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Madesimo Ski Resort Guide

Madesimo, Italy

Rated: 3/5 (from 6 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForIntermediates, Snowfall and Apres-Ski.
Total Piste Length48km30 miles
Highest Lift2,880m9,449ft
Resort Height1,550m5,085ft
 Nearest AirportsSt. Gallen-Altenrhein and Milan Linate
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A friendly traditional resort located in a sunny valley on the Swiss border. For a comparatively small resort it has a strong international reputation, including the famous 3km 'Canalone' black descent. An underground funicular railway lifts skiers from Campodolcino (1096m) to Motta Alp (1720m) in just three minutes.


The Italian ski resort of Madesimo is in the Italian Alps at an altitude of 1,550m5,085ft, with 48km30 miles of marked runs.

Madesimo has direct access to 48km30 miles of downhill skiing, with 29 marked pistes, served by a total of 18 ski lifts.

The ski resort itself is at 1,550m5,085ft, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 2,880m9,449ft, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Madesimo?

The next notable snow forecast is 3cm1in, expected on 9 August.

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Snow this week

Snow Forecast by day for Madesimo

Ski Area Stats

Madesimo Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
 5 11km7 miles
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
1324km15 miles
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
1215km9 miles
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
 2 2km1 miles
Total Length
48km30 miles
Cross Country
Total Length
20km12 miles
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts


Madesimo Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift2,880m9,449ft
Resort Altitude (Madesimo)1,550m5,085ft
Lowest Piste1,340m4,396ft
Max Vertical1,540m5,052ft

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Madesimo
Intermediate Skiers

Madesimo Overview

A friendly traditional resort located in a sunny valley on the Swiss border. For a comparatively small resort it has a strong international reputation, including the famous 3km 'Canalone' black descent.Madesimo is a friendly traditional resort located in the sunny Spluga Valley on the Swiss border. For a comparatively small resort it has a strong international reputation, but manages to remain unpretentious and full of Italian charm. Fopr skiers its famous for the near three kilometre 'Canalone' black descent and has also recently invested in a new underground funicular railway which lifts skiers from Campodolcino (a separate resort down below at 1096m) to Motta Alp (1720m, above Madesimo) in just three minutes.

The resort has a long history as a ski destination, with the first reported winter tourism in 1910. Thanks to high altitude slopes in the area up to 3,000m and extensive snowmaking the resort is relatively snowsure. The scenery is spectacular with fir and larch forests in the valley and majestic Alpine peaks above.

The resort today is a colourful mix of old and new buildings. There's a wide range of activities to enjoy on and off the slopes and the atmosphere is normally lively.

Once part of Austria, the local industry of the 19th century, apart from agriculture, included cotton mills and beer breweries. Local produce including cheese and cold meet were stored in storage places called 'crotti' which became synonymous with the area. Crotti were the natural spaces that existed between large boulders that had fallen, creating a constant temperature of six degrees Celcius.

According to a mid-nineteenth century document, the people of the local Chiavenna region, …are lively, cheerful and obliging by nature and very kind and friendly with foreigners.

The area's history dates back much further than this however, with the pass over Monte Spluga that runs by the village known to be a mule train route at least as long ago as Roman times and its mineral water springs appreciated since even further back in time.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in Madesimo is 3km2 miles long and the most difficult run is the 'Canalone'.


Madesimo's skiing on Groppera above the village ascends to almost 3000m, the lower runs cut through the larch, the higher on wide open sunny slopes above the treeline. There are half a dozen access points, but the Cima Sole and Groppera cable cars offer the fastest ascent of 1350 vertical metres.

From here the only way back down is the Canalone black, two and three-quarter kilometre (one and three-quarter mile) long and described as the most beautiful slope in the Alps …a work of art, by Dino Buzzati.

It's the longest of four marked blacks although there are longer runs including the Vanoni and Interpista intermediate standard reds, both three kilometres (just under two miles) long.

Or you can hike further up from the top of the lifts to the peak of Pizzo Groppera at 3000m and carve your own trails through the powder down.

Beginners are not forgotten of course, there are nursery slopes at one end of the village and longer blues cut down through the trees from the tops of chairs and drag lifts that run up from the valley. The ski school, established in 1934, was one of the first in Italy to offer regular courses. Its past directors include Italian ski legend Zeno Colo, winner of the first Alpine Ski world Championships in 1946.

There are several small ski areas near to Madsesimo that are worth a visit. Closest is Motta, actually skiable from Madsesimo by taking a right at the top of the Serrenissima chair at the edge of the village. The skiing here is not especially spectacular but the 13m (45 feet) high gold-leaf covered stature of the Madonna d'Europa that towers above, is.

There's another cross country loop along from the ski lifts and several others in the area.

Madesimo offers good sking, particularly, for Intermediate skiers.


Madesimo's snowpark is located at 1800m on Aquerela. There are three jumps, rainbow rail, box and four additional rails. The pipe is 130m long, 20m wide and 4.5m high.

Boarders too can enjoy the high altitude powder fields below Pizzo Groppera or have fun on the natural hits along the trail edges as they descend below the treeline.

For more information, go to www.madepark.it

Location and Map

Where is Madesimo?

This ski resort is in the Italian Alps in Province of Sondrio, Lombardy.


Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Madesimo is St. Gallen-Altenrhein, 115 minutes drive away.

Milan Linate, Bergamo, Lugano, Friedrichshafen, Milan Malpensa, Memmingen and Brescia airports are all within three hours drive.


Ski Lift Capacity

The 18 ski lifts are able to uplift 22,620 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 13km8 miles of ski runs, with 60 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Madesimo open?

We don't currently have confirmed season dates, but hope to soon.

Usual opening is early December, and usual closing is Mid April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Madesimo, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Madesimo Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Madesimo

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

Make sure you imbibe some of the local beer from Valchiavenna which will be from one of the local micro-breweries. These were established recently after a fifty year break between the closure of the Sluga brewery in 1957, the last of nine that were set from the 1820s and once provided a fifth of Italian beer production, employing hundreds of locals in the industry.

Popular spots after the lifts close include the Shamrock Pub, Tender disco bar the Extreme Centre Videobar on Via degli Argini. These and the other half dozen bars in the resort tend to be quiet during the week but buzzing at the weekends when the crowds descend from Milan.