News from the snow
Prato Nevoso Italy
The twin resorts of Prato Nevoso and Artesina above the town of Frabosa Sottana have joined together to create the Mondole ski area. The area has been strategically created as a third generation ski resort, taking advantage of both a strong historic record for nastural snowfall and a position that recives warm air and sunshine through the winter to prevent it getting too cold to be pleasant. Prato Nevoso is the larger of the two resorts and celebrates 40 years of operation in 2005 since its original creation in 1965. Although purpose built the attractive, typically triangular and wood clad chalet style buildings are certainly well designed for the era. Smaller Artesina is dominated by six large accommodation blocks, set amongst sheltered north-facing slopes. It is actually slightly older, dating from 1960. Prato Nevoso is notably friendly and local suppliers are always keen to give good service and promote their resort. You will encounter none of the take-it-or-leave-it attitude which sometimes blights the bigger names. Prato has something of a local community with school, church and shops. As in most purpose-built resorts, there's a long gallery of shops, bars and restaurants all conveniently located opposite the slopes.
Created in 1965, Prato Nevoso has grown steadily and now offers a wide range of facilities including two discothèques and a cinema. All 13 lifts are drags.
The lift system still features quite a few drags (originally all lifts on the Prato side were drags) but new chairs are added all the time and everything links nicely. Prato Nevoso recently added three new chairlifts including a quad and the one outside the Hotel Capanna which replaced the long tow. The lift company are keen on a new moving carpet lifts for beginners.
Prato Nevoso is an excellent choice for beginners. There's minimal walking, easy runs both at village level and at altitude, and a caring ski school. Progression is great which means beginners can be doing quite long blue runs before the end of the week.
Intermediates are also well served. There are plenty of wide, long runs which invite ambitious skiers to work hard. For strong intermediates there are some tremendous reds, especially over the Artesina side where there's an FIS rated black and some exhilarating cruises in high bowls. Really tough skiing is limited however so devotees of death defying leaps and challenging moguls should look elsewhere. However heliskiing can be arranged locally to take you there!
Prato Nevoso hosted the Junior Snowboard World Championships in 2005.