Skiing in Cervinia
Cervinia’s extensive, high altitude ski area connects with Valtournenche and Zermatt across the border in Switzerland. The entire ski area includes 350km of piste skiing, with 150km between Cervinia and Valtournenche, on the Italian side of the domain.
Cervinia Ski Area Overview
Cervinia is located at an altitude of 2,050m and the highest Cerviniai ski lift reaches an altitude of 3,480m with further lift access to 3,883m on the Zermatt side of the ski domain. Cervinia’s ski area is well groomed, clearly signposted and easy to navigate. Long, perfectly groomed and wide pistes make for a relaxing ski experience while enjoying 360 degree mountain views including some of Europe’s grandest peaks.
With 150km of piste on the Italian side including 17 blue runs and 34 red runs, Cervinia is a good choice of ski resort for both beginners and intermediate skiers. It’s also good for mixed ability groups as there are many central meeting places and mountain restaurants that are easily reached by most levels of skier and boarder.
Cervinia is snow sure and snow conditions generally remain excellent throughout the day, even late into the season, due to the resort’s high altitude. However, the high altitude and open nature of the valley means a lot of sunshine when the weather is good, but can also lead to cold and windy conditions, which may occasionally limit skiing options.
The Cervinia ski area can be accessed from the Plan Maison cable car towards the top end of the village, or the Cretaz chair lifts in central Cervinia. Those staying in the neighbouring resort of Valtournenche, 9km from Cervinia, or driving to Cervinia for the day can take the cable car directly from Valtournenche to Salette. Pisted runs lead to all three of these main ski lifts.
Cervinia’s Italian Area Lift Pass covers all the lifts in Cervinia and Valtournenche, and daily extensions can be purchased separately for skiing in Zermatt. To have unlimited access to Zermatt you should purchase the International Lift Pass. Beginners may choose to purchase a dedicated pass which gives access to the carpet lifts, the ‘Campetto’ chairlift in town and the ‘Baby La Vieille’ drag lift at Plan Maison.
Beginners will be happy on the sunny nursery slopes served by the centrally located Campetto and Cretaz lifts, or at Plan Maison, where there are a number of easy blue runs accessed from the Baby La Veille button or the Plan Maison chair lift. Moving carpet lifts are also available at both Plan Maison and Cretaz.
Intermediates have a choice of numerous long, well groomed red runs including the superb 11.5km long Ventina piste. For a quieter, more natural ambience the red and blue runs between Cime Bianche and Salette offer fabulous views of the Monterosa chain from an unspoiled environment.
The Matterhorn area of Zermatt is well linked with the Cervinia ski area and offers an added dimension, with some long, high altitude glacier runs and the opportunity to ride Europe’s highest cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn, at an altitude of 3,883m, then ski hugely long descents from the Klein Matterhorn down to either Zermatt or Valtournenche; approximately 22km from top to bottom.
Beginner Skiing in Cervinia
Cervinia is a good choice of ski resort for beginners and less confident skiers who can enjoy learning to ski on the sunny nursery slopes served by the centrally located Cretaz lifts, which includes a magic carpet lift and other child-friendly facilities.
There is a further enclosed area for beginners and children at the top of the Plan Maison cable car where a moving carpet and drag lift service an easy, wide blue run where even the most timid beginner will soon master their first snow plough turn.
All of the blue pistes from Fornet to Plan Maison and Plan Torrette are comfortably within reach of most beginners once they can ski a snow plough. Beginners can ski down to Cervinia on piste number 5, the easy blue run from Plan Maison to Cretaz, while enjoying fabulous views of the Matterhorn.
Beginners can also try the high altitude blue piste from Plateau Rosa to Trockener in the Zermatt area, with the option to return from Plateau Rosa by cable car rather than attempting to ski the red piste back to Cervinia.
The centrally located Cretaz Play Park features an enclosed children’s play area with good facilities and outdoor activities for children. Child care is available at the Biancaneve Mini Club which is open to children aged up to 10 years. Packages including morning ski lessons with the Cervino ski school are also available to children over 5 years of age.
