I visited the Maniva Ski Resort in the north of Italy for a few days of skiing in the middle of January. Maniva Ski is a privately owned ski resort and I would say it is easily the best ski resort in Italy for beginners. If you live in the North of Italy, Maniva Ski Resort is the ideal location for a weekend getaway as it is only an hour away from the A4 Motorway near Brescia.
If you fly in from abroad, there are various airports in the North of Italy where you can fly to. I flew to Venice Treviso (Ryanair, Wizzair etc), but you can also fly to Milan (Easyjet, Ryanair etc) and Venice Marco Polo (BA, Alitalia etc).
Treviso and Marco Polo are 3.5 hours away on the motorway, while Milan Malpensa is 2.5 hours away. Bergamo is closest at about an hour and a half distance from Maniva.
I met Stefano, the director of the ski resort at the World Travel Market in London in November and he offered me a couple of nights for free to review the place. His resort is in the pre-Alps in the region of Lombardy which is a very nice place at the meeting point of the three valleys and several huge mountains.
Perfect Italian Ski Slopes For Beginners
Maniva Ski Resort is perfect for beginners and for people that want to ski for the first time – here they can try to learn and improve their ski performance. If you are not very confident, you can also get the help of several ski instructors that operate at the ski school on site.
There are various options and class lengths and after each of them the ski teacher will help you explore other parts of the ski resort. The resort also offers a couple of baby slopes, a sledging area and a couple of nice forest runs for the less experienced.
Accommodation Near Maniva Ski Resort
There are a handful of hotels nearby where you can stay for a long weekend or an entire week enjoying the slopes. Stefano booked me into the Hotel Bonardi which is just round the corner from the ski resort, on top of Monte Maniva. Monte Maniva offers spectacular views over the valley in front and if you decide to stay here you will have the opportunity to see some breathtaking sunsets almost every night. I was very lucky as the sky was clear during both nights I spent there and I witnessed some truly amazing sunsets on top of the mountain.
The bar at Hotel Bonardi sells local drinks and home-made cakes while the restaurant serves breakfast and dinner on the ground floor.
My favourite drink while at the Hotel Bonardi and the Maniva Ski Resort was a special egg liquor called Bombardino. It is a super sweet hot drink with some white rum in it and plenty of egg yolk. When you ski like an amateur and you are completely stressed out you need to drink some Bombardino to get some confidence!
While having breakfast at the hotel I met an Italian guy that lives in London called Carlo. Carlo works for British Airways and we started chatting and it turned out it was his second time at the resort. He said he really enjoyed it here last year and it was exactly the same this year because the people are very friendly and the place is just spectacular. I guess you don’t need more endorsement but I will just carry on!
Eating at Maniva Ski Resort
There is a good restaurant and bar at Chalet Maniva, which is the main building at Maniva Ski Resort. It offers various types of food, hot drinks as well as alcohol and the portions are pretty big so you will not be left hungry. I bought an enormous pizza slice (€3.50), a coke and chips and I was so full I couldn’t fit in a dessert only a hot chocolate. The best is that all the cakes and food are made fresh here and the pizza was truly amazing with the cheese and crusty base but soft top side.
Ski Facilities at Maniva Ski Resort
There were several ski lifts at the resort, walking routes and relaxation areas as well as a glass igloo at the base of one of the slopes. In front of Chalet Maniva is a huge car park with a couple of other restaurants, a church and the foot of a walking route up to the top of another mountain.
The resort has its own snow blowers to create snow on the slopes to extend the season. It also has several snow ploughs and snow mobiles to get around the place.
My favourite part of the resort was taking the chairlift to the top of the mountain and then gently sliding down towards the base, taking in the stunning panoramic views along the way. If you enjoy skiing but feel that you are not an expert then I think Maniva is the perfect place for your to visit. Here, you can relax and take it easy without having to worry about getting down a steep or dangerous slope.
Ski Rental at Maniva Ski Resort
Maniva Ski Resort also has a fully equipped ski rental shop on-site where you can rent everything from boots to skis and helmets. The shop is on the ground floor of Chalet Maniva where you find the restaurant and the upstairs youth hostel rooms. In my opinion if you only ski once or twice a year, there is no point buying your own ski equipment. Instead, you should rent your gear like I do whenever I go skiing.
The skis, the helmet, the boots and the poles tend to come in under 30 euros per day wherever you go in Europe and if you book online in advance you may be able to save some more.
Ski Instructors On Site
I have only skied a couple of times before and my friend had never skied so we both needed some expert advice before we went down the “adult” slopes. So we decided to practice on the “baby” slopes where Jari, a local ski instructor helped us find our feet. Jari, his father, sister and brother run a ski school called Scuola Italiana Sci (Passo Maniva) for people with little or no skiing experience. Jari speaks perfect English and has several years experience so the two hours we spent with him gave us the perfect foundations.
He explained how to stand, slide and break as well as turn. After an hour of practice on the baby run he took us down the blue line to get used to a real slope. We even tried out the chair lift and came down a more intermediate slope before going back to the restaurant for lunch.
Pricing at Maniva Ski
Flying to any of the above mentioned airports is quite cheap, I paid £42 for a return flight from Stansted Airport to Treviso, booking three months in advance.
I rented a car from Argus Car Hire for pick up at Treviso Airport for five days, costing £52. The fuel in Italy cost about €1.40-1.60 for diesel, depending on where you buy it. I rented an automatic which I would recommend to everyone given you will be driving in narrow and curving hill routes.
The rooms at Hotel Bonardi start at €80 for a double room for two people in the low season and €90 in the high season. Check out their English language website for more details.
Private ski lessons with Jari start at €35/person per hour in the low season, going up incrementally the more people attend. They have a pretty good English website explaining the pricing structure so check it out yourself.
The ski hire starts at €7/pair and you can also get helmets, boots and sticks on site for an extra fee. If the on-site ski rental shop is sold out there are others in the area listed on the Maniva Ski Website.
I really loved staying here and when I think back I remember the tranquillity of the region and the amazing sunsets. My friend learned to ski and I managed to improve my skills and gain a bit more confidence as well. After the ski lifts closed at 4.30PM we went for a long walk around the hill side in the snow and the second day we headed down to the basement of Hotel Bonardi to try out the Jacuzzi, the spa and the steam room.
Like I already said, being a relatively low-cost resort, bang in the center of northern Italy a few hours from airports served by various low-cost airlines there really is nothing to stop you from coming here. It is super family friendly, has lots of slopes for the beginners and everybody is super friendly and helpful so you will definitely have a good time.