The town is situated in the high Sangro Valley at an elevation of 1167 m, in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by mountains and centuries-old forests. The area has retained a wild beauty and an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna, and therefore is an ideal base for excursions into nature. The popular ski resort is located in the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, and skiing affords an opportunity to see the park’s wild animals at close range. The resort has five ski lifts serving about 20 km of downhill runs.
  • Opi, 9 km – 1 h 8 min: Perched on a rocky spur at an elevation of 1250 m in the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Opi is surrounded by lovely valleys and beech woods that create a relaxing and enchanting atmosphere. In winter, the landscape is transformed. The vast, silent stretches of snow-covered fields and forests, and the blue sky edged by white peaks, make it a peaceful haven where the visitor can relax and forget the cares of everyday life. The long, breathtaking trails in Macchiarvana are ideal for cross-country skiing and trekking. There, it is possible to experience the real park environment, and perhaps see some of the animals that make it their home.

Pescasseroli

 

On the Gran Sasso (in the province of L’Aquila):

  • Campo Imperatore, 127 km – 1 h 33 min: The historic Campo Imperatore Hotel (2130 m), with its view of the Corno Grande (at 2912 m, the tallest peak in the Gran Sasso and the Apennines), is at the centre of the highest ski terrain in Abruzzo (its ski lifts reach 2233 m on Mount Scindarella). The high elevation means there is excellent snow cover much of the winter. The Campo Imperatore plateau offers good opportunities for cross-country skiing, while the Gran Sasso slopes offer countless possibilities for downhill skiing, off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering. The resort is in the middle of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga and is the site of the southernmost glacier in Europe, the Calderone. It has 60 km of cross-country trails, including the one in Santo Stefano di Sessanio (near Lake Racollo), those in Castel del Monte (at the eastern end of the plateau, between the Piano di Cretarola and the Fonte Pietrattina), and the loop around the three ponds, which winds along the edge of the plateau. In addition to skiing, there is rock climbing (natural and artificial) and dog sledding, as well as snowshoeing and snowboarding (lessons are provided). It is possible to reach this spectacular plateau year-round by car, or by taking the cable car in Assergi (an ascent of more than 1000 m).
  • Montecristo, 5 km – 53 min: The ski lifts and slopes of the Monte Cristo Basin (1450 m above sea level) cover shorter distances than those of Campo Imperatore. However, together with the cross-country trails in Castel del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio, they add to the variety of skiing possibilities in the area.
  • Castel Del Monte, 8 km – 1 h 1 min: Perched on a hilltop above the Tirino Valley and surrounded by the mountains of the Gran Sasso massif, the town of Castel del Monte, with its imposing bell tower, is a spectacular sight. The cross-country trails are located on the nearby Campo Imperatore plateau, between the Piano di Cretarola and the Fonte Pietrattina. They are well known and popular with cross-country ski lovers all over the country.
  • Santo Stefano di Sessanio, 6 km – 1 h 3 min: The ski resort at this location has some interesting cross-country trails. The loops, which are located near Lake Racollo, about 13 km from the town centre, reach an elevation of 1573 m.

Gran Sasso, Campo Imperatore

 

On the Majella (in the province of Chieti):

  • Passo Lanciano-Majelletta, 9 km – 1 h 6 min: Located at the northern end of the Majella’s main ridge, this ski resort is one of the most spectacular in the area owing to its fantastic views, which extend from the mountain slopes to the Adriatic Sea. The stunning scenery, wide courses and abundance of snow are the main features of the resort, whose territory rises from 1306 m at Passo Lanciano to 1995 m at the top of the Majelletta. The chairlift and 8 ski lifts serve 16 downhill runs of all levels of difficulty (2 blacks, 9 reds, and 5 blues). There are also 2 extensive cross-country ski loops. The resort has two locations: one at Passo Lanciano (1300 m to 1650 m), with trails through a thick beech wood, and one on the Majelletta (1650 m to 1995 m), which has a well-equipped snow park and large areas for downhill and cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering.
  • Gamberale-Pizzoferrato, 9 km – 1 h 28 min: This small ski resort straddles the border between the towns of Pizzoferrato and Gamberale, in the Parco Nazionale della Majella. With rocky cliffs on one side and the woods of the Pizzi mountains on the other, it has some short but scenic downhill runs, and offers good cross-country skiing. Between the two towns there is a trail called “la Mandra”, which goes through an attractive beech wood and consists of two 1.5-km loops, one easy, one more challenging. There is a cross-country ski school, and it is possible to rent sports equipment. The trail can be accessed either from Pizzoferrato (Valle del Sole) or from Gamberale, near the provincial road. Ski touring and snowshoeing are other options, on tracks that start near the cross-country trail.

Majelletta

Passolanciano

 

On the Gran Sasso (in the province of Teramo):

  • Prati di Tivo, 152 km – 1 h 59 min: This resort is located on the Teramo side of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga, between inspiring landscapes and picturesque towns. Prati di Tivo offers off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering, which are an alternative to the downhill runs of nearby Prato Selva. The resort, which is the most popular in the Teramo area, is easily reached from the charming historic centre of Pietracamela. Its trails are located at the base of the northern slopes of the Corno Piccolo, the most striking rocky peak in the Gran Sasso.
  • Prato Selva, 142 km – 2 h 2 min: Located at the base of the Mount Corvo woods at an elevation of 1400 m, in the middle of the Teramo side of the Gran Sasso, Prato Selva has some of the longest downhill runs on the massif.
  • Monte Piselli, 182 km – 2 h 11 min: The Monte Piselli ski trails are located on the northern slopes of the Fiori Mountain, which lies on the border between the Abruzzo and Marche regions. The nearest town is Ascoli Piceno, but the resort is in the province of Teramo. The town of Civitella Del Tronto is worth a visit. It boasts a fortified citadel and occupies a spectacular high position overlooking the surrounding hills. The imposing fortress was built by the Bourbons and is one of the largest in Italy.

Gran Sasso, Prati Di Tivo