I wrote about why we love Bormio a year ago now and nothing has changed. We are here right now with both our children, one who can now ski. Partly from learning in Bormio and partly in the UK at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.
My youngest is only 4, however, she is going to get used to the snow and wearing skis. If she then wants to have a lesson, we will organise this with an instructor from Sci Nazionale di Sci Bormio. They have English speaking instructors and teach all age groups and abilities.
So why Bormio?
Bormio is one of those places you want to keep a secret! My Husband, Graziano Prada has been coming here since he was six years old and we have been here together regularly for over ten years, more recently with our two children. In our eyes it is one of the Best Italian Ski Resorts.
Bormio is a beautiful ancient mountain village and ski resort in the Northern Italian Alps. Not tarnished by too much après ski, cheaper than France and Austria and not overwhelmed by visitors. It does get busy and a few British people have found it, but mostly it’s a second home destination for Italians living around Milan.
The village centre is a maze of 17th century cobbled streets and grand stone facades and is nestled beneath the famous ‘ Stelvio’ piste.
The Stelvio is part of the Alpine World Cup Downhill Skiing Challenge and can be seen from the village by day and is illuminated by night.
Bormio is also host to the English Alpine Ski Championships organised by Snowsport England. Every year hundreds of UK skiers from 8 years old up to seniors head to Italy for this event.
Why is it the Best Italian Ski Resort?
Bormio I believe has something for everyone. Usually, when you go away for this type of trip not everyone will want to ski all the time. Some in your group might not ski at all or be at a very early stage in their learning.
You might want a bit of culture, different activities, some shopping, good food. You can't get this amount of variety in every place. In fact, there aren't many resorts which can offer all of this and are still authentic. They often become party zones that don’t really suit a family.
If you love to ski there are 27 miles of piste with black, red and blue runs. You can take the cable car up to 3000m where you can either ski down or watch from a little café and eat piadina’s (warm wraps folded and filled with prosciutto and cheese). There used to be an enormous Saint Bernard dog who would lie by your feet, but we heard on our last visit he had sadly ‘gone up to the clouds’ as my children say!
If you prefer to hang out where there’s a bit more than just skiing on offer you can travel up to 2000m. Here there is a bigger restaurant, café, English speaking ski schools, and the entrance to the beginner’s slopes and other lifts.
Not a skier?
It’s not all about the skiing though. I have also been Husky Dog Sledging, ice skating, viewed Ice sculpture competitions and visited the mountain spas.
Bagni Vecchi my favourite spa, is open all year round but is quite something when you’re sat in a hot open-air swimming pool viewing the snowy mountains all around you. They also offer beauty treatments, a small hotel and various other grottoes and lavender filled restrooms. You feel like you’re floating when you leave!
One place we love to go to is the Restaurant ‘Chalet La Rocca’. You need to book and then drive or take a taxi up to Bormio 2000m. There you are met by a Snowcat which takes everyone to the restaurant.
You are fed a long list of different delicious dishes, wine, digestivi and coffee. Afterwards, there’s music, dancing and you can either jump back on the Snowcat or be given a torch to ski down the mountain. It’s magical watching the little line of lights as people ski down to the village below.
Other places of interest
Livigno is a beautiful mountain town. Due to being in such a remote location, it was made into a duty-free destination. Apart from stunning ‘Hansel and Gretel’ style houses, you can shop here for designer clothes, food and drink. You can also ski here.
Due to the huge windows on the train which reach into the ceiling space, you can see vast amounts of the mountainside. It’s quite an exceptional journey, travelling as high as 2,253m.
What to eat & drink?
Bormio is situated in Valtellina a valley famous for red wines such as Nebbiolo, Nino Negri and Sassella.
To eat there are comforting dishes such as ‘Pizzoccheri’ which is typical of the region. This is buckwheat pasta ribbons with soft potatoes, cabbage, melted cheese and sage butter.
Others to try are ‘Cervo con Polenta’, venison with mushrooms, polenta and a gravy-like sauce.
‘Sciatt’ is one of my favourites. The name means toads in Valtellina dialect! Possibly given as they are little crunchy balls and have irregular shapes. They are made by taking little pieces of cheese dipped in a batter of buckwheat flour, frying them and serving on a bed of chicory. The bitterness of chicory mixed with the gooey cheese and crunchy coating is divine.
If you’d like to venture out for a glass of wine, visit ‘Skianta bar’. This is a gorgeous, very friendly bar off Via Roma. The owner is Milanese, met his Wife in Bormio and just never went back to the family business in Milan! He speaks English and is a brilliant, charismatic proprietor offering a generous Milan style selection of snacks with your aperitivi!
How to get there
Have you been convinced to see the Italian mountains? If so you can drive from Milan Bergamo airport in around 2.5 hours. There are lots of motorway tunnels this (East) side of Lake Como so it’s quicker.
If you want to take in Lake Como as well, which we often do. You can fly to Milan Malpensa and drive up the west side of Lake Como. This journey will take approximately 3 hours but I would factor in extra time as you will likely want to stop and admire the Lake!
Family-friendly hotels close to the slopes
Bormio's historic centre is about 10-15mins walk from the ski lifts. However, you can park in a huge car park below the cable car (which takes you to the ski area) if you want to stay further out of the centre.
There are now two zones to Bormio, the historic old centre and a new cluster of hotels and restaurants which have built up around the cable car. If you're skiing every day you might want to stay near to the cable car and then just venture out for dinner in the centre in the evening.
These Hotels are all near to the cable car which goes to Bormio 2000 where everyone starts skiing.
Hotel Genzianella. A family-run, very family-friendly hotel. And it's beautiful. They can arrange babysitters and extra activities and are very good with children. At least one member of the family is a ski instructor.
Hotel Funivia, a bit more old fashioned in terms of decor but very central and family-friendly.
Hotel Nevada is right next to the ski lift. It's a lovely hotel and used to children. They have a big garden as well which is great in Summer.
As mentioned above hotels can arrange babysitters for you, however, children are welcome everywhere in Italy even in restaurants and bars during the evening.
We use a kids club by the ski lift called Gruppo Animando. They have full and half-day sessions and have a different programme of activities each day. My son requests to go here every time we visit, whatever the time of year so I’m guessing they are a lot of fun!