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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.

Mountain

There is plenty of skiing both above and below the tree line and the scope would not disgrace a much bigger resort. Piste maintenance is excellent. The lift company do a particularly good job, combing the pistes and making snow when necessary. The link between the two resorts has revolutionized the appeal of the area and the ski pass is very good value. On the Artesina side, the skiing is quite challenging whereas Prato Nevoso is easier for beginners and early intermediates. 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!

Families

An excellent choice for families thanks to the relaxed atmosphere, friendly service, comfortable lodging and children's facilities on the snow, including efficient children's ski facilities with ski schools run by qualified instructors helped by a magic carpet lift. Many of the activities offered by the resorts, such as tubing, are particularly popular with children.

Eating Out

Most of the dining selections are based in the hotels. The Hotel La Capanna for example does a thriving passing trade whilst the wood clad dining room in the Grand Hotel Mondole is also very popular.

Apres

It's by no means busy and nightlife is limited but there's probably enough for a week unless you want to tear it up every night. Night owls should look elsewhere, but if you are a beginner or early intermediate who wants a quiet resort, with uncrowded slopes, good value, nice people, a good ski school and excellent hotels, this is the place!

Boarding

Snowboarders are well catered for with a snow park (floodlit for nighttime use incorporating jumps and a rail), half pipe and boardercross course. Prato Nevoso was one of the early resorts to encourage boarders with one of the first parks in the country. Today it's a big snowboard venue with expert instruction. The hire shop doubles as a snowboard museum. Prato Nevoso hosted the Junior Snowboard World Championships in 2005.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
450m
Ski area
32.5
Resort height
1470m
Airport
Genoa
Train station
Mondovì
beginner
27%
intermediate
67%
expert
6%