From The UK’s Most Read Ski Mag
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO
Edited by Patrick Thorne “One of twenty people to know in ski”
transfer 1 transfer 2
Innsbruck Vaduz Vad duz Vipiteno Sterzing Bressanone Brixen Merano Chiusa Meran
Val Gardena Gröden
Dobbiacco Toblach Cortina
Bo olzaano Bolzano Bozen Bozen
Lugano Milano Bergamo
Lago o di Lago Garda
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SKI AREA
SOUTH TYROL Italy’s most northerly region, the South Tyrol (also known as the Sud Tirol) is also one of its most enticing for winter sports fans. Home to the world’s largest fully interchangeable lift ticket network, the Dolomiti Superski (1200km), and the world’s second largest inter-connected ski area around the Sella Ronda (500km), skiers and boarders can feel that they can ski forever from one cosy village to another, always with the spectacular pink granite cliff formations of the Dolomites towering dramatically above. The region, located midway between Verona and Innsbruck is home to world famous
resorts like Val Gardena/Gröden, as well as dozens of other important ski areas which deserve to be better known to British skiers and boarders. Only two percent of the people on the slopes here each winter hail from Blighty, but they’re easy to reach with the major ski tour operators or independently. Largely undiscovered choices include the gourmet Mecca of Alta Badia, already ‘found’ by Tom Cruise and George Clooney and home to a host of Michelin starred chefs, or Plan de Corones/Kronplatz with its hi-tec network of gondola lifts serving some of the toughest terrain in Italy, as well as less demanding terrain. Wine is another regional
strength with 27 of the region’s wines have been awarded the ‘Tre Bicchieri’ (three glasses), prestigious Italian wine award. All the most interesting a destination because of its history as a cultural and geographic melting pot., the region has a varied landscape ranging from alpine meadows and mountains, to Mediterranean palm trees and Cyprus trees with the Dolomites above now registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also three official languages spoken in the region. 68 per cent of the population speak German, 28 per cent Italian and 4 per cent Ladin, a Rhaeto –
Romanic language, as their mother tongue. That’s why most places in the region have at least two names to choose from. Although rich in culture and natural beauty, the South Tyrol is also one of the most innovative regions in Italy. Over the past five years there have been more than 40 new hotel or spa openings throughout the region, with a particular growth in stylish and design-led hotels. You’ll also find more hi-tec websites, android and iPhone apps that you can fit in a tweet and last, but not least, the South Tyrol is leading Italy’s efforts on slope safety and environmental protection. You deserve to know it better.
The Dolomiti Superski ski region remains the world’s largest fully-flexible and inter-changable lift pass covering around 1200km of trails and more than 450 lifts above more than 50 Italian villages as it has been for more than 30 years. All of the major individual ski areas in the South Tyrol are included in the ski region so the Dolomiti Superski pass is valid at each and all of them – you don’t need to buy another pass if you want to ski a different area each day. The region includes the Sella Ronda, a 26km circuit of lifts and pistes around the giant Sella Massif. This is fun to do on a day trip, but as ski areas like Val Gardena/Gröden and Alta Badia are linked to it also forms the hub of a giant wheel of ski valleys. There’s no official measure as to what all the linked terrain adds up to but some estimates out it at over
Snow Almost Guaranteed Almost all (more than 95%) of the South Tyrol’s ski slopes have snowmaking cover so snow is guaranteed once temperatures drop below freezing, even in the unlikely event that mother nature isn’t feeling as generous as usual with the white stuff. Unlike some older snowmaking systems, snowmaking in the region uses low energy equipment which simply mixes compressed air with water to make snow, there are no chemical
additives. Once in contact with the cold environment, the water crystallizes instantly, to form high quality natural snow. Even the power for the snowmaking machinery comes from water – it’s hydro electricity. The water used to produce the snow is drawn from clean mountain sources and respects the balance of the hydrology of the region. Of course the water is not ‘consumed’ either but returns to the water table after the snow thaws in the spring.
