Italy recommendations please

Lifes2good

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We are planning a family trip to Europe in 2019/20 for about 7 weeks from mid-December until end of January. I have family in northern Italy (not far from the base of the Dolomites) that we will visit and stay with. I will send our ski gear to them ahead of our trip. As part of this holiday we will spend a maximum of 2 weeks skiing in Italy. We have been to Cortina a couple of times to visit and have been hiking in the nearby Cinque Torre park and thought it was beautiful. Initially we were thinking we would head there to ski.

We have kids who will be 9 and almost 14 when we go. Whole family are proficient skiers. Younger child will be in ski school mostly, older child can be with us or in ski school. Timing is flexible within the dates mentioned.

What recommendations do others have?
 
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Edgecrusher

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We are planning a family trip to Europe in 2019/20 for about 7 weeks from mid-December until end of January. I have family in northern Italy (not far from the base of the Dolomites) that we will visit and stay with. I will send our ski gear to them ahead of our trip. As part of this holiday we will spend a maximum of 2 weeks skiing in Italy. We have been to Cortina a couple of times to visit and have been hiking in the nearby Cinque Torre park and thought it was beautiful. Initially we were thinking we would head there to ski.

We have kids who will be 9 and almost 14 when we go. Whole family are proficient skiers. Younger child will be in ski school mostly, older child can be with us or in ski school. Timing is flexible within the dates mentioned.

What recommendations do others have?
Where in Northern Italy are your family based?
I'm heading over myself in 7 weeks.
 
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SMSkier

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Take a look at the 3 Zinnen and surrounds. Skied around there last season as part of a 7 week trip. We had a car so was able to drive about. Anywhere in the Dolomites is fun. Enjoy!

EDIT: should have added that if your near Cervinia you can head up to Plateau Rosa then down to Zermatt. That’s a good few days skiing when there’s decent snow about.
 
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Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

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We are planning a family trip to Europe in 2019/20 for about 7 weeks from mid-December until end of January. I have family in northern Italy (not far from the base of the Dolomites) that we will visit and stay with. I will send our ski gear to them ahead of our trip. As part of this holiday we will spend a maximum of 2 weeks skiing in Italy. We have been to Cortina a couple of times to visit and have been hiking in the nearby Cinque Torre park and thought it was beautiful. Initially we were thinking we would head there to ski.

We have kids who will be 9 and almost 14 when we go. Whole family are proficient skiers. Younger child will be in ski school mostly, older child can be with us or in ski school. Timing is flexible within the dates mentioned.

What recommendations do others have?
you will never quite get over skiing in the Dolomites - it’s fantastic
I gather that the particular area you focus on will be determined by prosaic considerations like transport access from your accommodation and kiddie care
anyone who has stayed at Rifugio Lagazuoi will recommend an overnight there, either as a couple or whole family
 
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Kletterer

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My favourite non touristy spot was Speikboden- Klausberg. Dolomites best kept secret. Quiet and some great offpiste ( some of it very steep) where you be lucky to see a contest for first tracks. Sand in Taufers is a lovely quiet town and Kronplatz is close.
speikboden.jpg
 
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Slide Sideways

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Sadie and I stayed in Colfosco for 7 days, although not a big village, the access to lifts was central, almost ski in ski out.
Amazing food establishments, great delicatessen/supermarket and ski hire are available in Colfosco, English is spoken very well.
You won't be disappointed here.

Corvara is only a 5 min bus ride, or a 10 minute gondola ride from Colfosco, we noticed walking to lift was required from centre of Corvara. Much larger village with more variety of supermarket, doctors and nightlife. Plenty of parking for your AMG mercedes or Porsche here.

It's an amazing and spectacular area, the lift network in Dolomiti is mind boggling. Ski runs range from 2km to 14km long, you won't do the same run twice, unless you head over to Sasslong super G.
Sellaronda will take all day to complete if stopping for lunch break at one of 1000 riffugio. Does get busy on the sellaronda, but take a trail off, and the crowd disapears, Sellaronda is an excellent way to check out different ski areas. Dolomiti super pass is required to ski sellaronda as you will be entering 3 or more ski area.

We had a car, the drive from Venice to Colfosco is well worth it, especially that autostrada, the scenery is most spectacular. A 2 hour trip according to google maps , actually takes around 4 almost 5 hours.

At 3 Zinnen, we stayed in the town of Sexton Sesto, a farming village with not much going on, not much of a night life, with couple of supermarkets in Austrian, English is not much spoken in this town.
Access to ski area is via cable car.

