Off Piste in Italy

First Class Freeriding in the Italian Alps.

Champoluc

Extensive piste , Traditional Italian village , Scenery

Great for:

  • Scenery
  • Quiet après ski
  • Long runs

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Courmayeur

Pretty, car-free village , International ski pass

Great for:

  • Families
  • Off-piste
  • Foodies

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Sauze d'Oulx

Links to Milky Way, Amazing Italian après , Somethi...

Great for:

  • Après-ski
  • Intermediate skiing
  • Italian Alpine charm

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Cortina

Spectacular scenery , Olympic resort , Friendly local...

Great for:

  • Intermediates
  • Off-piste
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Livigno

One of Italy’s highest , Duty free shopping , Authen...

Great for:

  • Late season
  • Après ski
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Cervinia

Great for beginners, Ski 2 countries in 1 day , Glaci...

Great for:

  • Snow sure
  • Families
  • Beginners and intermediates

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Gressoney

Awesome scenery , Pretty villages , Laid back atmosphere

Great for:

  • Families
  • Intermediates
  • Quiet holiday

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Arabba

Pretty mountain village , High altitude skiing , Jaw-...

Great for:

  • Scenery
  • Linked ski area
  • Foodies

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

La Thuile

Ski 2 countries in 1 day, Off piste forest trails , H...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Beginners
  • Heli-skiing

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Passo Tonale

Glacier skiing, Cheap ski holidays , Sno many activities

Great for:

  • Families
  • Snow sure
  • Freeriders

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

With Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn to the west, the craggy Dolomites to the east and everything from steep couloirs to wide powder fields beneath them, Italy’s off-piste is something you have to ski to believe.

A guide’s your way to the finest, safest terrain (and like heli-drops, they’re a whole lot cheaper here). These ten resorts have some truly bellissimo backcountry - and you’ll be surprised how little competition you’ll have for fresh tracks...

Italy: Top 10 ski resorts for Backcountry

The terrain seems to go on and on in the Monterosa region, and Champ’s also a massive heli-ski base for ventures further afield. If it’s time to take your passion for off-piste to the air, the Colle Del Lys route starts at 4260m and covers the Lys and Grenz glaciers on a spectacular route into Zermatt. There are some cracking runs that don’t require a chopper, too. The best is well above 3000m on the Indren Glacier, which means only one thing: never-ending (and, as this is Italy, mostly untracked) powder. The Passo dei Salati-Indren gondola leads the way to a whole mountain of backcountry, with one ski route and as many unmarked trails as you want to carve. Hike a little further up to Punta Vittoria for two extreme descents: The first is the Malfatta, which winds through a severely narrow, steep gorge and left down to Alpe Bors and Alpe Pile. The second’s the Vittoria Peak descent, which reaches gradients of 60 degrees as you traverse the snow bridge and ski down to Alpe Pile.

While you’re teetering atop the Punta Helbronner, you’ll have no difficulty believing Courmayeur shares terrain with powder titan, French Chamonix. Take the Skyway Monte Bianco and you’ll reach the Vallee Blanche, the most famous off-piste trail of all time. But you don’t have to leave the country for a good time off the piste. There are countless routes from the Punta to the valley floor at La Palud: Take the 12km Toula Glacier, the steep and forested Mont Frety and the Marbree Glacier (averaging 40 degree gradients) routes, and break them up with some of the area’s reams of couloirs. We always like to dedicate a couple of descents to working out why they called the Canale Del Cesso the “Toilet Couloir”. The heli-skiing opportunities are immense. The most famous, the Mont Fortin route, opens up exclusive sights of Mont Blanc that can’t be seen from anywhere else - cameras at the ready!

Sauze’s unpisted routes are easy accessible with easy-going gradients, and a lot of them beat a direct path to the village – top notch entry-level off-piste for newbies. Malafosse is our favourite: A seemingly isolated trail that’s narrow and marginally steeper than the rest, but won’t take you too far out of your comfort zone. The tree-lined powder fields of the Milky Way are a manageable goal for intermediates, offering up all the pleasure of the fluffiest snow without having to tip-toe across a cliff face to reach it… By far, the biggest draw is the Rio Nero Valley behind Rocce Nere. The route leading to Amazas passes through a pine forest and covers feather-light snow, then a bus or taxi brings groups back to the village. Heli-skiing is also a big thing in the Susa Valley, with the Pure-Ski Company mapping out more than 80 trails with verticals of 700-1600m.

There’s no denying that this part of the Dolomites has some of the world’s most beautiful backcountry. Cristallo and Tofana lead the local freeriding scene with some seriously tough itineraries. Pack rope and head to Cristallo for the Creste Bianche to Pra del Vecio, a 1500m vertical descent that gets easier as it goes on. Costabella is another corker, with narrow chutes and powdery expanses. On the Tofana, there’s the 1900m Bus di Tofana route, where the ride is just the right mix of euphoria and stomach-flipping terror. With some of the easiest, quietest and sunniest descents we’ve skied, the Lagazuoi Couloirs are our favourites here. And you’ll thank the gentle Cinque Torri trail for the chance it gives you to look around – the rugged mountains are nothing short of spectacular.