2011-12 Ski Season Starts South Tyrol www.dolomitisuperski.com
02| Christmas Market S. Cristina, Val Gardena
Winter Opening Alpe di Siusi
Men’s Super G and Downhill Val Gardena www.saslong.org
Men’s Giant Slalom and Slalom Alta Badia www.skiworldcup.it
25| King Laurin Snowpark Opening
Alpe di Siusi
UNESCO RATED STUNNING SCENERY Did you know (and this could be a useful line to start a conversation in an après ski bar ...) that the Dolomites were named comparatively recently after the 18th century French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu who was the first to study their limestone structure? Not fascinating enough? Well how about the fact that part of the reason that the Dolomites have their pinkish hue is that they were once a giant reef below the ocean and you are in fact skiing on a former barrier reef! Locals often referred to this exquisite range as the Pale Mountains and other rang-
es do pale beside the beauty of this unique mountain landscape, designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Zone in 2009. In the words of mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner, “they may not be the highest, but are certainly the world’s most beautiful mountains.” Others have been equally enthusiastic
over the years. A famous architect, Le Corbusier, once stated “They are the most beautiful architectural construction in the world” and the climber Emil Zsigmondy defined them as “a precious stone set in the Alpine landscape.” The colour show becomes more spectacular still at sunrise and sunset when the pink hues turn fiery red or dark violet - known locally as “Enrosadira.” The most beautiful performances are given on clear winter evenings on the Rosengarten, the Croda Rossa, the Sella, the Fanes and the Tofana, but it’s pretty good everywhere.
The alternating gentle lower slopes and “malghe” (traditional mountain farmhouses) dominated by steep limestone masses above is a unique, incomparable view. Rocks with bizarre fissures reach 3,342m up into the skies, transforming every ski run that passes through the terraced slopes into a panoramic descent. UNESCO included the region among the 207 World Natural Heritage Sites worldwide in June 2009. The Dolomites are in fact protected with seven natural parks covering a third of the whole territory.
Christmas on Ice - Skating show Val Gardena
07| Moonlight Classic Cross Country Alpe di Siusi
Pustertaler Skimarathon Alta Pusteria www.ski-marathon.com
07-15| Dolomiti Balloon Festival Alta Pusteria www.ballonfestival.it
Val Casies - Knödelmarathon (dumpling marathon) Alta Pusteria
SAFETY For the past few seasons the Dolomiti Superski region has stepped up their onus on slope safety & now leads the world in promoting safety on the slopes, under the campaign ‘Safety is not a game.’ Italy was, after all, the first country to bring in a law requiring children to wear helmets. Last season the area asked skiers and boarders what they thought was most important and the top answer was, “Respect for others and awareness of one’s own limits” so that message is at the heart of this season’s campaign.
£904 PER PERSON SAVING £75 Depart 24th Dec 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Stella, Selva
WELL CONNECTED Along with package tour options the south Tyrol is easy to reach by independent travellers via air, road or rail or a combination of these. This enables you to take advantage of special deals on accommodation with lift tickets and other bargains sold direct by accommodation providers, often through the region’s tourism websites. You can fly to Verona , Bergamo, Brescia, Munich, Innsbruck or Venice – all typically 90 minutes to three hours from most South Tyrolean destinations - with British Airways, bmi, EasyJet, Ryanair or Myair. Rental cars or
bus transfers (from as little as € 29 return) are available from most airports. Flights to one or more of these airports are available direct from London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Bournemouth Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester in England and Shannon and Dublin in Ireland as well as Belfast in Northern Ireland and Edinburgh in Scotland. Visit www.suedtirol.info/transfer and for Val Gardena/Gröden: www.flytovalgardena.com
A MECCA FOR GOURMETS The entire South Tyrol is famous both for its superb wines and for its wholesome, regional cuisine which relies heavily on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. However the valley of Alta Badia has taken this reputation several notches higher still and is carving a name for itself not just as a great winter sports holiday destination, but also as a global player for its gourmet credentials too. The area now boasts one of world’s highest concentrations of Michelin stars, with 18 stars between 15 restaurants. But what really differentiates Alta Badia from other gourmet food destinations is that there’s no snooty side to fine dining here. In fact the very opposite is true as the region and its great chefs strive to have fun with their talents and bring good food to all with a variety of season-long culinary initiatives including a ‘gourmet tour’ of 11 mountain restaurants in the region. And this winter visitors can also enjoy high-altitude South Tyrolean breakfasts every Tuesday and Thursday morning from December to mid-March the Col Alto refuge will be offering a breakfast of typical local produce - including speck sandwiches and slices of strudel - at 2,000m above sea level. Guests are picked up from the Col Alto cabin lift in Corvara by snowcat departing at 7 and 7.30am for an epicurean morning of pre-piste fuelling amidst the Dolomite peaks.
