It was legendary climber Reinhold Messner who described the Dolomites in such glowing terms – and he knows a thing or two about mountains, having climbed the world’s biggest and best.
But there is something about this unusually-shaped mountain range in northern Italy that has inspired generations of writers, painters, architects and geologists – as well as today’s discerning skiers.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, the Dolomites’ unique mineral composition have given rise to the phenomenon known as ‘enrosadira’ in which the peaks glow an intense red at dusk, softening to shades of violet as night falls.
Internationally renowned trails such as Saslong and Gran Risa, or spectacular summits such as Lagazuoi (2,880m), Sass Pordoi (2,950m), Marmolada (3,342m) and Cristallo/ forcella Staunies (2,930m) - all reachable by cable or ski lift - offer breathtaking panoramic views. And thanks to the Dolomiti Superski pass, it is possible to ski seamlessly from one of the region’s 12 valleys to the next, enjoying peerless Alpine scenery.
The Dolomites have all the ingredients for the perfect ski holiday: great snow, blue skies, wonderful landscapes and 1,200 kilometres of varied terrain to delight and challenge all abilities.
A mammoth backstage operation involving 2,500 staff, 5,800 snow cannons, 320 snowcats and 30 years of snowmaking experience keep the pistes in superb condition – with skiable snow guaranteed on 97% of the region’s slopes. What’s more, this operation has become extremely environmentally friendly – during one winter season in Dolomiti Superski, less water is used in snowmaking than in one day of agricultural and two days of domestic usage in the province of Belluno.
In summer the slopes are flowery lawns where sheep and cows graze – a clear sign that winter operations have not interfered with summer biology!
And with more than 450 lifts, capable of transporting 670,000 people every hour, waiting times even at the busiest lifts is reduced to a matter of minutes.
And today’s improved technological know-how extends to the digital welcome given to its visitors. A new app ‘3D Superski’ and 100 wi-fi hotspots, help skiers find detailed info on piste conditions, lift operations and localised weather, as well as advice on the best mountain huts, Michelin star restaurants and which hotels have spas or wellness centres.
High Altitude Cuisine
This is Italy, so of course you’d expect great food on and off the slopes. But the Dolomites have a reputation for some of the best mountain cuisine in the world. Drawing on its five regional influences – Trentin, Tyrolean, Ladin, Meditteranean and Veneto – the region’s 400 ‘rifugi’ (mountain huts) and 14 Michelin-starred restaurants will satisfy the most demanding gourmet skier.
The choice of food is led by the passion and dedication of chefs such as Norbert Niederkofler whose 3 Michelin star St Hubertus in San Cassiano has made Alta Badia a mecca for fine winter dining.
Local hoteliers have constantly updated their ‘wellness’ offer and it is quite common to find a small but high-quality wellness area in even a 3-star hotel or guest house, to add that welcoming touch of pampering to a day on the slopes.
The use of locally-grown herbs and plants, such as juniper, wild thyme, mountain pine, arnica and marigold, are increasingly a part of the wide range of relaxing massage and beauty treatments on offer.
From small, family-run hotels to 5-star wellness oases, you’ll find something to suit all budgets and needs throughout the Dolomites. You can even stay in one of the mountain-top rifugi and start your skiing day by simply stepping out the door…
For more information, the latest lift pass and hotel offers, and to book your trip to the Dolomites go to dolomitisuperski.com