Both Sadie and I would return to Colfosco again and again and again.

We were in the Dolomiti from 20th January till 31st January 2018.
 

Rabid K9

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Really liked Cortina d'Ampezzo & San Martino di Castrozza this year. Dolomiti is a lot of fun for a competent family.

Dropped by 3 Zinnen as well, didn't cover too much ground, but yet another huge area. Also had a day at Madonna di Campiglio in the west. Fun, but a bit of a circus. Plenty of posing going on, sprawling ski area.

Cd'A much larger & busier, SMdC has a beautiful village feel & some great off piste to be found. The scenery at times, literally stopped me in my tracks at both places. I would be riding flat out, then see some surreal vista of giant rock architecture rising out of the clouds that just didn't seem real.

Early in the season, off piste might not be your go, but I loved the quiet side of SMdC. We entertained buying a place there. It takes a lot to extract me from the Austrian glacial valleys, generally starvation....

The Italian driving psychology is the biggest drawback for myself & my Italian partner, we discussed it at length with a baby on board. Certainly the biggest risk of the entire trip, makes the big mountain backcountry seem like a picnic. Driving behaviour didn't even seem to change during the Bear & sea level snow. So being able to go somewhere we could park the car & not even have to look at it is becoming more important & I usually love road trips.

DM1.JPG


DM2.JPG


DM3.JPG
 

BoofHead

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Thanks for the thread.
Are these European interconnected areas problematic for not so fit snowboarders?
Mrs Boof aka Tammy 2 Runs and I are looking at options for a one month trip. I seem to spend a lot of time towing her and I’m not getting any younger.

Ps never been to Europe.
 
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teebee

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Hi
My family and I stayed a week in Selva Val Gardena a while back and it was fantastic
Stayed in an apartment right on the Sella Ronda touring circuit
Great food,interesting mix of italian and German influences, stunning scenery, options for off circuit skiing to Ortesi and Mamolada Goodfor families
 
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Telemark Phat

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Thanks for the thread.
Are these European interconnected areas problematic for not so fit snowboarders?
Mrs Boof aka Tammy 2 Runs and I are looking at options for a one month trip. I seem to spend a lot of time towing her and I’m not getting any younger.

Ps never been to Europe.
The bigger mountains have seemingly endless on snow places to eat, drink and have a civilised rest. Generally there are busses or trains which run between the bases of the separate mountains. Above the snow line areas with a lot of glacial topology could be a problem, they have lots of long flat sections where you see snowboarders hoofing it, but mountains with a lot of that sort of terrain don't seem to have many boarders.
 
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Lifes2good

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Sorry I haven't been back and thanks for all the responses! I posted this and then got sidetracked by life and forgot about it.

All of the places mentioned look amazing based on some quick googling and are all within a 2-3 hr drive from where my family live. How to narrow it down? I need a good ski school for the kids, self-contained accommodation as near to lifts as possible, restaurants and guaranteed snow in mid-January.

The Sella Ronda sounds like a must-do, but that doesn't narrow it down much!

Where in Northern Italy are your family based?
I'm heading over myself in 7 weeks.
Near Conegliano, if that means anything to you. About 20 mins north of Treviso.
 
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Edgecrusher

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Sorry I haven't been back and thanks for all the responses! I posted this and then got sidetracked by life and forgot about it.

All of the places mentioned look amazing based on some quick googling and are all within a 2-3 hr drive from where my family live. How to narrow it down? I need a good ski school for the kids, self-contained accommodation as near to lifts as possible, restaurants and guaranteed snow in mid-January.

The Sella Ronda sounds like a must-do, but that doesn't narrow it down much!


Near Conegliano, if that means anything to you. About 20 mins north of Treviso.
Awesome, at the foot of the mountains. I'll be in Bassano Del Grappa in early July, which is just west from there.
 

Slide Sideways

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Thanks for the thread.
Are these European interconnected areas problematic for not so fit snowboarders?
Mrs Boof aka Tammy 2 Runs and I are looking at options for a one month trip. I seem to spend a lot of time towing her and I’m not getting any younger.

Ps never been to Europe.

Good wax will get you through, I also had a block of f4 fluro carbon that I gave the board a going over each morning. As normal when you see flats, keep your speed up and you should be fine.
Snowboarding in Dolomiti is not many. It is a fantastic place to ride though.
Taking your board off each gondola ride can be annoying, but majority of the time, you will have a chair or gondola to yourself, Europeans don't seem to like snowboarders.

