Lake Como is ideally situated for skiing or snowboarding surrounded by the Alps. There are many ski schools located nearby with some maybe a little longer to get to by car. However if you are an enthusiast of either of these winter sports, then a one or two hour drive to reach some of the best ski slopes and resorts in the Italian Alps is worth it. Both skiing and snowboarding can be taken up as a recreational or competitive sport.
The word ski derives from the old Norse word “skíð” which means split piece of wood or firewood. In skiing you have two long skis shaped to a curved point with bindings on them which allows your ski boots to attach to the ski. This allows you to glide over the top of the snow. The ski boots are made of rigid plastic, however if one of your ski’s moves in the wrong direction or you lose your balance and fall over, it is easy enough for you to detach your boot from the ski (this may happen automatically depending on how you fall over). There is a clip that sits just behind the heel of each ski boot (attached to the ski itself) that you can press down on with your ski poles and the boot will release itself from the bindings. Ski poles are also needed, maybe not so much for beginners although for some people, just having something to hold onto helps to balance them. When holding your ski poles, you should stand in ski position (knees slightly bent) and whilst holding the ski pole your arm should be by your side but your forearm parallel to the floor at a 90 degree angle, if your arm is not comfortably in this position, then the ski pole is the wrong height for you.
There are different types of skiing; alpine/downhill skiing, cross-country or nordic skiing and telemark skiing (a type of downhill skiing). In both cross-country and telemark skiing, the ski boot is only attached to the ski by the toe bindings on each ski. The heel of the boot is free to allow for more movement. Cross-country skiing is mainly over flat ground and the ski’s and poles used for this weigh less than that of the downhill ski equipment.
World Cup Alpine Ski Racer, Alberto Tomba from Italy (born in December 1966), dominated in the 1980’s and the 1990’s as during this period he won the following; three Olympic gold medals, two World Championships and nine World Cup season titles; four in slalom, four in giant slalom, and one overall title.
Snowboarding became recognized as one of the Winter Olympic Winter Sports in 1998. Although it has been around as early as the 1920’s, modern snowboarding began in the early 1960’s when an American student in high school decided to make a ‘ski-board’ for a school project. A skateboard enthusiast who wanted to be able to skate during the winter months also. His name was Tom Sims (born 1950 died 2012), founder of Sims Snowboards as well a going on to be the World Champion Snowboarder in 1983 and World Skateboarding Champion in 1975.
This winter sport is similar to skiing; you are descending the snowy slopes whilst on a board. The difference being though that with snowboarding, you have both feet attached to one wide board (like that of being on a skateboard). Snowboarding boots are much softer that ski boots and you can actually walk around more easily in these type of boots. However with snowboarding, you have both feet attached to a short wide board and the bindings on these boards that keep your feet in place do not allow your feet to come free at all, not even when you fall over, which can obviously lead to some painful injuries. With that being said, signing up for some snowboarding lessons and paying attention as to how to fall and get up, you should be perfectly fine. Snowboarding is probably seen as being more up-to-date and many young people tend to take up this sport. However people of all ages can give it a go, it might just be the challenge that you are looking for.
When getting fitted out for your snowboard, whether it be hired or brand new, you will be checked on your stance. If you tend to place your right foot forward as the leading foot then you are ‘goofy’, if you tend to lead with your left foot first when you take your stance, then you are ‘regular’ (this is the more common stance of the two).
Both skis and snowboards are made up of a combination of layers of materials such as plastic, wood and steel and are fused together using a machine called a ski press. Basically each part of the ski or snowboard is using a different material.
There are few resorts within easy reach by car (ensure that you at least have snow chains with you!)
This local ski area is only thirty minutes north of Argegno on the western side of the lake. It is a brilliant ski area for beginners and has ski schools for both adults and children. There is also another slope that is more suited for intermediate skiers along with ski lift.
Is a great ski area and is situated in a beautiful valley close to Lecco on the Eastside of Lake Como. The following three resorts are all located in the province of Lecco:
Pian Delle Betulle
In order to reach the slopes of Pian delle Betulle, you have to take the cable-car from Margno (approx 30km from Lecco by car). You can reach the ski slopes from Alpe Paglio (from Casargo by car) where you are then taken by jeep to Pian delle Betulle, approximately 20 minutes by foot.
Giumello & Paglio Area
Two skiing areas within close proximity to each other. This is a particularly good place for those of you who want to practice your cross-country skiing. Located approximately 33km from Lecco.
Madesimo (also known as Valchiavenna)
This is a quaint village located in the province of Sondrio, which is approximately 50km northwest of Sondrio and on the border of Switzerland. This resort is maybe more suited for intermediate skiers however if you are taking lessons with a ski instructor then you should be ok (just remember to snow-plough to slow you down!) The difference in the terrain from the nursery slopes up to the next level is quite significant so make sure you are confident in your ability before attempting. For the snowboarders, there is a good snowboarding park but this is again more suited to intermediates than beginners. Overall the resort is small but in a beautiful setting with plenty of atmosphere. It also has a good ski-lift system in place.
Valtellina Area – includes Aprica, Bormio and Livigno.
Aprica resort is great for beginners as it has extensive nursery areas at village level. Bormio is another lovely ski area and also boasts a Wellness Centre with thermal baths and Livigno is great for shopping as well as skiing.
LAKE COMO SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING