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Anyone skied the Dolomites in Italy?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
It looks like I have agreat opportunity to spend 10-14 days in italy skiing in March. Such an amazing price, I can't pass it up. I was just wondering if anyone had been there and what the opinions were. Looks like we're staying in the Corvara area with plans to ski Sella Ronda, Cortina, and I'm not sure where else since I can't translate the itinerary completely Any thoughts or recommendations would be welcome. Thanks as always!

post #2 of 27
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
It looks like I have agreat opportunity to spend 10-14 days in italy skiing in March. Such an amazing price, I can't pass it up. I was just wondering if anyone had been there and what the opinions were. Looks like we're staying in the Corvara area with plans to ski Sella Ronda, Cortina, and I'm not sure where else since I can't translate the itinerary completely Any thoughts or recommendations would be welcome. Thanks as always!

Is this deal available on line?
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
This is one of those friend of a friend set it up and I was invited. Best I can see this is all stock pricing. The breakout right now for lodging and ski is approx $450. thats for 7 nights lodging with breakfast buffet and the Dolomite Super Ski pass for all 16 something areas. Flights out of ATL right now are $550 into Munich then the car rental. Since I'm going to use miles to fly, I'm looking at getting out under a grand all said and done...Woohoo!!
post #4 of 27
I haven't skied there but we did drive through the Dolomiti last January on honeymoon. Passed through several ski areas (yes, hard to do) and I certainly intend to go back. Not sure how the skiing is, but the scenery is absolutely phenomenal.
post #5 of 27
I skied Cortina and surrounding areas about 10 years ago and have been wanting to get back ever since. They hadn't had much snow that year, but conditions were still great. Advice:
1) Don't try to do too much, accept that you are not going to ski it all. Being able to ski from country to country is very cool.
2) Enjoy some of the on mountain dining...it's good, quite the contrast with US ski mountain food.
3) Take trail designations seriously, if there's a warning sign there's probably exposure.
4) Enjoy the flavor of the town(s) they are beautiful. When I was there (also March I believe), it was warm and spring-like in town (no snow on the ground), but perfect ski weather on the mountains.
5) If you don't speak a European language, learn a little before you go. You can get by on just English, but it doesn't hurt to be able toat least make an effort...most people from this region speak at least 3 languages.
6) Have fun!
post #6 of 27
you might also want to post a similar topic on this site


which has a lot of UK skiers who may be able to input into your questions. I cant as I have never skied that area.
post #7 of 27
I've never been there, but I'd sure like to go. A few years ago I had the opportunity to interview the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. One of the questions I asked them was : What is your favorite stop on the World Cop Tour? All the women answered, "Cortina". Why? "Because it is so beautiful."
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 27
what's the WOW for? I don't see any snow.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Just amazing as it is and then if you add snow...
post #11 of 27
Never been, but very curious. Photos of the region are stupendous. Here's a shot taken in the vicinity of the Sella Ronda (click on view slideshow for more): http://community.webshots.com/photo/...20177413rKcrQQ

Here's data on cortina and val gardena:
post #12 of 27

Dolomites worth skiing for scenery alone. Sella Ronda area domimated by the Gruppo Sella, a limestone massif with villages scattered around it, such as Selva, Colfosco, Corvara, Arrabba and Canazei. Sella Ronda circuit easily skiable in about 4 hours either clockwise or anti clockwise. All the local areas have worthwhile skiing in their own right although there is a lack of tough slopes, its all mainly intermediate cruising. Arabba has the best steep slopes in the area.

I stayed in Selva, which is dominated by the Sasso Lungo towering over the slopes, an awesome sight especially when the sun starts to set and the limestone appears to turn pink. Cortina's scenery is meant to be even more impressive which is difficult to believe!

Area has best artificial snowmaking in Europe as snowfalls in Dolomites can be erratic. Dolomiti Superski pass covers 460lits and 1200km/745 miles of pistes.
post #13 of 27
Anyone skied the Dolomites in Italy?

Are there Dolomites outside of Italy?
post #14 of 27

Some recommendations...

The Dolomites are the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen, so you're in for a great travel experience. As far as skiing goes, St. Anton might be better if you're totally hardcore, but the Dolomites have plenty to offer as a skiing and travel experience.

I've stayed, and skied, in Cortina, and skied Arabba/Marmolada in early March, and I have several Italian friends who would recommend Val Gardena. Short version: if I were going to the Dolomites with my Italian buddies, I'd go to Val Gardena, but with my wife - Cortina. We were there in March 2002, and my wife is already mad at me for not taking her back there last year.

