Lake Como would not be the first name on your lips for planning a winter ski trip, but it is worth considering if you are looking for a different type of ski holiday. If you own a holiday home there or are thinking of purchasing, Lake Como is an excellent location for both summer and winter holidays.
The unsurpassed beauty of the lake in summer has been extolled by many, but little is written about the beauty of winter, when you can enjoy a hot frothy cappuccino sitting outside by the lake on a crisp sunny day, against a back-drop of snow-capped mountains mirrored in the tranquil lake. Use it as a base from which to explore different ski resorts, not frequented by the tour package hordes, from as little as 15 minutes’ drive away for an afternoon’s skiing.
In smaller resorts like Valsassina, close to Lecco or Bobbio & Valtorta, Pian delle Betulle, Giumello & Paglio, all in the Province of Lecco, you can take advantage of lower priced ski passes and quieter pistes. More information on these locations can be found on: www.pianidibobbio.com
If you base yourself in Argegno, you can spend an afternoon on the small pistes just above San Fedele, a mere 15 minutes’ drive away.
Going North towards the end of the Valtellina valley are the more well-known resorts. Up the quiet and generally snow-free lakeside road for 90 minutes or so will take you to Madessimo, a low-cost family resort with 50km of piste for all abilities, popular with Comascans for its friendly atmosphere and great snow record. Or there’s San Moritz, worthy of a visit, even if just for coffee and cake in one of the stylish cafes.
A little further and you can reach Bormio, host to the “World Ski Championship 2005” and the famous tax free resort of Livigno with 110km of pistes spread across two sides of the valley, intersected by a shoppers paradise from one end of the village to the other. See www.livigno.eu for more information.
When to go – the first snowfalls are towards the middle of November, when lifts will open only at weekends. The lifts open full time for the festival of Saint Ambrogio – the patron saint of Milan – on December 7th and normally continue until the end March, sometimes later in the higher resorts. Pistes are less busy during the week, but if you avoid the better known resorts you will also find quiet pistes even at the weekend.
So, if you thought Lake Como was just for summer, pack your skis, book your flight and sample a variety of ski areas, just beyond your Lake Como doorstep.