The small resort of Bardonecchia sits right on the border between France and Italy, making it Italy’s westernmost town at the heart of the Alps. In 2006 it hosted the Turin Winter Olympics snowboarding competitions, and still includes many features from the one-time-only event.
Made up of 3 areas- Campo Smith, Melezet and Jafferau, there is over 100km of piste to tackle in the area, all linked by free buses. The majority of the pistes in the area are a close mix of easy cruising blue runs, and some red runs that offer more of a challenge. The resort is quiet and relatively uncongested with other skiers and snowboarders so it is easy to enjoy your time on the snow uninterrupted.
There are only 5 black runs throughout the entire resort, but this is compensated for with an outstanding freestyle terrain park located on Melezets which includes the Olympic half pipe from 2006 as well as 80 rails and jibs, and 20 jumps. The park is suited to all abilities, regardless of their freestyle experience so take some time to ski past, or through the park itself.
Off the pistes, one of Bardonecchia's highlights is the excellent array of restaurants. Restaurants serve up delicious Italian comfort food that is not to be missed, and for a small resort there is a huge variety of venues on offer. Après-ski culture is on the quiet side, attracting smaller crowds who want to socialise and take it easy. But if you’re in the mood for some classic live music and dancing in your ski boots, then Chesal bar and restaurant at the top of the Melezet-Chesal chair lift hosts ‘Crazy Chesal’ après-ski from 14:30 onwards.
Thanks to its status as a quiet resort, Bardonecchia is an ideal location to learn to ski and snowboard. There are numerous nursery slopes, marked in green, dotted about the bottom of the mountains that are serviced by ‘Baby/Bambino’ lifts- notably around the base of Campo Smith because this is where ski schools gather.
Progressing onto slightly more difficult terrain is easy, and many of the blue runs are very gentle as well as empty and immaculately groomed. You can pre-book ski lessons for 5 days (2 hours per day) through Inghams when you arrange your holiday.
Bardonecchia is a fabulous resort for the intermediate skier with plenty of easy cruising blue and red runs all over the mountain. The resort is a very quiet one, and the pistes remain relatively unscathed throughout the day so you can avoid unexpected mogul fields. If you want to advance beyond the easy cruising on the blue pistes, you can tackle the red runs.
Bardonecchia is designed as an easy cruising resort for the quieter ski crowds. With this in mind, the options for the advanced skier are slightly limited in terms of black pistes in the resort (there are only 5 black pistes- located at the top of Melezet and Roccette- accessed by the Clos drag lift on Colomion). However, the Olympic snow park is not to be avoided and is covered in the next section…
Freestyle and terrain parks
For such a quiet resort, Bardonecchia attracts a big crowd of freestyle skiing and snowboarding lovers thanks to the fantastic snow park located around the base of Melezet. Bardonecchia resort are proud of their snow park, and rightfully so! You can enjoy the enormous Olympic half-pipe that was built in 2006 for the Turin Winter Olympics, as well as numerous features offered in the park. The park is divided into 5 different areas that are suited for different abilities.
Bardonecchia snowpark is located in the Melezet area. The park is divided into 5 different zones based on the difficulty of features and jumps
Bardonecchia restaurants, food and drink
One of Bardonecchia’s secret delights is the impeccable quality of the food and mountain restaurants on offer in the resort. Delicious Italian cuisine, the food on offer in Bardonecchia is excellent and you can expect some hearty regional classics.
Chesal restaurant is marked on the map at the Melezet mid-station and is notably very tasty, as is Ristorante Pizzeria Waikiki at the base of Melezet, overlooking the snow park.
Bardonecchia après, bars, clubs and nightlife
Bardonecchia celebrates a much more relaxed and quieter après ski lifestyle compared to some of the other resorts in Italy and just over the border in France. There is still live music and dancing (on or off the table - up to you!) to be had at Chesal at the end of the day, hence the après ski hour being dubbed ‘Crazy Chesal’!
Off the pistes, the bars are a perfect place to make friends with the small ski crowds that gravitate towards Bardonecchia. It may please some people to know that there are no nightclubs in Bardonecchia, and the resort goes to bed quietly at the end of the day.
In Bardonecchia there are some classic sportswear stores lined up along the high street selling clothes, equipment and accessories. There are also a few local craft stores, supermarkets and deli’s selling food and drink (very handy to have if you are opting for a self-catered apartment for your stay). The town is small and most of the people who live there are locals so you can expect to find some wonderful local specialties.
Bardonecchia spas and relaxation
If you stay the Campo Smith Apartments or Hotel Rivè you can enjoy the indoor pool, gym, spa and sauna area available (payable locally for Apartment guests). Elsewhere, there is a public swimming pool and gym at the local sports centre, Piscina Comunale di Bardonecchia.
Bardonecchia arts, culture and events
Despite Bardonecchia being a somewhat quiet resort, it celebrates an action-packed events calendar throughout both the summer and winter seasons. The local Ski Games 2016 takes place at the end of January and is a fun event for spectators, and there is also Born to Ride snowboard weekends taking place throughout the season. Most events are participated by local athletes, but also attract an international crowd. All around, they are great fun to watch and be part of.
A fun activity for everyone of all ages, Bardonecchia has an exclusive area near Campo Smith that is solely dedicated to snow tubing. A magic carpet lift will take pedestrians from the base to the top of the snow tubing track that is lit up at night so it can be enjoyed even at the end of the day. You will need a lift pass to use the magic carpet lifts and you will not be allowed to use the track without a helmet.
There is ice skating fun to be had at the frozen pond by the Piscina Comunale di Bardonecchia (public swimming pool at the sports centre) in the centre of Bardonecchia. You can hire skates locally.
Bardonecchia sports centre and public pool (Piscina Comunale di Bardonecchia) boasts of a large indoor public swimming pool with wonderful scenic views through its large glass windows. Close to the ski slopes, this a great place to unwind. There is also a gym and new sauna on site, with yoga and fitness classes being organised.
Olympic half pipe in Melezet
As mentioned previously, Bardonecchia was home to a few of the 2006 Winter Olympic events that were hosted in Turin. Resulting in an enormous Olympic Half-Pipe being the highlight of the large freestyle terrain snow park in Bardonecchia, based just above the Melezet base station. 130m long, 18m wide and 6m high, if you don’t fancy having a shot at the half-pipe yourself, you can always watch the freestyle skiers and snowboarders do their tricks there from afar.
A special treat for the little ones, the Animal Track is an area on Colomion that is dotted with life-size animal sculptures that kids can take off their skis and climb on, play with and enjoy.
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††born after 01/12/04 | Free: born after 01/12/12 with a full paying adult
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Lessons start at 10am on Mondays*
*Lessons start at 9am for Christmas and New Year weeks
Prices and supplements are correct at time of publishing but may vary up or down; correct prices will be advised at the time of booking.
Resort Code: ITBN
Languages spoken: Italian
Time difference: GMT+1
Flights depart Saturday
Transfer 1½ hr by coach
Flight supplements may apply.
Private transfers and Self drive are available.
Car hire available: No
Evening resort bus service: No
Local bus services:
Parking available: No
Resort Ski bus available: Yes