by: Patrick Thorne - 21st January 2007

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 3Family Friendly
  • 3Aprés Ski
  • 4Terrain Park
  • Overall Value

Full review

Bardonecchia is a traditional border town in the sunny Susa Valley. It was host to the snowboarding events for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Near to the French border, at the entrance to the Frejus Tunnel, Bardonecchia has grown from a typical mountain town into a cosmopolitan holiday resort where visitors can still wander along ancient cobbled streets and enjoy the weekly market that’s been going on since medieval times. Bardonecchia was one of Italy’s first ski areas. It now rates as one of the top ten Italian resorts with an excellent snow record, most of its slopes are north/north-west facing so the snow tends to last longer (south-facing slopes get more sun). The skiing is spread over three areas - Melezet, Jafferau and Campo Smith, the main area where the base facilities are located. The resort itself is at 1312m with the skiing extending up to 2750m at the top of Jafferau and a total of 140km of pistes, the majority of which are intermediate. The main beginner slopes are on the lower slopes of Campo Smith and Melezet which are fully lift linked. Snow cannons ensure good snow cover both at the beginning and end of the season. These areas have a good variety of terrain ranging from wide open clearings to tree-lined forest trails and cruisers will find plenty to enjoy on the long, wide motorway runs. The Jafferau area is also included on the lift pass, its skiing is varied with a good mix of terrain ideally suited to those who enjoy cruising with some great open motorway runs. There is a free skier bus service around the area which takes around 5 minutes from Campo Smith to Jafferau where the pistes are slightly more difficult. It has a treeless bowl with bumps and good off-piste as well as wide trails and narrower Italy's skiing originated in Piedmont which translates as "foot of the mountain", and Bardonecchia was one of the country's first ski resorts. Established in 1934, it was two Norwegian brothers, the Smiths who came here and built there first ski jump at Campo Smith (Smith's Field) which explains how the area got its name. The area is spread over three areas; Campo Smith, Melezet and Jafferau together providing 140km of pistes. Campo Smith, in the middle is considered the main area and is fully lift linked to neighbouring Melezet. Jafferau is a five minute bus ride away and a free bus pass is provided with the lift ticket.
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