Five years ago this month Graeme and I moved in to the Bianca ready to start our new adventure as hoteliers! Although we had experience running ski chalets this was the first time either of us would be running a hotel and coupled with the fact it was all in another language to say it was a little scary is an understatement! We’d been to view the hotel numerous times before we purchased it but it wasn’t until we moved in that we realised how much work we were going to need to do to it to get it up and ready for our first summer season, only two months away. I thought it might be quite fun to share some of the old pictures of the Bianca from when we first moved in to today so that you can all see and hopefully agree that all the hard work has been worth it! There are many more things that we have on our to-do list but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the changes!
Some before pics:
After pics 5 years on:
Have a great summer,
Kate, Graeme, Sofia and Chloe
Snow, spectacular scenery, sunny slopes….say no more!
Kids are always welcome, Italians love their bambini. On the slopes, in restaurants you can relax as your children have fun.
International cross-border skiing,Bardonecchia to France is just a peak or two away.
Inexpensive on and off the slopes in comparison to elsewhere in Europe.
Transfer times are the shortest in the Alps. Turin to Bardonecchia is just 1 hour’s motorway driving….and no hairpin bends!
Alpine restaurants serving regional dishes – enjoy snacks and lunch on the slopes or take an evening ride in a snowcat for dinner on the mountain top.
La Dolce Vita – Forget après ski and happy hours, the Italian custom of a pre-dinner prosecco and accompanying free aperitivi in local bars is so much sweeter!
Year-round resorts cater for skiers and non-skiers alike. Real life goes on beyond the slopes offering something for everyone.
Happy 2014 to you all! We have had a very busy lead up to the season with the birth of baby Chloe on December 3rd, she is a poppet just like her big sister Sofia who has taken the new addition to our family in her stride.
Great snow in November meant an early opening to the lifts then we had a nail-biting three weeks awaiting the next significant snowfall. Thankfully Santa was very generous this year and Christmas week arrived with over a metre of fresh snow followed by blue skies so the pistes are in perfect condition much to the delight of all our guests. We have swung seamlessly into New Year and the resort is abuzz with skiers and revellers. The town is feeling wonderfully festive with its abundance of snow, Christmas lights and bustling restaurants and bars.
There is fun to be had for one and all so check out those cheap flights now and escape the January gloom back home. With airports at Turin, Milan, Chambery, Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva all within easy striking distance the world of ski is your oyster. With special deals available throughout January you could bag a short break to recharge your batteries before the horror that is a UK February!
We’ve recently been browsing through wintersports websites for reviews on Bardonecchia and have been surprised to find how scantily researched some of the articles are. We like the fact that Bardonecchia “flies under the radar” of more publicised resorts such as Sauze d’Oulx, Montgenevre and Sestriere. Being the preferred resort of the Turinese gives the resort both its character and authenticity. The slopes are busier at the weekends but this is what makes the town buzz. Shops, cafés and restaurants thrive and prices are genuinely Italian and not simply inflated for the tourist market. Bardonecchia is fortunate to have four separate lift systems transporting skiers and boarders to different sectors of the ski area so at peak times avoid Campo Smith and head instead to Les Arnauds, Melezet or Jafferau. Apart from one quirky 2 man chair at Jafferau, which is due for modernisation, the rest of the pistes are well served with 8 man cabins, 4 or 2 man chair lifts and button lifts. Ascending through the most scenic areas of the mountain we love our drag lifts. They are great for natural selection too, those who struggle to make it up are probably not sufficiently expert to be skiing down! So you can rest assured that your descent will not be blighted by over-ambitious skiers and snowboarders out of their depth and out of control!
March 4th 2013
Living in Italy with close families in England and Ireland we have to be very flexible and inventive with our travel plans. We are fortunate in Bardonecchia to be well-served with air, rail and motorway links so we can be quickly on our way homeward bound. Our favourite route to Ireland involves strolling down the road to catch the morning high speed train from Bardonecchia to Lyon St Exupery airport. If booked in advance with Rail Europe we can keep the cost down to £18pp return. Arriving in the actual airport complex we have time for a relaxed lunch before boarding our Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. With five flights per week it affords us a bit more flexibility than the Saturday only RyanAir flight from Turin, though there’s nothing to stop us from mixing and matching airlines to suit our plans. If we really want the train to take the strain when visiting our London and Kent relatives then we travel all the way to St Pancras. Again by taking advantage of the best Rail Europe deals we can travel for as little as £73 single and the total journey time of under 9 hours even allows for lunch in Paris….. formidable!
See the SnowCarbon journey planner for detailed information on rail travel from London to Bardonecchia.
February 20th 2013
Here in Bardo the fun doesn’t have to stop with the closure of the ski lifts at the end of the day. We are fortunate to have several mountain restaurants offering evening meals with a difference. In collaboration with the ski lift company the restaurants have arranged transport up and down the mountain in Snowcats, the piste bashers which keep our slopes so well groomed. With seating for up to twenty in their cabins the Snowcats give their passengers a thrilling ride as they wend their way methodically around the steep gradients lighting up the night slopes as they go. Our favourite port of call for a great evening out is Bar Punta Colomion at the very summit of the mountain above Campo Smith. Run by Aldo and Rachel you can be assured of the warmest of welcomes, the heartiest food and convivial dining. Fuelled with antipasti, polenta, pasta, roast meats and dolci we choose to forego the Snowcat descent. Instead we strap on our head torches and take to our skis for the journey down on perfectly groomed pistes under starlit skies. A magical end to a magical evening.
February 12th 2013
This weekend Bardonecchia is preparing to celebrate four days of Italian Carnevale frivolity to mark the start of Lent. Originating in Venice in the mid 13th century to dispel the gloom of winter the spirit of carnival has spread throughout the world. The party kicks off on Saturday evening with a parade of floats around the streets with festive music and a profusion of coriandoli confetti setting the scene. The fun continues until Martedi Grasso Mardi Gras with masked balls, fancy dress ski races and street stalls serving cakes and warm drinks. The town and slopes will be at their busiest as Italians flood in to indulge their love of tradition at the same time as British families arrive for a half-term break. Fortunately a new dump of snow will mean that the pistes will be at their very best and the local cafés and restaurants will do their utmost to meet demand. Our guests will enjoy the best of both worlds by soaking up the atmosphere during the day whilst avoiding too much of the hubbub and mayhem as they relax over their meal in the calm of the chalet during the evening.
February 5th 2013
Skiing has always been a family affair for us when as youngsters we took to the nursery slopes from three years old. But what are you to do with young babies and toddlers before they develop their ski legs? No parent can enjoy their own holiday unless their offspring are happily settled and entertained. With Sofia now over a year old she loves the company of other children and so we take her to the local nursery just a short stroll from our chalet. Located on the same site as the Primary School il Nido (the Nest) is beautifully equipped and staffed by well-trained, sympathetic nursery nurses. A perfect solution for us with a flexible 30 hours of childcare for €225 to use as and when we wish, it’s proving to be a very popular option for our guests with younger children too. So instead of leaving your kids at home or hanging up your boots to gather dust for a couple of years, you can head out onto the slopes with a happy heart.
January 30th 2013