JANUARY 2012 (CONT.)
Ciasp Snowshoeing Race Val Gardena
£904 PER PERSON SAVING £75 Depart 24th Dec 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Stella, Selva
22-29|Swing on snow
Alpe di Siusi www.swingonsnow.com
35th 42km Classic Cross Country Race Dobbiaco – Cortina
Tour de Sas Ski Mountaineering Race Alta Badia
Sellaronda Skimarathon Val Gardena/Alta Badia www.sellaronda.it
South Tyrol Wine Ski Safari Alta Badia
24| Helmissimo – the longest GS Race Alta Pusteria
Alta Badia is one of Italy’s longest established ski areas and one that has built a reputation for itself in recent years not just for its great skiing, located right on the Sella Ronda circuit, but also for its gourmet cuisine, excellent wines and superb accommodation (you’ll see Alta Badia features prominently in our separate entries on these key South Tyrol themes!). Alta Badia is made up of six picturesque alpine villages: Corvara (1550m), Colfosco/ Kolfuschg. (1650m), La Villa/Stern (1430m), San Cassiano /St. Kassian (1540m), Badia (1320m) and La Val (1350m). Local people here are proud of their roots, cherishing their village architecture, unique Ladin language and cultural traditions for centuries. On the slopes a state-of-the-art snow-
making system means that even if the usually abundant natural snowfall arrives late, connections between the villages of La Villa, San Cassiano and Corvara will open in late November with other ski links opening as soon as snow conditions permit. There’s terrain suited to all standards in the largest single ski area in the South Tyrol. Experienced skiers will be able to tackle the famous World Cup black run, Gran Risa, and Bamby 2 and Alting - training slopes for the international giant slalom and men’s slalom. These are all also from the start of the season with World Cup races staged shortly before Christmas. Alta Badia’s gourmet credentials truly are world class and the area now has a variety of season-long culinary initiatives to highlight
the winning combination of winter sports and fine cuisine it offers. These include gourmet breakfasts in mountain huts and the so-called ‘Gourmet Ronda’ circuit will allow skiers to hop from one hut to another, savouring the selected Michelin-starred South Tyrolean dishes. But there’s lots to do off the slopes too as Alta Badia offers many activities for non-skiers including curling, snow-shoeing, Nordic Walking, ice-skating, horse-riding, ice climbing, and sledging – a favourite for all the family. The exciting 3.5km Trú Liösa Foram toboggan run starts at Piz Sorega (2003m), reached by gondola from San Cassiano and descends 450 vertical metres through pine forest and meadows to the edge of the village, with safety barriers in the woods.
