News from the snow
One of Italy's top resorts, coming to world attention in 1985 when it hosted the Alpine Ski World Championships, which it host again in 2005, Bormio describes itself as a high alpine town at the centre of the high Valtellina region. The town's origins are inextricably linked to its thermal waters which have been re-nowned for their curative powers since ancient times and led to it becoming a spa town. The nine springs are mentioned in Roman documents dating back to the first century AD. Today the tradition continues in modern thermal baths. The resort's long history has left it with a rich collection of architectural treasures, which make it a more pleasant and interesting place to stay than many resorts. Centred around the busy main Via Roma the old buildings are decorated with frescoes and graphics and include the thirteenth century Kuerc, with its amphitheatre style roofing, where justice was administered in times past. The S. Vitale Church predates it by a century whilst the Alberti Tower is fifteenth century. The Hour Tower was begun in the fifteenth century and completed in the seventeenth, whilst the De Simoni Palace is eighteenth century. In between these great buildings are many atmospheric shops, bars and restaurants as well as two museums. Although skiing is a very important part of Bormio therefore, it is no the be all and end all that it is in most other winter sports resorts - Bormio has a life beyond and is busy through the summer.
One of Italy's top resorts, coming to world attention in 1985 when it hosted the Alpine Ski World Championships, which it did again in 2005. Originally a thermal spa town, Bormio now has a modern thermal baths as well as a wide variety of bars, restaurants, night clubs and a cinema. Excellent ski area with a huge vertical.
The new gondola ascends first to Bormio 2000 - the main nursery area with guaranteed snow. It then carries on to the summit of Cima Bianca from where there's a choice of descents, including the long blue all the way to the bottom, which beginners might attempt by the end of their first week. The second route up is to take the shorter gondola to Ciuk, then a chair to the Bormio 2000 area.
Intermediates will enjoy Bormio the most with its long sweeping runs and fast easy routes. Experts have a more limited choice but the Pista Stelvio was the course for the Men's Downhill in the 1995 World Championship. Bormio is part of the Alta Valtellina Lift Pass system which gives skiing access to the slopes of Livigno, Santa Caterina and San Colombano and with a seven day pass you also get one free day over the border, which includes famous St Moritz. The resort where you're most likely to make use of the pass is Bormio's near neighbour Santa Caterina, a traditional but high and snow sure village with another 40km (25 miles) of trails. It is the home of former Olympic champion Deborah Campagnoni.
On the other side of Bormio the San Colombano lifts serve another mixture of mostly easy and intermediate trails, with one black at Oga.
The Bormio ski school operates a roped off snow garden for children, who may join classes from age three. Off the slopes the town does not have any special attractions for children, except the swimming pool of course.