I have skied in many resorts throughout Europe, but the Italian Dolomites in Trentino, a region of Italy, draws me back time and again.
The Italian Dolomites offers spectacular scenery of sure snow and sunny slopes and with flavoursome food to match, it remains a firm favourite of mine for many reasons. Here are just a few of my must-dos when skiing in the Italian Dolomites, supporting why I return to Trentino when I want to hit the slopes…
Why Choose the Italian Dolomites in Trentino?
The peaks of the Dolomites have eroded into spectacular natural formations.
Beneath these peaks ski runs meander down tree-clothed slopes of varying gradients to the valley below. On the way down there are snug restaurants offering good quality food that’s ideal for leisurely lunches. Throughout the region of Trentino, small towns and villages offer all types of accommodation from self-catering apartments to luxury hotels. Many of these organise their own shuttle buses to the slopes. There is also a good network of ski shuttle bus and public transport. A variety of ski passes are available to suit the needs of all skiers.
All the ski resorts in Trentino are covered by two main passes, the SkiArea Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta and the Skirama.
The Ski Area
The SkiArea Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta incorporates the four resorts of Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Folgarida and Marilleva. One hundred and fifty kilometres of pistes seamlessly linked by ski runs and ski lifts have access to ski shuttles and public transport. The latter is free with the Trentino Guest Card.
The four resorts in the SkiArea are very different. Madonna di Campiglio, a very fashionable Italian resort, offers luxury accommodation and top-quality shops. During the day, the snow on the craggy peaks above the town sparkle in the sun. In the evening, the peaks flush a soft pink as the sun drops behind them. Pinzolo was originally a small agricultural town that developed a ski area above the town and is accessed by two cabin lifts.
Folgarida and Marilleva are small, purpose built settlements stretching along the main road through the valley and linked to Trento, the regional capital of Trentino by a mountain railway. Both places offer large holiday apartment blocks and hotels. They are linked to the rest of the SkiArea by a ski run. Each ski area has a snow park for snowboarding but the largest and best is at the top of Grosté in Madonna di Campiglio.
Skirama Resorts in the Italian Dolomites in Trentino
In addition to the four resorts covered by the SkiArea pass, the Skirama pass includes the resorts of Folgaria, Passo Tonale, Andalo and Monte Bondone as well as some other small ski areas covering, in total, 380 kilometres of ski runs.
Folgaria (not to be confused with Folgarida) is a pretty town with an interesting history. The town was on the front line during the First World War and some of the old forts can still be seen there today.
Folgaria also has a large ice-skating stadium and a cross-country ski area for those who like to mix their winter sports. Passo Tonale is very popular with families due to a long string of easy ski runs on one side of the road. It’s also a good destination for those who like to ski from autumn to late spring as there is a glacier above the town, accessible by a modern cabin lift.
Where to Eat
One aspect of skiing in the Italian Dolomites that I really enjoy is the variety of restaurants in the mountains’ location. Madonna di Campiglio is home to two of my favourites. For quality of food, cosy ambiance and friendly staff, Ristorante Viviani is hard to beat. The self-service restaurant at Chalet Fiat serves tasty food quickly and efficiently. The tables outside are always full at lunchtime, where you can enjoy a drink overlooking the the spectacular views across the valley.
A very traditional eatery on the slopes above Pinzolo is Malga Cioca, perched on the mountain between two pistes. For those who seek great pizza, then Rifugio Albasini at the top of the Folgarida cabin lift is the place to eat. In Folgaria, the Stella d’Italia is ideal – I had lunch there every day. This restaurant also offers evening meals, transporting its guests up the mountain on a piste basher.
When to Ski
Technically advanced snow-making system and huge water storage tanks mean most of these resorts are no longer snow dependant. This allows skiers to avoid the high season and enjoy less crowded slopes with cheaper lift passes. Generally, I favour the second week in December and the second/third week in March when the weather is cold enough to ensure snow.
How to Get There
The Flyski Shuttle operates a network of transfers from the airports of Verona, Bergamo, Venice-Treviso, Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa to the mountain resorts of Trentino. An alternative for those going to Folgarida and Marilleva is the Dolomiti Express from Trento.
Read more from Valery at ExperiencedTraveller.com