Madesimo Ski Resort

Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort Italy is overlooked by the imposing 'Our Lady of Europe' statue
Slide right down into Madesimo village at a rate of knots!
Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort's best alpine terrain in the Val di Lei
Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort Larici gondola with alpine freeride terrain in the background
Madesimo ski resort village is located in a pleasant forested valley
The Motta base area is the first sight for everyone using the Sky Express funicular
Madesimo's ancient Pizzo Groppera cable car haul skiers up to the 2880m highest lifted point
Freerdie terrain off Pizzo Groppera looks gnarly, but offers some lush 1000m vertical off-piste descents
Rifugio Val Di Lei at Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort
Larici Restaurant is Madesimo's major on-mountain dining experience
Motta has mellow beginner & intermediate slopes in stunning alpine surrounds
Broad alpine terrain inbounds on Pizzo Groppera high above Madesimo
Uncrowded intermediate piste trail in the Val Di Lei at Madesimo Valchiavenna
Steep on-piste skiing from Cima Sole at Madesimo
Cima Sole at Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort
One of three ski lifts (2 chairs & a gondola) emanating from the village at Madesimo ski resort
The village at Motta (1720m) in Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort
Entering the Sky Express funicular station near Campodolcino - the best way up the hill for day-trippers.
Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort is an intermediate piste riders paradise
Ski Madesimo in the Valchiavenna

Madesimo Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Madesimo

Madesimo3.5/51
Madesimo3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Nearby Points of Interest

Aprica
Bormio
Milan
St Moritz

     Madesimo Valchiavenna Ski Trail Map
  • Madesimo Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,540m – 2,880m (1,340m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    u/km
  • Lifts (13)
    3 Gondolas/funicular
    9 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Late Nov to mid-April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 60km
    Longest run – 7km
    Advanced - 23%
    Intermediate - 31%
    Beginner - 51%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 19/20
    Adult - €37 to 42
    Child - € 21 to 23
    Child u/8yr - Free

Madesimo Valchiavenna Ski Resort Italy

Madesimo Valchiavenna ski resort is a popular haunt for snow lovers from Milan. Located on the alpine frontier with Switzerland, Madesimo strikes a perfect balance between alpine villages, rifugios, ample piste terrain & interesting backcountry powder ski routes without breaking your budget. And if you have never seen what a 13m high gilt bronze statue looks like up close & personal, juxtaposed against the Italian Alps, then you will have to visit Valchiavenna to find out. The imposing shrine to 'Our Lady of Europe' is quite the sight above Motta & one you are not likely to see in too many ski resorts across the globe.

Pros & Cons for Madesimo Ski Resort

Pros

  • Reliable snow fall region near the Swiss border.
  • Long skiable vertical of 1340m.
  • Perfectly placed lift bases in the heart of Madesimo village.
  • No lift lines during the week – super quiet.
  • Sensational on-piste trails for intermediates & advanced skiers/snowboarders.
  • In-bounds off-piste terrain easily accessible from the Groppera summit provides powder & challenges .
  • Ski touring & backcountry routes (including into Switzerland) are nearby & worth the journey.
  • A handful of excellent mountain rifugios & restaurants.
  • Affordable accommodation generally available at short notice up in the resort & local villages.
  • Superb value lift pass midweek.
  • Sky Express funicular to Motta & a huge free car park at its base, make day trips to Madesimo easy.
  • An overall remarkably affordable ski resort.
  • Wonderful starting point for a ski safari that heads in to Switzerland to St Moritz & beyond!

Cons

  • The lift running schedules of the funicular up to Motta & the Groppera cable car are poor & needlessly limiting.
  • The ancient Groppera cable car & the top station facilities are in desperate need of replacement/refurbishment.
  • Whilst off-piste tree-skiing should be more available – it isn’t!
  • A couple of long, flat linking trails & a major off-piste exit that is flat could create issues for snowboarders.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • At least three main villages all with varying appeal.
  • Public transport from Milan to the ski area is possible (& affordable / safe) but can be a convoluted process of trains & bus.
  • No high-end (5-star et al) accommodation in the area (go to nearby St Moritz for that experience!).
  • Quiet après ski & limited nightlife is off-set by some wonderful bars & restaurants.

Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

The Madesimo ski resort has a skiable vertical of over 1330m providing quality, long on & off-piste sliding, particularly for intermediate & advanced riders. The resort’s central Alps location means snowfalls can be phenomenal as storms from all directions reach out to it, dropping their white goodness early & in depth. The vast swathes of freeride powder from the Pizzo Groppera summit (2880m highest lifted point) for advanced riders perfectly complements the many wonderful tree-lined & alpine piste trails. The best alpine piste trails are the 450m of skiable vertical on Madesimo’s backside off the Val di Lei chair. The best lower piste trails are anything that drops steeply between the trees into Madesimo village. Snowboarders will find the resort approachable, except for some unfortunate long flat connecting trails that link Madesimo to Motta (& vice versa).

