Cervinia

Italy

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Matterhorn, Cervinia ski resort is one of Italy’s finest, with slopes that have an emphasis on intermediate cruising.

Scout Loves

  • The dramatic views of the Matterhorn.
  • Italian food that’s good value and delicious.
  • The main cobblestone street with a terrific selection of restaurants and bars.
  • Long, wide intermediate slopes on quality snow, thanks to the high altitude.
  • Cervinia resort is a south-facing bowl, so it’s great for those that love sunny spring skiing.

Scout Tips

  • The ski connections to Zermatt can often be closed due to bad weather.
  • Advanced skiers won’t find much in the way of challenging on-piste terrain. In the right conditions there are a few off-piste runs to explore, as well as heli-skiing.
  • Apart from the main pedestrian-friendly street and church, the village lacks charm.
  • If you are staying in the village, you won’t need a car as everything is within easy walking distance.

Scout Review

Cervinia Ski Resort (often called Breuil-Cervinia) is one of the best resorts in Italy, especially for those who love to cruise long, wide-open slopes basking in sunshine. Located in an extensive south-facing bowl at the head of the Aosta Valley, 2½ hours north of Milan, Cervinia is a world-class ski resort in its own right. Yet it has the added benefit of an easy connection via ski runs to Zermatt, making the skiing and boarding possibilities endless.  Although Cervinia doesn’t receive a large amount of snowfall, the snow stays high quality throughout most of the season thanks to its high altitude (the base of the resort is 2050m/6730ft and the highest lifted point is 3480m/11,420ft). On the week Scout visited, in January 2016, it was a particularly low snow year, but the quality of the on-piste snow was still excellent (off-piste on the other hand was non-existent).

Cervinia resort and village are dominated by the mighty Matterhorn, or Monte Cervino as it is called in Italy. Unlike in Zermatt where it is viewed from a distance and therefore takes on its distinctive well-known shape, the views of the Matterhorn from Cervinia are quite different. Here you are more directly underneath the giant rock formation and are constantly stopping to look in awe. The views back down the valley are equally beautiful.

Unfortunately, the man-made efforts haven’t exactly matched the quality that nature provided. The ski area has some hideous lift terminals and buildings that look more like dilapidated 80s Bond villain lairs, and parts of the village aren’t exactly postcard worthy.

Regardless, there are elements that we love, including the cobblestone-lined pedestrian friendly main street lined with classic Italian delis selling all sorts of local specialties, cozy pizzerias, charming restaurants and a couple of fun bars to provide a just-lively-enough après scene. The overall vibe of Cervinia is laid-back and friendly rather than pretentious or fancy. Best of all, if you love Italian food, you won’t be disappointed here – on or off the slopes.

Cervinia Skiing

Cervinia ski resort is connected with Zermatt in Switzerland as well as a smaller resort called Valtournenche further down the valley. The entire area covers 350km of runs, with 150km of those being on the Italian side. The slopes mainly consist of long and wide, well-groomed red runs (though we feel many of those should be classified as blue). It is easy to navigate, the runs are well connected and the different areas make for some fun exploring, while getting in some solid mileage at the same time. This makes Cervinia perfect for intermediate skiers who love to cruise (and perhaps stop for a fabulous Italian lunch).  Advanced skiers aren’t so well catered for and while there is off-piste to be found, much of it would require a good hike and a guide to discover. 

The connection to Zermatt adds a whole lot more terrain and that side has a better selection of slopes for advanced skiers. The resort connects with Zermatt in two places and it’s easy - almost too easy as we nearly inadvertently ended up in Switzerland by taking a wrong turn. However, the connections can often be closed in bad weather so make your way back early… if you get stuck in the Switzerland side it will be an expensive and long ride home!

We highly recommend buying an international lift ticket that includes Zermatt, Cervinia and Valtournenche for between €53-€64 a day as it is much cheaper than buying just a Cervinia ticket per day and adding the pricey Zermatt day extension on top. If you aren’t planning to ski in Zermatt, you can buy a pass just for the Italian side for €41-€46 a day. Beginner and hourly passes are also available.