The Two Horse Powered Ski Lift The South Tyrol is a world leader when it comes to sustainable living and tourism. The area has a target of 70% of the energy used in the region being renewable by 2013 and is implementing various schemes to make living or staying in this alpine region as sustainable as possible. Along with the more usual efforts to reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions, the South Tyrol has some more unusual ideas such as the two-horse powered ski lift operating
South Tyrol Gardenissima Race Val Gardena www.gardenissima.eu
2011-12 Ski Season Ends Most of South Tyrol www.dolomitisuperski.com
15| Locknfest (lake party)
2011-12 Ski Season Ends Kronplatz www.kronplatz.com
A-LISTERS ON THE SLOPES The South Tyrol is increasingly a favourite with the international jet set although one of its most famous visitors in some 5,000 years old! Tom Cruise and George Clooney have opted to stay at the luxurious Hotel Rosa Alpina (www.rosalpina.it) in San Cassiano/St. Kassian, Alta Badia and Elle Macpherson has also been
among visitors to the area. But long before these modern superstars, ‘Ötzi the ice man’ left southern Austria and began to cross a glacier in to South Tyrol 5,300 years ago. Sadly for Ötzi he did not complete his trip alive and his body was quickly covered by snow, then ice, to be perfectly preserved
until his chance rediscovery by Alpine hikers 20 years ago. Ötzi now resides in South Tyrolean capital Bolzano/Bozen (which he may have been heading to anyway) in a special icy chamber which visitors can look in to, and The South Tyrolean Archaeological Museum (www.ice-
near Armentarola which links the Lagazuoi/ Armentarola ski run to the Skicarosello region. The ‘lift’ consists of a long rope that skiers hold on to and a sledge powered by a “green” engine - a pair of avelignese or noriker horses! The lift runs on hay and fodder and there’s a similar system on the ski run from S.Croce to Badia connecting the run to the Oies/Tana dell’Orso restaurant. If you’d like a 100% eco-friendly holiday in the South Tyrol you can book in to the new environmentally-friendly residence in the old village of Fistì at Pedraces. The Residence Rosarela (www.rosarela.com) was built by Christine Dalleaste and Ulrich Foppa and has been awarded a “casa clima AAA” classification (basically the more A’s there are, the lower the energy consumption). Constructed mostly from local wood but using the latest techniques to minimize internal heat loss, it is of traditional design outside but power is produced by a 95m² installation of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the adjacent hay-loft which produces sufficient energy to cover the needs of the entire building.
DROP IN FREESTYLE DAYS
HOTEL SELLA £695 p/person +39 0471 795182 / www.hotelsella.it
The Marzola Family hotel in Selva/Wolkenstein is right next to the ski lift that takes you up to the famous Sella Ronda and new this season offers a “sauna relaxation chalet”. The hotel’s 7 night Winter Dream half-board package includes a pre-dinner drink on the ski slopes
Freestyle skiing and boarding is ever more popular with teenagers but the problem is getting from being a complete beginner to become a safe and competent user of the terrain park. The answer across the Dolomiti Superski region are “Drop in” Freestyle Day for 12 to 18 year olds who wish to try this exciting new experience on skis or board, maybe even upside down. Offered twice-weekly (Wednesday and Saturdays) from 10 am to 4 pm from mid-January 2012, specialist freestyle instructors
Available: 3 - 23 Dec 2011, 7 - 14 Jan 2012 and 10 - 31 Mar 2012 Book via www.suedtirol.info/sella_uk
SAVING £?? Depart 31st Mar 2012 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Dolomiti Madonna, Ortisei 3 Free Days’ Ski Hosting
SUB HEADER TO GO HERE AND ALONG HERE ETC
HOTEL LA PERLA £695 p/person
VAL GARDENA recognised by UNESCO who named it a World Heritage Site. They might also refer to the wooden chalet style buildings, the ambience, the friendliness of the locals, the timeless quality of life here – all the classic ingredients of a South Tyrolean ski holiday. Of course skiers aren’t ‘limited’ to the 110 miles of runs around Val Gardena, they can carry on to the Sella Ronda circuit (see separate review) which is a network of 26km of pistes and lifts circling the 3151m high Sella massif and linking other valleys to create one huge linked ski area, all included on the still more giant single Dolomiti Superski pass. Art in the area and its Ladin cultural heritage is another Val Gardena strength and one that’s fun to discover, not in dusty mu-
