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Italy ALTA BADIA in March

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Looking for some advice on skiing the Alta Badia region this year in mid/late march. With UT/CA/CO sucking this season, Im considering europe.

 

(1) Whats Alta Badia like? Would it be enjoyable for someone who's preferred terrain is UT side-country, big sky and Kickinghorse?

(2) How is the region faring so far this year?

(3) Is March generally a good time to go skiing there?

(4) Best way to get there, experience the area?

 

Thanks!

 

Mod note: dup thread in other forum eliminated

post #2 of 17

You might want to post in the International forums. 

post #3 of 17

It will get moved to international by the mod.

 

Odd choice if you are looking for off piste steeps. Alta Badia is on the Sella Ronde and part of the Dolomiti Superski area. It is one of my favorite ski areas, easy long distance  cruising on well maintained pistes. The Marmolada glacier is home to some of the tougher skiing and is accessible from Arraba and doable in a day from Alta Badia. The area is very scenic and the sunsets are special as the red rocks get lit up. They have excellent snow management skills and as the pistes are cleared of rocks they don't need much base.

 

Alta Badia is tough to get to. I had a low cost airline flying into Bergamo from the UK and would rent a car. Bresci or Verona are the other close airports. I guess you might find an international flight from the US to one of them.

 

Zermatt, Verbier or St Anton would be better choices if you are looking for steep off piste skiing. Fly into Zurich and make the connection to the resort by train.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Would you recommend St. Anton in March this year?

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosen View Post
 

Would you recommend St. Anton in March this year?

St Anton should be fine. although it is already getting spring skiing conditions.

 

Zermatt will be slightly more snow sure as it has a glacier.

 

I would go to either if I had to make a decision today.

post #6 of 17

Verbier is very tricky this season, off-piste that is (which is basically everything that is not a groomer). Lots of avalanches and a few deaths as well. Wouldn't go there this season if off-piste skiing is what you're after. Try Monte Rosa in stead (fly to Milan). 

 

Zermatt and St. Anton are easiest to get to from an international airport (Swiss trains, always on time). But if you don't mind renting a car, Monte Rosa, Val d'Isere or Sestrière (Italy, near Turin) are great options too. Or try Serre Chevalier in France. Great tree skiing, and you get a day access in Sestriere, Alp d'Huez or Les 2 Alps on the same ski pass.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Looking hard at Monte Rosa (Gressoney La Trinite). Looks promising. I've never skied in europe, so I'm worried that Ill pick a spot thats inappropriate to my interests, or small, etc. Do you think the Monte Rosa areas good for expert skiers accustomed to eastern BC & Utah?

post #8 of 17

Was in Alta Badia in the summer of 2013.  I've skied in Val Gardena and a little in Colfosco but an eternity ago.  All I can say is that the area is stunning - simply beautiful.  Jimmy Hutte (see below) at the top of the valley offers great views and good local food.

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosen View Post
 

Looking hard at Monte Rosa (Gressoney La Trinite). Looks promising. I've never skied in europe, so I'm worried that Ill pick a spot thats inappropriate to my interests, or small, etc. Do you think the Monte Rosa areas good for expert skiers accustomed to eastern BC & Utah?

I can't compare to North American areas (never been). But within Europe, Monte Rosa is definately not a beginners area. There is the groomer slope map, but than there's this: the off-piste route map (not controlled, patrolled or secured, though)...

 

And in Alagna, there's a shop that simply rents all great all-mountain and freeride skis: http://www.sporthaus.it/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&layout=category&task=&id=&Itemid=245&lang=en

 

Saves a lot of hauling skis around in planes, trains and automobiles

post #10 of 17

Alta Badia is a good location to experience skiing in the Dolomites.  Without a guide, it offers tons of piste skiing.  It has a great location offering access to some of the best skiing in the Dolomites, i.e. easy access to the steeper slopes of Arabba and the Marmolada along with close proximity to Laguzoi and Cinque Torre.  Cortina is also easily reachable.  It's on the over-hyped Sella Ronda, so you can ski valley to valley on  well prepared pistes with thousands of others any time you want.  Sella Ronda is always crowded.  Get away from it and it's much quieter.

I think Alta Badia and Arabba are the best locations in the Dolomites for serious skiers.  There are local guide services that will get you to the best snow off piste.  Italians do not want you skiing off piste without a guide. 

Access is best from either Innsbruck or Venice.  You'll want to catch a bus or taxi from either.  It's not an easy place to get to if you're flying from the US.  Fabulous food, great family run hotels and tons of charm along with the spectacular Dolomite scenery makes it a very special place to ski.  Looks like this year's snow is okay but not great.  There will be good snow through March.  Check out these guys: http://www.inspireditaly.com/category/ski-in-italy/.  Good info on the site and they deliver what they promise.  They're a Brit outfit so you can give them a call and have them arrange everything without having to deal with non-English speakers.

