Our Slopes
The joys of skiing in the Val di Sole, surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Brenta Dolomites stretching high above you into a bright blue sky, makes this one of the best winter holiday locations anywhere.

Due to the local microclimate the Dolomites receive much more snow than other Alpine resorts of at this height.  Most of the pistes in Folgarida and the lower section of Madonna di Campiglio are tree lined and so are well protected and are skiable throughout the season. The higher sections of Campiglio and Pinzolo offer a wide open expanses of deep snow and almost unlimited off piste challenges (we strongly recommend that you hire a mountain guide if venturing off piste).  However, just in case, almost all (over 90%) of the pistes have snow-making facilities, so skiing is guaranteed at all times.
  Folgarida / Marilleva Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo
Number of pistes Black ski slope piste 7   Red ski slope piste 13   Blue ski slope piste 19 Black ski slope piste  4   Red ski slope piste 17   Blue ski slope piste 17 Black ski slope piste  3   Red ski slope piste  11   Blue ski slope piste  5
Ski altitude from / to 1,344 m / 2,179m 1,524 m / 2,504m 770m / 2,100m
No. of lifts 26 18 13
Piste km / m (total 159.6km / 99.2m) 59.8km / 37.1m 57.5km / 35.7m 42.2km /  26.2m
Board park Yes (Small) Yes (largest in Europe !) No
On-slope restaurants 9 Lots ! 3

Ciao, chiamiamo (Hi, our names are) Sebastiano & Flavio.

Benvenuti nelle Dolomiti (welcome to the Dolomites)

We are ski instructors in the Brenta Dolomites (at the Folgarida Ski School) and having been working with Brenta Ski clients for the past ten years. They have asked us to give an honest, non-sales pitch, introduction to the skiing available in our area.  So here goes (in our best English ;-).

The lifts
Firstly let's get this out of the way:  We have read on the internet about the old and decrepit lifts in our area and we must admit that this may have been true years ago, but not any more. Thanks to a multi million pound investment in new lifts, cable cars and high speed chairs over the past few years, the pistes now link seamlessly. At the bottom of every piste you'll find either a modern chair-lift or cable car station.  In fact the drive to install new facilities does lead to some rather strange installations, eg. if you go to the nursery slope in Marilleva you'll find a high-speed detachable chair that cost millions to install, now this would be fair enough if it wasn't for the fact that it's only 200m long - hey but at least it proves there is a willingness to add new uplift facilities (even if not really needed).  Now the people from Brenta Ski have asked me to tell the truth so here's the bad news.  Whilst we do have many, many new lifts there was one (just one) really old and slow 2 man-chair that looked like something from a 1950's black and white ski movie, and that was the lift linking MdC to Folgarida (up towards the Orso Bruno cafe).  BUT here's the good news - it's gone.  New for 2014/15 season this old thing has been replaced by a new high speed 4 man detectable system.  Yippee.  It's bit of a shame in some ways, we used to like having plenty of time to enjoy the chair ride through the forest. 

The brand new cable car from Madonna di Campilio to Pinzolo really can be described as an engineering master-piece and is worth a ride just for the fun of it. We can't really describe it here, you'll just have to take a ride yourself; basically it passes over the tops of mountains, down into steep sided valleys for miles, before depositing you right at the summit of the Pinzolo slopes. 

Groste Madonna di CampilioFrom Flavio - My favourite lift must be the Groste Express cable car in Madonna di Campiglio, which takes 22 minutes to reach the top. The ride takes you all the way along the base of Monte Pietra Grande making this the cable car with the best views on earth.  When you reach the top there is a new cafe so you can have a rest before setting off.  For the first section I always cut into the massive snowboard park just to glide over the rollers.  Below this the run follows very gentle pistes all the way back to Madonna (passing lots and lots of cafes on the way down).

The picture shows the Groste Col, in Madonna.  The cable car goes up the left-hand side of the col all the way to the top.

Folgarida DoalasaFrom Sebastiano - I love the the Doalasa Val Mastelina  cable car in Folgarida.  The run down is over 3km long and is a very gentle blue run at the top (you can take the chair back up from the end of the blue section) and then slightly steep red for the lower half.  Basically it's a long cruisey run with some really fun off piste areas all the way down at the side of the piste.  But the best thing about this cable car is that there is a brand new cafe at the top station which serve the best hot chocolate in the whole world.  What more do you want, skiing followed by hot chocolate.

In the picture you can see the new cafe at the top of the cable car.  The start of the run goes down towards the bottom-left of the picture.

In each resort in area the lifts that depart from the towns are cable cars, meaning that beginners will have no trouble in reaching the slopes. 

