Madesimo – made for families
Our reporter Briony Key has been checking out the Italian resort of Madesimo for a springtime family ski break. Here’s what she has to say:
March already… Are you worried it’s too late to plan a last-minute ski break?
Of course, there’s always so much to consider, from ensuring the flights and transfers are short enough to tackle boredom blues, to more important issues, like how much money’s needed – and will there still be snow?
There’s no need to worry if you’re heading to Madesimo. This Italian resort ticks all the boxes.
For starters, it’s just a short flight to Milan from London, and then a two and a half hour transfer, to Valchiavenna, Lombardy, at the heart of the Italian slopes.
Money, money, money
Ideally suited for the current economic trend, this resort offers family affordable hotels and chalets, restaurants, wellness and sports’ options.
At 2,800m you’re guarantee a long ski season, with 60kms of snow-sure trails attracting all levels. There’s cruisy blues, sweeping reds…. and for the more advanced, the pulse racing Canalone – an off-piste route considered one of the most challenging in the Alps.
The snow park is newly renovated and has a half pipe, rails, jumps, a spine ramp and a quarter pipe. There’s also 20kms of cross-country trails.The Baby Park teaches the up to 10s how to ski and have some sliding fun on the rubber-ring rafts.
Those wanting to improve their technique will find the teachers really take time to ensure you’ve picked up their tips. Private lessons start at just €38 for one person (€45 for two). My instructor was Andrea Pilatti, who helped train the Italian men’s downhill team. And he follows in big footsteps, as champion Alpine ski racer Zeno Colò once ran the valley’s ski school, as did three time Olympic champion Italo Pedronceli.
Perhaps some of you would rather zoom across the ice at break-neck speeds, than down it? If so, Patentando’s new ice driving course is a perfect treat for teenagers – it promises fear with gears! (It’s actually open to all ages, so anyone can strap into the bucket seat and veer around the course – as long as they have their parents permission!)
Team Extreme’s snow mobile evening excursion is a gentler option, and includes a drive to the Swiss border, and a candlelit dinner with Black Lake views.
We stayed at the Hotel Andossi, which keeps its word of a traditional family welcome. It certainly suits those with young children, as they can come straight off the slopes into their own play room…even with their ski gear still on!
There’s also a wellness centre and pool, perfect for that after-ski swim and soak.
Food, food, food
Families who like their food will favour this valley, as ‘variety is the spice’.
Dine at Il Cantinone and you’ll soon see why it has a deserved Michelin star; or drop into the quaint old customs house that now houses the Dogana Vegia pub and restaurant to savour fine valley dishes and the local wine!
When all is said and done, I’d come here anytime for a family holiday – it’s welcoming, great value and you’ll have fantastic fun.