A resort that was once impossible to reach because of heavy snowfall, Livigno’s quality, unintimidating powder that feels a long, long way from the 9-5. The Mottolino area has 5 ungroomed freeride trails. The short and easy routes to Trepalle and Passo D’Eira warm you up for the monstrous descents from the Della Neve peak. In the glade department, you can make plenty of short sharp turns down Mottolino’s forested western face, accessed by the red Mottolino 1 piste. This is the mountain with the heli-pad – your launch point for an awesome powder descent or two in the Monte and Mine valleys. A SNO top tip: see if Marco’s still guiding here. He knows the area like the back of his hand and has some awesome stories about his climbs of the world’s highest mountains.

Being Zermatt’s next door neighbour, it’ll come as no shock that Cervinia has powder worth pursuing. With a guide in the lead, a world of terrain on both sides of the border awaits. On terra Italiana, try the lines under the Plan Torrette, or drop down in to the gulley left of black piste #44. The Theodul, Gorner and Schwarztor glaciers have some fabulous trails, with views of the Matterhorn and Breithorn to boot. To really get off the beaten track, Heliski Cervinia can take you up and out to the undisturbed faces of the Roisette, the nearby Monterosa chain or the Chateau Des Dames (they’ll know where the snow’s best) - for an untouched world of white to soar down.

Gressoney’s a brilliant base for the freeride terrain of the Monterosa Ski region, with lift access to Indren - Monterosa’s highest summit at 3275m. Sheltered, tree-lined snow? Check. Take the Bedemie Seehorn and Stafal Gabiet chairlifts and look down. Snow-sure, open faces? Check. Punta Indren’s step south-west facing fields lead back to the village, while those facing south-east take you into neighbouring Alagna (the Balma route across the Bors glacier is amazing). And those cheap Italian heli-drops? Checkety check. Skiing here’s a golden opportunity to reach Europe’s most secluded spots on some of the most affordable heli-tours we’ve seen.

High in the mighty Dolomites was always going to mean soul-soaring views and pristine powder. This is the nearest resort to the snow sure Marmolada glacier, where spectacular routes range from smooth (north facing Bellunese Vecchia) to scary (Antermoia - a goose-pimpler if ever there was one). Further out, the groomed Sella Ronda might be the most famous route in the area, but it’s the ungroomed Sella Couloirs that really rule these parts. Sass Pordoi has two technically demanding couloirs: Canale Joel facing south and Canale Heini Holzer facing north. While on the easier end of the scale, the Witch’s Valley has a more gradual slope over 1200m of vertical. Val Mezdi (they call it the Valle Blanche of the Dolomites) is an absolute must-ski, but if you can wait that long, save it for lunchtime when the rest of the world are tucking into their pizzas. The sun behind gives phenomenal views of the valley as you conquer its steeps, curves, open fields and narrow chutes, walled by the area’s signature craggy golden rocks.

The Espace San Bernardo has some wonderful terrain between La Thuile and La Rosiere in France, letting you zig-zag across the border to your heart’s content. The Bella Valletta route isn’t a bad place to start: You set off from 2891m, cover 1450m of vertical, and cross entire valleys before finishing back up in the village – and, because of a short climb to reach the start, you might just find yours being the only trail down an otherwise untouched mountainside. We could spend hours nipping between the trees of the La Suches forest and on the French side and Combe des Moulins is a slightly easier but just as pretty ski down to the Petit Bois chair and hamlet of Le Vaz. If trips between the lands of pizza and poutine don't satisfy you, heli-skiing opens up further options from the top of the glorious Rutor glacier and Monte Miravidi, a descent of up to 3486m to tuck into.

One of Italy’s most snow sure, Passo is a place to truly test your mettle - without having to waste a second hiking for the biggest stashes. Most of the terrain can be found on the Presena, a monster glacier that looms over the resort at 3000m. Cutting through the upper bowl towards the Bocchetta Bleis (from the Bleis chairlift) opens up a channel through steep, pine-lined forest – the stuff carving dreams are made of. Working your way up the difficulty scale you’ll find the Passo del Diavolo (though we’d say it’s less ‘devilish’, more ‘occasionally unkind’...). From Passo Paradiso, a mixture of shuffles and brief climbs brings you to a narrow chute that gradually widens – and your persistence is paid off with a broad slope here that you can really let loose on. But the two crowning glories here? The super steep Passo del Dito which involves an abseiling session, and the massively lengthy 16km Pisgana.

If you want to ski or snowboard the very best off piste resorts Italy, choose from our list of the top Italian off-piste ski resorts.

All of these ski and snowboard mountains have at some stage held titles like "best Off piste resorts Italy" or "best back country snowboarding resorts Italy", or been included in the winners lists of "top italian back country ski resorts"... they are the best Off piste resorts Italy.

Enjoy the definitive list of top 10 best off-piste Italian ski resorts


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