An unexpected snowy destination, just half an hour from Sulmona
Few people look beyond the Alps when thinking about an Italian ski holiday. Those who do, often find their way to Ski Abruzzo and they frequently need reassurance that it isn’t a hoax, especially when they learn that the arrival airports are as far south as Pescara, Naples or Rome. It’s true that most Italian ski resorts are in the North, but the Apennine mountain range which runs down the spine of Italy and through the Abruzzo region also has several of its own. Roccaraso is, without doubt, the jewel in the crown.
With over 100 km of pistes of varying difficulty, Roccaraso is one of Italy’s biggest single ski areas – and it’s only half an hour from Sulmona. Italian skiers first took to the slopes here over 100 years ago and it has been popular with Romans and Neopolitans ever since. The season lasts from early December until mid-April and the snowfall regularly reaches over 350 cms. Roccaraso has everything skiers could hope for and, as an added bonus, it doesn’t have the inflated price tags of the Alps.
From a family skiing point of view, the resort really comes into its own during the UK’s February half-term holiday. Return flights from London with Ryanair are available to Naples for £70, to Rome for £92 and to Pescara for £105 (11th-18th February). By contrast, the cheapest fare to Geneva in Switzerland, without inconvenient travel times, was £380 return.
Many winter visitors to Sulmona drive up to the slopes and back again on a daily basis but, of course, you can stay at a local hotel too. The hotels offered by Ski Abruzzo are all family-run and offer a complimentary shuttle bus service to the slopes. The welcome is friendly and the food abundant and tasty. The delightful Hotel Il Lavatoio in Castel di Sangro, for example, is bed & breakfast only but offers its guests an imaginative evening ‘dine around’ option at a number of nearby restaurants. 7 nights here during February half term 2018 will cost a family of 4 people just €999 total (subject to availability). The family room sleeps up to 4 and includes a buffet breakfast and airport transfers from Naples or Pescara.
Group ski lessons, with English speaking instructors, are excellent value too – the cost during the 2017 season was €125 for ten lessons of an hour each and ski hire (including sticks and boots) costs from about €10 per day. A 6-day ski pass is €211 for an adult and there are children’s reductions too.
The Abruzzo region is both beautiful and pristine, and this is especially true of the region’s ski areas which have so far remained beyond the reach of mass tourism. So if you want to beat the crowds and experience a different kind of Italian skiing holiday, look no further.
Ski Abruzzo is a UK-based travel company specialising in ski packages to a number of resorts local to Sulmona including Roccaraso, Castel di Sangro, Ovindoli, Rocca di Mezzo & Pescocostanzo.