seums but through the area’s impressive and diverse gastronomy ranging from Michelinstar rated gourmet restaurants to cosy Alpine refugio serving simple Ladin cuisine. Whether you’d like to dine on fresh seafood, apple strudel or sip home-made grappa, Val Gardena has a gourmet mountain refuge or hut to suit all tastes. The tasty gourmet cuisine combines the best of the Italian,Tyrolean and Ladin flavours of the region. Special choices include the Sophie Hütte (www.seceda.com) on the Seceda mountain which has built a reputation as the best place in the area to go for spare ribs. Baita Daniel (www.seceda.cc) has a tasty and varied wine list as well as a terrace
with spectacular views of the Dolomites. Or, for what many consider the best fish in South Tyrol, visit Rifugio Emilio Comici (www.rifugiocomici.com). As one of the largest resorts in the region, Val Gardena has much more to offer non-skiers. Besides 115km of cross country trails there are 50km of wellprepared winter walking paths and trails, as well as facilities for show-shoeing, iceclimbing, out-door (and in-) ice-skating, horse-riding, sleigh riding, paragliding, curling and sledging. Indeed the 6km Ortisei toboggan run on Rasciesa is one of the most thrilling in the Alps. Spa and wellness facilities are also extensive and the wide-range of accommodation
options from every category of hotel to B&Bs, self catering apartments or remote mountain refuges means there is something to suit every taste. Families are particularly well looked after in Val Gardena. As well as free skiing for children up to age eight in common with the rest of South Tyrol, there are great hotels such as the four star superior Family Spa Grand Hotel Cavallino Bianco in Ortisei (www.cavallino-bianco.com) which operates a ‘families with children only’ policy, offering a wide variety of play areas including a theatre and during the winter children aged three or over can take part in the hotel’s own ski school with nursery slopes outside the hotel.
The Hotel La Perla in Ortisei/St. Ulrich – Gröden is a small hotel with a reputation for pampering in its wellness area and beauty farm as well as superb regional prepared by their chef. The hotel’s ‘Ski and Wellness in the Dolomites’ 7 day package includes a soothing
Available: 11 - 25 Dec 2011, 8 Jan - 22 Feb 2012 Book via www.suedtirol.info/laperla_uk
HOTEL SAVOY £1395 p/person +39 0471 795343 / www.hotel-savoy.it
All prices are based on double occupancy
Probably the most famous ski area in the whole of South Tyrol, and one of the best known and best loved resorts in the world, Val Gardena/ Gröden is made up of three charming Alpine villages - Ortisei at 1236m, S. Cristina at 1428m and probably the best known in the UK, Selva at 1563m. The ski statistics for the area are impressive with 115km of piste served by more than 80 lifts, including some of the most modern, hi-tec installations anywhere, but while the superb skiing is of course a major asset, most people would probably not list it as their first choice for taking a winter holiday here. More likely they’d refer to the stunning scenery of the surrounding mountainscape,
+39 0471 796421 / www.laperlahotel.info
The small, luxury Savoy hotel in Selva/Wolkenstein is a gourmet and spa hotel in the village centre with a unique lift to provide ski in/ ski out access. The hotel features 34 luxury rooms and suites, spa facilities with heated indoor and outdoor swimming pool (32°C),
Available: 28 Jan - 4 Feb 2012 Book via www.suedtirol.info/savoy_uk
ONE OF EUROPE’S BEST SKI AREAS REVEALED
KRONPLATZ and a 7km long one at that, the longest new run in the world for the coming winter. The new “Ried” slope will descend more than 1,300 vertical metres down from 2,275m to 935m and be served by yet another new gondola, one of the world’s longest ascending 4.3 km and rising 805 vertical metres while carrying 3,200 passengers per hour within its 10-seater gondolas with heated leather seats. It takes the total skiable area to 114km. Kronplatz is one of Italy’s larger ski
regions with more than a dozen towns and villages linked on to the huge Plan de Corones ski mountain. Brunico / Bruneck is one of the few large towns to be found right next to a ski area and thus offers the range of facilities which others can only dream of. Skiers can conveniently use the train for their daily transfer to the slopes and thus avoid having to rely on the ski bus or their own car. There’s also a direct connection between Kronplatz and the Sextner Dolomiten ski resort with trains running every 30 minutes.
