The ski-area of Madesimo and Valchiavenna is located in Lombardy (only 138 km from Milan), north of Lake Como and few minutes from the Swiss border.
Thanks to the geographical position of the ski-area, its favourable climatic conditions and the artificial snowmaking system, the ski season can start in November and go on until late spring.
The ski-area has more than 60 km of downhill slopes and 25 km of trails for cross-country skiing, the total surface area being spread over the municipalities of Madesimo, Campodolcino and Piuro.
The Sky Express, the most modern underground cable railway in Europe, climbs the 638 m that separate Campodolcino from Motta in only three minutes, where you will find slopes connected with and served by all the ski lifts of the Ski-Area. Thanks to an ample and convenient parking area, access times can be reduced and you can fully enjoy your day on your skis. Without any environmental impact – the work is entirely hidden in the mountain – a solution has been found for an almost complete closure of Madesimo to traffic.
The ski lift system has been entirely renovated during recent years. As well as the cable railway, automatic coupling chair-lifts with dome-shaped protection, programmed snowmaking systems, modern means for trail beating, snow/fun park, ski-slopes meeting the standards set for international competitions and new bars and restaurants are only some of the works that have been undertaken up until today and that have allowed this resort to reach the level of the best ski resorts in the Alps.
Important skiing, carving and snowboard competitions are held in a reserved area at Arlecchino on the FIS Montalto ski slope, which is among the best for variety and difficulty for high-level competitions.
Many are the restaurant facilities in the ski-area and there are even some innovations in the area of Baita del Sole – Lago Azzurro where the slopes, wending their way down towards the village of Madesimo, have been redesigned and equipped with programmed snowmaking systems.
The variety of the ski slopes, the tracks in the high mountains and through the woods, the advantage of being able to reach the village on skis, the walks in the pedestrian precinct are the features that make Madesimo one of the most hospitable and famous tourist resorts in the Alps.
On the snows of Val di Lei stands out the new self service mountain hut where you can rest for a few moments before skiing down to the valley along the famous “Canalone”, that connects Pizzo Groppera to Pian dei Larici, once defined by the famous writer Dino Buzzati: “the fantastic scenery…the charm of the intimate atmosphere…. a cool thousand metres of difference in altitude, three and a half kilometres of slope…you will feel yourself opening up before this overwhelming wonder….it is the best slope in the Alps”.
VALCHIAVENNA MADESIMO “Not only skiing”
Entertainment, culture and gastronomy
The Sports Centre with its fitness centre, squash court, gym and ice-skating rink can be easily reached on foot from any of the accommodation facilities in Madesimo. It is worth going on the excursion as far as the Splugen Pass at an altitude of 2100 m, driving a motorized sleigh along kilometres of tracks, specially prepared for the tourists, with the right means of transport, who want to visit the top of Valle Spluga which is closed to traffic in winter. One charming possibility is a night excursion with dinner at the alpine hut on the edge of the frozen lake. An evening at the Larici restaurant, in the middle of the slopes, offers, by reservation only, dinner and transport to the restaurant on a snowmobile through delightful scenery, from which you have an excellent view of all the mountains as far as the Swiss border.
Typical bars, disco pubs and famous restaurants complete the offer of this resort.
Gastronomy is the strong point of the whole valley, with restaurants in every village and hamlet, from Pianazzo to Isola, from Fraciscio to Motta, from Campodolcino as far as Chiavenna where, along with the elegant restaurants, you can find the typical “crotti”. Famous for their cellar (the crotto) with an air current at a constant temperature (“sorel” in dialect) these small restaurants offer the delicious specialities of local cuisine. For centuries Valchiavenna has also tempted gourmets, attracted by the excellent brisaola, which was invented here, by the “violino of dried meat”, by the refined ham made of goat’s meat, and by the cheeses from the high mountain pastures: all these products mature to perfection in the crotti, which are real ecological cellars built into the rocks.
Chiavenna, only 30 km from Madesimo and 13 from Campodolcino, is the most important historical and cultural centre of the area.
Anyone wandering along the bicycle path that heads down from Prosto along Valbregaglia towards Chiavenna is in for an architectural treat in the shape of a fine piece of work by Luigi Caccia Dominioni.