Tarvisio ski resort: a mountain sports paradise on the border with Austria and Slovenia
29 July 2022
Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and more, in a thousand-year-old forest
Nestled in the heart of the Canale valley, the Tarvisio ski resort is the best known and largest in the eastern Friuli Venezia Giulia Alps. It extends across the slopes and basin of a 24,000-hectare state-owned forest, the largest in Italy. It is criss-crossed by 30 kilometres of downhill runs and 55 cross-country trails, with circuits suitable for everyone, both young and old, at varying degrees of difficulty, as well as snowshoeing trails, snow parks, magical dog-sled rides, opportunities for relaxation and more.
The Tarvisio ski resort, which hosts the Women's Alpine Skiing World Cup every two years, has two areas: the first around Mount Lussari, where the historic village is located, and the other on Mount Florianca, connected in the valley and also at altitude, thanks to a four-seater chairlift. Tarvisio's ski lifts do not include cable cars, but the chairlifts are all very spacious and efficient.
Racing down the legendary Di Prampero piste or through the Sella Nevea cross-border ski area
If you are an expert skier, why not put yourself to the test on the challenging Di Prampero piste? Perhaps one of the most beautiful pistes in the entire Alpine arc, this black slope winds its way along four kilometres from Mount Lussari to the bottom of the valley, near Camporosso, and has hosted the Women's Ski World Cup on multiple occasions. Overlooking a spectacular panorama, the slope is illuminated so that you can also experience skiing at night, every Tuesday and Friday evening.
A few kilometres away is the small ski area of Sella Nevea, a freeride paradise, where you can also ski in the spring and across the border in Slovenia. The ski area offers 15 kilometres of cross-border slopes, with 10.5 kilometres in Italy and 4.5 kilometres in Slovenia, ranging from an altitude of 2,000 to 1,100 metres.
60 kilometres of cross-country loops for professionals and amateurs alike
At the bottom of the valley, Nordic skiing enthusiasts will be thrilled with the 60 kilometres of trails with varying degrees of difficulty: from the rather demanding seven and a half kilometres of the FISI-approved Gabriella Paruzzi cross-country skiing ring (dedicated to the cross-country skiing champion Gabriella Paruzzi, who is from this area), located on the Priesnig plain, to the easier four-kilometre ring on the Camporosso plain, to the two circuits in Val Saisera, in Malborghetto-Valbruna, both of medium difficulty and at a length of over seven kilometres each.
On the Fusine plain, you will find 14 kilometres of tracks, available to both cross-country skiers and mushers, who practice dog sledding.
In the footsteps of Balto the sled dog
Near the Fusine Lakes, you can find the International Mushing Sled dog School belonging to Ararad Khatchikian, leader of the legendary expedition written about in the book Sulle orme di Balto, 1200 chilometri in Alaska (“In the footsteps of Balto, 1200 kilometres in Alaska”), who breeds and trains Siberian husky sled dogs.
At the school, you can enjoy magical dog sledding excursions, being pulled by dogs under the guidance of an expert instructor. You can also experience the thrill of trying out being a musher yourself and driving the sled through the snowy landscapes of the Fusine plain.
Snowpark, freestyle and snowshoeing
If you are more of a snowboarder and love freestyle acrobatics, the perfect place for you is the Gold Lake Snow Park, accessible by chairlift, with rails, jumps of four, eight and 16 metres and differentiated routes for beginners and experts.
Right at the start of the ski lifts, in Piana dell'Angelo, between Tarvisio and Camporosso, Tarvislandia is a snow park for children, with inflatables, a school field, snow tubing, a sledding area, a mini trampoline and a bobsleigh track on rails that descends 880 metres from Colle del Combattente to the centre of the park.
In winter, the Tarvisio plains and forests are criss-crossed by a dense network of snowshoeing routes that are also ideal for enjoying with your children, such as the two ring routes on Lake Fusine and in Val Saisera, with gentle gradients and breathtaking views. More experienced skiers can then continue on to the Zacchi refuge, along an Italian Alpine Club path, which starts near the car park of the second Fusine lake.
The Saint Nicholas parade with the terrifying Krampus
If you are curious about local folklore, be sure not to miss the traditional Christmas market in Tarvisio and in particular the parade of Saint Nicholas and the Krampus on 5th December. On that day, after sunset, the “Krampus”, grotesque creatures likely linked to the archaic winter solstice festivities wearing a wooden devil mask, goat or sheep furs and ringing heavy cowbells, descend into the village and noisily roam the streets in search of naughty children.
The festival begins when Saint Nicholas comes out of the church and takes control of the Krampus. He then enters the homes of all the children and symbolically questions them, giving them sweets, dried fruit and tasty white bread in the shape of a devil in return.
Throughout the winter days, young and old alike simply have to try out, among the many local delicious specialities, frico, a traditional Friulian dish made with cheese and potatoes, or the classic Friulian gulasch, accompanied by potatoes or polenta.