Not everything about Kronplatz is hi-tec however. Dating back to 1680, Oberegger Alm on the descent to Valdora/Olang offers the best Knödel (traditional dumplings) on the slopes. Or you could sample wholemeal pasta with mountain cheese or spaghetti with tomato and basil, followed by an apple strudel at the Marchner Hütte, which can be found on the valley descent to the Marchner lift. Another treat is the great grilled meat at Ücia Bivacco and finish off the meal with some of the best grappa in the valley.
The extensive slopes offer a great variety of terrain, indeed a better choice than most, including ‘The Black Five’ – as Kronplatz is one of only few skiing resorts in the Alps which boast five black slopes including the super steep Piculin run which pitches at up to 72% over its 2km length. The Snowpark Kronplatz is another cool attraction spread over 75,000 m² with four lines of different levels of difficulty using 100,000 m³ of snow to create features including three kickers in a row of 14 m-22 m.
DOLOMITI SUPERERSKI PREMIÈRE 26 Nov - 23 Dec 2011 At the start of winter get a one day ski pass and a night in a hotel free when you pay for three days or more. Special deals on rental and ski school too.
DOLOMITI SUPER KIDS 18 Mar - 9/15 Apr 2012* Free holidays for children up to 8 years old and half price for kids up to 12 when they share their parent’s room. Special rates for ski rental and ski courses. Special deals on rental and ski school again too.
£904 PER PERSON
DOLOMITI SUPER SUN 25 Mar - 9/15 Apr 2012*
SAVING £75 Depart 24th Dec 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Stella, Selva
At the start of spring get a one day ski pass and a night in a hotel free when you pay for six days or more. Special deals on rental and ski school too.
* End date depends on individual ski area
Kronplatz deserves to be better known in Britain. Its popularity elsewhere in Europe is hard to ignore, thanks in large part to its astonishingly impressive facilities, including more than 20 gondola lifts – up there with Meribel in France and Saalbach in Austria as having the most in the world of these fast, comfortable all-weather lifts. The resort will open yet another this winter 2011-12, as well as something even more rare in the modern era, a new piste –
DOLOMITI SUPER DEALS
First For Families
ALPE DI SIUSI FOR BEGINNERS, FAMILIES AND NATURE LOVERS
Alpe di Siusi/Seiseralm, located right next door to Val Gardena/ Gröden, has positioned itself as a winter wonderland for families, beginners and anyone looking for a more relaxed winter holiday experience. The largest high mountain plateau in Europe is also one of the most peaceful, safe and environment friendly as cars have been banned from the area and instead the ski lifts and gondolas form all necessary transport links. The Alpe di Siusi mountain plateau is great for beginners, with its gentle slopes and spectacular vistas of the Dolomites to enjoy while you learn the basics. Ski teachers especially trained in teaching families are available here. Neighbouring Val Gardena also offers special ski schools for children as well as ski lifts for children. But it isn’t all easy stuff, so the most experienced skiers and boarders needn’t feel left out. However, there are some tougher slopes for the more experienced to enjoy, extending of course to the full 1,200km of the Dolomiti Superski region on your doorstep.
