Italy - Dolomites, the place we return and return and return...
There are too many places in the world to visit that we normally do not go to a special place twice. But this is different when it comes to our most favourite: the dolomites. It is like our second home, our "fuel station" where we can load up with some energy. We have visited the Dolomites in summer, in autumn, in spring and in winter (mainly in winter).
The first time we came here is 16 years ago - to be true, I (Nina) came here 16 years ago. It was still during my studies. I wanted to go skiing but only had little money. Italy at that time was quite cheap - the accomodation and, very important for a student, the wine. I came here and immediately fell in love with the region which spreads from the german speaking part of Alto Adige to Belluno and Veneto. The whole ski area has 1.200 km of amazing and always well prepared skiruns for everybody (from easy to really difficult runs). It consists of 12 different regions - and the amazing thing is that each region has truely its own character. Unfortunately, especially the villages around the famous Sella Ronda are getting more and more crowded in the last couple of years. The former peaceful atmosphere and the relaxed
italian way of skiing is disappearing - après ski parties are coming up and heavy drinking parties (like in Austria). By now, it is more expensive, but still more affordable than Austria or Switzerland. And there are still some areas where the "old" feeling of the Dolomites exists. We have done millions of Ks on skis, I have taken part in several mountain bike races and we have climbed quite a lot of mountains here - it is always magical for us. That is why we return: the mountains here are just stunning, people are friendly and relaxed, skiruns are simply amazing and in the off season they are nearly empty (just immagine a skirun which is 300 metres wide, well prepared, empty and you are ready for some carving in pure sunshine - that is paradies!), the small villages are gorgeous and food is hilarious. It is simply the right place for us to fill up our batteries. Every year... and of course also this year (we just missed to go there once: when we were on our RTW trip - and this is the only good reason).
Here an example of a perfect time in the Dolomites; our time this year:
Day 1: Getting up in the morning with perfectly blue sky - typical april weather in the Dolomites. We stayed in wonderful Pieve di Livinalongo in Cesa Padon , a small, family run place with lovely rooms and the most amazing views of our favourite mountain: Civetta. As it was the driest of winters since the report the weather there was only little snow. But it was enough for some decent skiing. That day we went to Arabba and Passo Pordoi for some amazing carving hours. We finished skiing when they closed the lifts at 5.30 pm and enjoyed a Spritz in the valley. This is the famous and delicious drink of the region: Prosecco mixed with Aperol, white wine and a bit of soda. YUMMY.
Day 2: Believe it or not - but there are still areas which we do not know in the Dolomites. Even after 16 years we discover new ski runs every time we come back. And it was again time for a new one. We went to Faloria - a ski area near Cortina d'Ampezzo. It is quite a famous area but so far we never made it there. It was a 40 minute drive by car- And we were really surprised . It is a small area but has wonderful and quite difficult runs. Till the early afternoon we enjoyed the sunshine and the amazing views to all of the major mountains of the Dolomites: Marmolada, Civetta, Pelmo, Cristallo, Boé, Lagazoi, Averau and much more smaller ones. The huts were cozy and there were only some local guys skiing. This is why we love this area so much. In the afternoon bad weather was coming closer and closer till we finally ended up in a snowstorm. It was freezing in the end and we were really happy to end the day sweating in the sauna and enjoying a wonderful dinner with some nice wine.
Day 3: Today we went by ski from Arabba to Val Gardena to get a kick on the world cup slopes there. The weather wasn't the best - but we had some good runs and ended the day tired in the sauna and with a filling dinner again. Sounds boring for some, for us, this is the best way to spent some days off work.
Day 4: We woke up with rain! Warm and wet weather was coming over the Dolomites. Some lifts were closed because of heavy rain and snowfall. We tried to ski a bit in Arabba. But up to a hight of 2.000 meters it was raining. After 2 hours we gave up. We do not mind skiing in bad weather, but the slopes were really sticky. And it simply is not great fun to be standing on a steep slope and your skis just stick on the slope. It was time for a couple of drinks in the valley, some nice food and some chats with our friends. Alleghe and Agordo are the places for that!
Day 5: After the bad weather we hoped to have some nice powder on the glacier Marmolada. And that is why we got up really early, had a short breakfast and took the first lift towards the Marmolada. And it was simply heaven! We were among a few others the first on the glacier and had the whole mountain full of wonderfull, deep powder. We were skiing till we could not stand on our feet that day. Thanks that the food is so great in the Cesa Padon and that they serve you a lot of that good stuff! What a day! A skiers and snowboarders dream!
Day 6: Again we discovered a new area: Buffaure and Ciampac. You can reach this small area by gondola from Alba near Canazei. The skiruns are mainly easy or intermediate - anyway, they are perfect for carving as they are wide. But they are not crowded at all and the scenery is amazing. The huts here are very cozy and typically italian. The weather that day was crazy. It was sunny, the next minute stormy and than there was snow. On our last lift up the mountain we were surprised by a thunderstorm which is not really pleasant when you sit in an open chairlift. To be honest, we were terribly scared when there were lightenings just above us. But we made it safely to the top. There, we were surprised again by the weather: the thunderstorm was over and hale started. It was time for us to reach the valley. But we were going down very slowly. Why? The hale hurts terribly in the face and the faster you go, the more it hurts. After have way down the hale at least turned into heavy snowfall. Anyway, we were lucky when we reached the valley and we were happy because the snow on the slopes was simply amazing.
Day 7: After heavy snowfalls at night the weather was good, sun was shining - it was again time to enjoy the powder on the Marmolada. And this is what we did again.
Day 8: We decided to end our great time in the Dolomites in Faloria with some more carving and nice views.
Again, a wonderful time in this precious part of the world was coming to an end. But we will return for sure to the only place where we return every year again and again and again...