We have just returned from an amazing weekend in Limone, Italy. It’s a 3 hour drive from where we live. Autoroute all the way up to Ventimiglia just across the Italian border and then you head directly north slipping in and out of the sunshine and green hillls of spring-time France until the Tende tunnel where we popped out on the other side in snow-clad Italy.
3.5 m of snow at the top, 1.6 at the bottom. Not bad for mid-March and just off the Italian Riviera. A lot of the new snow had fallen during the week, so it was absolutely perfect although by about 3.30 in the afternoon it was getting a little heavy – slushy might be a better word. Leg-breaking stuff anyway!
The incredible thing was the resort was nearly empty. All this wonderful snow and we three and a handful of other people out there. Idyllic.
The other wonderful thing about Italy is that it still has superb little mountain ‘huts’ to duck into for a great choice of regional cuisine or just a quick fortifying drink!
Saturday was a truly sublime day.
Sunday was a little bit different.
It was snowing hard and pretty well blowing a blizzard at the top. We had been told at lunch on Saturday to expect 40 cms of snow overnight – and the prediction was pretty accurate. Sadly it didn’t all fall overnight but was still falling steadily the following day.
We got to the top in a complete white-out and stared rather gloomily down at where the piste should be. Anyway, off we set and then the most extraodinary thing happened and if any of you out there have experienced it I’d love to know – every now and then we got the impression that the mountain was slipping down the hill. Similar to what the beginnings of an avalanche must feel like. I could be standing absolutely still – but it felt like the mountain was beginning to slide. A sort-of vertigo. Hard to say really, but not at all nice!
So, I opted for something a little more spicy in a warm, welcoming mountain hut along with a couple of ski schools, loads of piste security men and even some extreme skiers…
… the atmosphere was festive.
Here’s the same mountain ‘hut’ on Sunday:
It’s a great little resort though. Only an hour from the sea it’s proud about its reputation for having welcomed skiers from the earliest days of the sport. It has direct access to 90km of downhill skiing, with 46 individual pistes, served by 29 ski lifts. With skiing above 2,000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable and it is particularly good for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The maximum vertical run is 1,050m. It has 5 black runs (11 kms), 32 red runs (57 kms) and 9 blue runs (12 kms). Some runs have hosted the Italian and French national teams for their training sessions. There is also access to the Maneggio area which is dedicated to beginners.
The width of the runs makes them ideal for use by snowboarders, while those boarders who prefer to practise their acrobatic moves can do so in the 3,500 square metres of the snowpark at Limonetto, equipped with half pipe, kickers, box and rails.
It’s a great area for ski touring enthusiasts as well with numerous excursions of varying length and difficulty. Cima Fascia to Vallone San Giovanni with Cima Pepino is one route from where you get the most stunning view of the Piemonte plain on one side and the Ligurian Sea and Corsica on the other.
The season at Limone Piemonte runs from December to April, with good conditions all season – generally.