1) Cortina is a great place to stay. Beautiful valley & people, lots of dining/shopping, and the views are absolutely stunning at sunrise/sunset. Good wine bars and cafes, and don't forget to have some of the fruit flavored grappa, too. The Hotel Menardi has a great breakfast and dinner, and is wonderful. When we went, $220/night included great room, breakfast and dinner for 2, and all taxes. The place has nice touches like additional, individual down comforters. It's near the lift that takes you to the Tofana area. All that said, you'll want a car in Cortina, but there's plenty of places to park. Some of Cortina's better restaurants are just outside the town center.

2) Cortina skiing: It's secondary to everything else. There are several separate areas that cannot be connected (Tofana, Faloria, and Cristallo), mostly groomers, but with good mountain restaurants (refugi). If the weather is sunny, then they'll be more people hanging out than skiing. Definitely not crowded, which is a welcome change from Arabba, where you constantly battle through the lines.

That being said, Forcella Rossa on Tofana is pretty fun, as well as Olympica, which goes through a split in the rocks called Tofana Schuss that is part of the women's world cup super g course. You can really get up some speed on these two runs.

Faloria is the lift right out of the main town center carpark, and is the see & be seen spot. Lots of elegant skiers, men and women, making beautiful GS turns. Cristallo seems to have the fewest runs, but does have a more expert slot down the center, but you might skip it & go elsewhere (or back to Tofana, if you want to stay around Cortina). [FYI: The top of Tofana was the meeting place in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only]

In addition, if you go up to Passa Falzarego, you can take a long run down & hook up to a horse drawn section, which is pretty cool. From there, you can get a cab ride back or keep going. Ski Europe has a description of it.

Arabba/Marmolada/Selle Ronda: The Selle Ronda is a better concept than actuality. Although it's cool to see where WWI battles were fought, to do the Selle Ronda puts you through a day of long lines, and little vertical. IMO, not worth it. Arabba has some good steeps, but late in the day they have shadows. If you go off the backside of Arabba, and straight over to the Marmolada, it had awesome snow/views. Marmolada was the highlight of a couple of days there.

Val Gardena/Ortisei: My Italian friends all like Val Gardena as a place to ski better than Cortina. I've looked at the run/lift system, and I'd agree with them. So, if you're all about skiing, as opposed to some of the other travel experiences, then Val Gardena is nice.
post #15 of 27
I prefer the coziness of little villages like Colfosco, the village next to Corvara, toward passo Gardena....
I've been going there (in Colfosco I mean) each end of january from age 12-13 (can't remember exactly) to 32, then stopped for a while and restarted this past season. Next trip is planned for the end of juanuary 2005.
It can be crowded at times, and in march it may be too late in the season to ski good snow but slush in the lower slopes.
If you'd like to try some off piste, I'd suggest you to contact the mountain guides is Corvara. They offer dayly packages at 75 € per person and will ski with you down Val Mezdi' (as an example), a beautiful off piste itinerary, not too difficult to reach nor to ski.
From Corvara take a bus ride and go to Passo Falzarego/Lagazuoi.
The Sella Ronda itself can be skied in less than four hours, but then it would mean just to ski the loop. Instead, take your time and at each stop (Selva, Canazei,Arabba,Corvara) take the time to ski some of the pistes there.
A better idea would be to spend at least one half a day at each place and ski it.
One can also ski the Marmolada (and visit the little WWI musuem there)
Be ready, if you spend too much time in one place, to ride a cab back to your hotel...
Corvara is a nice medium sized alpine village (from my point of view).
One can also ski the wwi loop (giro della grande guerra), which resembles the Sella Ronda some 25 years ago, one had to ride buses from time to time, walk at others, and "imagine" the way toward the next village, at times-I remember one time skiing on a big bump next to a "Maso" (how the mountain houseframs are known in the region) which revealed itself to be cow manure...
But that was soo long ago.
post #16 of 27
From the same site Jamesj point out, this one show a part of the "Belvedere",
one of Canazei's ski areas (at least I'm 97% sure of it)...

While doing the Sella Ronda we used to stop there for lunch (or at the lower part of it, the "Lupo Bianco"), my family usedtro lunch while me, preferredto ski the bumps that can be seen.
From the top station of that chairlifs, if one ski down the other side of the hill, Arabba will be reached.

