Maybe you’ve heard of the Dolomites, maybe you haven’t. Before going on my first ski trip there three years ago I didn’t know what they were. Are they part of the Alps? Are they in Italy? Is the skiing any good?
Answers to those questions: Yes, yes, and YAS.
Since living in Europe I’ve been skiing in several places– Garmisch Classic and the Zugspitze in Germany, and Hintertux, Axamer Lizum, and Stubai Glacier in the Innsbruck, Austria area.
But by far the best ski trips have been to the Dolomites in Italy.
That’s a pretty impressive claim, so in this post I’ll give you 5 reasons the Dolomites are at the top of my winter destinations list and why you need to ski the Dolomites.
1. 12 Ski Areas with 1200 km of Runs
You’ll never get bored skiing in the Dolomites. With so many different ski areas and routes for all ability levels, it’s a great place to go whether you’re a beginner on blue routes or challenging yourself as an expert on blacks.
When I first visited the Dolomites three years ago I was such a beginner. Like pizza down the mountain and crash into the side of the run all day beginner! It was exhausting but still a blast. Now that I’m a solid intermediate I can go down red and even most black runs, and I still find so many different and engaging runs in the Dolomites.
When you buy a Dolomiti Super Ski pass you’re able to go to all the ski areas in the mountain range. So you have tons of options during your trip, and you can switch it up every year or go back to your old favorites.
A lot of the mountains are linked via lifts and slopes, so you can experience different areas without needing to drive or take a bus to another ski area.
2. Make it a Circuit with the Sellaronda
Speaking of routes across ski areas, one of the most unique things about the Dolomites is the Sellaronda, a 40km ski tour that you can do around the Sella mountain formation. It’s comprised of a series of lifts and slopes that take you through Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Val di Fassa and the Arabba ski areas without hitting a single run twice.
There are two options for doing the Sellaronda: the easier green route or the harder orange route. One circles the mountains clockwise, the other counterclockwise. Both are easily navigable with signs posted all over the ski areas and the routes clearly marked in the maps.
Forty kilometers may not sound like a lot, but over a full day of skiing you’ll definitely work up an appetite. Which leads me to the next reason to ski the Dolomites.
3. The Best of Italian and German/Austro-Hungarian Cuisine
From the Austro-Hungarian Empire to World War I and World War II, the state lines in the Dolomites have shifted several times. It’s reflected today in the architecture, language, and food of the region.
What that means as a skiier (or snowboarder or general visitor) is that you can have a cappuccino and an apple pastry for breakfast, a beer and pasta dish for lunch, and caprese salad and goulash soup for dinner. The best of each nation’s culinary specialties!
How awesome is that? As an Italian food lover myself I mostly enjoyed pizza and pasta (like the mushroom fettucine above), but I did enjoy the occasional beer or plate of pommes (fries in German).
Bottom line: you won’t be disappointed in the culinary options available while skiiing the Dolomites.
4. Enjoy a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Dolomites became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009 and it’s no surprise why.
The unique mountain formations dominate the landscape and are one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, both visually and geologically.
Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder you can enjoy the area with snowshoeing, winterwalking, or sledding. And if you’re just not a fan of winter, you can come to the Dolomites for a spa and wellness vacation.
As a side note, how neat would it be to make a goal of seeing all the UNESCO sites in a specific country, or maybe even a continent over your lifetime? That’s some serious traveling but what a cool way to plan your trips!
5. Those Mountain Views
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Because there are so many different areas to ski in the Dolomites, each one gives you a special view of the mountains. Every mountain, slope, lift, restaurant, and even parking place had a view that was breath-taking. Here are a few of my favorites over the three years I’ve skiied at the Dolomites.
If those views don’t convince you (and if the food didn’t get you), I don’t know what will!
If you’re planning a ski trip definitely check out the Dolomiti Superski website for more information on the area. There you can find the most up to date information on ski pass prices and maps of the different ski areas.
I’d love to hear about your favorite ski destination. Let me know in the comments where you’ve been and if the Dolomites are on your list!
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