Cervinia

0
553
Cervina's ski area in the shadows of the iconic Matterhorn
Cervina's ski area in the shadows of the iconic Matterhorn is best suited to beginners and intermediate snowboarders and skiers.

High altitude, snow sure Cervina in the shadows of the iconic Matterhorn, is linked to the Swiss resort of Zermatt. The ski area’s long runs are best suited to beginners and intermediate snowboarders and skiers.

High altitude snow sure Cervina is linked and offers a cheaper base option to the über expensive Zermatt

Located on the Swiss / Italian boarder, Cervina in one of three interlinked valleys gives a wide range of terrain, with plenty to suit all levels of ability. Choose from tree runs in the lower area of Valtournenche, Goillè’s for off-piste, the perfectly groomed slopes up on the glacier or two snow parks. All which sit in the shadow of the distinctive and mighty Cervino or Matterhorn, as the Swiss call it. The Cervino Ski Paradise pass includes Cervinia, Valtournenche and Zermatt. It also includes the ski resorts of Chamois and Torgnon, although not connected to the three main areas by lifts, they can be reached by bus.

The town has a pleasant feel but is far from pretty with a mostly car-free centre. It has plenty of cosy café-bars, good restaurants and a good number of surprisingly upmarket hotels.

Cervina offers 150km of runs, plus another 200km in the Zermatt Area

The slopes are set in a large sunny bowl that sits below the southern face of Matterhorn.The terrain can generally be described as  wide open motorways,  but  it doesn’t offer the variety that other resorts do. Sure you could spend a week here and not ski or board the same run twice but overall the runs are pretty bland. Add in a good few flat spots which will put many snowboarders off. The runs from the top to bottom are proper leg burners and the lift system keeps things moving pretty well.

For freestylers the IndianPark is not masive but well maintained, helmets are compulsory. Zermatt offers generally the same on the slopes with a bit more advanced terrain. The ski area is home to one of the world’s longest ski runs. An epic 20km descent from the Klein Matterhorn above Zermatt down to Cervinia’s lift-linked neighbour, Valtournench.

A downside of the ski are is the first run into Zermatt from Cervinia. It’s flat and gets crowded with skiers and if the cable-cars is not operating the only way back is via two long t-bar draglifts. Altought the ski area is serviced by 21 lifts, many of which are modern and fast. Zermatt’s glacier provides summer skiing and boarding.Cervinia has 150 Km or 94 miles of slopes, 200 Km more in Zermatt

In in Cervinia & Valtournenche

  • 72 Runs + 78 more in Zermatt.
  • 18 Lifts + 34 in Zermatt
  • 2 Cable cars & 3 gondolas
  • 11 Chair & 2 Drag Lifts
  • 5 Magic Carpets
  • 2 Parks & No Pipes
  • No Night Opening
  • summer skiing/boarding on Zermatt Glacier

Beginners

Head to the Crétaz four-man chairlift right in the middle of the village,  it scoops you up gently and accesses a mellow, short slope. The main station, Plain Maison, also has some beginner-friendly slopes, including the Crétaz blue run accessible by the Vielle beginner lift.

18 Easy Runs

27% Blues
Cervinia's cable car below the Matterhorn
Cervinia’s cable car below the Matterhorn

Intermediate

There are plenty of good pistes to challenge intermediate riders: check out Plain Maison, Fornet and Bontadini to name but a few. The real must-do is the Ventina; take an afternoon to enjoy this 11.5 km slope, which leads from the glacier area straight to the village. There are several lifts on the way down so that you can ride your favourite sections again. If a bit of mellow off-piste riding is what you’re after then head to the Cielo Alto and Bardoney chairlifts.

The “Ventina” run owes its fame to the scenery it offers down the entire run. Views up to the 4,000 metre peaks that surround the entire ski area; from the Matterhorn to Mt Blanc, Gran Paradiso to the Swiss mountains, with Mt Rosa in the background and the faraway Monviso, in the heart of the Piedmont region. The Ventina run starts at 3,500 m at Plateau Rosà and arrives in Cervinia town at 2,050 m, for a total downhill run of 11km.

33 Intermediate Runs

49% Reds

Better known as Zermatt’s ugly sister. Cervinia boast over 150 km of slopes, efficient lift system and access to Europe’s highest peaks.