This one http://community.webshots.com/photo/...20179431EroTvs, if I'm not mistaken, it's another piece of the "belvedere", and the mountain in front is the Sassolungo (the Long Stone). the Fork that can be seen it's the "Forcella del Sassolungo" (Long Stone's fork).One upon a time, a lift was reaching it, but it was removed ater too many fatalities occoured

On the Sella itself there is a "fork" that can be reached via cable car, it's the Sass Pordoi fork, and the cable car starts from the Belvedere area in Canazei. from here, with a short trek (40 to one hour long) the Val Mezdi' can be also reached.

The following are pictures I took in the area:

This http://web.tiscali.it/pickelhaube/Neve.jpg is an image of me and (one of) my cousin skiing off piste in the Colfosco area, ca 1991

1994, Val mezdi': http://web.tiscali.it/pickelhaube/foto_12.jpg

Old timers of this site will recognize these pictures, since I've posted already...
P.S. check my profile, the picture you'll see is of my two sons. 'Twas taken in jan 2004 more or less in the same spot where me and my cousin were in 1991...
post #17 of 27
This http://www.geocities.com/pickelhaube...4/107_0709.JPG
was taken in january 2004, at Lagazuoi "peak" (themountain above Falzarego pass).
The mountain in the background is the Marmolada. One can ski from "there" till nearly "here" (one needs a bus ride from either Corvara or Armentarola/St. Cassiano; if you do it, take the bus from Corvara, the bus will be empty there, and in Armentarola I've seen some pretty distasteful scenes of people discussing to board it...)
Falzarego pass is the"door" to Cortina from Alta Badia, we have tried to ski down from it to Cortina, but never succeeded in finding a seemingly successful path to it (on the maps) so we have renounced so far.
This: http://www.geocities.com/pickelhaube...07_0712_r1.jpg
is a self portrait at Lagazuoi, the same day. The mountain in the background should be the Civetta.

This: http://www.geocities.com/pickelhaube...4/107_0715.JPG
is a part of the run down from Lagazuoi back to Armentarola/St. Cassiano/Corvara
Notice the ice falls and how small the ice climbers look...

And these are my skis on the last day. The room was 10 meters from there (but I did not ski till it, not enough snow). Notice the absence of the tips, the temperature was cold and the snow was too hard, so the glue became brittle and the tips "flew" away after a few landings...
post #18 of 27
Wonderful input Nobody/Matteo. You are fortunate to enjoy some of the most scenically beautiful ski terrain on the planet.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great pictures! I'm passing these links along to others in the group. The suggestion to putting over on snowheads.com was extremely helpful as well. Great info out of that group!
post #20 of 27
I spent six weeks in Europe last year including a week in Colfasco, walking distance to Covara. The area is beautiful, the scenery stunning, the people are nice, and the skiing the worst we encountered. It is crowded and the runs are not very long or challenging. The Sella Ronda is cool to do once, but after a week I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I would rather be there than yo yo skiing in the midwest but I much preferred Lech, Grindelwald Val D'Isere, Val Thorens, Deux Alpes etc..

Just my opinion
post #21 of 27
That's the problem, everyone think about hte Sella Ronda as somethintgto be skied.
It is not. It's like taking the undergroung at one stop, exiting it at another and do your business there, then take the underground back to wherever you need.
To ski the Sella Ronda once it's nice, but then it must be used to reach whatever resort you want to ski for the day and ski it.
Also, crowds are a real problem, it much depends on the time of the year, as everywhere.
I usually go there end on january for that reason. Snow is good at that time, temp is cool, and daylight time is improving, prices are those of the low season.
Anyway, the area has been victim to its success, as it often happens.
post #22 of 27
Also, what David@snowheads suggest, i.e. to take a couple of days off skiing and go visit Venice (if you've never been there) is valid, especially in March...
After all there should be a lift ticket package 10/14 available or something like that...
post #23 of 27
Found it:
Dolomiti Superski Skipass with a choice of days
Since they were introduced, these ski passes have been used to a great degree. The 10 out of 14 ski pass allows you to ski for 10 days out of 14. The seasonal version allows you to ski for a total of any 12 days within the season. The price is € 350,00.

From http://www.dolomitisuperski.com/cont...p?L=3&MES=5601
post #24 of 27
The Dolomites have great scenery, food, and wine. The skiing is just something to do between meals.

Sella Ronda is kinda fun but to be avoided at all costs if it is a vacation week. The combination of second-hand lunch fumes, European hygiene, and phenomenal rudeness make the ski queues an extraordinarily unpleasant experience.

