Skiing in the Italian dolomites
Posted on June 1, 2016
When it comes to skiing, most ski enthusiasts are aware that Europe has some of the best ski resorts. Secondly, when it comes to ski destinations in Europe, most people immediately think of France, Switzerland or Austria. While Italy may not be as well know as the big 3 ski European nations, it is home to at least 300 diverse ski areas.
Well, the secret is out now. If you want great food, low prices and some of the best skiing that matches almost any other European destination, go to Italy. For some unknown reason, Italy has never been associated with good skiing and that is a real tragedy. Unlike other ski resorts, Italians place a higher emphasis on relaxation, fun and food, rather than just zooming down the ski slopes. Overall, the satisfaction factor is much higher for people who visit Italy. More important, that overall cost of a holiday on the ski resorts in Italy is also significantly lower than most European resorts. Coupled with some of the best scenery in Europe and elegant Italian cuisine, Italy is in a league of its own when it comes to skiing.
So where in Italy should one go to ski?
Italy is also blessed with a number of gorgeous ski areas. For beautiful scenery and variety of terrain, the center of the ski universe in Italy has to be the Dolomites. The dolomites, located in northeastern Italy are a range of spectacular mountains that are an extension of the Southern Limestone Alps. The dolomites are bordered on either side by France and Switzerland and in the north there is Austria. The Dolomites are shared by three Italian provinces: South Tyrol, Belluno and Trentino. Interspersed between these ranges are traditional Italian towns and villages, each with their own unique scenery and food specialty. There are also several national parks located in the Dolomites. In 2009, the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To get to the Dolomites, the nearest airport is Milan. There are many hotels, inns and exotic chalets located all over the dolomites.
The moment you arrive at the dolomites you will think you are in Switzerland; the landscape and scenery is just as beautiful and exciting. The Dolomite Mountains are packed with snowy white powder in winter; and during the summer the mountain trails are lined with exotic flowers including lavender.
The dolomites are viewed by many skiers as an ideal place to ski for both professionals and amateurs. While not as well known as the Alps, the Dolomites offer some of the most spectacular slopes and scenery in Europe. At first glance one is easily captivated by the huge steep pink granite stretching high in the sky for thousands of meters and creating a stunning backdrop to the slopes. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The best way to enjoy the Dolomites is to get the Dolomiti Superski Lift pass that covers 12 ski areas. Each ski area has lifts to ensure that you get around with no hassles. Also included in this lift pass is the well known Sella Ronda, which is a circular mobile network of pistes and lifts around the Gruppo Del Sella, which is a grandiose limestone rock that easily covers several ski resorts. You may stay at the Selva Val Gardena, Valle di Fiemme, Kronplatz, Alta Pusteria, Arabba, Trevalli-Moena, Val di Fassa, Civerra, Ortisei or Corvara; from each of these sites you have access to the Dolomiti Superski, which will take you to all the pistes.
And amid this glossy surroundings are the traditional Italian villages that act as pubs, inns, café or restaurants, offering gelato, Tiramisu, ragu, pasta, pesce, and the requisite espresso hit just before you venture out in the cold.
But do not underestimate the hidden posh and glamor of the dolomites. While you may get the cheap espresso and a slice of pizza, you can also get any luxury item that you can possibly think off. Yes, there are luxury rustic chalets that entertain the ultra rich who are also here to ski and have fun.
The Dolomite ski season starts in late December and runs through April. Unlike other parts of Europe, the dolomites are well protected from the turbulent and unpredictable storms. You can expect at least 300 bright sunny days, which is more than anywhere else in Europe.
And unlike whistler or the alps, once you are done with skiing, you can rest assured there will be a glass of sprinkling chardonnay, a luscious wild boar salume with pane bread and cheese waiting for you. That is when you will want the night to get over soon, so you can start all over again.
The Dolomites are an excellent value for money; you get to stay in family style hotels/chalets, eat great Italian cuisine and drink some of the best wine in the country. The best part the dolomites is that there are no crowds, and lift queues are short, transfers to other areas are short and the scenery is breath-taking. The other benefit of going to Italy is the not far away you can easily visit the fabulous cities of Milan, Rome, Venice or Florence. So if you after a genuine European style holiday with none of the razzmatazz and exorbitant prices of Switzerland or France, go to the Dolomites.
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