The beginner areas in Zermatt are great. There are several areas with one of the main bunny slopes and magic-carpet surface lifts off to the side of the Cretaz base area. There are some restaurant terraces right next to the slope that provide the perfect ring-side seats for watching the little ones learn to turn – all while being waited on with wine and delicious pizza! The rest of the beginner areas are gentle with several options on higher slopes and there’s easy progression to the intermediate slopes.

Cervinia is well serviced by a fast and efficient lift system. Most skiers will start their day on the Cretaz chair lift as the main Plain Maison gondola is located a short walk up the hill from the main part of the village. There are a bunch of fast express chairs and gondolas as well as the relatively new Plateau Rosa cable car with its panoramic windows and incredible views of the Matterhorn.

Cervinia ski resort has some high-standard terrain park features in the Plan Maison ski area including rails and jumps. When we visited there wasn’t a half-pipe.

Cervinia For Families

Cervinia is great for families due to the compactness of the village and its closeness to the ski area, the gentle beginners and first-timers sections, the south-facing slopes basking in sunshine, and the overall value, especially when compared with Switzerland and France. There are some apartments, but generally most of the Cervinia hotels are well suited to families who are happy with B&B or half-board. For those looking for ultra-convenience there’s a Club Med that includes everything from food to ski lessons and entertainment. The Club Med is situated a short drive from the main village and requires a shuttle to get to the slopes.

Cervinia has some good facilities for children including a children’s club called the Mini Club Biancaneve and a centrally located children’s play area by the Cretaz slopes with activities and equipment.

Cervinia Accommodation

Cervinia has a great mix of accommodation styles suited to all tastes and budgets. Most of the hotels within the village and just a short walk to the ski slopes are smaller, family-run hotels ranging from 2-star to 4-star, offering B&B and half-board rates (some are restricted to half-board only).  If it’s top-of-the-line luxury you want, there’s a beautiful 5-star Relais and Chateaux hotel a short drive from the village. Or if convenience and fun is what you’re after try the Club Med, which includes everything from meals, to drinks, to ski lessons and more. Cervinia also has a couple of ski-in ski-out hotels, though they are less convenient to the village.

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Resort Activities

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As well as shopping, eating and drinking, Cervinia has a handful of other activities to keep you busy off the slopes:

  • Outdoor ice-skating
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice-caving and ice-climbing
  • Heli-skiing
  • Ice-karting (like go-karts on the snow)
  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Cross-country skiing (though the paths are not extensive)
  • Indoor climbing

A museum at the top of the Plateau Rosa, touted as the “Highest Museum in Europe” showcasing the methods and machinery for building the lift systems

Getting There and Around

The nearest main airports to Cervinia are Turin (1hr 45min), Milan (1 hr 30 min) and Geneva (2hr 15min). Shuttle buses connect each of the airports with Cervinia with prices ranging from €35-€75 each way.

The closest train station is Chatillon/Saint Vincent, 28km down the valley, which is serviced by a local bus to Cervinia.

Generally everything within the main Cervinia village is within walking distance, including the ski slopes, so you won’t need a car or to take public transport. If you are staying at a hotel outside the main village center they will most likely have a shuttle to take you to the village and/or slopes.

When To Go

Cervinia Ski Resort has a long season from mid-late October until early May. It can be crowded with Italians on weekends and over key holidays. If you’re into spring skiing Cervinia makes a great choice thanks to its south-facing slopes and high altitude that preserve the quality of the snow.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Terrain    
Base Elevation 2050m Intermediates 22%  
Summit Elevation 3490m Advanced 63%  
Vertical Drop 1440m Expert 15%  
Skiable Piste 135km Lifts 62  
Annual Snowfall 394in      
Longest Run 22km      
Operating Hours 8:15am –4:50pm      

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