The Dolomites – the largest ski area in the world

The Italian Dolomites are undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful and striking mountain ranges. The Dolomites form part of the Eastern Alps, reaching from the central and Northern region of Trentino/Alto Adige and as far East as the Veneto region and Piave River.

The Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy offer the world’s largest lift-served ski region. It’s an enormous, modern network of 460 ski lifts, 50 ski areas, 45 resorts, 12 valley communities and 1,220km of groomed trails. This entire area is covered on one lift pass! Compare that to the resorts of France, Switzerland and Austria.

The unique Sud-Tyrol is located on the Austrian-Italian border bringing together the best of both cultures. The imposing Dolomite Mountains present a superb blend of skiing, culture and scenery – everything you expect from a fantastic winter holiday. The infrastructure and amenities are as sophisticated as anywhere in the world, however this special pocket of Europe has lost none of its village charms and age-old traditions. Artisans such as wood carvers and painters work in quaint shops and farmers can be found  throughout the village centre, Whilst high speed gondolas transport skiers overhead to the towering peaks.

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The centre of the Dolomite Ski area is dominated by the Sella massif, surrounded by the villages of Selva, Campitello, Canazai, Arabba, Corvara and Colfosco each with its own very particular ski area they are joined by piste and lift system in an almost continuous loop called the Sella Ronda with 26 km of downhill slopes and can be done either clockwise or counter clockwise. Other must do runs are the Hidden Valley and Cinque Torri, real gems with stunning scenery massive ice walls and horse drawn tows, The James Bond run in nearby St Christina is a real favourite with a continuous 10.5 km red piste, many will try to do this in one go but there are too many temptations to stop for coffee or excellent food at many of the mountain huts.

Connected to the Sella Ronda are several areas within an easy days skiing Alpe de Siusi and the nearby town of Ortisei is a wide open and sunny bowl with beautiful views and gentle red and blue runs.  On the other side of Corvara the Col Alto lift will take you up onto the Alta Badia Plateau, this open and sunny plateau has some great red runs and fantastic blues ideal for practising your carving skills.  Further afield and a short coach ride away are the resorts of Plan de Coronas and the swish resort of Cortina d’ampezzo.  If this was not enough set behind the village of Arabba we have the stunning Marmolada Glacier at a height of 3343mts skiing from 3250 mts the view from there is breathtaking as you take in the whole majesty of the Dolomites to the north the Austrian Alps and to the west the French and Swiss Alps.

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Words – Glyn Rowland

Selva Resort Chalet Manager

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