A glance in any direction from Cortina d'Ampezzo tells you these are big mountains. Maximum vertical drop on piste is an impressive 1,715m from 2,939m on Staunies in the Cristallo region to 1,224mt at town level, but that's the exception rather than the rule, with most descents extending for no more than half that amount - a function of the extreme shape of the peaks, which are rocky cliffs for much of their height.
Almost two thirds of Cortina's 101 ski pistes are red runs for intermediates and one-third are beginner-friendly blue runs with just a handful of challenging black runs suitable for advanced skiers only. The modest total of 120km (which feels like more, thanks to the diversity of runs and broad geographical spread) is served by 51 lifts: 6 cable cars and 29 chair lifts give ample capacity of over 55,000 people per hour; most of the pisted area is covered by snow-making.
The four main areas - Faloria-Cristallo-Mietres; Tofana-Socrepes; Lagazuoi and Cinque Torri - are connected either by ski lift or a skibus service. Few other major ski resorts have skiing spread round such a large valley - Chamonix may be the closest parallel to Cortina, though the resorts could hardly be more different in all other respects. Though lacking on-ski connectivity, the ski areas are at least well-mapped on the standard piste map to allow you to plan your time on snow well: one side has a scenic depiction, making the most of the distinctive peaks; the other has a schematic plan view. It's refreshing to be able to establish where in the world you are with relative ease and also rewarding - the most mountain-blind visitor wants to know which peak is which when they look as unique as this.
The defining factor is that each separate area is topographically very distinct from its neighbours, giving a radically different ski experience from one place to the next and offering opportunities for skiing below the tree line, one or two couloirs, and rolling, twisting piste elsewhere. There's also significant variety of elevation; with the areas spread to east and west of town, and with varied aspects, these are all factors which combine to create very different snow conditions across the resort during the course of the day. In low season it's easy to drive between areas but the bus system is also effective and the only option unless you're visiting by car.
Starting from the outskirts of town, Faloria is accessed by a two stage cable car that soars above heavily forested slopes and a rocky escarpment to the east of town. The skiing here is hidden from Cortina, on north facing slopes that descend to Rio Gere where they are divided by road from Cristallo and a dramatic chairlift rising to 3000m between the tight walls of a couloir for the steepest, blackest run in the resort at Staunies. Both Cristallo and Faloria are also accessed by bus or car from the point where they meet on the Passo Tre Croci road. Also on this side of town, to the north east is the small two-lift blue run area of Mietres.
To the west of town, the high Tofana region reaches nearly 3000m and connects to the lower Rumerlo and Socrepes area, but only by a black run. Access is from the outskirts of town by the Col Druscie cable car or by car or bus to the top station of this lift - a preferable option when snow on the single blue run back to base is scarce. The Socrepes area is best reached from the car parks at Lacedel.
The road continues to the two furthest outlying areas: Cinque Torri and Lagazuoi are both small but one-way linked by a green run. From the pass at Falzarego a remarkable cable car climbs to Lagazuoi and the option of the 8.5km Armentarola run to the far side of the mountains through Vallon Lagazuoi and a return by bus or taxi from Armentarola in Val Badia; the run is rightly famous for its opportunity to ski through a high, remote valley of great beauty.
The Cortina lift system is built around several big cable cars – most of which have been there a long time. Chairlifts and a few drags fill the gaps. Over recent years several chairs have been upgraded, though the relatively low skier numbers mean there’s little pressure to make changes.
For a resort of this quality, the uplift is not remotely cutting edge, but neither is it a significant limiting factor. The latest additions are the replacement in the Cristallo area of the two man chairlift "Val Padeon" by a quad, and a six seater on Tofana to replace two chairlifts, the Col Taron and Piemerlo.
Depending where you draw the ski area boundary lines and which ski areas are counted, 42 ski lifts including 5 cable cars, 29 chairlifts, 6 surface lifts and 2 ski buses serve the main ski areas with an uphill capacity of 55,000 riders per hour. Generally, lift queues are not a problem, but avoid Italian holiday periods when Cortina is very busy though not all visitors come to ski.
