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January 6th - 16th 2015

January 18th - 28th 2015

Everyone has heard about two of Italy’s most popular assets – their food and wine. However, they also have some of the best snow conditions on the planet in terms of both quality, amount and regularity. Add to this an impressive and expansive array  of very well appointed ski resorts, amazing on piste bars and restaurants , amazing mountain side towns in these regions, and you have the foundation for a fantastic snowboarding or skiing holiday.  A little known fact about Italy is that they make some of the highest quality craft beers in the world, with Italian craft brewers often taking out the top gongs in various competitions and ratings the world over. Join in this all inclusive tour and you will experience the best of Northern Italy’s food, beer and snow in a small group ski/snowboard vacation to Piemonte, Valle D’Aosta and Valtellina. 

Itinerary

Day 1

Rendezvous with the group at the hotel located in the ‘Centro Storico’ (historic old city centre) of Turin. The hotel is located just 100m from the Porta Nuova train station, and walking distance to all of the old town’s points of interest. Meet the rest of the travelling group whilst enjoying the first of many apperitivo’s. Apperitivo summarises the Italian philosophy of drinking, eating and socialising, all in one enjoyable package. Take a drink or two whilst grazing over a selection of little bites, all whilst talking and watching the world go by. We will venture out for a casual dinner at one of Turin’s numerous high quality, cosmopolitan restaurants and maybe even sample a few of the brews produced from within this historic city before hopefully getting a good nights rest to put jet-lag at bay and in preparation for hitting the slopes tomorrow.

Day 2IMG_2565

We will make our way south from Turin  heading to Italy’s Maritime Alps for the first of many days of riding on this trip. The Italian festive holidays finish with a national holiday on the 6th of January each year. The timing of this trip has been organised to run after this holiday period in order to increase the probability of encountering uncowded runs. Weather conditions or more accurately the snow conditions will determine our riding locations over the trip and as there is such a plethora of potential sites, we will make our final call of riding locations based on where conditions will be the best. The trip down will only be around an hour and a half, and then you are unleashed on the mountains. Your trip price includes all of your lift passes so if you bring your own equipment you can hit the slopes straight away. If you require hire gear we can get you fitted out and riding in short order (not included in the price). Also, if it has been a while between snow sessions or if this is your first time, we can assist in organising lessons for you right away (not included in the price).

We have the full day up here so if you are suffering the effects of jetlag, don’t burn out on day 1. Perhaps take an earlier stop and spend some time checking out the village up on the slopes, or head to one of the numerous bars or restaurants for a beer, a glass of wine or whatever else it is that you fancy.

baladin - teo musso

Once we have all finished our time on the slopes we can head for an après ski beverage and then on to our accommodation  which is located a short drive away. Settle in and relax before we wander across the piazza to visit one of Italy’s most famous Craft Brewpubs. They produce a huge array of beers so I’m sure you’ll find something which you will enjoy. Here, they serve Italian style counter meals with a few universal pub favourites. If you’re feeling hungry, I strongly recommend the stinco di maiale – a whole pork shank, slow braised in beer and served with sour cherries. It is amazing!

snow beers

Day 3

Today we head back into the Maritime Alps but to another ski resort. This time looking for a bit more altitude and variety in the slopes with more off-piste possibilities. Again, lift passes are included and if you require any hire gear or lessons, we will jump right on to organising this for you.

After another big day in the snow and perhaps a quick après ski drink in the village, we will head directly out to our dinner venue which is another of this area’s famed brewpubs. Once again you can mull over a few quiet beers tasting through their range or just stick with your favourites. Yet again these brews are all served with more amazing Italian pub food. This brewery prides itself on its dishes made using beer, but they also have a selection of traditional Italian dishes and a few other variations to keep everyone happy.

Day 4

Today we will spend a couple of hours in the morning heading north beneath the French Alps and the commanding peak of Mt Viso  bound for Valle D’Aosta into the grande mountains in Valle d’Aosta. This semi-autonomous region of Italy lies at the very North Western corner of Italy and is bordered by France to the west and Switzerland to the north. It has influences from all three countries in all aspects of life from the language, food and wine to architecture. I never cease to be enthralled by this region’s natural beauty, be it in summer or winter. Coming from Australia’s wide, flat expanses to areas such as this tight valley sandwiched between the Swiss Alps and French Alps, you really get the feeling that you are in proper mountain country. We will stay towards the western end of the valley immediately below Mt Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, in an area which is only a couple of minutes from the closest chairlift, and within 30 mins drive from 3 incredibly diverse and world class snow areas. If we arrive in good time we have the opportunity to partake in an afternoon session on the slopes riding at one of the local runs, or perhaps you might just feel like doing a bit of looking around one of the local towns, enjoy a quiet drink, a spot of shopping, or just catch up on some sleep.

