News from the snow
Italy's most famous and stylish resort, often ranked along side St Moritz (you can play polo on snow at both), Cortina d'Ampezzo is certainly one of the world's best known ski centres. The resort, beloved by James Bond Roger Moore and earlier Ernest Hemmingway was host to the 1956 Winter Olympics. Located in the wide sunny Ampezzo valley, Cortina is surrounded by the spectacular back drop of the Dolomites, with their famous vertical sides and pink rock used to great effect in the recent hit movie 'Cliffhanger' (no, that wasn't Colorado...) Despite being only 40km (25 miles) from the southern Austrian border, Cortina differs from most of the other resorts in the Dolomites in that there is no strong Germanic influence, common in the South Tyrol. Instead the resort is very Italian and very chic, beloved by the great and the good of Milan, Rome and Venice, many of whom have second homes here. Cortina's long history as a world class ski resort, dating from the sport's earliest days is reflected by the variety of long-standing annual international comptetions staged here, including the Women's Ski world Cup every January, national and international bobsleigh competitions, the famous Dobbiaco - Cortina 42km International Cross-Country ski race on the first Sunday of February, the Winter Polo Cup and a range of ice hockey, figure skating and curling events. More distant history is provided in the museums of Palaentology and Ethnology.
Italy's most stylish resort, often ranked along side St Moritz (you can play polo in both) and certainly one of the world's best known ski centres. Cortina was host to the 1956 Winter Olympics. Located in wide sunny valley amongst spectacular Dolomitic scenery, the resort has three major ski areas, and is on the famous Dolomiti Superski pass. Visitors are given a Cortina card which gives discounts to many of the numerous facilities available off the slopes.
Cortina has three major ski areas: Tofana, Cristallo and Faloria, and is on the famous Dolomiti Superski pass which gives unlimited access to around 1100km (approximately 700 miles) of trails from ski centres all over the Dolomites.
Beginners normally start to ski or 'board on the Socrepes area's nursery slopes and at Guargne-Mietres, where the ski school is based. With more than half of the runs categorised as 'easy' it's a good place to progress during your first week of sliding.
Intermediate level skiers will perhaps have the most fun of all, with the widest choice of runs open to them in all areas, including the 5.7km (3.7 mile) long descent towards Armentarola on the Alta Badia circuit from Lagazuoi reached by the Passo Falzarego cable car the base of which is a short drive from the resort.
Some of Cortina's toughest skiing is on the Tofana mountain where the legendary descents include the Stratofana, inaugurated for the 1956 Olympics, on which skiing great Tony Sailer won his third gold medal. The Forcella Rossa is equally highly thought of, as is the Staunies run in the Cristallo area.
Although many of the slopes are sunny and south facing, snow making covers 100km (37.5 miles) of 30 key trails. Cross country skiers are well catered for with over 80km (50 miles) of prepared trails.
The ski school takes children from age four. Older children may enjoy the video bars, ice rink, cinema, video games room, swimming, tennis, horse riding, mountain biking on snow and numerous on-snow but not skiing/boarding activities on offer, most described elsewhere in this report.
At the higher end of the gastronomic scale (although pizza lovers might disagree) El Toulà, Leone e Anna and Il Meloncino are three of the highly regarded gastronomic meccas serving local specialities.
After that there's a wide choice of bars such as the Enoteca and Lovat before the nine piano bars and discothèques ( the Hippo and Limbo are highly regarded) kick in for the night shift. On some nights there's ice disco dancing at the rink, which should not be missed.