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Italian language and skiing destination?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

Toying with the idea of taking a month to travel to Italy for language classes and lots of skiing. My ideal destination:

  • A big city with easy access to the mountains (< 30 minutes, ski buses or public transit available; must be a big city so I study through a language school)
  • Preference for international calibre ski instructors (so I can keep working on my level 3 - not concerned with the teaching system at this point) 
  • Good snow conditions mid- to late-season
  • High-culture city would be amazing though not necessary (e.g. from a Canadian context, I'd consider Whistler a low-culture destination; Quebec city a high culture destination)

 

Is there such a place in Italy? I'm thinking an Italian SLC or maybe Vancouver with better snow conditions.

post #2 of 18

Hey Metaphor.  How'd your season go?

post #3 of 18

Torino is under 2 hours driving from Cervina or Courmayeur. 

Milan is under 3 hours driving from Bormio.

 

Taking public transport will take a lot longer.

post #4 of 18
Venice, Verona, not 1/2 hour but few hours would get you to good skiing.
There are language schools in St. Urlich and Bolzano and you can do "reverse commute" and visit great Italian cities on weekends when city folks are heading up the hill.
post #5 of 18

I'd also suggest Turin or Milan. There are quite a few ski areas within that are nearby both.

 

But, @prickly might have better suggestions.

post #6 of 18

Turin and Milan being the bigger cities that answer (most of) your requirements (with Sestriere and Bardonecchia being the closets big and snow-sure ski resorts near Turin at 1.5 hour drive each), I can highly recommend Trento. It is situated very nicely between the Eastern Dolomites ('Dolomiti Superski': Val Gardena, Val di Fiemme etc.) and the Brenta Dolomites (Madonna di Campiglio, Andalo, etc.), both at 30 minutes from Trento. The town itself is very nice, with a big university: young, higly educated people and enough nice bars and restaurants, clubs and festivals to last you a few months. 

 

In weekends, make day trips to Bolzano, Verona, Venice, Padova - all within 2 hours by train Milan or Bologna about 3 hours, but great weekend destinations as well. If I could find a good job there (or if I would win some kind of jackpot), Trento would be my dream home town, both in winter and in summer.

post #7 of 18

What is "big city"? :) If you go for really big city, then Torino/Turin is pretty much only option. But then for get about "under 30mins to ski resort", as it will take longer just to get out of city. :) Milano is even worse, and even a bit further away from ski places.

If something with population of about 80.000 would qualify, then Bolzano is one option, and there you really are in heart of Dolomiti and Sella Ronda in less then 30mins. But I wouldn't really count Bolzano as "high culture" city either. It's more of industrial town.

So if you want to meet all your conditions, then unfortunately you are out of luck, as such city doesn't exist in Italy. If you would go for 2-3h from ski resort, then you have plenty. As others already said, Torino and Milano, then of course Venice, and Verona. Basically everything on highway between Trieste and Torino.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas all... I envision taking a quick (cheap?) shuttle to a mountain, skiing the morning and afternoon, then heading back into the city/town for some evening Italian language classes. Repeat daily for a month. So maybe Trento or Bolzano? Do they have good public transit to get to the hill? I have a really hard time understanding Italian public transit (mostly because I don't know the geography or the mountains!)

 

Reverse commuting on weekends is a great idea... 

 

My first trip to Italy (ever!) will be in April, but one of my friends doesn't ski, so we'll stick to Venicia, Firenze, and Roma with a day trip to Pompeii... the Italian ski trip may need to wait for one extra year :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Hey Metaphor.  How'd your season go?

 

Hey there, it was good, and of course not long enough :) Hope you're having a nice summer. 

post #9 of 18

Let Google Maps guide you (Terrain mode is helpful). Public transport from Bolzano or Trento to the ski areas means busses. Here are some websites that might help:

 

https://www.sii.bz.it/en/siipdfOldtimetables

http://www.ttesercizio.it/?l=en 

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Hi guys,

 

Toying with the idea of taking a month to travel to Italy for language classes and lots of skiing. My ideal destination:

  • A big city with easy access to the mountains (< 30 minutes, ski buses or public transit available; must be a big city so I study through a language school)
  • Preference for international calibre ski instructors (so I can keep working on my level 3 - not concerned with the teaching system at this point)
  • Good snow conditions mid- to late-season
  • High-culture city would be amazing though not necessary (e.g. from a Canadian context, I'd consider Whistler a low-culture destination; Quebec city a high culture destination)

 

Is there such a place in Italy? I'm thinking an Italian SLC or maybe Vancouver with better snow conditions.

Is there such a city? Pretty certain the answer is no.

 

Is there some kind of official language qualification you are aiming for? Only taught be recognized schools.? If yes then ask the official body for a list of the schools and work from there.

 

On the other hand if you are just looking for ad hoc tuition then write to tourist offices in the big ski resorts and ask if they know of accredited private teachers or classes.

 

One thing to factor in is the traffic congestion and Italian driving. People used to the wide open spaces and generally defensive driving practiced by most US drivers will face a baptism of fire in Italy in big cities, you just wont believe the aggression and horn use and the hordes of Vespas making use of any gaps.and the pavements.

post #11 of 18
Traffic congestion...? one way to look at it is he will have great opportunity to learn some Italian (salty though).
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

dustyfog, pardon me? 

post #13 of 18
Let's keep it light.

