CERVINIA 15.- 20.4.2010 

This year we wanted to spend our springholiday doing snowboarding but we had doubts if we could find good conditions anywhere, as the winter in the Alps wasn´t very good. But after  following  the weather and snow forecasts during the whole March, we were finally sure that there would be more or less good conditions as the spring seemed to be late.  Just needed to decide, where to go.. Options were Cervinia (Italy), Livigno (Italy) and Tignes (France). These places had the best statistics and still a lot of snow. 
After checking all the options, we decided to go to Cervinia because of many reasons. First was the snow, of course. Breuil-Cervinia village is located very high, in 2050m, so the snowconditions should be the good there until the end of april. Everybody told us,  if there is snow somewhere, certainly in Cervinia. Although most of the people liked more the village of Livigno than Cervinia but  we were sure that Cervinia would be better for us. 
Madrid  is also very well connected with Milan so the price of the flights would be reasonable. We booked Easyjet to Malpensa 15.4. and return with Ryanair from Bergamo 20.4. As we didn´t take any boards with us, we just paid the normal luggage fee. But anyway, it´s not too expensive to take your board with you - Easyjet charges 25 € / way and Ryanair 40 € / way. 
Hotel we wanted to be more or less good quality, in the center of the village & close to the lift and just with breakfast. Most of the hotels offered packages with halfboard but we wanted to have our freedom to go different places for a dinner. In the springtime there are good offers in the hotels as it´s the end of the season already and not busy at all. There was many options available but decided to book hotel Grivola (www.nuovohotelgrivola.com), 90 € / night with breakfast included. Location was excellent - in the middle of the village and just few minutes walk from the Cretazi-liftstation,  which seemed to be like a  good place to start the day. There is a new chairlift to Plan Torrette that was opened for this winter. 
We booked also car for the whole time even we knew that we are not going to use it in Cervinia as the hotel was in the middle of the village and everything with a walking distance. But we needed to get there from Milan and go back to Bergamo and we didn´t even want to think about going there with a bus, so renting a car was the best option. We were comparing different companies but the prices were more or less the same everywhere, so we decided to take the cheapest car from Europcar, group A for 5 days was 285 € with all the possible fees and insurances included.  At the end it was very good decision as our trip got more tricky because of the volcanic ashcloud and we needed to change our plans and flights many time.. At the end we departed from Rome after spending 3 extra days in Italy. 
Day 1 - arriving to Cervinia 15.4.2010
We had  morning flight to Milan as we wanted to arrive to Cervinia still with the daylight. We got our car very quickly from the Europcar office at the Malpensa airport and with our Fiat Panda we started the 160 km way to Cervinia. It was easy way, no problems to find the way and good road the whole way. 
In the Milan it was beautiful spring day so we started to have some doubts how would be the weather and snow in Cervinia - maybe there is not much snow left?? And more closer than we got to Cervinia, our doubts were growing even more - just 20 km before the village, it was still beautiful and warm spring weather.
We arrived already to the Valtournenche, located in 1524m and just 10 km from Cervinia, and there was not many signs of snow either. And the whole village looked like totally closed and empty. This village is actually part of the Cervinia resort, as it´s formed of three different areas: Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche on the Italian side and Zermatt-Matterhorn on the Switzerland. We passed the ski-lift that goes from Valtournenche up to Salette skiing area, which is located in 2245 m. Lift was working so we started to have little bit more hope.. 
But the last 10 km until Cervinia changed the view totally and basicly when you enter to Cervinia, it´s like entering a different world. Just 5 min ago it was still like a spring but it was totally winter in Cervinia. Incredible!!! Snow everywhere and weather was perfect - sunny and -2 degrees so the slopes were in good conditions even it was already afternoon. 
Hotel was easy to find and the location was just what we wanted. From the room we could see the lift and the pedestrian street was in front of the hotel. Room was quite small but no smaller than normally in Italy and anyway big enough for us. And what was important, it was very clean, there was plenty of hot water in the shower and heating was working.
We had also late lunch in the hotel and was very good. Maybe that´s why the place was full every day.. 
Later we went to buy tickets and to rent boards. Tickets are available in different categories, depending where you want to ski. We took the international ticket which allows you to use all the lift in the three different area (also in the Switzerland side). It cost us 123 € / 3 days. We took the ticket just for 3 days and later we could take one or half day more, if we want to go skiing also on the last day before driving to Bergamo, where we were planning to stay the last night. 