We will visit a little famous local pizzeria tonight for a taste of the dish that the Italians have made famous, all out of a wood fired oven of course. I would recommend trying a few more good brews over dinner as really, is there a better combination than beer and pizza?

Day 5

IMG_2552

Today we will hit one of the most popular ski resorts in Italy, Courmayeur. The slopes of Courmayeur literally form the base of Mt. Blanc and are popular for a good reason, they are amazing! They boast more than 100km of groomed runs and are one of Italy’s most consistent and heavily snowed areas. If it is off-piste runs you are chasing, Courmayeur has them in spades, including a rarity for Italian resorts, which is a marked area accessed via cable-car but specifically designed to be for free-riding. This resort has all bases covered. If you are after even more action, enquire about organising a heli-skiing adventure into some truly out of the way mountains with guaranteed slopes all to yourself.

At the end of the day we will rendezvous at  a bar in town for après ski drinks before making our way into the regional capital of Aosta itself to have a walk around the centro storico and to visit a German styled brew pub for drinks and dinner. This brewpub has been designed in a much more modern theme and serves up typically crisp and tasty German style brews matched well with a German influenced pub menu.

Day 6IMG_2562

Today we will be doing our snowboarding and skiing at a nearby resort which straddles the French-Italian border. With your one skipass you get access to two resorts and all of the facilities they offer. I personally like to hunt out some of the numerous untracked areas of off-piste snow through the morning before riding over to France for the middle portion of the day. You can have lunch on a mountain side restaurant in France before filling up the rest of your time on the slopes making your way slowly back into Italy.

By this time on the trip you are likely to have a few sore muscles, bumps and bruises. Tonight we will offer the opportunity to visit some thermal springs located nearby our accommodation (not included in tour price). Guys, this isn’t just a stop for the ladies, the thermally heated waters are directed into numerous different pools, baths, waterfalls and tubs and work wonders on those snow-weary muscles.

After a recharge at the springs, we will head down the road  for dinner and a slight change of pace. Rather than another brewpub visit, tonight we will experience some authentic Valdostan cuisine. The two friends who own this restaurant have a deep love of Australia, having travelled extensively here a few years ago (check out the photo of them and an array of what I assume are empty VB cans, which is stuck up at the counter). They offer some great variety in many of their dishes, with a slight twist on the often rich and heavy mountain dishes.

Day 7

Fresh Tracks

Our final day of riding in Valle D’Aosta. We will assess the conditions and make a call on the day as to which area we will be riding today. We are spoilt for choice in this region with a variety of high altitude alpine resorts to visit. We can travel a little further afield to the likes of Pila, Breuil-Cervinia, Valtourenche or Gressony, or stay closer to home. Either way, you will have an action packed last day in the area.

For dinner it is off to visit another of the region’s brewpubs. Back again to the centre of Aosta and one of the areas more recent additions to the craft brew scene of Italy. Have a look around the brewery itself before a tasting with the brewer of a selection of his beers and another great beer dinner.

 

Day 8

Today is our biggest travel day as we make our way from the very northwestern tip of the country, across the top end and up into Valtellina and the Swiss/Austrian Alps. We will have some free time in the morning to head in to Aosta itself for a daytime visit. Have a look around town, maybe do a bit of souvenir shopping, or else I can recommend a couple of great spots to have a  coffee and some of the amazing little cakes and sweet treats which this area produces.

We will make our way out of Valle D’Aosta and across the grain and rice bowl of Italy in Northern Piemonte to the outskirts of Milan where we will stop at one of Italy’s most awarded brewpubs for a great tasting and lunch. These guys are literally at the top of their game and have twice been rated Italy’s  best brewpub.

After a leisurely lunch and a few amazing beers, we will head North and into the Valtellina which is the area where my family is from and where I still have many relatives. We are heading to a truly remarkable ski area perched right up on the Swiss/Austrian border. This small part of Valtellina is, like Valle D’Dosta, semi-autonomous from Italy but this time they have the added advantage of being duty free.