Advanced

Test your skills with the Porta Nera glacier on the Zermatt side, where you’ll find challenging slopes and breathtaking backdrops. Freeriders can take the Chamois chairlifts and ride all the way down to Cheney in the Valtournenche area, just remember that the only way back to Cervinia is by car or bus. Freestylers are going to find themselves heading straight to the Indian snow park. It’s got a 15 m kicker, a kinked rail, a wall ride and a chair (the Fornet) that enables easy laps.

16 Expert Black Runs

24% Blacks

Download large Cervinia Piste Map

Cervinia Piste Map
Download large Cervinia Piste Map

Mountain Stats

Top Lift 3489 m
Vertical Drop 1439 m
Bottom Lift 2050 m

Essential Info

Opening Late Oct & Jun (19 November 2016)
Closing Late May & Sep (1 May 2017)
1 Day Pass € 42
7 Day Pass € 243
Season Pass € 940
Tourist Office cervinia.it
Website cervinia.it

Getting There

Turin (TRN) Airport is the resorts nearest at 140 Km or 88 miles away.

The Town

Cervina’s real weak spot is its architecture. It was first developed as a ski area in 1936 during Mussolini’s era when the building of state of the art lifts and hotels commenced, but since those bright beginnings the town hasn’t had a real development plan and it shows. Despite the bizarre architectural mix, access to the slopes is fast and easy from almost every part of the town, and a central main street with plenty of shops offers ample opportunity for a very pleasant after riding stroll.

Sleeping

The apartments at Studio Breuil Cervinia are the cheapest in town. For a real bargain ask for accommodation in the Cielo Alto area: it’s about 800 meters from the main street but it’s connected to the centre with a shuttle and taxi service. The Hotel Miravidi is the snowboarders’ favorite, while also popular is La Maison de Vacances.

Cervinia's car-free main street
Cervinia’s car-free main street

Eating

Try the pastries (especially the Chatilly Bignet) at the Samovar Tea Room located at the beginning of main street. The Black Hole is the place for hamburgers, made from local beef.

Apres Ski & Nightlife

Everyone starts off in the Yeti bar and then heads to the Discoteca Banconiglio until the lights come on.

Pro’s & Con’s

Pro’s Con’s
The 11.5-km Ventina is one of Europe’s longest slopes. Can get busy in holiday periods.
Wide, perfectly groomed slopes: ideal learner’s spot. The village is plain ugly.
Reliable snow all year long.

We’ve been running the Indian Park here since 2003 and it’s been going from strength to strength. Next winter we’re going to bring in a lot of new obstacles and really try to up things.

Health & Wellbeing

Club Med has the best sporting facilities in town, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool and sauna. Unfortunately it’s only open for public use in the mornings.

Internet Access

If your hotel doesn’t have Internet access, you can get online at the Yeti bar.

Transfer Options

Cervinia is a short drive from Milan (about two hours) and Turin (about 90 minutes). A bus service runs daily from St Vincent.

Local Partners

Cervinia’s lift pass also gives access to Valtourneche. Buy the pricier international ticket to get access to Zermatt as well.

Children

Kids are best suited to Plain Maison, a massive plain area situated at 2250 m with vast, gently inclined slopes.

Bad Weather Days

All the locals head to the Cielo Alto and Bardoney tree runs, where you can have a great day even when it’s a total whiteout.

Avoid

Getting stuck in Switzerland. The last ride back is at 1530.

An Interesting Little Fact

The nearby Grand St Bernard Pass was used for the opening sequence of Michael Caine’s 1969 classic The Italian Job.

Don’t Miss

The park: it’s shaped everyday and has a free Barbie. Nice touch.

Local Tips

Do Don’t
Stop for a drink in the many bars and pubs of the village after a long day of riding. Take the Laghi Cime Bianche-Plateau Rosa gondola in high-peak season: the queue can be over an hour long.
Always wear a high SPE: the sun rays on the glacier are strong and hit your skin even if there’s bad weather. Leave the town between 1600 and 1800 on Saturday and Sunday: there’s only one road that reaches Cervinia and it gets jammed quite often during the weekends.
Carry valid ID when riding to Zermatt. Use their cars to get around the village.
SHARE
Previous articleCortina d’Ampezzo
Next articleCanazei
Jen is a correspondent for Outside, Ski and Snowboarding magazines and a frequent contributor to the New York Times travel section. Her work has been featured in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and other anthologies. She has reported from seven continents, loves languages, and is based in British Columbia, Canada.

Leave a Reply