 

Monte Rosa is fine if you'll looking at a lot of off piste.  Best bet is to get in touch with www.guidemonterosa.com.    They are based in Gressoney and can set you up with a place to stay, and guide service for the week.  Monte Rosa just got blasted with snow.  There will be plenty or snow in March, weather, wind, and temperatures are the unknowns.  Not crowded. Flying into Torino is your best option.  You have to connect through somewhere to get to Turin. 1.5 hours by van from airport to Gressoney.  Milan is an option too.  Direct flights from US but longer ride from the airport. 

 

St. Anton (Arlberg region) is the easiest access.  Direct bus or train out of Zurich airport.  Very snow sure.  Check out surrounding towns (St. Christoph, Stuben, Lech, Zurs) each have their advantages/disadvantages.  All access the same huge lift system.  Always crowded.

post #11 of 17

I would say that aside from Venice/Innsbruck, you can also look into flying into Verona.  If coming from the US, you can take LH to Frankfurt and then Frankfurt to Verona.  Easy.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ended up booking Gressoney and flying into Milan. Looks like those are some sleepy towns, so Im spending 2days in Milan first for the GF's sake as she doesn't ski.

 

Also checking out www.guidemonterosa.com for some guided stuff and heli.

post #13 of 17

Sleepy doesn't begin to describe  Gressoney.  Gressoney La Trinite at the head of the valley (and its sleepier  partner Stafel) is a small collection of hotels and apartments.  Gressoney St. Jean, a few km back down the valley, is an actual town with a few shops and restaurants.  It's very odd to have such a huge lift system without a base of beds at the bottom to support it.  More pow for you.  You can do a one day circuit to Zermatt and back.  Get a heli ride to the Col di Lys and then it's downhill (around 9,000' vertical as I recall) all the way to Zermatt then back up through the Zermatt lift system and over the top to Champoluc and by lift back to Gressoney.  Tons of off piste a few steps away from the Monte Rosa lifts.  Guides are key to get to the goods.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by choucas View Post
 

It's very odd to have such a huge lift system without a base of beds at the bottom to support it. 

 

Champoluc and Antagnod have a fair number of beds on the left side of the ski area, but they still don't make up a huge base. I think the ski area relies a lot on weekend business from Turin and Milan.

post #15 of 17

Didnt realize MonteRosa is linked on skis to Zermatt - we skied Zermatt a few years ago and over into Cervinia - never knew Monte Rosa was within reach, learn something every day. 

post #16 of 17

We've just today gotten back from that region after one week skiing from Campitello and another from Corvara.

 

Alta Badia, Val di Fassa, Arabba and Val Gardena make up the valleys of the Sella Ronda, which is the most famous (and crowded) tour of the region.  There are also a host of other regions on the same Dolomiti Superski pass that can be accesses via linked lifts and/or a short bus ride.  The ticket offers something like 460 lifts, with around 1,200km of groomers prepared each night.  I understand it's the world's largest area of linked ski regions on the same ticket.  As a general rule the area offers a huge expanse of green-to-blue, moderate skiing on piste, with the occasional black groomer thrown in if you care to find one. You can spend a couple of weeks without really doing the same lift or run twice, other than your upload in the mornings and the home run in the evenings of course. The food is amazing, with table service in just about every mountain rifugio (i.e. all but one of our lunches had table service).

 

[edit - this is a shot taken as we came out of Corvara one morning]

 

 

 

There are off piste areas, but you'd really need a guide to get there. [edit - there's certainly off piste stuff under lifts, and short traverses that will give you a few powder turns, etc.]  Also, while the groomers are in great shape, this season is not the best for the couloirs etc. that dot the area.  Last season was some sort of record breaker for snow - perhaps the best year since the fifties - but this one is much lighter on for snow.  The most famous off piste trip is likely the Val Mesdi off the Sella Massif.  I don't think it's in shape to be skied this year (yet) but I could be wrong.  There was a decent snow fall a couple of weekends ago, but the two days following saw some fierce winds which scoured the powder back to ice in a lot of areas.

 

So, if you're preferred terrain is Utah side country, Big Ski and Kicking Horse I would imagine the area is not really going to satisfy.  It's not steep enough and it doesn't have the off piste options, especially this year.  On the other hand, for a family ski trip, or for a touring experience with great lunchtime food and wine, it's pretty hard to beat.

 

Best of luck.


Edited by sinbad7 - 2/20/15 at 11:15pm
post #17 of 17
Quote:
 SINBAD7: There are off piste areas, but you'd really need a guide to get there.  Also, while the groomers are in great shape, this season is not the best for the couloirs etc. that dot the area.  Last season was some sort of record breaker for snow - perhaps the best year since the fifties - but this one is much lighter on for snow.  The most famous off piste trip is likely the Val Mesdi off the Sella Massif.  I don't think it's in shape to be skied this year (yet) but I could be wrong.  There was a decent snow fall a couple of weekend ago, but the two days following saw some fierce winds which scoured the powder back to ice in a lot of areas.

So following the advice of CBVortex, Choucas, Tony  and many others, our decision to not go to the Dolomites but aim for Val D'Isere/Tignes for the Easter week appears to be looking better and better. We looked longingly at the Sasso Pordoi section and the Val Mezdi drop ins as a must ski but no point going that far when most of it is not skiable, or very, very hairy with not a lot of powder cover...another time I guess.

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