Day 9

Time for an epic day riding. With a fresh snow fall,  todays runs  would have to be one of the best spots ever to experience accessible off-piste riding. Think wide expanses of forested slopes, covered in fresh, fluffy powder and temperatures which at this time of year often hover around -10C or less on a sunny, blue ski day. Sounds like heaven right? Go hard and go for as long as you like.

Tonight we will visit the highest brewery in Europe which is located in town for drinks and dinner.

IMG_2552

 

Breuil-Cervina

Day 10

We will have our last night back in town where we will organise a hearty dinner to enjoy together. Depending on conditions and the desire of the group, we will either stay put for our final day on the snow, or head to another of the nearby resorts. As is so often the case in Italy there are numerous options of snow resorts all in close proximity so we will work towards delivering you a last day to remember.

 

 

Day 11

Wake and pack and be transported back to the city of Milan to either head home, or continue your travels. We will make a bee-line to one of the city’s most famous breweries, Lambrate, for our final chance at some great beer tasting and Italian pub food.

After this, drop-off can be organised for an accommodation point you book in the Milan, at one of the city train stations or to Milan’s Malpensa Airport if required.

What the package includes:

  • Small group size
  •  All transfers and travel within Italy
  •  All accommodation (twin share/double) in quality hotels and/or appartments
  • All meals when not on the snow (i.e. you buy your lunch when skiing/ snowboarding)
  • All drinks with meals
  •  All skipasses including international skipass at resorts which link over borders
  •  Beer, wine and local food tasting visits

 Cost $2800AUD pp twinshare/dbl

We are working with a registered travel agent who are our exclusive booking agents and can help organise flights, insurance and other side trips before or after this trip.

If you are travelling as a member of a couple or part of a group and do not wish to partake in all of the skiing/snowboarding activities, or sustain an injury or condition which does not allow you to ski/snowboard, we can work with you to organise other activities to do, such as wine tastings, town visits, looking at attractions etc. Please contact us to discuss any specific queries or requirements for your trip.

 

N.B. Where possible, Taste of Life Tours endeavours to visit the wineries, breweries, restaurants and attractions described in the Itinerary. If it is not possible to visit the specific locations mentioned, we will visit others of equal quality.

 

Summarised Expected Timetable:

Day 1: Rendezvous with group in Turin

Day 2: Snowboarding/Skiing and first beer dinner

Day 3: Snowboarding/Skiing and beer dinner

Day 4: Head up to Valle D’Aosta, possible afternoon on the slopes.

Day 5: Snowboarding/Skiing and beer dinner

Day 6: Snowboarding/Skiing, possible visit to thermal springs and dinner at a local restaurant

Day 7 Snowboarding/Skiing and a brewery tour, tasting and dinner.

Day 8: Aosta town visit, brewery lunch and travel to Valtelina

Day 9: Snowboarding/Skiing and brewery visit and dinner

Day 10: Snowboarding/Skiing with last dinner celebrations

Day 11: Transfer down to Milan, last brewery visit and lunch, drop off at other accommodation (organised by traveller) or to transfer point (airport, train station etc).

 

What You Will Need:

-       Organise your own transport to the initial meeting hotel, and accommodation or onwards travel for the afternoon of our last day. We can assist you in organising this onwards travel if you require assistance.

-       All clothing and equipment for snow related activities i.e. appropriate snow clothing, snowboard or skis, boots, helmet (essential), goggles etc. Please talk to us if you have any questions regarding this. We recommend either bringing your own snow clothing or purchasing it in Italy (it can be bought a lot cheaper in Italy than Australia). As for snowboards and skis etc, these are very easily rented from the slopes. If you want to bring your own check with you air carrier as to the costs and rules associated with transporting equipment like this.

-       Comprehensive travel insurance which includes all medical cover and evacuation for snow related activities.

-       Warm clothing for non-snow times. Think layers. Thermal underwear is very helpful in the snow, as well as a scarf, beanie, gloves or mittens for town and for the snow, neck warmer etc (can be purchased in Italy), thick socks for snowboarding/skiing (eg. Explorers).

-       A camel-pack or other water carrying device very useful in the snow. It will allow you to keep riding for longer and have  fluid on the go.

-       Money for shopping, lunches whilst snowboarding/skiing and drinks outside of designated provided meals.

-       A respectful and friendly attitude towards the other travellers, as well as staff at our Italian accommodations and meal points.

 

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