There was a lot of rental shops and prices were changing little bit. At the end we decided to rent our things from the Cervinia 2001-shop, which was located on the mainstreet. They had the boards that we wanted, price was good and service very friendly. So, everything ready for the first day of skiing!! 
Day 2 - what a beautiful day… 
First morning in Cervinia was beautiful, little bit fresh in the morning but the sun was shining and weather was the best possible for skiing. Lifts are opening about 8.00 so it means waking up early if you want to enjoy starting from the first moment. 
In the morning all the slopes were in good condition but hard of course, after cold night. But after 1-1.5 hours all the slopes were already in perfect condition. We started our day by checking the slopes around Plan Maison area and there was a lot of nice slopes to discover. And what is the best thing, hardly no people anywhere, so no queues for the lifts either.
Later we continued to Cime Bianche area and from there was few very nice long slopes down to the mainlift of Plan Maison. 
We were so happy snowboarding that we didn´t had even time for lunch, just quick snack, because we wanted to see also the Salette-Valtournenche area. So, we took the lift up on a Plateau Rosa (3480m) and started the long way down to Valtournenche - about 1 hour of downhill. The view from the top of Plateau Rosa was incredible and also the long way down was a thing to remember. Even the last part of slope nr.1 down to Valtournenche was not in very good condition but we managed to go down still enjoying. 
View from the Plateau Rosa 
The last ascents are about 16.30-17, depending of the area, so it was time to head back to Cervinia as it takes quite a lot of time to change place - first taking 4 lifts up from Valtournenche up to Cime Bianche and then the last long slope back to village of Cervinia. In the afternoon the snow started to be more wet in the lowest part of the slopes but was not too bad. And anyway, it´s part of the spring skiing. 
For sure this was the best snowboarding day that we had done, ever - beautiful and warm springday, slopes in very good conditions, no queues = just perfect. Just with this day it was worth to arrive to Cervinia!!
Day 3 - another beautiful day, so let´s check the Switzerland side... 
Also the second morning started with the beautiful weather and same kind of conditions. We decided to head to the Switzerland side to see how are the slopes there. So, first taking lifts up to Plateau Rosa and there is the border, just next to lift.  
First image of the Zermatt was not very good: there was much more people and slopes were more narrow. We decided to take the longest way down, to enjoy as much as possible. But unfortunately on this side the slopes are not so well connected as on Italian side, so it was not just going down but we had to take lifts also. So, not very comfortable..
We should had asked  also some advices before heading there because we took totally wrong slop to go down (53 down to Furi)  - it was not good for snowboarding as there was many parts with some uphill and the snow was very wet so it made the thing even more difficult. Especially the last par of the slope was just suffering.. But we managed to arrive to Furi lift and after that, we were ready to go back to Italian side. Even we knew that there was much more things to see but for us it was just enough. We had to take two long lifts up, until 3899 m, where is the glacier area and from there is the slope down to Italian side. It was interesting to see also this glacier as last summer we were snowboarding in the glacier of  Les Deux Alpes in France. But to be honest, this had nothing to do with that place. Less lifts, less slopes and in every way the Les Deux Alpes glacier was much better.. But was interesting to see it. But more happier was the returning on the Cervinia side.. For us it is the paradise!!
The slopes on the Switzerland side, coming down from Glacier
As we started our way down from 3899 m, we wanted to take the whole way down to Valtournenche again - even there was a risk that the lowest part of the slope would be not in good condition as it was warmer weather than day before. We had very good conditions until Salette but the last par was totally wet, as we guessed.. But we managed to go down anyway..  The rest of the afternoon we spent checking the area on that side and there are very nice slopes too. Lunch we had in cafeteria located a top of the slope 7 and it was very good - nice atmosphere, good service and good food. Very nice and relaxing break taking energies for the last few hours. 
The last moments of the day we spent in the Cielo Alto area, where the only two black slopes are located. Short ones but we were the only ones there and had a nice time. Generally the slopes of Cervinia and Valtournenche are nice blue and red, usually very wide ones. So, very good for beginner and intermediate snowboarders but on the Zermatt side, the slopes are more narrow and more black ones - for the ones, that are searching more challenge. Later in the evening we heard, that the best part of Zermatt would had been  on the other side, in Riffelberg/Gornegrat and Rothorn area. But this time we didn´t go to check those - have to leave something for the next time..  
Even the day was not so good as the previous one, still another good day of snowboarding!!
