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Ski Safari in the Dolomites

Discussion in 'Europe' started by BAWC, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    I am considering a ski safari in the Dolomites in January. I have 2 options:
    Plan de Corones, Alta Badia, Sellaronda, Passo S. Pellegrino, Cinque Torri area- 2 nights in San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, 2 nights in refugios (1 in Giau Pass, 1 San Pellegrino Pass), 1 in San Cassiano
    OR
    Dolomiti di Brenda area- 1 night in Andalo, 2 nights in Madonna di Campiglio, 2 nights in Pinzolo (Lefay). I don't know anything about the skiing in either of these areas.

    I was in Alta Badia (Corvara) this summer hiking, and it is all gorgeous. I am tempted to see different parts in option 2. Anyone have any insights or knowledge of these areas? Also concerned that some of the refugios are a bit high -one is over 7700 ft, and I do feel altitude...
     
  2. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    If you're in the Cinque Torri / Giau Pass area then staying at Rifugio Averau, at the top of that area, would be at the top of my hit list [edit - subject to your altitude concerns - I just caught up with that bit]. It has the most amazing view. Then again you could always stay at Rifugio Nuvolau (looks amazing although I've not been there) or Rifugio Lagazuoi at the top of the cable car from Passo Falzarego. There are other rifugio at the base of that area also. Ski the Cinque Torri for a while, spend the night in one of those rifugio (you can ski from one to the other), cable car to the top of Lagazuoi (if you're not already there), ski the hidden valley down towards Armentarola (skiing sort of north, then looping west), catch the horse-drawn sleigh to the closest lift (a poma) in the Alta Badia area, scoot around to San Cassiano, and spend the rest of the day negotiating the maze of lifts in the Alta Badia hills before staying in any of the nearby towns. The next day you could hop a bus to get to Plan de Corones (a good way to the north) or lap the Sella Ronda but not both - they're sort of in opposite directions.

    San Pellegrino is a long way apart from the above areas, several valleys away, and you can't ski there. Everything else on your Option 1 agenda makes sense logistically, but not that destination. We accessed San Pellegrino by bus (about 40 minutes) driving west and south from Campitello, which itself is on the other side of the Sella Massif from Alta Badia / Corvara. It's miles away. You might be better to plan time in the Alleghe area or maybe even start your trip with a day in Cortina d'Ampezzo itself, which is a good starting point for Cinque Torri.

    I'm not familiar with the Brenta Dolomites I'm afraid.
     
    #2 linked_recoveries, Nov 11, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
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  3. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    sounds great
    any time in the Dolomites is great
     
  4. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Sure is.

    This is the view from Rifugio Averau, late in the day.


    On the deck, looking up to the right.


    Looking down to the Passo Giau.


    Looking back up to the rifugio from the chair about half way back up.


    Rifugio Nuvolau seems to be perched on that outcrop of rock to the right in the last photo (the below photo dragged from the web). Not sure how you get there in winter though ... jeez!

     
    #4 linked_recoveries, Nov 11, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  5. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Oh! And this is the view from the men's room in Averau. You stroll up to the urinal, fumble around with your ski gear, flop it out, look up and there's a pane of glass right in front of your face framing this view of the Alps. No joke.

     
    #5 linked_recoveries, Nov 11, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
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  6. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    These are pre-organized tours to familiarize me with the area that I would be joining, so they work the logistics, luggage transfers. Sounds like you love the refugios
    Day 1 is plan de corones, stay at S.Lorenzo lodge
    Day 2 you are driven 1 hour to Alta Badia, cinqui torri, then transfer later short transfer to Passo Falzarego, Refugio Albergo Alpino Passo Giau
    Day 3 Transfer to Pescul, afternoon transfer to Falcade and S. Pellegrino, Rifugio Fuciade
    Day 4 Sella Ronda, stay in S. Cassiano

    The second options is to
    start in Andalo night before day 1
    Day 1 Ski Andalo and Fai della Paganella, transfer to Pinzolo
    Day 2 and 3 Ski in Madonna di Campiglio & Pinzolo
    Day 4 ski Folgarida – Marilleva Ski Area stay in Madonna di Campiglio
     
  7. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    Oh, and amazing pics by the way, gives a real sense of place-weather in January could be very cold, I assume!
     
  8. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Ah! I see.

    Plan de Corones / Kronplatz is a (sort of) conical hill with a bunch of lifts going up three sides, coming together at a flat / rounded area on top. I've not been there, although it's on my list.