But whatever your ability you can equally enjoy the great mountain restaurants on the slopes of Alpe di Siusi. The chef at Gostner Schwaige for example creates dishes using flowers from Alpine pastures in a tiny four metres by two kitchen or for the best view of the Sassolungo/Langkofel (one of the major peaks of the Dolomites) and the best cakes in the area eat at the Sanon Hütte (www.sanon.it). Off the ski slopes The Alpe di Siusi is also a great best place to try out the slower winter activities such as snowshoe walking, or for something a little different, a visit the village of Avelengo/Hafling (www.hafling. com) to ride through the snow on the native Halfinger ponies. Spa culture is also strong in Alpe di Siusi where the Alpina Dolomites Gardena Health Lodge and Spa (www.alpinadolomites.com) is a five-star health-themed bolthole which opened less than a year ago on 15 December 2010. The 56-room hotel takes full advantage of its jaw-dropping location, with each of the eight types of accommodation and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools offering
The South Tyrol provides a wholesome and inspiring base for a family ski holiday. Resorts work hard to be as welcoming as possible to families with facilities including a network of 26 especially family-friendly hotels across the region, Family Hotels (www. familienhotels.com), and special ski slopes and ski schools for children. Each member hotel must meet a range of criteria such as offering a varied children’s menu including South Tyrolean specialities, an outdoor adventure play area and outings for the whole family organised at least once per week. Wherever you stay there are special prices too. Children to not pay for lift tickets at all until they are age 8 areas
£904 PER PERSON
(born after 26th November 2003) in the Dolomiti Superski region which encompasses most South Tyrolean ski. This is much more generous than most resorts where children often pay 60 – 80% of the adult ticket price from age 4 or 5. Prices are then discounted to age 16 – again several years more generous than many resorts where the full adult price may be payable as with airlines from age 12 or 13. There are further discounts when families buy passes of two days or longer for the same duration at the same time. Don’t forget the South Tyrol puts safety first too – see our section on slope safety, where child protection is top priority; and also safe fun in the terrain park for teens with the region’s freestyle Drop In days each week.
Land of Snow and Sunshine South Tyrol boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year. Shaded and protected from the cold northerly winds by the main mountains of the Alps. Although snowfall is abundant and reliable, overall the climate is exceptionally warm in comparison to other central European regions. This isn’t just good news for a sunny holiday, a study by Innsbruck University has scientifically proven that there are many benefits to health and well being from taking a mountain holiday at moderate altitudes of between 1400 and 2000 metres. With an average of 8 out of 10 sunny days, the Southern Tyrolean sunshine results in the production and the spread of endorphin, better known as the wellness hormone.
SAVING £75 Depart 24th Dec 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Stella, Selva
views of the surrounding mountains. Luxurious yet genuinely health-focused, Alpina Dolomites Gardena’s spa offering satisfies health fiends with tepidarium-style herbal bio-saunas (which allow users to adjust heat, moisture and lighting settings) and aromatic steam baths. The rooms and suites combine modern necessities with an emphasis on wellbeing (Jacuzzi tubs and infrared saunas) and the environment with ethanol-burning “bio fireplaces” and Dolomite-facing balconies.
Rich In Culture And Tradition The South Tyrol has a rich heritage with five different cultures and traditions all meeting here to bring the best of Tyrolean, Trentino, Venetian, Ladine and Mediterranean traditions in architecture, cuisine and everything else. The Ladine culture is particularly strong in the area, having been living here for almost 2000 years. Thanks to the isolated position of their villages, it has been possible to keep languages, customs and
traditions alive to this day and 25,000 locals still speak the Ladine language, which has its roots in popular Latin. The area’s ski history is rich too. As early as 1895 the first skiers could be seen on the snowy slopes of the Val Gardena/Gröden and in 1912 a young Italian, Peter Böttl, took two days to ski round the Sella massif and today, Alta Badia and Val Gardena host spectacular World Cup ski tournaments, attract many visitors from all over the world every year.
