Cervinia ski resort
Cervinia is a resort with many claims to fame. It sits on the Italian side of the famous Matterhorn, and is one of only two remaining Italian areas to offer summer skiing.
It's also one of Italy's most important resorts and has carved a niche as a rather upmarket enclave, perhaps in part because of its cross-border link to Zermatt in Switzerland. The resort is named after Monte Cervino, the Italian name for the Matterhorn, which casts an imperious shadow from overhead.
Breuil-Cervinia, to use the village's full name, is also noteworthy due to its early construction date, being one of the first purpose-built (more or less from scratch) resorts erected in the 1930s. Operating for more than 80 years now, it also remains one of Europe's highest resorts, and with the ski lifts linking up to 3,899m (12,792ft) – Europe's highest lift-served point – Cervinia offers virtually guaranteed snow.
Cervinia is open for winter sports through the summer months with access to Zermatt's glacier skiing, which stretches over both sides of the border. The summer vertical is usually the biggest available anywhere – just as the huge winter one is – providing an 11km-long (6-mile) run.
Cervinia is at the head of the Aosta Valley, part of the Alps in northwest Italy. The resort lies on the border with Switzerland, close to the Swiss resort of Zermatt.
CerviniaResort Elevation: 2050m
Top Elevation: 3480m
Base Elevation: 1524m
On the slopes
Cervinia's skiing is spread over wide, treeless slopes, climbing up to the Swiss border. The high altitude and glaciers allow Cervinia's season to start on weekends from mid-October and last until the beginning of May. Snow sports then begin again in late June and continue through to early September for summer skiing.
Most of the remaining old drag lifts have been replaced in recent seasons by state-of the-art chairs, while the main cable car up to the Swiss border has also had its cabins upgraded to provide full panoramic views.
Beginners have a snowsure nursery area right next to the resort to enjoy. Cervinia's high altitude means that this should be snow-covered all winter, unlike many traditional resorts at lower altitude where nursery slopes may only be open a month or two in midwinter.
Intermediates have the most slopes to explore, with some of the world's longest reds, including a 15km (9 mile) run back down to the resort from Plateau Rosà.
Thanks to the lift link with Zermatt, advanced skiers and boarders have enough exciting steep terrain on and off piste to keep them happy all season; but there are relatively limited options for experts in Cervinia compared to its Swiss neighbour.
Heli-skiing is also popular here, with vertical descents of around 3,000m (10,000ft) possible in good conditions – the largest in the Alps.
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