Review of Madonna di Campiglio

18th April 2014 by RSimpkinuk57 

About Folgarida (where I travelled with Crystal second week in Feb, staying at the Park Hotel Folgarida): The way the map labels the two gondola base stations is misleading. The one marked “1400m FOLGARIDA” must (going by the lift statistics) be at 1350m; more important, it is the secondary end of the resort. The piazza with its row of little shops, the cinema and the illuminated night skiing (advertised as 9-11pm Thursdays only, but not personally verified) are all at the other end, anonymously labelled as “1300m” (correct). I didn’t go look for the ice rink that the map shows about half way between the two bases.

Above “1400” a road zig-zags up all the way to the short Casina drag (where there was a timed slalom course). The Park Hotel is ski-in (from the bottom of that drag) and ski-out (maybe not for beginners) but so dense is the pine forest that the building is hardly to be seen from the piste. The runs from Malghet Aut (common top station for the two gondolas) to both bases are in that forest right from the start, making Folgarida an excellent base in bad weather - unlike Madonna I’d say, where the lifts dump skiers on open terrain a long way above the trees. The Park Hotel is large, busy and was full of friendly Italians, with many families. Food was both good and lavish, likewise the pool and gym, and the evening entertainment from the enthusiastic staff quite remarkable, and could be appreciated even by non-Italian-speakers: think Benny Hill. An hotel that may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but great fun if you are willing to immerse yourself. It has its own ski hire shop, and a ski school rep attends Saturdays.

Linking runs to and from Madonna are genuine reds, and I found them the hardest in the area, in part due to traffic and what it did to the grooming. Run 46 off 49 (from Pradalago’s Fortini and Zeledria fast lifts) looks blue to start with but becomes genuinely red when it joins 47/45. The journey back (Folgarida-wards) is faster than the outward one. Friday afternoon (sunny!) I left the top of Monte Spinale on the other side of the valley (but lower than Passo Groste) at 3 and was at the Malghetto 3-chair (bottom of run 46) at 3.30. Two days before (also sunny) I timed the queue for Malghetto, same time of day, as 7 minutes. (My worst queue was getting up Groste on Friday morning.) From Monte Vigo, top of that chair, by using run 9 onto the run 18 jeep track one can if desired ski all the way down to Folgarida without using the Bassetta 2-chair, not that I had any problems with queues on that.

Formal restrictions on off-piste skiing are for wildlife protection as much as for safety - most if not all the slopes are within Parco Naturale boundaries. I saw no attempt to enforce the restriction below Orso Bruno on Monte Vigo but maybe off-piste skiers are tacitly tolerated so long as they confine themselves to a few particular places.

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