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Bormio, Italy

Charming medieval town center, unlike any other resort.

If you like cobbled medieval Italian towns and don’t mind a lack of Alpine resort atmosphere, you’ll find the center of Bormio very appealing – though you’re unlikely to be staying there. The slopes, too, suit a rather specific and perhaps rather uncommon breed of visitor: you need to enjoy red runs and very little else, but you need to be happy with a limited range of them – unless, that is, you’re prepared to take the free bus out to the Val di Dentro-San Colombano area or make longer outings, to Santa Caterina or (further still) Livigno.

Bormio attracts some boarders, but it has no special appeal. The slopes are too steep to make first-time boarding enjoyable, and apart from some good long carving runs, there’s little to attract experienced boarders either: no park or pipe; limited off-piste potential, little enthusiasm from the ski schools to teach boarding; and a mainly skier orientation on the slopes. At least the main area’s lifts are mostly chairs, gondolas or cable-cars – though there are some drags. Nightlife is sedate and really gets going only at the weekend.

Bormio was to host the Alpine skiing World Championship in 2005, 20 years after it first staged them.

What’s Great

  • Good mix of high, snowsure pistes and woodland runs with artificial snow, giving some excellent long runs when conditions are right
  • Worthwhile neighboring resorts on the Valtellina lift pass
  • Attractive medieval town center – quite unlike any other winter resort
  • Good mountain restaurants