Unlike what you might be accustomed to in North America, the Italian version of skiing involves frequent on-mountain stops to consume copious amount of food and drink, and if you're lucky enough to be skiing the Dolomites you get the chance to experience ventures such as the Sella Ronda, the First WWI tour, the Hidden Valley, the Gourmet&Ski tour and many more.
The Sella Ronda for example is one-of-a-kind connection of lifts and downhill runs functions like an alpine merry-go-round, circumnavigating a particularly vertiginous chunk of the Dolomites named the Sella Massif. Skiers use lifts to move either clockwise or counterclockwise around Sella, negotiating four mountain passes and bombing down what amounts to 35km of intermediate groomed terrain.
In true Italian form, the Alta Badia ski region is rife with rifugios – mountain huts serving everything from pizza to Michelin-starred cuisine.
From the very first run you will appreciated the gentle slopes – anything more technical would be distracting from the scenery. As you ski you will gap at 360-degree views of endless snowfields peppered with pine forests set against a backdrop of colossal limestone buttresses, bluffs, shoots and spires. Even the rifugios were designed to showcase the landscape, with ample wrap-around porches so skiers can soak in the gigantic views and the sunshine – all while sipping on a Aperol-spritz aperitif.
You certainly won't find Pétrus being mixed with Coca-Cola and guzzled like an energy drink here. But if you like a relaxed Italian vibe, exquisite scenery, uncrowded slopes and delicious food, then this is definitely the place to ski. Italian food + German organisation = South Tyrol. That is the one-line pitch for the Alta Badia ski region, near the Italian-Austrian border. It sounds too good to be true. But after a couple of sunny days in the Dolomites, I promise you to be completely seduced.