Additionally, each of the smaller Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore ski areas is served by a handful of chairlift and surface lifts, and included in the main Cortina lift pass. Nearly half of the chairlifts are old two-seaters, but before leaping to conclusions bear in mind they are transporting you through a UNESCO world heritage site with some of the best views in the Alps, and allegedly eight out of 10 days are sunny so what’s the rush.
The Cortina d’Ampezzo valley lift pass includes access to all of the lifts in Cortina, Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore ski areas, a total of 140km of pistes (120km in Cortina). The valley forms part of the massive Dolomiti Superski circuit, comprising 1,220km of pistes sevred by 450 ski lifts across 12 ski areas in Veneto, Trentino and South Tyrol. For more information about ski lifts (including lifts open and closed) and lift pass prices in Cortina contact the ski pass desk at the tourist office in Cortina:
There are excellent beginner runs at Socrepes, at reasonable altitude and lots of them, along with great slopes to progress to. Whether first-timers will enjoy getting on a bus to ski, or cope with the exuberant high speed Italian antics of other skiers is another question, but other aspects of the experience - the breathtaking mountains, wonderful refuges and classy town - should be sufficiently inspiring to make this a great first trip on skis.
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Cortina could be heaven for the vast majority of skiers. With few terrors to lose sleep over and appropriate terrain spread evenly throughout all the individual ski areas, there's no corner you can't discover enjoyably. With the exception of Staunies (just one run, out on a limb) and possibly the Forcella Rossa (which you will want to brave to link two areas), there's nowhere you can't go. That's particularly useful in Cortina, both to experience the variety of view and terrain and to provide the mileage for the week.
Highlights for this ski level are too numerous to mention. Don't be put off by the credentials of the Olimpia, where the Women's World Cup downhill race takes place every year, flying past a huge outcrop of rock whose massive vertical face overshadows a steep section of the course. Equally, the long excursion to Armentarola should be on your list for a fine day.
The one drawback of Cortina for serious piste-bashers is that the areas are fragmented but the relative lack of vertical common to much of the Dolomites is not a real problem here, and there are notable long descents, such as the 1600m from Tofana back to town. The Dolomiti Superski pass is likely to appeal to adventurous intermediates too - not just Cortina and adjacent areas are covered, but all 1200km of piste in the Dolomites, much of it easily reached by car for the day.
© D G Bandion
Being Italy, the grooming and snow-making tends to be excellent and the lack of overcrowding allows many of the rolling, twisting red runs to be taken at exhilarating speed. There are also several black runs of note: the Canalone Staunies, the steepest piste in the Dolomites, between tight, imposing rock walls; a couple above Faloria; and three more on Tofana, including the classic Forcella Rossa.
Off-piste there are opportunities too, though they're not obvious, with little of interest between the piste and some of the best stuff hidden in steep couloirs. Local guides will take you down the Creste Bianche, Bus Tofana, Canalino del Prete and Sci 18. The website www.dolomiti.org has excellent pages detailing some of the many possibilities, with pictures and maps.
Maybe the highlight, if you're willing to sweat a bit, is to ski tour, based at the refuge at Fanes. More like a four star hotel than a mountain hut, there are en suite rooms available as well as dorms, beautiful facilities and wonderful dining with oodles of atmosphere, history and natural beauty.
The pisted terrain is mostly as good to board as to ski, with generally few flats although some link-runs are bad news. Limited off piste and good grooming make this a place for carvers. The lift system still includes significant numbers of older 2-seater chairlifts, which may cause difficulty for some snowboarders, but mostly Cortina’s ski lifts are adequate.
Cortina’s 500m long snowpark at Faloria, reached by a 4-seater chairlift from Socrepes, includes an easy line for children and beginners with four kickers of varying length from 1-6 metres, ground-level box and rail. More experienced boarders and freestylers can ride the medium line with super box kink 4 metres flat and 4 metres descent, t box and tube rail (3 metres each), bank bins, wall ride 3x2, tree bank with rail, kicker and fun box 8-10 metres. Helmets are compulsory.
