With the approaching of winter and deadly cold temperatures, skiing season is officially open: a big deal in Northern Italy!
At age 19 I moved from Sardinia to Torino, which basically means removing a fish from the warm Mediterranean sea to place it on a cold ice lake in the mountains.
Did I survive? You bet I did, not only that but I was even (drumroll) dragged to one of the closest ski resorts in Bardonecchia. Totally inexperienced, I fell down on my face a few times, with the little kids laughing at me. I didn’t know anything about skiing or promenading in the small fancy villages around.
Apparently, Martin Nolan, my guest at Keep Calm and Travel, had the right skiing skills combined with a not so good knowledge of dressing etiquette! But he learnt his lesson and wrote an article on the fanciest ski resort in northern Italy: Madonna di Campiglio.
I doubt I will be going there any time soon, but I bet that many people would be very happy to join the ski circus for the upcoming Christmas Holidays or “Settimana Bianca ” as we Italians call it!
If you want to hear about a real experience, and some dressing code tips, read on !
Skiing In Italy: As much about Promenading as skiing
When someone mentions skiing in Europe, you instantly destinations roll off the tongue. Now when someone then asks you to name a resort in Italy you’ll end up struggling. It’s simply not known for skiing.
There are some great resorts there but they are just unheard of. The only one that gets a mention is Madonna Di Campiglio. With the lure of the 3Tre race course, I was swayed to book a trip there with Crystal Ski.
I always fancied myself to be quite quick on the slopes so I jumped at the chance to compare it with pros times. Instantly I looked for their times in recent competitions and sturdy the slalom. Picking my lines and planning for the best times.
All my efforts were so focused on the run, that I did no research on the resort itself.
Never mind, you always enjoy places more when you experience them with fresh eyes.
The slopes were great. Nicely groomed powder and runs varying in difficulty. The weather was as good as someone can expect for skiing and the scenery was exquisite.
It wasn’t until mid way through the day when my fervent approach to the slopes slowed down that I noticed something. Everyone looked pristine and immaculately turned out.
Shaking off the sense that I was the local scruff I carried on. They must have just approached the slopes more cautiously than me, as I had eaten a face full of powder a couple of times. It wasn’t until that night that I got a true reflection of the resort.
What you wear is a big deal here. I mean a big deal!
Madonna di Campiglio is one of Italy’s luxury resorts. In fact, it is its premier resort. So, I didn’t go into thinking that wearing worn out old clothing would be fine. To put it lightly it wasn’t my first time at the rodeo. But I didn’t expect promenading. In fact promenading wasn’t even a part of my consciousness before then.
For those who have never heard of it like myself promenading is simply walking up and down a street (usually before or after dinner) purely to be seen. Obviously the fashion houses of Milan, are as much an influence on the slopes as they are in the city.
As I was inexperienced at promenading here is what I picked up, Take note or be prepared to stand out:
- Make sure you have a fur coat: This is more one for the ladies. They’ll spot you’you’ve never been skiing in Italy if you don’t have one. Men, a formal coat of any type will do. Either that or you’ll end up looking like a mafia type. Probably not the most advisable image in Italy.
- Do not stare: If you stare you are easily identified as an outsider. Just simply walk nonchalantly, focusing on good posture.
- Limit yourself to stopping at three windows: You have to stop to be seen. The number of beautiful little shops means it is tempting to stop often. But stop too often and you’ll look vein, too little and everyone will pass by you. Three is the magic number in this case.
Although I’m not generally inclined to seek praise for what I’m wearing, I found myself getting into the spirit of it all. After all skiing was originally glamorous. So if you keep that in mind Madonna di Campiglio with its elegant village really does tick all the boxes.
Oh and I never got anywhere near the times I researched. Guess, I just thought I was going fast.
Bio: To say Martin loves travel is like saying dogs are fond of bones. Whether that is spending winter up a mountain or sipping cocktails on a beach. Whatever it is he knows that travel is supposed to be fun. You can hear his tips, views and anecdotes at The Travel Ramble.