Day 3 - snow, snow and more snow… 
It started to snow late in the previous evening and was snowing the whole night.
So, a lot of new snow everywhere in the morning!! We had big hopes to ski in the fresh snow but unfortunately it wasn´t so much fun - it was just too much spring snow.. But we had a morning to remember when we tried to do our way back down. Was very funny!
Later came a lot of fog which made the thing more tricky as the visibility was almost zero..
But luckily the fog lasted maybe 1.5 hrs but after that it started to get better. And at the end it was nice afternoon. 
We stayed the whole day in the Cervinia area, taking the best slopes down. To enjoy the most of the last day. And we really enjoyed a lot. It was hard to say one favorite slope as there was so many nice ones and also very different ones. But maybe one of the best was one from Cime Bianche down to Cielo alto. That we did many times and was so much fun each time. 
Last day was the hardest as the condition in the morning were difficult because of the snow and fog. And after 3 full days of snowboarding, we were totally destroyed. For us it was definitely enough and even in the beginning we thought that maybe we could take one more extra day, these 3 days were enough. So, back to the hotel and enjoy the last evening in Cervinia.
Unfortunately we got “bad“ news when back in the hotel. The airport of Bergamo was closed because of the vulcanic ash cloud of Iceland. So, our flight was cancelled. Well, luckily we still had holiday left and not in a hurry to go home so we didn´t had big worries of the travelling back. The original plan was to go to Bergamo for the last day and stay overnight there. But now it was time to make new plans. As there was no hope of the airport to be open very soon, we decided to head more south because the airports were still open there. We didn´t had any problems to return the car somewhere else as with Europcar you can return the car anywhere in Italy (we booked already in advance the extra fee to return the car in different location).  So, we booked a flight from Pisa and decided to drive there next morning and when there, to find a hotel to stay overnight. 
Day 4 - Exploring Italy.. 
After breakfast we started our journey to Pisa, which took about 3.5-4 hrs. Traffic was not bad so we managed to drive without problems the whole way. The most beautiful part was the coastline from Genova until Pisa. We had to return the car at 17.00 so we had enough time to drive around the town and to find a hotel. At the end we decided to take a room from hotel Roma, located very close to the tower of Pisa and what was the most important thing, there was a bus stop just in front of the hotel. So, we could easily take a bus to the airport next day. Price of the hotel was 90 € / night, including Italian breakfast. 
Evening we spent walking around the town and enjoying the beautiful and warm spring evening. 
Day 5 - changing the plans again: Rome, here we come!
We had the flight booked for the afternoon and still in the morning it looked good as the airport of Pisa was still open. But before that we did some sightseeing and went to see the famous tower of Pisa. Actually it has never been in our list of  the must see-things but as we were here, of course we had to see it.
Beside of the tower, there are not many things to see in Pisa. But the atmosphere is quite ok as it´s a university town so there were a lot of nice cafeterias and cheap restaurants close to the university buildings. Unfortunately we didn´t had time to have lunch there because we found out, that they had closed the airport of Pisa and our flight was cancelled. So, time to make plan B again..
After checking the options, we decided to head more south because the airport of Rome was still open and there was flight with reasonable price. Only thing was, that we had to stay 2 nights in Rome but of course that wasn´t a problem at all. Even both of us has visited  Rome before, this was the first time going there together. So, nice!!
Train from Pisa to Rome took about 3.5 hrs as it was regional train but it was ok and we arrived in the evening to Rome. Luckily we booked the hotel just next to Termini station so we just had to walk 5 min to the Planet hotel. It was very simple hotel but clean and price was good, just 60 € / night. 
Day 6 - pure sightseeing… 
 The whole day going around Rome, mainly walking.. Checking the most interesting places and lunch in a typical trattoria. I´m sure that we walked at least 10 km during the day so doing kind of a sport also.. 
Day 7 - back to Spain.. 
We had the flight booked for the evening and in the morning the situation looked already good - all the airports of Italy were open again. So,  we left the luggage in the storage room of the hotel and spent the day doing more sightseeing. This time with a bus.. 
Later lunch in a small restaurant called Lagana, on Via dell`Orso -street. Very cosy, good food and service. Maybe more expensive than local trattoria but was nice ending for our nice holiday in Italy. 
Ristorante Lagana
It was a nice trip but it was also nice to go back home, after all the travelling..
But maybe next year back to Cervinia as it was definitely a place to repeat!!