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HOW TO SKI WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK - Mark Shardlow, Montecampione, Italy
Friday March 1, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI goes budget to the Italian resort of Montecampione. Where? If you want to ski in an affordable way read on.

Half-term usually means high prices and busy pistes.

Especially if you're slow off the mark, like us.

On New Year's Day (or was it late on New Year's Eve) we decided we'd like a few days skiing after all. But only if we could find a cheap way of doing it.

So we set ourselves the task of skiing "budget" style.

My teenager daughter and her friend have three years under their belts.


Montecampion, ItalyMontecampione, Italy

















My mate is a regular.

The four of us ended up at at Montecampione in Italy with the slopes pretty much to ourselves for the week and enjoyed a half-term of unbroken sunshine and ridiculously high temperatures.

Montecampion, ItalyMontecampione, Italy
















Our search in January began with the flights.

Last year we flew cheaply into Central Germany and drove four hours to stay close to Kitzbuhel.

But with heavy snow on the way back, we hit closed motorways and missed our flight.

This year was going to be different.

We decided we shouldn't be driving much more than an hour.

We wanted a Midlands Airport and after a good hunt around we found the cheapest flights out were to Verona and the cheapest return to Milan Bergamo, both with Ryanair.

So out with the compass and we found a few small resorts to consider.

We liked the look of Montecampione - a resort purpose-built in 1970 that looked like it had seen better days.

Montecampion, ItalyMontecampione, Italy
















We wanted 4 or 5 days of skiing and with over 30 km of pistes - 4 blue, 12 red and 4 black - it looked like it would do nicely.

It was one of Italy's first resorts to install snow cannons - so we were hopeful of decent conditions.

Montecampione had its own accommodation in apartments at two of the three resort levels, 1200m and 2000m.

Montecampion, ItalyMontecampione, Italy
















However we chose to stay a drive away in Boara Terme - a spa town - though when we go again we will look at staying on Lake Iseo.

You'd need to be going just for the skiing if you opt to stay at the Montecampione resort, at least until much talked about improvements are made.

Although, having seen some of the rooms going for 30 Euros a night, it would make a very cheap option.

Our 4 star hotel was 70 Euros a night for a double room on a bed and breakfast basis - which seemed a bargain.

We found ski passes discounted by 37% on Italian Groupon at 18.99 Euros a day.

And also booked ourselves a couple of spa sessions at the impressive local spa, again via Groupon, with a 50% discount on normal price. We were on a roll.

The flight over was fine and we stopped for lunch 20 minutes from Verona Airport on the shores of Lake Garda for the first of many fine meals.

A short drive later and we were in our hotel in the valley.

The daily drive to the mountains would take around 30 minutes being just over 10km with 14 sharp turns.

There was free underground parking.

And a hire shop and ski school both at the lower and top levels.

We went to take a first look on Sunday and it was rammed.

The hire shop was just about cleared out.

And the slopes were busy with locals and a downhill competition.

But 24 hours later nearly everybody had gone.

It was quite something to have a UK school holiday week with very quiet pistes and no queues at any of the 10km of lifts.

The guys at the upper hire shop were super helpful and we had excellent instructors from the Montecampione ski school, who took me and the girls to the heart of the mountains.

We had a lovely time.

I'd recommend it - with reservations.

The resort definitely has a 1970s feel.

The luxury hotel went bankrupt a few years ago.

And it was sad to see the pool complex empty and full of junk.

The place had been ransacked.

There were limited facilities in the resort , just a handful of bars and shops and no real buzz.

A couple of bar/restaurants in the mountains were lovely on a sunny day - but these served mostly basic food in simple surroundings.

New investment is on the cards and it will be interesting to see what takes place as it approaches its 50th anniversary.

On the positive side, even in a winter with little snow in this part of Italy, the conditions were fair.

From Monday to Friday the slopes were ridiculously quiet - but be warned, it gets busy at weekends and crazy around Shrove Tuesday (Carnevale).

Montecampion, ItalyMontecampione, Italy
















And we ate great pizza, pasta and seafood at good prices.

For an intermediate skier this is a good option for a short notice 3-4 days away, if you can get a good flight to Bergamo or Verona.

There's plenty of accommodation options in and around the resort.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering about my style my lovely daughter took this video of me:

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