Check into flights into Venice. Its 3 hrs by car and a truly magical place that will be (relatively) uncrowded and affordable at that time.
post #25 of 27
(Colin from Edinburgh > snowboarder who used to be friendly with Kate ??)


If you get good conditions it's great. The Italians don't seem particularly interested in off-piste or queueing (pushing is an art form). They are however, sociable, friendly and enjoy life so their skiing is mainly based around family life and friends.

The on-piste skiing isn't that challenging and the Sella Ronda does get a bit boring, unless you get lost with only a few hours to get back. Essentially suited to 'long lunch' skiing. The queueing is a drag if it's busy.

Which ski guide > Cortina

If we had to single out one ski resort in the world for the sheer beauty of its setting, combined with an attractive town and a truly all-round winter-sports resort, it would be Cortina d’Ampezzo. Cortina sits in isolated splendour in the Ampezzo Valley in the craggy Dolomite mountains, less than two hours’ journey by road from Venice. Unlike its neighbours in the German-speaking Sud Tirol, Cortina is Italian to its voluptuous core and largely devoid of German and Austrian tourists. Some 70 per cent of its winter visitors are Italian.

The large, attractive town is centred around the main shopping street of Corso Italia and the Piazza Venezia with its green-and-white bell-tower (‘a lovely, lovely town, with loads of ambience’). The large, frescoed buildings have an air of faded grandeur, and the views of the pink rock-faces of Monte Cristallo are sensational. More recent architectural additions display a sympathetic Italian Alpine style in keeping with the town’s dramatic surroundings. The centre is mercifully traffic-free, with cars confined to a busy one-way perimeter road.

When Italy adopted the euro, Cortina ceased overnight to be one of Europe’s budget ski destinations and this resort is now more expensive than other Italian ones.

Sella Ronda:

With its mainly blue and unproblematic red runs, the Sella Ronda is better for seeing some wonderful scenery than for really challenging skiing or snowboarding. Snow cover in recent seasons has been erratic, but this climatic handicap has been partially offset by heavy investment in modern snowmaking techniques.

Despite continuing innovations to the lift system, queues in the Sella Ronda can still become chronic at high-season weekends and during the Italian school holidays. You cannot hope to ski the whole area in a week, or even in a season, but as one reporter put it, ‘it’s a lot of fun trying’.

The whole of the Sella Ronda is ideally suited to cruisers who really want to put some mileage beneath their skis each day in this outstanding setting. For langlauf enthusiasts, the Dolomiti Superski area claims a mighty 1,033km of prepared loipe scattered throughout the region.

Off piste

For the best powder slopes, head for the Passo Pordoi cable-car. The long run down the Val de Mezdi is one of the most taxing in the Dolomites and should not be attempted without the services of a guide.

Tuition and Guidance

Tuition at the Selva Gardena ski school appears to be of a high standard: ‘good teaching and no silly end-of-week races’. The standard of English spoken by instructors throughout the Sella Ronda appears to have improved dramatically in recent years. The other ski schools in Val Gardena are Santa Cristina and Ortisei. Dolomiti Ski Eagles specialises in off-piste and helping advanced skiers to improve.

Mountain Restaurants

The Dolomites abound with mountain eateries, with much the best to be found in the Italian- rather than the German-speaking sectors. Rifugio Lagazuoi is singled out as having ‘spectacular value with amazing views’, and Rifugio Pralongia is praised for ‘well-prepared meals’, while Villa Frainela at Dantercëpies serves ‘homemade Strudel and traditional cakes that are to die for’. Panorama (on the Selva Gardena side of the Dantercëpies piste) is ‘a real sun-trap and has good food’.
post #26 of 27
Sorry but this is not exact:
"When Italy adopted the euro, Cortina ceased overnight to be one of Europe’s budget ski destinations and this resort is now more expensive than other Italian ones."

Cortina was always a posh (expensive and exclusive) resort for us "poor" Italians, even before the Euro. If it wasn't for others, well, that was due to the exchange rate from say Deutsche Mark to Italian Lira....
post #27 of 27
Not much to add.

Most of the lift served terrain is pretty boring for an advanced/expert skier however, whereas skiing the backcountry/wilderness there can turn into a gnarly and thrilling event if you don't know your way around.

Concerning the must of the Sella Ronda: watch the weather forecast for strong winds - you might end up getting stuck in a distant valley if they shut down lifts you need to return to your destination. Happened to me and went thru a bull fight to get my wife and me on a cab back out - was the most expensive taxi ride I ever had. :
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