Winter is off to a great start in the Ossola valleys | Trends

The month of December in the Ossola Lakes, Mountains and Valleys Tourist District opens on the weekend of the Immaculate Conception in Santa Maria Maggiore, the main center of Val Vigezzo. Here, from 9 to 11 December, the 23rd edition of the Christmas Market will take place. The magical atmosphere of the Orange Flag village will frame two hundred carefully selected exhibitors for a market that is among the largest in Northern Italy: handcrafted nativity scenes and stone and wooden houses, splendid ceramics, well-kept blown glass artefacts, original decorations and Christmas decorations and many other products made entirely by hand. And again, the chalets of the Artisan Excellences, with the gastronomic specialties produced with care and passion in these lands between mountains and lakes.

To accompany and warm up the visitors to the market there will, as always, be the suggestive stoves made from fir trunks and the many delicacies offered in the various refreshment points: a must is the fragrant mulled wine or the invigorating Vigezzino coffee, to accompany the delicious stinchéet or to tasty roasted chestnuts.

Doors also open in the village to the splendid and singular museums: the famous – and unique in Italy – Museum of the Chimney Sweep, an ancient trade which is celebrated annually in these places with an international gathering, and the Casa del Profumo Feminis-Farina, which makes honor to the history of Eau de Cologne, born thanks to two emigrants from Santa Maria Maggiore.

Many ski opportunities with Neveazzurra

But December also means snow and skiing and in the Tourist District of the Ossola Lakes, Mountains and Valleys it will be possible to be surprised by the offer of the Neveazzurra area, which brings together the ski resorts of Verbano Cusio Ossola: Valli dell’Ossola, Formazza, Devero , Divedro, Antrona, Anzasca, Vigezzo. A unique reality, located in the upper Piedmont, which passes from Domobianca and reaches Mottarone, from which you have a unique view of the lakes.

Of particular interest is the possibility of a single ski pass, which can be purchased online (, accessing an extraordinary alpine area, which extends from 1,000 to over 4,000 meters of altitude of the Monte Rosa massif and which has 150 km of slopes, served by natural and artificial snow and by 50 lifts.

Thanks to snowfarm di Riale, in the upper Val Formazza, the Neveazzurra ski area has opened, among the first in Europe, the winter outdoor sports season in the Alps for cross-country ski enthusiasts: a 2.5 km ring in the enchanting valley of the Walser village.

Cross-country skiing is also feasible in Formazza itself and in Santa Maria Maggiore, with a top-level competitive route and in Valle Anzasca along the Macugnaga Fondo Signal circuit.

For lovers of downhill skiing, a little higher up is the Macugnaga Monte Rosa area, with 30 km of slopes and 9 lifts, where you can ski while admiring the most evocative massif of the western Alps, Monte Rosa with its 4,634 meters . Here the Belvedere chairlifts will reopen for the first weekend of December for the Immaculate Conception and on the weekend of 17 and 18 to then get into the heart of the season and ski every day from 23 December. The Monte Moro cable cars, on the other hand, will open from 26 December, for the Christmas holidays.

From the beginning of December in the Ossola Valleys it is also possible to go skiing without using the car. At San Domenico Ski, which has 7 lifts and 35 km of slopes, waiting for skiers there will be alpine ski trails of varying difficulty with more than 1,100 meters in altitude, a snow park, dedicated trails for snowshoes and ski mountaineering. The resort can be reached by bus from Milan, Varese and Novara with a return ticket starting from 30 euros (including ski pass, insurance and breakfast): it’s called Sandobus and can be purchased easily online. The 22/23 winter season of San Domenico will be inaugurated on 2 December by the starred chef Alessandro Garzillo, who will lead the entire kitchen project of the resort, personally overseeing the philosophy and menus of each restaurant, from the most traditional to the most exclusive enhancing local products.

In Domobianca, on the other hand, the resort 15 km by car from Domodossola, which offers 8 lifts for 21 km of slopes, if the weather conditions are favourable, the winter season will begin with the Immaculate Conception holiday and on Friday it will also be possible to ski at night . An illuminated slope of almost 3 km (among the longest in Europe) is, in fact, available to skiers, together with a snow park and a baby park, as well as a path for ski mountaineering and one for snowshoes.

Among the numerous experiences in the Tourist District of the Ossola Lakes, Mountains and Valleys for those seeking freeride and off-piste emotions, Devero Ski should be mentioned, which can be safely practiced among the larch woods in the Misanco valley, while for an enjoyable descent on a rail 1,200 meters long with two-seater sledges, the Alpyland sled lift on the Mottarone side is not to be missed. And for a relaxing break after a day on the snow, the thermal spas of Premia and Bognanco are the ideal places.

On the website are available the snow report service updated daily by the lift engineers, real-time webcams positioned on the ski slopes to monitor the weather and snow conditions, as well as detailed descriptions and animated Fatmaps for all the resorts in the ski area of Snowblue. In the Ebook section, you can download the Winter Map of the Neveazzurra area for free and the publication Snow Trek – Guide to snowshoeing for the whole family.

A holiday in the Ossola Lakes, Mountains and Valleys Tourist District turns into an experience that leaves its mark among nature, relaxation, well-being, traditions and good food.

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