Heading across to Europe in search of winter snow to ski has invariably taken me to the Austrian or French Alps in the past. My one ski trip further afield took me to was off the back of a business trip to Denver where, following some compelling snow reports we re-arranged our flights to go a few days earlier and spent the weekend skiing Breckenridge. I recall being totally impressed by the absence of lift queues in the US and the space we had to play with on (and off) the piste. Skiing in Colorado made me realise just how crowded the Alpine ski slopes are. This year I had the pleasure of skiing in Italy for the first time, but not to the Alps. We went to Roccaraso, located in Abruzzo, the mountainous region to the East of Rome that stretches across Italy almost to the Adriatic. Amazingly, lift queues were almost none-existent. Roccaraso has 110km of skiing across 70 slopes, all well-groomed. The ski area lies between 1,325m and 2,142m. Most of the slopes have good snow-making facilities to ensure the piste area is covered with fresh snow.
Our skiing trip to Rocaraso was just brilliant! We stayed in a property owned by family of our friends, located close to Sulmona on the edge of the Parco Nazionale which encompasses the mountainous area and the ski resorts. The skiing was a 30 minute drive up in the mountains, at a resort called Roccaraso. The top slopes where at 2000 metres. In spite of the hot weather, 23 out of the 70 slopes were open and there was plenty to keep us occupied for the week.
Our hosts were amazing, lovely people. We were treated to fine Italian food and wine all week. I loved the skiing with the boys and really enjoyed into the mountain village of Pacentro with Lorenzo on the last day and then going to the market in Sulmona. We shot a load of videos, took quite a few photos, some of which I’ll be uploading to ‘Places’ and ‘Events’ here on my blog.
The weather was un-seasonally warm in Sulmona, well into double figures. We had sunshine every day and the skies were blue and almost cloudless most mornings. High up in the mountains , on the tope slopes, the temperature was hovering a bit above zero most days.
Mid week we caught the outer edges of a weather front that had hit the UK a few days earlier (Storm Dennis). The temperature dropped as the outer-edges of the cyclone brought with it some spectacular views of the rolling cloud formations across the top of mountain range. We were also gifted with and a little bit of snow overnight. The temperature also dropped below zero allowing the snow machines to be switched on. So the last couple of days we had a thin layer of fresh snow.
If you take a look at the videos you’ll see the quality of the snow on the piste was good, in spite of the predominantly warm weather.
Towards the end of the week only 23 out of the 70 slopes were open, but that was plenty to keep us occupied and entertained occupied and we certainly covered all the mileage my body needed to each day. For example, on our last day of skiing we had a bit of a lie in and didn’t get onto slopes until just before just before 9am. We stopped for elevensies, then later some lunch and a then again mid afternoon for a beer. Even with all the stops, we still managed to ski 70km that day, all on fresh snow.
Been meaning to check out the skiing in Italy for years….. so glad to have got out there, at last!
Here’s a link to the 7 minute video clip.