£904 PER PERSON SAVING £75 Depart 24th Dec 7 Nights Half Board 3 Hotel Stella, Selva
VALLEY OF THE FIVE VILLAGES
ALTA PUSTERIA Alta Pusteria, known as ‘the land of the Three Peaks,’ is one of the least well known destinations in South Tyrol for British skiers and boarders, but we deserves to be better acquainted with its snowy hills sheltering five traditional villages of Sesto/Sexten, San Candido/Innichen, Dobbiaco/Toblach, Villabassa/Niederdorf and Braies/Prags. Together these resorts offer 77 km of well-groomed slopes served by 31 lifts – all state of the art following a big investment in the region - and there is something for
every level of skier here from the beginner slopes to the intermediate terrain above Waldheim, Braies or Dobbiaco, to tougher runs on Monte Raut Elmo above Sesto, one of the most adrenaline-fuelled black runs of Alta Pusteria. One of the great attractions for skiers is the ‘Tour of the Peaks’ – a day trip which allows you to visit seven highlights of the region’s slopes via the new connection at the Comelico Ski Area, including the legendary Giant Mountains, the Haunold (Baranci) ‘snowmen’ and the Croda Rossa
before finally enjoying the incredible view from Monte Elmo. Back in the resorts it’s a tough choice to decide where to base yourself. Some of the key choices include Sesto, the South Tyrol’s most easterly valley, which is famous for the ‘natural sundial’ formed by the Dolomite peaks that tower above it, while San Candido lies in a spectacular position at the centre of the Sesto Dolomiti Alps Natural Park, an ideal destination for families. Dobbiaco, at the entrance of the wild and romantic Landro Valley, is the most established
tourist destination in the region with 100 years of tourism tradition and breath-taking views to the famous ‘Three Peaks’. It’s also worth noting that the wholesome reputation of Alta Pusteria’s villages are reflected in the green efforts of its resorts. Dobbiaco and San Candido are communally heated throughout using wood chips and biomass technology and the district heating plant also has a visitor centre (www.fti.bz), which is the first of its kind in Europe, where visitors can learn about generating energy in the most eco-friendly way.
WINE ON THE SLOPES The same favourable climate that brings abundant snow to the South Tyrol each winter, also brings perfect weather for wine producing during the warmer months and this, coupled with fertile soil and a millennia old love of wine
making are all responsible for the region’s excellent wines which are there to be enjoyed all winter long. If you’re on Alta Badia on the 18th of March, 2012 you can enjoy the best of the regions
wines up at to 2000m on a special day of tasting accompanied by speck ham, bread and cheese from South Tyrol. Four mountain refuges will each focus on a local wine-producing area. “Be careful when skiing afterwards,” warns
Moving Mountains While the centuries old assets may be its main attraction, the South Tyrol is also at the forefront of new technology for its visitors. This winter the region’s main companies such as Dolomiti Superski, which has been a leader in hi-tec for more than 30 years, are going increasingly mobile with the dolomitisuperski.mobi site for mobile phones managing to bring a wealth of live and destination information to the very small screen, as do their apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
These integrate a new social network “SkiBeep” where lovers of the region can do everything from ‘check-in’ at specific spot, use the ‘ski route planner’ or ‘check ski performance’ options, or simply check conditions and buy a lift pass. Users can share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter and collecting credit which are transformed into online rewards. And that’s just the tip of the cyber iceberg - Dolomiti.AR is an ‘augmented reality’ app which gives a real image of the mountain. There’s also the popular 3D Dolomiti
Not Just Skiing...
Christmas Markets: Widely available Cookery Lessons: Alta Badia Curling: Alta Badia Horse riding: Avelengo/Hafling Ice climbing: Alta Badia Ice Skating: Val Gardena/Gröden Sledging: Widely available Sleigh Rides: Widely available Snowshoeing: Widely available Tobogganing: Widely available
Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm: www.alpedisiusi.info Alta Badia: www.altabadia.org Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal: www.altapusteria.info Dolomiti Superski: www.dolomitisuperski.com Family Hotels: www.familienhotels.com Plan de Corones/Kronplatz: www.kronplatz.com South Tyrol/Sudtirol: www.suedtirol.info Val Gardena/Gröden: www.valgardena.it