The Pistes
This is a big ski area covering four main ski resorts: Pinzolo, Madonna di Campiglio, Folgarida and Marilleva, all of which are linked together by runs and lifts. If you extend your lift-pass you can also ski in other areas such as Pejo 3,000 and Monte Bondone, but these are not directly skiable without a bus  or car ride.  Like all large ski areas (for those with a full area lift pass) you'll be able to ski in a different area each day.   We don't think there is anywhere from where you can see all the pistes, but probably the best place to see most of the area would be from the cafe on the summit of Monte Vigo (Orso Bruno cafe) in Folgarida, from where you will be able to see about 60% of the runs as the view goes right over to to MdC and Pinzolo in one direction and Marilleva in the other with the runs spreading out in all directions.

In general the lower piste of Folgarida, Marilleva and Pinzolo are forested - meaning they are well protected and so hold the snow well and are skiable whatever the weather. A bonus of these runs is that it's imposable to get lost; just carry on down to the bottom of the run and there will be a lift to take you back up again. After a very short while (once you have your bearings) you'll be able to link the runs together and instead of taking each lift back up you may decide to just carry on down the next run.  As an example you can ski all way from Oro Bruno to Folgarida without ever needing to catch a lift over 8km or from the summit of Groste back to Madonna - over 9km .  

Many of the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio generally point down towards the town (you can imagine it as a large bowl with the town in the centre) although, of course you don't have to go back down as there are many runs heading off in all directions.  The lower section of the northern slopes (towards Folgarida) tend to be slightly steeper with the more gentle pitches to found higher up - there are 2 cable cars that will take you all the way to the top, from where you can decide where to go.  The southern slopes of MdC are mostly much longer and less steep.  If you prefer wide open blue runs then you should take the cable car up to Groste where you can spend the whole day exploring the area above the forest as there are high speed chairs that will take you back up to the top.

If you're into steeps, then you're in for a treat as there are some extremely steep pitches (black runs) in each area, but please warned that some of these are steeper than you'll normally find in other parts of Europe, so be prepared for drops of over 60%.  The world cup FIS runs in MdC (Canalone Miramonti) and Folgairda (Nera 1) are well worth a try, if you up for it.

Let's face it, we all had to learn somewhere and this is an almost perfect place to gain your ski-legs.  In each area there are a very gentle nursery slopes each with a button lift. However, even before you venture onto the nursery slopes your instructor will guide you to an almost flat area where there will explain how your skis work and even how they clip on to your boots.  In this flat area you can learn the basic techniques such as putting on your skis safely and everything else you'll need to make learning the ski as enjoyable as possible.

In Madonna di Campiglio the nursery slopes are at Campo Carlo Magno - watch out, your lift pass doesn't cover the nursery slope button lift (again this is due to local politics) and you will be asked to pay €10 for the weekly button lift pass.  In Folgarida the nursery slopes are at the top of the cable car.

Slope-side cafes
Being Italy there are many (and we do mean many) slope-side cafes and these range for the very large establishments able to cater to hundreds of people at a time without seeming too busy, eg. Cafe Fiat in MdC, to quaint, almost single room, forest-side cafes run by a local families eg. El Mas in Folgarida.  Those used to skiing in France will immediately notice that the on-slope meals and snacks in our area (in fact in all areas of Italy) are much cheaper; so you don't need to take out a mortgage to be able to have something decent at lunch.

Top-Tip, If you have not been to Italy previous you'll notice a difference in the way you pay for your meals.  You need to go the cash desk first and pay, then take your receipt to the servery and hand it to the assistant who will fetch your order.  Note this is the same system all over Italy so if you stop at the motorway service between the airport and resort you'll need to do the same.

This is where the comparison between the different resorts falls down.  In Folgarida there is a small (I mean tiny) set of rails and jumps - basically it's a grom park.  In Marilleva, now and again, a full half pipe is dug out  But in Madonna di Campiglio this refusal to cater for the needs of snowboarders all changes, here you will find quite literally the largest permanent board park in Europe.  Multiple rails, tracks and slides plus (just below the Stoppani Cafe) a massive sequential set of jumps capable of hosting the X Games.  If you're a boarder, you really should head over to this area.

Allora (Ok then) we think that's about it really; skiing and food (well it is to me anyway).  Don't forget that if you have any questions about where to go, the best slopes for your standard, hidden gems, cafes or anything else, you can always call in at the ski school office and we'll be happy to help.

Ci vediamo presto (See you soon).

Sebastiano and Flavio

(hope our English was understandable ;-)