Sicily is known for being a summer holiday destination and most tourists go to Sicily to experience its beautiful beaches under the Sicilian Sun. It is also home to Mount Etna which is Europe’s tallest volcano. It is also one of the world’s most active stratovolcano and has had many eruptions over the years. If you are into hiking, visiting Mount Etna is a must.
Since Mount Etna is an active volcano that can spew lava, ashes, and gas anytime, it might be the last destination you might think of when it comes to skiing. But, you can actually ski on Mount Etna. Mount Etna has an altitude of 3,320 meters (10,900 ft.) and the peak gets covered in snow and ice during the winter season.
In this article, we will talk about the two main ski resorts of Mount Etna. We will also talk about which time of the year is best for skiing on Mount Enta.
Two Main Ski Resorts On Mount Etna
Mount Etna has two main resorts – Nicolosi (South Etna) and Piano Provenzana (North Etna). Both ski resorts offer scenic downhill slopes and both resorts also have ski slopes for beginners and experts alike. Ski passes cost at least €25 for kids and €35 for adults.
South Etna (Etna Sud) – Rifugio Sapienza
The most common point of interest when climbing Mount Etna is Rifugio Sapienza located on the southern side of Etna. This resort on Nicolosi is also the most accessible and most frequented by tourists.
You can reach the Silvestri Craters by riding the cableway or ski lifts at Rifugio Sapienza. On Etna Sud’s ski area, you will find several Red Slopes that can be accessed via the Monti Silvestri chairlift or via the Capannina-Omina and Omino-Piccolo Rifugio ski lifts. The Red Slopes are routes that are recommended to expert skiers as you will encounter challenging routes such as old volcano craters and several chairlifts destroyed in the past by lava.
If you are more of an advanced beginner skier and have good knowledge of how to ski and ride a ski lift, the Blue Slope is probably best for you. This can be accessed via the Montagnola ski lift or Etna Cableway.
The slopes on Etna Sud offer panoramic views of Catania.
North Etna (Etna Nord) – Piano Provenzana
Piano Provenzana is the point of reference if you want to start your hike in the northern part of Mt. Etna and it is located in the municipality of Linguaglossa. Like Etna Sud, Etna Nord also has several Red and Blue Slopes.
The Blue Slopes on North Etna can be reached by riding the Puchoz-Tanaurpi chair lift followed by the Monte Conca ski lift. The Red Slopes, on the other hand, are reachable via the Coccinelle ski lift and Anfiteatro ski lift. These are recommended for experts.
The Blue Slopes are more beginner-friendly and it is also suitable for children which is great if you are visiting Etna with children. The Red Slopes are more for expert skiers as these slopes offer more off-road skiing. These should only be attempted with a local guide that is familiar with these off-road ski paths.
There is also a ski school on North Etna so if you want to tick learning how to ski off your bucket list, the best side of the volcano will be North Etna.
How To Get To Mount Etna Ski Resorts
To get to Rifugio Sapienza, you can either drive or take the AST bus from Catania. This is the only bus that goes to Rifugio Sapienza and it leaves at 8:15 AM and travels back to Catania at 4:30 PM.
Unfortunately, there is no bus going to Etna Nord. You will either have to rent a car, hire a private transfer, or book a private tour. You can ride a bus going to the town of Linguaglossa but there is no public transportation that will take you to Piano Provenzana.
If you are coming from outside Sicily, the closest airport to Mount Etna is in Catania. From the airport, the drive to the mountain’s southern slope will only take about one hour.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When Is The Best Time To Ski Mount Etna?
If you want to go skiing on Mount Etna, the best time to go is in the month of December, January, or February. These months have the best snow conditions which is perfect for skiing.
If you are not one for skiing, Mount Etna can be visited year-round and there are several Mount Etna guided tours coming from Catania, Taormina, and Messina.
Should I Worry About Volcanic Eruptions On Mount Etna?
As an active volcano, Mount Etna can erupt anytime and this is definitely a cause for worry if you are hiking or skiing on an active volcano. Information about the eruption and other volcanic activities is always updated so make sure to check in with the ski resort or tour company about possible cancellation of ski schedules.
Once you are on Mount Etna, stay with your guide and always stay on the trail to avoid getting lost. This will increase your chances of getting hurt should an eruption occur.
Mount Etna is an active volcano but it is also a popular destination in Sicily. Tourists go there every year to hike but some only know that Mount Etna is good for skiing, too. The snow conditions are good for skiing during December, January, and February.
Sicily is well known as a summer holiday destination. But, if you like skiing, make sure to pack some skiing gear and head on to Mount Etna for some skiing adventure!