A definite highlight: Cortina is famous for its mountain refuges. Most of these cater to summer mountaineers and walkers, but those that fall within the ski area also do a roaring winter trade. There are over 30 refuges and restaurants that can be reached on piste; many of them can also be accessed by car and on foot, so that even when the pistes are deserted all day, the sundecks can be swarming. You should certainly book for lunch at weekends. Good views are as predictable as good food across all the areas. Cinque Torri and Socrepes both score highly, but even big places such as the Rifugio Faloria keep the quality high despite the volume.
Pista Bar Pian de ra Bigontina
Situated at the base of Mount Faloria, Bigontina provides a chance to refuel and catch up with any others who may have been left behind you on the run down Faloria. It’s not just the location that makes this a worthwhile meeting point – service is typically quick, there is a pleasant ambience and the Gaspari family’s sausage & frankfurter sandwiches hit the spot between trips up the mountain.
Tel: +39 338 5265725, Email: [email protected]
If you’re skiing Cortina, the multi-award winning Rifugio Averau should be high up on your list of lunchtime destinations. Dubbed the ‘Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe’, Rifugio Averau offers stunning panoramic views of the Dolomite landscape – a fact not lost on the Sunday Times who have named this as one of the ten best mountain restaurants in the Alps. The breathtaking views make the terrace an ideal spot for an open air lunch, and there is food to match, with hosts Paola and Sandro well known for their fine cuisine. There is a cosy feel indoors, with the option of dinner as well as lunch, and the refuges provide the option of an overnight stay – popular in both summer and winter – with double rooms or dorms available.
Tel: +39 0436 4660. Email: [email protected] Web: www.lagazuoi5torri.dolomiti.org
Rifugio Capanna Tondi
Rifugio Capanna Tondi is a good option for those skiing on Mount Faloria. The traditional decor and range of local dishes makes Tondi a deserving lunchtime contender, while the large sun terrace means this is an equally good spot for a quick outdoor drink. Its location at the top of the Vitelli chair means Tondi can be busy at peak times, so you may wish to book ahead if you have a large group wishing to eat. There is also the option of spending at atmospheric evening at Tondi, with a number of local traditional dishes to choose from, and the option of being guided back to town by the staff either by ski or snowmobile.
Tel: +39 0436 5775. Email: [email protected] Web: www.cortinadampezzo.it/virtualtour/rifugiotondI
Ristorante Rifugio Col Drusciè
With spectacular scenery and excellent food, the Col Drusciè is one of Ultimate-Ski.com’s Cortina favourites. The Col Drusciè is not alone in Cortina in offering stunning views – although at 1,778m it does boast some of the best views of the Dolomites and the Ampezzo valley from its large terrace – but not many mountain restaurants can match the pride the Col Drusciè takes in its food. Prepare yourself for a feast to start as the Tirolean plate brings you a gigantic mix of ham and salami, before an appetising range of steaks and burgers for your main. Staff are welcoming and charming, helping the Col Drusciè to stand out above the rest.
Tel: +39 0436 862372. Email: [email protected] Web: www.freccianelcielo.com
Rifugio Col Gallina
Situated beneath the imposing peaks of Cortina, the Rifugio Col Gallina can be found 5 minutes from the Torri chairlift and Lagazuoi cable cars. Its large field, swings and slides makes it a worthwhile option for families with children, while there is a schedule of live entertainment, themed parties and buffets throughout the year. While the Col Gallina’s large balcony faces the ski slopes, it is arguably more popular during the summer months, offering an ideal starting point for mountain bikers.
Tel: +39 0436 2939. Email: [email protected] Web: www.lagazuoi5torri.dolomiti.org
Rifugio Duca d’Aosta
Those of you seeking a substantial meal will not be disappointed by the Rifugio Duca d’Aosta. Situated in the Tofane region, there are several meat dishes on offer and a good choice of deserts, giving you an extra reason to enjoy the stunning views of the Ampezzo Valley. The Duca d’Aosta is open throughout the year, with the balcony offering a memorable scenic setting during the summer months.