    Day 2 of the agenda looks a little odd. Cinque Torri is up the hill alongside Passo Falzarego. You can ski/walk from Cinque Torri to the cable car at Passo Falzarego (not sure if you can do the reverse) and they're both a 20 minute drive up the hill from Alta Badia. Day 2 should be a drive to Alta Badia from Plan de Corones (dropping you at either La Villa or San Cassiano), a bit of skiing there, then a drive up to Passo Falzarego / Cinque Torri after lunch where you can lift up and ski down the back side of Cinque Torri to the rifugio at Passo Giau.

    Pescul is on the northern side of the Alleghe area, which makes sense as it's just a little way down the road from Passo Giau. Thus far the Day 2 and 3 agenda forms part of the First War Tour (Giro della Grande Guerra) that gets promoted in the area. The Grand Guerra tour links everything up via Arabba, the Marmolada Glacier and Malga Ciapella. A few years back a group of us did that tour going clockwise from Corvara - a long day of skiing with bus links. The agenda you list above takes a much wider arc.

    https://www.valgardenaskimap.com/en/grande-guerra

    Since you have transport then Passo San Pellegrino is accessible - down the road and back up the valley from Alleghe, which is on the other side of that area from Pescul. Falcade is at the bottom of the San Pellegrino area and you can lift up to the pass, or they may drop you at the top of the pass. Then on Day 4 they turn around and drive you back to the Sella Ronda area, probably starting at either Campitello or Canazei, although they could easily start you early from Pozza di Fassa and let you ski the Buffaure and Ciampac areas to get to the Sella Ronda, taking the new cable car up to the Belvedere area from Alba. And you finish that day at San Cassiano, which is all the way back over on the far side of Alta Badia. You'll cover some ground on that day.

    I vote for that agenda, but only because I've been there. I'd love to do the other agenda myself.

    In terms of temperatures and weather, it should get pretty cold. Keep in mind we've never started earlier than mid-January. We've seen -20° overnight and -18° in the morning, although that's unusual. Negative temps in the low-teens are not unusual. Never getting above -8° over the course of a day is not uncommon. On the other hand it's a dry climate and you don't feel cold all day if you're properly rigged up. Mornings are cold, afternoons can be glorious. Take warm gloves or glove liners, and neck warmers. The area famously gets a lot of sunny days, and (of course) the odd snow storm. The whole region is off to a good start already.
     
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  9. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    you do mean celsius, not Fahrenheit , I hope? Thanks for all your insight, it is quite confusing if you haven't skied there, but it doesn't sound like a very efficient way of doing things, and a lot of driving. Probably less driving on Agenda 2 and seems to be less of a draw than the refugios and the famous Sella Ronda...I'm exhausted looking at this, and not from the skiing! I'm quite a good skier, altitude and those long windy roads are more of the issue-My husband drove while I navigated this summer when we were not hiking...
     
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  10. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    here is the view in Summer!
     
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  11. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    In
     

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  12. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Yep, my temps are in °C.

    The Dolomiti Superpass gives you access to around 450 lifts and 1,200km of groomed piste each and every day. The pass covers twelve separate major valleys and ski areas and not all of those are inter-linked by ski runs and lifts. You have to bus / drive between at least some of them. A lot of it is linked, and you can get a long way (and back) on skis each day though.

    Below is a map of the areas covered by the Superpass. It's representing an area that's about 100km wide and maybe 80km deep. looking at it from the south like a standard map. All of the blue mountains off in the distance are in Austria.

    Right in the centre of the image - the red circle - is the Sella Massif, around which runs the Sella Ronda (clockwise and/or anti-clockwise). Cortina d'Ampezzo is the black circle on the right side.

    Taking your agenda in order:
    1. Kronplatz / Plan de Corones (broadly 'Place of Crowns' in English) is in the purple circle, up near the Austrian border;
    2. Alta Badia is in the green circle; Corvara is the main town in that quadrant and it sits directly on the Sella Ronda on the left edge of that circle; I expect you'll drive up the valley to reach one of the towns on the upper edge of that circle, either La Villa or San Cassiano, and spend the morning getting a bit lost in that area (the lift system is a bit of a maze);
    3. Cinque Torri is the orange circle, on a pass uphill from Alta Badia; that area goes up to a ridge and down the other side; just above and left of the orange circle is the Passo Falzarego and a cable car to Lagazuoi above;
    4. Pescul is top-right of the blue circle, and Alleghe is bottom-left; you'll likely be skiing all the stuff in between;
    5. Falcade is an entry point to the region from the south and it sits in the lower yellow circle, down one valley and then up another from Alleghe;
    6. the upper yellow circle (joined to Falcade by lifts) is the Passo San Pellegrino ski area;
    7. to get back to the Sella Ronda you'll drive north west up that valley to the Val di Fassa then north east, through Vigo di Fassa, Pozza di Fassa to Campitello and Canazei;
    8. ski half of the Sella Ronda (one direction or the other) to get back to Corvara, then lift up / ski over the Alta Badia region to your final night in San Cassiano on the top edge of the green circle once more.