If you consider Cortina, which is an unbelievable place, Faloria is definitely the place for snowboard, a quick chair over to Mont Cristallo a fun snowboard paradise.... Tofana is steep, seriously steep.
 
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Lifes2good

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My Father was born in Trieste in the NE. Because of the changing borders over the years there's been much debate over whether or when it lay in Italy or the former Yugoslavia.
Dad is hoping to return next year for the first time since he arrived as a 5yo in the 50's.
Does he call himself Italian or Yugoslav? Or maybe he just says nah I'm an Aussie.
 

Slalom

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Does he call himself Italian or Yugoslav? Or maybe he just says nah I'm an Aussie.
Yeah pretty much an Aussie but whenever we have to say our name (which inevitably involves spelling and pronunciation, due to the 11 letters) we refer to ourselves as Italian, even though the name sounds Yugoslavian. Dad only ever had a birth extract, not an official certificate as such. When he went investigating to obtain a new original so he could arrange a passport, at one point he found himself at the Croatian consulate. Apparently very filthy when he mentioned Trieste being on Italian soil.
 
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linked recoveries

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We've been to the Dolomites three times now. We've stayed in a couple of places in Corvara, and a couple of places in Campitello.

There are four main (i.e. larger) villages attaching to the Sella Ronda: Corvara in the north east, Selva / Val Gardena in the north west, Canazei in the south west and Arabba in the south east. Colfosco should be considered to be on the circuit as well - it's next to Corvara with immediate access to a Sella Ronda lift. You can ski down to Canazei (in the valley) in a good year, but it's a gondola ride up in the morning to access the Belvedere region which forms the western part of the Sella Ronda. Campitello and Alba gain access to that same area, each via its own cable car, with the Alba cable car now just two seasons young.

You wouldn't limit yourself to the Sella Ronda though, as there are so many other options available. If you're there for a fortnight I'm guessing you'll do the full Sella Ronda trip maybe once (in each direction) although you'll ski parts of the circuit almost every day. For the most part the area is all about cruising greens and blues on piste. You have to hunt around for the black runs, and they're easily avoided, with separate green or blue (red on the trail maps) runs alongside.

Three things always stand out. Firstly, the area is spectacularly beautiful; just off-the-scale pretty. Secondly, the investment in infrastructure is amazing, with the area spending over 50m euro each and every year on new lifts, snowmaking, new runs, etc. And lastly the food and hospitality are so memorable we'd go back just for that alone. Can't recommend it enough.

Accommodation varies from half board (brekkie and dinner), a B&B (brekkie only) or self catering, across the spectrum from cheap and cheerful to full-on swanky. No shortage of options in every area.
 

Lifes2good

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That's a fantastic summary linked_recoveries. Thanks very much!

Do you go with family/kids?
Of the locations you have mentioned to stay, how would you order them in terms of preference?
Which accommodation sites do you use to book your holiday?
Which areas have the most challenging terrain?
Is there any/much tree skiing?
 

linked recoveries

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That's a fantastic summary linked_recoveries. Thanks very much!

Do you go with family/kids? Heck no!

Of the locations you have mentioned to stay, how would you order them in terms of preference?
  • Corvara stays sunnier longer into the afternoons; only the southern areas of the town have walk-to access to lifts.
  • Arabba is in the shadow of the mountains under the Marmolada Glacier; colder generally with steeper runs.
  • Selva / Val Gardena / Wolkenstein (multiple names as the region has been part of differing nation states and/or empires over time) is the largest village in the area. I haven't spent much time in the town.
  • Canazei requires a lift to get skiing each morning; is down in a valley so it loses the sun relatively early.
In terms of accessing areas that aren't directly on the Sella Ronda:
  • Corvara and Colfosco gain direct access to the Alta Badia region in the hills above.
  • Arabba accesses the hills above and also has the quickest access to the Marmolada Glacier; all the other towns can access the glacier but Arabba is quickest / easiest.
  • Canazei / Alba access the Belvedere region in the hills above, and also has quick access to the Ciampac / Buffaure region.
  • Canazei / Campitello have quickest access to the Val di Fassa in the valley below.
  • Campitello / Val Gardena have quickest access to the Plan de Gralba.
  • Val Gardena has quick access to the Seceda area above, and the ski around to Ortisei, etc.
Which accommodation sites do you use to book your holiday? I sometimes book directly with the accommodation. Other times we've gone through Mario's tour company here -

http://www.dolomitesskitours.com.au/

Which areas have the most challenging terrain? Generally each area has one black groomer and that's about it. Arabba is steeper, colder and harder more generally. The Italian GS World Cup course - the Gran Risa - is above the town of La Villa in Alta Badia. If you get yourself a guide you can find all sorts of challenging terrain, but it's hard to find if you're a punter. There are couloirs you can access off the Sella Massif itself (definitely hire a guide).

