There is nothing quite like putting on skis and descending the slopes of a volcano. And there is only one place in Italy that allows such an experience and that is Mount Etna, in Sicily. Naturally, the image of Etna is linked to ‘heat’, originating from its lava and of the earth that hosts it. However, the peaks and craters are filled with snow in the winter which allows ski enthusiasts to ski on the island without having to reach the Apennine and Alpine destinations.
Mount Etna Ski Season
The ski season starts from the Christmas period and can last until Easter. The facilities managed by the Etna cableway allow people to reach the ski slopes in winter. You can also set off for excursions to the summit craters all the while enjoying the wonderful volcanic landscape.
Cable Car to the Top of Mount Etna
The facility has a modern 6-seater cable car system. It can host up to 1,200 people every hour and allows visitors to reach 2,500 m a.s.l. from Rifugio Sapienza. From here, you may access the winter ski facilities and take excursions to the summit craters throughout the year. At this altitude, you get off-road coach excursions to the top of the volcano.
Do you prefer to go down on the groomed slopes? You can count on two different areas of the Volcano. It is generically indicated as Etna Sud (South) and Etna Nord (North). These two areas cover the various lifts available. Some of which are;
Etna Sud Cable Cars
The Etna Sud consists of five departure lines. Many of which fall between the beginner and intermediate ski slopes.
- Nicolosi – The first is in the locality of Nicolosi. It has five lifts serving red and blue slopes. The most important of the ski lifts in this section is the ‘Etna cable car.’ It serves some red slopes that descend on the Volcano’s southern slope. The length of the main track is about 4 kilometers with the starting point reaching over 2500 meters. The scenarios surrounding these slopes are very varied. It includes the one that characterizes the route known as the Canalone degli Svizzeri.
- Omino – Another ski lift is the Omino ski lift leading to the departure of two red slopes. One connects to the same served by the cable car while the other runs alongside the ski lift. The latter is particularly suitable for more experienced skiers. It is also one of those that offer the most intriguing views on the walls of the Volcano.
- Montagnola – The Montagnola ski lift serves a blue and a red slope. The first is obviously for beginners., even if the climb is not the easiest. It is very steep and with bumps. The red run winds for 400 meters. It runs along some interesting areas of the Volcano and includes the smoking craters of the highest part as well as the ‘crater of the lake.’
- Linguaglossa – The lifts serving the Linguaglossa area depart from the ski resort called Piano Provenzana. The views enjoyed from this site include the expanse of the Ionian Sea and include the highest peaks of the Volcano reaching 3300 meters. There are four ski lifts in this area.
- Puchoz Tanaurpi – The Puchoz Tanaurpi chairlift serves a very easy blue run. It can be easily reached via a covered chairlift.
Etna Nord Cable Cars
The Etna Nord area also includes three ski departure lines. They lead to the top of further slopes and are blue and red.
- Monte Conca – The one called Monte Conca comes to serve the first stretch of red slopes. It can be connected when there is a lot of snow on the track that goes down to the valley. From there, the ski lift can be resumed.
- Coccinelle and Amphitheater – The other two are the Coccinelle and the Amphitheater which serve the most complicated red slopes in the area. They have two other red slopes, which are also used for alpine skiing competitions.
If travelling to Sicily during the European winter, you might like to combine a ski trip with other festive activities such as Christmas in Palermo. Let us customize you the perfect winter package sampling the best Sicilian food along the way. We recommend a tour such as Essential Sicily for a brief stay or Historical Sicily to immerse yourself in the history. We can combine or tweak them to ensure your trip suits you and the season in which you are travelling. Contact us to start planing your vacation to Sicily.