     

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    #12 linked_recoveries, Nov 12, 2019
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  13. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    I love that one. Looking across at the Langkofel ('Long Rock') from the top of the Belvedere region.
     
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  14. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    That is amazing! I would literally be all over the map in the first itinerary, but I get the general idea. Oh so helpful! The only thing I don't cover is the red circle area.

    Option 2 agenda -which you have not yet skied (is it less popular perhaps?), would be to the left (West) of the upper yellow circle on your map?
     
  15. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    You'll ski half the Sella Ronda (red circle) to get back to Alta Badia on the last day. Depends where you start as to which way you go (clockwise or anti-clockwise). If you have time you can go the long way around. It only takes half a day for a full circuit so you'll probably have time.

    For some reason I prefer the clockwise direction. I think the forward-looking views are a bit better that way. Particularly approaching Passo Pordoi and from the top of the Belvedere ski area.

    The Brenta Dolomites are a long way away. A separate area entirely. They're to the south west of the city of Bolzano whereas the area shown above is to the east of Bolzano. Madonna di Campiglio is actually further from Bolzano than Val Gardena, and on the other side.
     
    #15 linked_recoveries, Nov 12, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  16. BAWC

    BAWC First Runs

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    last question if you don't mind: is the skiing in the areas you have highlighted challenging and is it mostly above or below the treeline? I know this is all on piste skiing for this trip.
     
  17. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, best place to take a picture. (sorry about the disturbance in the front - somehow can't get rid of it)


    and here you can see - sometimes below treeline and sometimes over treeline in the hole area.
     
    #17 Hyst, Nov 13, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
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  18. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    early morning view out the bedroom window, Rifugio Lagazuoi

     
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  19. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    The skiing is beautiful, but not particularly challenging. Green and blue runs for the most part. There's really only a handful of black runs in the entire area, and there's almost always a red run (equivalent to our blue) that sits broadly parallel to the black runs, taking you to the same place. You can ski your whole trip without skiing a black if need be. As shown above you'll ski both above and below the treeline, although you have to hunt around if you want to find some off piste and/or tree skiing. The whole place is oriented towards on-piste skiing.

    The investment in infrastructure is just amazing. The place operates along the lines of a co-operative and they plow profits back into further investment. They invest around 70 million euro each summer in new lifts, new runs, new snowmaking, etc. One year you'll be riding a perfectly acceptable lift, the next year it's been replaced with a brand new gondola.

    In terms of shelter / lunch / strudel / vino / schnapps there are rifugio literally everywhere, and you can often drop into towns to have lunch along the way as well. There's certainly no shortage of options. Our absolute fave is Utia Punta Trieste (and the little Vinoteca next door) in the Alta Badia area. It's a little hard to find from one direction, and directly at the top of a lift from the other, but it's worth the effort. The below photo is a little cryptic, but those who have been there will understand.



    Lift queues do happen - especially for the main Sella Ronda lifts, and especially on weekends - but they're not long. Once you're off the Sella Ronda tour route you might be waiting for three or four groups.
     
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  20. Sadie

    Sadie Chk Chk Boom Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    What ever you decide to do, I'm jealous.
     
  21. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  22. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    The whole area is certainly off to a good start. The slopes aren't really open yet - the main areas around the Sella Ronda will open in the early days of December - but here's a shot of the Passo Sella yesterday.

     
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  23. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    che bella
     
  24. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Can you explain the image please.
    Does it represent timid beginners surrounded by hard core big mountain types?
     
  25. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Utia Punta Trieste is a rifugio in the Alta Badia hills above Corvara. In front of the building is a dead tree with colourful wooden owls attached to various limbs, acting as a neat piece of sculpture. Everyone wanders over to get a photo with the owl tree. A stylised image of the triple owls (closest to the camera in the above image) acts as a logo for the rifugio.



     
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