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Intermediate Skiing in Cervinia
Cervinia is an ideal ski resort for intermediate skiers, with a plenty of long, well groomed red runs including the superb Ventina piste, an 11.5km descent from Plateau Rosa and the extra long 22km red runs from Klein Matterhorn to Valrournenche or Zermatt.
There is 150km of piste skiing on the Italian side of the domain side, of which more than half are wide, red runs, which are great for carving and for intermediates to work in improving their technique.
The Matterhorn area of Zermatt is well linked with the Cervinia ski area and includes plenty more high altitude red runs as well as the opportunity to ride Europe’s highest cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn (3,883m). To access the Zermatt ski area and lifts, buy Cervinia’s International Ski Pass will allows unlimited access to Zermatt for the duration of your stay or buy a daily extension ticket as necessary.
The red runs in the scenic and unspoiled area between Cime Bianche and Salette, above Valtournenche, provide excellent terrain for practising technique. With varying gradients and far reaching views towards the Monterosa area, these runs can be repeated several times. Piste number 24 from the top of the Pancheron chairlift is the steepest of Cervinia’s red runs though it is still wide enough to enjoy some wide carving turns.
Cervinia’s long red runs will appeal to those who like to cover a lot of ground and include extra long descents from the Klein Matterhorn down to either Valtournenche or Zermatt, both approximately 22km from start to finish.
For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, Cervinia has a dedicated ‘slow ski’ piste (number 9 bis). With superb views of the south face of the Matterhorn, this piste merges with blue piste number 5, to reach the Cretaz area of the resort.
In Zermatt there are gentle blue runs at the top of the Klein Matterhorn area on the glacier above Trockener Steg. The tougher skiing is further down. Coming down to Furgg the two red pistes (numbers 63 and 64) are some of the most challenging in the area with some long, steep sections. The two red pistes from Furggsatel to Furgg (numbers 69 and 70) are also steep, and a lot of fun. You can also ski the steep red runs down from Schwarzsee.
Be careful going beyond Furi. Zermatt has great skiing at Gornergrat and Rothorn but it’s too far away from Cervinia to be safely accessible for most intermediate level skiers.
Advanced & Expert Skiing in Cervinia
There is limited challenging skiing for advanced skiers on the pistes in Cervinia so they should purchase the International lift pass which gives unlimited access to the slopes of Zermatt, and also explore the off-piste.
At the top of the six seat Pancheron chairlift, the new black piste (number 59) is short but has two steep and challenging sections. Take care at the end of the piste however, as it runs into Cervinia’s nominated ‘slow ski’ piste!
Advanced skiers will also want to tackle the long runs from Klein Matterhorn to Cervinia and Valtourneche. They are not very steep but their sheer length and vertical drop (up to 2300m) make them true tests of endurance.
Cervinia’s ski area and lift system are connected to Zermatt’s ski area which has plenty to offer the more experienced skier. The lift from Furi to Riffelberg means that Cervinia based skiers can just about reach the Gornergrat-Hohtalli-Stockhorn ridge but be realistic: it’s at least two hours there and two hours back to Cervinia and that assumes minimal lift queues and no lift closures, so it’s a possible but risky outing.
The Furgg area in Zermatt is more easily accessible from the Cervinia lift system and the two red pistes (numbers 63 and 64) are some of the most challenging in the area with some long, steep sections. The two red pistes from Furggsatel to Furgg (numbers 69 and 70) are also steep, challenging and a lot of fun. You can also ski the ungroomed ski routes, black runs and steep red runs down from Schwarzsee.
Boarding & Freestyle in Cervinia
Cervinia is a boarder friendly ski resort with plenty of wide runs for carving, few flats and traverses and mostly modern chairlifts and cable cars so apart from a few exceptions drag lifts are not a problem.
Most of Cervinia’s ski lifts are modern chairlifts or cable cars with the long drag lift to Cime Bianche from the Valtournenche area, the exception. Beginners can enjoy boarding on the wide slopes with perfect gradient above Plan Maison – possibly the best beginner’s slopes in the Alps. On the Zermatt side, boarders may wish to avoid the Plateau Rosa T-bar.
Good off-piste terrain can be found around the Pancheron chairlift and to either side of the top section of black piste number 44, from the Theodul pass. The best heli drop for boarders is the Chateau des Dames (3,200m) as the descent offers consistent powder without traverses or flats.
