SET IN the middle of an attractive bowl, Bardonecchia has two ski areas linked by a free bus, with a total more than 80 miles of pistes. The toughest skiing is at Jaffereau, on the eastern side of town; although it is a compact area, it has some challenging intermediate runs. To the west is the larger area, reached either from Campo Smith or the picturesque village of Mezelet, a couple of miles up the mountain road (and a good place to stay if you want peace and quiet). This area has some lovely wooded runs, mainly intermediate, but with a few blacks on the highest peaks. Because of its accessibility from Turin - there are motorway and rail links - Bardonecchia tends to get busy at the weekend; but if the slopes get too crowded, there are plenty of other places in which to ski. The Milky Way resorts of Montgenevre, Sestriere and Sauze d'Oulx are a short drive away, and the Trois Vallees can easily be accessed from near the French end of the Frejus tunnel.

Bardonecchia has the advantage of being a real town rather than a purpose- built resort. The bars and restaurants are concentrated around the centre, particularly in Via Medail and Via Stazione. If you want an authentically Italian meal, try L'Etable at 82 Via Medail.

Bardonecchia is popular with tour operators. Among those offering holidays in the resort are: Airtours (0870 608 1950); Crystal (0870 848 7000); Equity Total Ski (01273 298298); Neilson (0990 141414); Sloping Off (01725 552247) and Thomson (0870 606 1470).