Our small mixed group of skiers and non-skiers arrived after the 13 hour flight and bus trip to Bormio from NYC to be warmly greeted by the Sosio family at the front desk of the Larice Bianco and were informed of a welcome party and dinner for 7:30. Our rooms were ready for our arrival and after ditching the luggage, the group scattered to find food, coffee, ski passes and ski rentals, all within a short walk from the hotel.
The welcome party included frosty glasses of Spumanti and au-dervres and a brief introduction of family members by Frederico, son of the current owner and grandson of the founder of the hotel. Kico and his sister are third generation hosts. Their mom and dad still oversee the operation and I must say this is an incredibly well run resort.
The breakfasts were bountiful with scrambled eggs and meats as well a boiled eggs cooked to order. The coffee machine required some decifering but when each found a setting they liked, we stuck with it all week. Surprising to find a machine that produced a perfect cup of cappicino time after time. Breads, rolls, pastries, cereals and cold cuts rounded out the bountiful morning fare.
The evening meals were superb with a diverse salad bar nightly (great fresh cut tomatoes in February!), three choices of entrees and three main courses (actually the third counting the salad bar) and of course dessert. Many in our group like the selections in the entree menu and ordered two, foregoing the main course. Two stand-outs were the scampied shrimp and cuttle-fish skewers and the pizzocheri, a local dish flat buckwheat pasta and melted parmasean cheeze. Deserts were inventive and visually stimulating.
On Thursday evening, a special dinner was prepared with dozens of warm and cold appetizers served in lieu of regular salad bar. The dinner was composed of regional specialties as was the dessert. All the servers were in regional costume... very entertaining and excellent food.
On the basement level is the ski room where the boot racks are heated to provide warm, boots each morning. This is also the level where you will find the small but pleasant wellness center consisting of a small gym (bicycle and universal machine) and the spa area with 6-person hot-tub, a cold dunk, dry and moist saunas and shower. After a day of skiing and a warm hot tub, it was easy to fall asleep on the lounge chairs.
By now you are probably aware that the principal ski area in Bormio is just about a 100 metes from the back door of the hotel (down a flight of stair in ski boots to the ski room). The mountain has nearly 5900 feet of vertical and run from "peak to creek" is an accomplishment for the strongest of skiers. The lift system is a modern as they come as most of the mountain is accessible by high-speed "bubble quad" chairs. The only downside, was that we skied pretty much everything there multiple times in 2 days.
A day trip to nearby Santa Catarina (early buses from the bottom of the Bormio lift or later ones from the village center bus depot, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel) proved to be an unexpected delight. Santa Catarina has also replace many of the antiquated drag lifts with a new 3-stage 6 person gondola and a high speed bubble quad that services a vast snowy bowl on the opposite side of a ridge from the main front face ski area. My suggestion would be to ski the front face before 1 pm as it is east facing and quickly moves in to shadows after noon. The back bowl remains sunny throughout the day and has untracked powder stashes between the few trails even several days after a recent snow fall.
A unique experience in Bormio is Bagni Vechi, a natural hot spring spa that dates back more than two thousand years to Roman times. One small basilica shaped building has been in more-or-less continuous use over that time. Most of the rest of the spa dates from Victorian era construction. Highlights include the water-fall massage room, the scented relaxation rooms and the 150 foot long warm-water grotto. I enjoyed the naturally heated out-door pool with moden bubble massage jets, especially with the Bormio ski mountain in the background and the snow falling!
A trip to the area would not be complete without at least one day to nearby (1 hour) Lavignio. This area is a vast horzontally as Bormio is vast vertically. With 37 mostly modern lifts and 105 km of trails, this large area cannot be skied in a day. Since I was last there in 2001, they have built three new lift systems have opened up new areas for skiers on both sides of the valley and a huge back bowl that was previously only accessible by drag lift.
On the morning of our extremely early 4 am departure, a nearly complete buffet was provided us, a parting gift from the Sosios.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A three star hotel in Bormio located 100mt from the cabin lifts, its position is excellent being close to the ski slopes and the lift facilities.Our 45 bedrooms, panorami standard - panoramic superior e Family rooms , are all equipped with their own balcony where guests can sunbathe and enjoy a splendid view over our mountains ... more less
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