The extensive Indian Park is situated in the Fornet area and at 3,000m, is one of the highest snow parks in Europe. It is 400m long and 100m wide and served by a high-speed 4-man chairlift. It features woops, parabolic curves, spirals and jumps and is a fun place for boarders and freestylers to hang out with their mates. There are jumping lines for riders of all levels, from beginners to expert: kickers of 3m, 6m and 11m alongside jumps which get higher and harder culminating in the legendary 16m ‘Spitfire’, which is only open for photo shoots and events! There are also a series of rails and flat box.
The Half Pipe in the Gravity Park, close to the border on the Zermatt side, is open all year round. Entrance to the parks is free, but helmets are obligatory.
Off-Piste Skiing & Freeriding in Cervinia
In the right conditions, there are some challenging steep runs and glacier descents off-piste which are easily accessed from the main lift system. Mountain guides are available for guiding off-piste and for heli-skiing with a guide.
Where conditions are good, and with an accompanying guide, there are a few lines off the Ventina piste on the descent from Plateau Rosa towards Cime Bianche. The steep gulley, skiers left of the black piste (number 44) from Theodul pass to Fornet, provides a challenging alternative to the marked run. There is also some good, safe off-piste to the side of black piste number 59 at the top of the Pancheron chairlift.
From the top of the Klein Matterhorn, it is possible to leave the red piste and descend on the Theodul glacier, crossing under the cable car line to reach the Gorner glacier, from where the route leads to the Furi cable car station. Please note that crevasses may well be encountered when crossing glaciers.
There are also much longer itineraries, some requiring climbs on skins or a trudge up the mountain in boots, with your skis on your shoulder or strapped to your pack. One of the best is the off-piste route to Champoluc in the Monterosa ski area.
Heli-Skiing in Cervinia
To reach more remote, high altitude powder, Heliski Cervinia offers a range of breathtaking heli ski excursions in the company of an Alpine guide. Reasonably priced heli-skiing itineraries in magnificent terrain include the medium difficulty Roisette (3,300m) descent with fabulous views of the Monterosa chain from its south facing slopes, the north facing Chateau des Dames (3,200m) run with some steep gulleys and consistent powder, and the Porta Nera (3,750m) for dramatic scenery and stunning natural ice sculptures on a north facing descent across the Schwarze and Gorner glaciers.
Tel: +39 0166 949267
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Mountain Restaurants in Cervinia
Cervinia’s ski area includes a dozen or more mountain restaurants, of which most are close to the lift stations at the top and bottom of lifts like Plan Maison, Cime Bianche, Plan Torrette and Bontadini.
Many of Cervinia’s mountain restaurants are self service, and offer local specialities alongside ski favourites, sandwiches and snacks. Most menus will include dishes based around polenta, vegetable soup, pasta, local sausages, and Fontina cheese, but will also include sandwiches, salads, burgers, hot dogs and chips.
Some of the best restaurants with good food, convenient locations and panoramic views include:
Chalet Etoile, sometimes know as Ulla’s, is an excellent Alpine style restaurant on the blue run (6) above Plan Maison with a spacious, panoramic terrace and a self service option. Tuktu at Plan Maison has a panoramic terrace, serves traditional Aosta Valley cuisine and also has a pleasant bar. Rifugio delle Guide, just outside the cable car at Plateau Rosa is smaller and the highest altitude of all the restaurants on the Cervinia side of the domain.
Rifugio Teodulo at Col Teodulo is a classic Mountain Refuge with good pasta dishes and splendid views of the Matterhorn. Bontadini is conveniently located at the bottom of the Bontadini lift and again offers superb views. Pousset provides a perfect location for a pleasant break on the long Ventina run.
The self service restaurant at Trockener Steg has been much improved in recent times. The bar/restaurant at the top of the Klein Matterhorn is also good, with sensational views, though many people find that they don’t have much of an appetite at 3,883m!
It is worth noting that the restaurants in the Valtournenche area tend to be quieter and cheaper than those in the central zone. Unsurprisingly, prices are generally higher on the Zermatt side of the ski domain.