Whilst Lake Maggiore skiing might not be the first option that comes to mind when you’re planning a skiing holiday, it offers several options for both the serious skiier and novice. Lake Maggiore skiing also offers a low cost way of trying skiing for the first time or a way to experience a less intense ski holiday, combining days on the slopes with days spent visiting the towns and villages round the lakeside. You’ll also be guaranteed some absolute wonderful lake views from the ski Lake Maggiore resorts.
On the Eastern banks of Lake Maggiore is Passo Forcora. This has a practice run with a button lift (about 300m long) as well as 2 longer runs with chair lift (about 1000m long). You can hire skis from 7 euros upwards and sledges for 3 or 5 euros. A days ski pass (09.00 – 16.00) costs 25 euros for an adult and 20 euros for a child. Or you can buy a half day pass for just 11 or 8 euros respectively. Under 5s go free. There is also a lovely chalet selling food and drinks – lunch comes highly recommended! And the hot chocolate (cioccolato con crema) is to die for! It’s a great place for anyone who loves skiing, but especially for beginner or novice skiers and children. For the really little ones, there is a separate area reserved for sledging. www.passoforcora.com
Another great ski Lake Maggiore destination is Cardada above Locarno. www.cardada.ch You can take a funicular, cable car and chairlift all the way from the lakeside in Locarno to the ski slopes at Cardada where you’ll find absolutely spectacular views back down to the lake. Cardada boasts 5 pistes, the longest of which is 1.8km. 4 of the pistes are south facing so skiiers can enjoy the absoutely breathtaking lake views on their descent. Again, mountain restaurants serve traditional local cuisine. Cardada is the ideal place for beginners and the Scuola Sci Cardada (Cardada Ski School) organises courses in skiing and snowboarding with experienced and, qualified instructors every year, for people of all ages. www.scuolascicardada.com
A third option for a spot of Lake Maggiore skiing are the slopes at Motterone above Stresa. Here there are 21 runs (10 blue, 8 red and 3 black runs) across a 25 km area. Again, it’s especially suitable for beginners however there is a more technical track, known as the Alpe Courts, which starts from the top of Mottarone and winds for 2.5km before arriving at a scenic area on the 7 lakes. The resort also boasts a good snow-making system, able to cover 5 km of slopes. The ski resort can be reached either by car or via a cable car that starts from the hamlet of Carciano Stresa, and leads to the summit of the mountain itself. www.mottaroneski.it. Again, there is a ski school with the opportunity to take lessons. These can be booked ahead online.
And with Lake Maggiore both falling into Italy as well as Switzerland, you have the well-known Swiss ski resorts of Airolo, St Bernadino, Maccugnaga, Domobianca, the Aosta valley (Pila), Alagna and St Moritz all within easy reach of the lake.