For those who have never seen these extraordinarily beautiful mountains before – stand by to be utterly enchanted. They may be part of the Alps, but these towering, rugged, largely limestone monoliths that dominate the upper reaches of Trentino, Südtirol, Belluno and Veneto have the appearance of a completely different mountain range. The extraordinary thing about them is that much of the rocky terrain that soars skywards, sometimes almost vertically (don’t worry, you normally ski round their bases, not down their sheer walls!) was, eons ago, under the sea: hence the limestone. And thanks to the reddish-purple rock of large feldspar crystals embedded in them, reflected sunlight at both first light and dusk produces variety of shades of pink and flaming red. In Ladin – the Latin-Romansch language still very much used in some Dolomite valleys - the word for this magical effect is enrosadira. Fundamentally the great resorts of the Dolomites – served by a vast array of lifts dominated by the Dolomiti Superski lift company – provide delightful skiing, plenty of sunshine and food that combines the best of the Ladin, Austrian and Italian cultures. There’s steep skiing if you want it (Arabba has plenty - as does Selva Gardena and Cortina), but by and large the runs are ideal for intermediates and families. If you’ve not done it before and like the idea of getting some ski miles under your belt, you’ll be keen to try the celebrated Sella Ronda circular tour. You can start anywhere on the circuit and ski it in either direction. At the centre are the gigantic, craggy peaks of the Gruppo Sella. The 25 mile tour (16 miles of actual skiing) can be achieved fairly easily in a day. The tour negotiates four mountain passes: Pordoi, Sella, Gardena and Campolongo as you cruise through the picturesque towns and villages of Colfosco, Corvara and San Cassiano, and the wooded slopes of Canazei.
Of the resorts that make up the celebrated Sella Ronda circuit, Arabba has some of the most interesting slopes, and is a real skiers’ holiday base. It boasts excellent, challenging pistes, and the stunning slopes of the mighty Marmolada glacier are within easy reach.More information
Cortina is one of the most filmed, photographed, skied and visited resorts in the Italian Alps. Set to the east of the Sella Ronda circuit, it is called the 'Queen of the Dolomites' and is renowned for the excellent selection of skiing as well as superb accommodation, bars, restaurants and shopping.
Corvara's delightful villages nestled in the Alta Badia region of the Dolomites and have been enjoyed by British skiers for many years. Ideally located on the Sella Ronda circuit, they have easy access to the main slopes including connections to Arabba, Selva, Val di Fassa and the exhilarating Marmolada glacier.More information
Kronplatz is part of the famous South Tyrol and the Dolomiti Superski area and is known for its modern ‘state-of-the-art’ lifts, guaranteed snow and breathtaking 360º views of the Dolomite Mountains.More information
La Villa, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy, is situated at the foot of the Sassongher Mountain linking with the Dolomites’ famous Sella Ronda ski circuit. Located between Corvara and San Cassiano, it is one of the main ski villages in the region of Alta Badia - a UNESCO world heritage site.More information