See the Madesimo ski trail map here.

Madesimo is by no means perfect for novices & beginners. The range of trails marked blue for beginners are often either too flat (should be green for novices) or too steep (should be red for intermediates). Owing to the presence of a massive gulch separating the ski terrain above Madesimo village, an important linking trail from mid-mountain at Larici to the Motta area requires everyone (regardless of ability) to ride the Cima Sole chairlift, before descending steep (ish) trails to the start of the link, putting beginners at a serious disadvantage. Beginners should stick to the Motta area or the Montalto & Arlecchino chairlifts at the opposite end of the resort. On a sunny day, the learn-to-ski conveyor at the top of the gondola next to Ristoro Larici is a delightful place to put in your first turns.

The Madesimo ski lifts are mostly chairs of varying vintage plus the modern Larici gondola & the ancient Groppera cable car. In Madesimo & Motta, lifts are perfectly placed to for convenience right in the heart of the town. The Sky Express funicular is for transport only & does not serve any ski terrain. It runs up to Motta (1721m) from the valley at Corti/Campodolcino (1082m) on a relaxed 30min interval schedule, so whilst it is a great way to get up to the action, if you mis-time your run, the wait is absolutely infuriating.

Where is Madesimo Valchiavenna Italy?

Madesimo is in the Valchiavenna of Lombardy, hard up against the Swiss border, 2.5hr drive north of Milan via Lake Como.  Switzerland's famous St Moritz ski resort is less than 1.5hr (68km) away by road via Chiavenna & the Maloja Pass. The closest major international airport is Milan Malpensa (MXP). Direct private transfers to Madesimo are the most efficient means of transport to Madesimo. Even more so post COVID-19.

Search & book all Milan airport transfers to Madesimo here.

It is possible to take a combination of train & bus to reach the Valchiavenna & Madesimo. In fact, if this is your only ski destination, avoiding the intense drive & relaxing on the train & bus might be a blessing in disguise. From Milano Centrale, take a train toward Tirano, get off at Colico & change to a train for Chiavenna. Buses meet the trains at Chiavenna for the challenging final 25km drive into the Valchiavenna to Madesimo - challenging for the bus driver that is, as you sit comfortably watching how tight the road is on those many hairpins.....

For anyone driving to Madesimo, as eluded to above, the road from Chiavenna up to Campodolcino then beyond to Madesimo village is quite the experience. Particularly on weekends, the combination of traffic, narrow roads, tight bends & icy conditions will test one's mettle. Previous mountain driving experience is beneficial, plus ensure your car is well equipped for winter road conditions. A steely resolve will help too!

For more detailed information on renting cars & winter driving in the Italian Alps, see our Travel in Italy page.

Madesimo Valchiavenna Accommodation

Aside from the main ski-in ski-out village of Madesimo, the next best accommodation options are the connected villages of Corti & Campodolcino in the valley below. The affordable lodgings at Corti/Campodolcino have direct access to the ski slopes via the Sky Express funicular. At the top of the funicular the high-altitude hamlet of Motta has several traditional lodgings. Alternatives are the area’s many rifugios & hamlets including the isolated Fraciscio located at the terminus of the Angeloga backcountry ski route. On the road between Campodolcino & Madesimo village, the hamlet of Pianazzo has a handful of lodgings.

Search & book all Madesimo-Valchiavenna ski accommodation here.

The ski resort's main village of Madesimo is in pleasant forested surrounds with piste trails & ski lifts emanating directly from either end & the centre of town. Accommodation midweek is generally excellent value, with good availability indicating the uncrowded nature of the ski area away from the surge of weekend warriors from Milan.The best of the lodging options include the exceptional For Rest Bed & Breakfast, the ski-in Albergo K2, pleasant & affordable Hotel Capriolo & the 4-star Sport Hotel Alpina. For larger than normal self-contained apartments, try Residence Deborah.

If looking for cheap, affordable (but excellent) lodgings & food at short notice, try the Ca De Val Guesthouse in Campodolcino. The guesthouse has several quality local bars nearby for delightfully authentic aperitifs. If ‘chancing one’s arm’ and not taking the funicular but driving the spectacular road all the way up to Madesimo to ski, a super quiet, well-priced room can be had at Pianazzo in the Belvedere Guesthouse.

Ski Equipment Rentals

Ski & snowboard rentals from our partners are available in the village of Madesimo at the base of the Montalto chair. Search & book Madesimo ski or snowboard rentals here.

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Madesimo in 2020 & had a great time screaming down the sensational pistes at warp factor 10 & finding powder amongst the long off-piste routes from the Groppera summit. Click on the review link in the left column (or top of the page if on a mobile) to read its inciteful & witty prose.

See how Madesimo-Valchiavenna compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Madesimo
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