Is there any/much tree skiing? Many of the groomers in the area wend their way through trees - it's not all bare alpine terrain. With any sort of powder sometimes it's a matter of finding enough pitch to keep moving. If you keep your eyes open on the lift rides there's enough off piste to keep most people happy, but you have to be attentive. If you're looking specifically for nice, evenly spaced tree skiing and glades it's not really set up with that in mind.
 
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Kletterer

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Nice pic. Arraba is over the other side of first range on far left. You can see the piste that heads to Malga Ciapela, and mighty Civetta back further (skyline above and slightly right of pointy peak in foreground).
 
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CarveMan

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Secondly, the investment in infrastructure is amazing, with the area spending over 50m euro each and every year on new lifts, snowmaking, new runs, etc.

That was one of my takeaways from my brief interlude in the Dolomites last year, I was blown away by the infrastructure, it's seriously impressive.
 

Kletterer

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Seceda rocks on fresh days. Some great off piste if you go venturing or get some local tips but one thing to remember- the local ski patrol ( when i was last there in 2016 ) had a reputation for getting a little narcy with visitors heading out wide without a guide.
 

Rabid K9

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To give a sense of occasion here's a shot I took from the top of the Marmolada on our first trip. That would be somewhere around 11,000 feet. The people in front are skiing on the glacier.

Corvara - Marmolada.JPG

I'm not much of piste rider, but love to open up the afterburners & get a carve on those long Dolomites groomers.
 

Lifes2good

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Thanks for all the fantastic info. I still don't feel like I'm close to narrowing down where to go as everywhere sounds like it will be great.

If I was to say the important things for us in priority order are:
  1. Self-catering accommodation easy walk to lifts or ski in/out
  2. A pleasant town/village with supermarkets and restaurants but not too big or flashy
  3. Decent English ski school
  4. High chance of good snow in mid-January
Would anyone be prepared to narrow down one or two places for me? And help me with websites I could use to book? Happy to do Airbnb or similar if I know exactly where I need them located.
 

Kletterer

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There are a number of 2 bedroom (4 person) appartments around the Alta Badia that are around the 2 grand a week price point.
 
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Jacko4650

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Val Gardena or Colfoso for your criteria. January could be a risk but the snowmaking infrastructure is second to none so you will definitely get to ski/board. Cortina might be a hassle getting to lifts with kids (walking or ski buses, so yeah, nah?), much easier in the others.
 

Lifes2good

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Cortina sounds a bit unnecessarily flashy (and expensive) for us and I've been there (in summer) a number of times. I don't like walking anywhere in ski boots, except from the ski locker to the bench to remove them. My kids and husband are incredibly slow and disorganised so adding a walk and/or a bus in the mornings just chips away at my pleasure that bit too much IYKWIM. I like to get up, get dressed, have brekkie, boot up, grab our skis and walk out the door. Drop the kids off at ski school and go. Getting my kids and hubby through that is hard enough. There is often shouting involved. Then the snow makes everything good again.
 

Jacko4650

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Cortina sounds a bit unnecessarily flashy (and expensive) for us and I've been there (in summer) a number of times. I don't like walking anywhere in ski boots, except from the ski locker to the bench to remove them. My kids and husband are incredibly slow and disorganised so adding a walk and/or a bus in the mornings just chips away at my pleasure that bit too much IYKWIM. I like to get up, get dressed, have brekkie, boot up, grab our skis and walk out the door. Drop the kids off at ski school and go. Getting my kids and hubby through that is hard enough. There is often shouting involved. Then the snow makes everything good again.
I actually meant Corvara rather than Cortina in my above reference, though the same applies for both towns depending on where your accommodation is. You need to use ski buses to get to lifts at both Corvara and Cortina de Ampezzo (I've stayed in both), depending on where you accommodation is. Cortina had hundreds of 'courtesy' buses whizzing around whereas Corvara has a much better organised semi-public system with full sized buses. I witnessed the struggle other families had with kids; yeah, nah!
 
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