Dustyfog probably knows something about Italians ?

I am still learning ...

Metaphor, spending a month in Italy, learning the language, adding to your skiing skills and immersing in Italian culture (and traffic congestion) is a great idea.

But be prepared that after a month you will long for more. I experienced that and now I am addicted to Italy.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post

 

One thing to factor in is the traffic congestion and Italian driving. People used to the wide open spaces and generally defensive driving practiced by most US drivers will face a baptism of fire in Italy in big cities, you just wont believe the aggression and horn use and the hordes of Vespas making use of any gaps.and the pavements.

 

Possibly reconsider driving to Napoli on your trip south. I've only viewed it from the sidewalk and it's an impressive mess. Language classes there would be southern dialect likely. Actually more in line with what a lot of Americans in the east kind of know words of though they butcher it beyond hope.

 

I still remember getting off the train in Firenze (Florence). The woman announcer was speaking clear as day in school book, standard, Italian. I could even understand some of it. It was shocking coming from Nyc, where you couldn't understand what the hell they're saying in the subway due to diction and sound system.

 

South cuts off those vowels at the end and does a lot more. There's much more of a difference than an accent in American English southern.

 

like mozzarella:  mohz-zah-REL-lah in standard Italian becomes mozh zah rel

Then it's butchered to, particularly in Connecticut,  "mutz'. I find it painful. manicotti -  mahn ee Cot ee, becomes  like man ne gauwt.

 

The accent in standard Italian is usually on the penultimate syllable which is what gives the language it's lyrical quality. And makes it very suitable for pleasant histrionics.

 

Anyway, advice is to learn standard Italian in the north. Then go south to learn to recognize the difference. If you travel to eastern US, you'll encounter more southern Italian, especially in food words.

 

Well staying in Venice would be something special that's for sure. Not sure about language there but I'm sure you'd find a classic standard Italian class as opposed to Venetian dialect.

post #15 of 18

Having lived in Italy for the past 3 years, I can tell you that the quality of instruction is awesome........ if you speak Italian. Otherwise, it can be incredible, or incredibly average. I was lucky to have incredible until I learnt Italian. If you want "international" instructors Cervinia is the only place that attracts the top teaching. Warren Smith Ski academy even run tune up sessions on the glacier during August. It's also amongst the most snowsure.

However, nowhere decent to ski is less than 30 from a major city. The shortest transfer to somewhere decent is Turin to Sauze D'Oulx (part of the 2006 Olympic circuit). That's around 80 minutes. 

Anywhere else will be longer.

 

  • Cheizz makes an excellent point with Trento though. As part of semi-autonomous Trentino, it's better run than the rest of the country and was part of Austria until the end of WW1, so retains a Germanic efficiency. That said, I prefer my Italians more relaxed. All personal preference I guess and will depend on what lessons you can find...
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

Having lived in Italy for the past 3 years, I can tell you that the quality of instruction is awesome........ if you speak Italian. Otherwise, it can be incredible, or incredibly average. I was lucky to have incredible until I learnt Italian. If you want "international" instructors Cervinia is the only place that attracts the top teaching. Warren Smith Ski academy even run tune up sessions on the glacier during August. It's also amongst the most snowsure.

However, nowhere decent to ski is less than 30 from a major city. The shortest transfer to somewhere decent is Turin to Sauze D'Oulx (part of the 2006 Olympic circuit). That's around 80 minutes. 

Anywhere else will be longer.

 

  • Cheizz makes an excellent point with Trento though. As part of semi-autonomous Trentino, it's better run than the rest of the country and was part of Austria until the end of WW1, so retains a Germanic efficiency. That said, I prefer my Italians more relaxed. All personal preference I guess and will depend on what lessons you can find...

 

Ah, thank you for the walkthrough. Vedró le opzioni il prossimo Aprile :)  

post #17 of 18
Bolzano is not big, and it is bilingual (german language or what passes for it first, then italian) so it might not be the best option to attend italian language classes.
Turin is not "big" compared to Milan.
Milan is also seat of the FISI, the winter sport italian federation. And seat of the COSCUMA (the ski instructors commission).
A lot of the commission members and examinators (even some of thosewho implement the teaching programs, instructors' instructors or federal instructors) do teach in Aprica and Adamelloski, so if you want to work on your level 3 and work with the top notch, I'd advice you to get in touch first with FISI/AMSI/COSCUMA and check with them where you can receive "help".
If the language is a problem, I can try to be of help. I am not an insider, neither an instructor, though, so my options to be of any kind of help might be severely limited.
post #18 of 18
P.s. Aprica and Adamello are, depending of your or your driver style, about a 2hrs drive from Milan, the closest resort in that general dirwction is "piani di Bobbio", located in the village of Barzio, right above the town of Lecco, some 50ish km away fromm Milan, but it is a families with mall kids type of place, with no challenging terrain at all, so, unless you have.small kids with you, I wouldn't go there. Madesimo, where @prickly is located, is more or less in the same driving range as theones I mentioned earlier. Again, if it is the QOS that matters the most to you, and you choose Milan as a base, Madesimo, Bormio, Monterosa (Alagna, where many of the "Vikings" -as the scandinavian skibums people are referred to by the locals- spend their skiing adventures in Northern Italy, being the closer accessible lift served area) and Adamello are, IMHO,the main choices (lots of smaller places in between, but it all depends on your targets...)
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