Renowned as one of the most glamorous destinations in the Italian Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is not just a pretty face. While the spectacular mountain scenery and sophisticated village centre are certainly part of its charm, its extensive ski area and diverse slopes puts it front and centre for a ‘serious’ ski weekend.
If you enjoy the benefits of a more sophisticated resort, and you want to get as much skiing in as possible in a short time, get together with some friends and plan a weekend to remember in Cortina. With a guaranteed season from the end of November until late April, and a local ski pass starting from around €40 a day, there’s a lot to look forward to!
Follow in the Footsteps of the Best
There’s a good reason why Cortina has regularly played host to so many competitive ski tournaments, including the 1956 Winter Olympics. The three mountains that comprise the network of pistes around the resort offer some of the most exciting conditions in Europe for Nordic, downhill, and other competitive events.
Where to Ski
With the use of a free ski-bus, if you have the time and inclination, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the entire Dolomites Superski region. But if you’ve only got a few days, you’re probably better off sticking close to the runs around Cortina itself – and you’ve got a pretty good choice, with 41 lifts (including gondola, drag and chairlifts) to transport you over around 140kms. For intermediate or expert skiers, even though there are plenty of easy runs, you’ll find plenty to challenge you as well.
The Tofana area is made up of around 30 pistes, and is serviced by the Col Druscie lift, which leaves from near the Olympic ice rink. You can ski a range of long, smooth blue pistes around Ra Valles, then head higher up to the more challenging red and black runs of Tofana.
Faloria, Cristallo and Mietres
The Faloria lift, which is about 200m from the main street, will take you up to some lovely tree-lined runs of intermediate level (blues and reds) in the Faloria, Cristallo and Mietres areas. Mietres has mainly blue runs, with the exception of a fantastic long black on the second stage, and Cristallo is home to some of the most dramatic scenery you’ll encounter on any of the resort’s pistes.
To the west of the resort (you’ll need to take the ski bus) is the Cinque Torri ski area, which has plenty of great north-facing runs (over about 29km), where you can cruise down the mountain with the wind in your hair and take in some amazing views back over Cortina. For a real treat, take the cable car from Passo Falzarego up to Lagazuoi and experience the renowned “hidden valley” run.
Great Value Ski Passes
While Cortina itself is not known for being the most budget friendly resort, the cost of a lift pass to give you access to the Dolomiti Superski area is very competitive. Depending on the time of the season you travel, you can get a one-day pass starting from €40 or a five-day pass from €179. If you plan on coming multiple times in one year, it’s well worth looking into a season pass, which starts from €630.
How to Get to Cortina d’Ampezzo
Having several airports within easy access makes getting to Cortina easy from the UK. Innsbruck and Venice are the most common choices, and there are plenty of budget airlines that service them. If you fly into Venice, there are both bus and train services that can connect you to the Dolomites, then you’ll need to take a local bus connection to Cortina.
To make life easy and to keep your ski gear safe, book a Shuttle Direct Venice airport transfer to get you from your flight right to the door of your hotel in around two hours, with no delays and no struggling with your ski equipment.
If you’re coming by car from the UK it will take around 12 hours once you leave the Eurotunnel at Calais. The most popular and fastest route is via Belgium, Germany, Austria, and then through the famous Brenner Pass into Italy’s Dolomites.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Montana – If you want to take full advantage of Cortina’s slopes but not break the budget for accommodation, the Hotel Montana is the ideal solution, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk from a ski lift. The hotel has thought of everything for the avid skier, with traditional Alpine décor, ski equipment storage, hydrotherapy baths for those aching muscles, and a hearty breakfast to set you up for a great day on the slopes.
Hotel Impero – Homely yet stylish, traditional yet sophisticated, the family-owned Hotel Impero knows the way to a skier’s heart! With a lovely timber décor throughout, the hotel exudes a welcome as warm as its friendly hosts. Fuel up with the great buffet breakfast, pick up your skis from the onsite storage, and head for the ski lifts right on the doorstep! After an energetic day on the slopes, come home and relax in the fabulous hot tub, sauna and solarium.
Grand Hotel Savoia – Treat yourself to the ultimate luxury ski break experience in the Grand Hotel Savoia. In the impeccably laid out rooms and suites, the opulent blonde timber décor is perfectly offset by stunning mountain views beyond. After carving up the pistes all day, you can come back to a pamper session in the wellness centre then relax before dinner in the elegant piano bar.