Folgaria - Italian Perfection
Folgaria is a hugely popular resort amongst our school ski groups, however it is somewhere that until now I personally had not yet visited. After glowing reports from colleagues, it was about time I changed this – so off to Folgaria I went.
After a quick (under 2 hour) transfer from Treviso Airport I was greeted by a warm welcome at my hotel. However, no time to rest, I had a resort and several hotels to explore. Folgaria village itself immediately struck me as laid back, with its pretty cobbled, pedestrianised streets, quaint almost Swiss looking architecture and endless views of snow-capped mountains shooting through the clouds which lay below us on the valley floor opposite.
Folgaria consists of several distinct area, Folgaria village itself where all the main amenities can be found such as an impressive ice rink and sports complex complete with Olympic size pool, a pretty and safe high street dotted with bakeries, gift shops, a piazza and even a divine ice cream shop.
Around 1km (or 15min walk) from here is the Costa area with adjoining ski slopes which are linked to the main Folgaria ski area in addition to some fantastic hotels, two of which I had the opportunity to inspect on this trip namely the Garden Hotel and Sayornara Hotel. Both these hotels had views of the pistes which were just a short walk away. These were family run hotels which to me was obvious as the pride in the cleanliness, food and overall service was obvious. A short, 5 minute drive from here one can find the epicentre of the ski area – Fonde Grande, complete with ski hire, several ski lifts and ski school. This lies largely at the centre of the Folgaria ski network. To the East there is the pretty village of Serrada, quiet, quaint, traditional and slap bang next to the ski lifts, offering an excellent gateway to the ski network of Folgaria. Finally, travelling a little further a field (around 10km) you will find the stunning Lake Lavarone, surrounded by beautiful villages which make up the Lavarone area, complete with its own ski network which is part of the Folgaria ski pass.
After a busy first day exploring the town and several hotels, the second day was spent exploring the pistes, which we accessed from Fonde Grande. With the nervous first run of the season in our legs, we ventured further afield, taking in a number of the wide, tree-lined blue and red runs. An experts’ paradise Folgaria is not, but beginners and intermediate skiers (which make up most school ski groups) will be in paradise. Over 100km of slopes make it large enough to keep a group busy week long, without having that intimidating feeling some huge resorts can sometimes reflect, whereby everyone seems to be an expert. The infrastructure is excellent largely chair lifts connecting the entire network, complemented by magic carpets, the odd drag lift and even some covered magic carpets on flat or slight incline links. We managed to venture across to Serrada on our first day, where we stopped for a coffee and to audit the excellent Martinella Hotel, which offers ski-to-door access, not to mention a welcoming host, high standard accommodation and plenty of space for groups to unwind.
After a long, but highly enjoyable days skiing, we were in for a treat as the FIS Men’s Giant Slalom World and European cup races were due to be held in Folgaria that week. As is tradition for the race host village, Folgaria held a party in the village Piazza where live music accompanied food stalls, entertainment and followed by presentation of the racers numbers. Little did we know that the Italian and part of the Swiss ski team were staying in our hotel, which meant we sat and had dinner with these international ski stars, one of whom actually won the men’s Giant Slalom race (Italian, Riccardo Tonetti).
The next morning was spent visiting some more hotels in Folgaria, including the stunning Stella d’Italia and Hotel Victoria, both of which are located on the cobbled high street of Folgaria and both of which offer superb standard accommodation with amazing onsite facilities for students to enjoy. We then ventured to the beautiful Lavarone area, an area popular with our groups. In between Folgaria and Lavarone, we explored the lovely Hotel Trentino, and were greeted by the bubbly Nicoletta and her family. This hotel is an excellent location being situated half way between both the Folgaria and Lavarone ski areas, making it a great option to allow groups to ski both ski areas within one week. We then ventured to Lake Lavarone, where we explored the Hotel Romanda and Hotel Da Villa, which both offered welcome, cosy retreats from the cold and both offer fantastic bases for school ski groups. Again, family owned and run hotels, again offering sole occupancy for groups, these hotels offer safe, high standard accommodation, and both had a pleasant smell floating from their kitchens as it was almost lunch time!
Lavarone ski area is smaller than that of Folgaria, however it is included in the same lift pass and offers a different experience than Folgaria main slopes. After meeting with the Lavarone ski school, I was excited to see what Lavarone has to offer. It provides possibly the perfect beginners slopes, with a series of linked blue runs progressively getting higher up the mountain, offering higher and longer runs as student ski ability improves. This offers a perfect progression opportunity, and also leaves the option to then progress onto Folgaria later in the week (with the same ski instructors).
Folgaria provided me with food for thought – I have visited over 30 European ski resorts and it is hard to think of any that match Folgaria for beginner or intermediate skiers. It has an Italian charm and welcome, it has a great range of slopes without being overwhelming, the price point is comparable to anywhere else you will find, and often much more cost effective. Add to this some wonderful food, fantastic family run hotels of which they are the cleanest I have ever seen, amid stunning scenery, we at Ski Adaptable can only see this resort getting even more popular in years to come for school ski trips.
Written by Matt Connelly, Sales Director at Ski Adaptable
Ski Adaptable offer school ski trips to Folgaria from just £569 – take a look now or contact us today to find out more about our packages to Folgaria.