Tel: +39 0436 2780. Email: [email protected] Web: www.cortinadampezzo.it/ducadaosta
The Rifugio Falori’s excellent cuisine including many local specialities means the large reception hall is often full when the locals come to town. Situated at the start of the Faloria cable car, the Rifugio Faloria also offers overnight accommodation in comfortable rooms and a total of 25 beds making this an option for large groups looking for a mountain hideaway with splendid views from the large sun terrace overlooking the Cortina valley.
Tel: +39 0436 2737
At an altitude of 2,752m, the Rifugio Lagazuoi is one of Cortina’s highest mountain refuges, offering famous views over the stunning Dolomite landscape. Photographers from numerous magazines both in Italy and abroad have taken advantage of the views offered by the Lagazuoi’s popular balcony, while its location makes it a favourite for skiers and trekkers wishing to make an early start. While the views are hard to beat, the cuisine is also worthy of mention, with a pleasingly authentic feel. Top tips from the menu include polenta with deer and barley soup and the “kaiserschmarren” dessert is not to be missed.
Tel: +39 0436 867303. Email: [email protected] Web: www.lagazuoi5torri.dolomiti.org
Rifugio Lago d’Ajal
Situated by Lake d’Ajal, both the setting and the food make Rifugio Lago d’Ajal a family favourite. The beef bourguignon with homemade sauce comes highly recommended, and the choice of desserts include mousses, bavarese ice-cream cake and panna cotta. While easily accessible during the summer, it is arguably the winter-time journey to the Rifugio – by snowcat or snowmobile – which together with good cuisine and great ambience makes for a most memorable visit.
Mob: +39 368 944299. Email: [email protected]
As with many of Cortina’s mountain restaurants, the Rifugio Pomedes offers breathtaking views of the Dolomites, though few can match Pomedes for views of the ‘Alpenglow’. Once the sun dips just below the horizon, Pomedes offers memorable views of the sun-struck Dolomites, with golden-red illuminations. The Ghedina family’s authentic menu is equally enjoyable, with a good choice of meals and the customary grappa to round things off.
Tel: +39 0436 862061. Email: [email protected] Web: www.rifugiopomedes.dolomiti.org
Rifugio Ra Stua
A favourite among skiers and walkers, the Rifugio Ra Stua’s location in the Natural Park of the Dolomites makes it a popular destination all year round. ‘Lucabeca’s management ensures a personal feel to Ra Stua, and the food reflects this. The ‘tagliatelle alla Ra Stua’ is worthy of recommendation, and it’s just as well that visitors to Ra Stua tend to have an active break, because the selection of deserts are not to be missed.
Tel: +39 0436 5753. Mob: +39 348 7617388
With so many of Cortina’s mountain restaurants offering great views, you would do very badly not to find a stunning view to accompany your meal. However, the Rifugio Scoiattoli’s history gives it a twist – it was built by alpine guide Lorenzo Lorenzi who still runs the refuge with his family. Scoiattoli offers views over the 5 Torri area, and as well as a good choice of meaty dishes, there is the option for a wintertime evening experience, with the Lorenzi family inviting guests to reach the refuge by chairlift at night.
Tel: +39 0436 867939. Email: [email protected] Web: [email protected]
Rifugio Son Forca
This family run refuge has developed a reputation for good food, with the Siorpaes family serving up an appetizing selection of traditional Italian main courses. Another year-round destination, Son Forca is well located to enjoy the Dolomites while also serving up that authentic taste of Italy that many visitors crave.
Tel: +39 0436 861822 – 866192. Mob: +39 349 8800032
The elegant town of Cortina d’Ampezzo at 1,200m in the heart of the Dolomites has an imposing Gothic campanile (c. 1858) towering 66m above the extensive pedestrianised centre and, at the last count, as many as 278 shops, 21 jewellery and luxury watch shops, 16 art galleries, 14 antique shops and numerous stylish, trendy coffee shops, restaurants and quality hotels. A visit to an outdoor gear shop here could result in a Gucci purchase as easily as The North Face.
Cortina has an extensive Italian clientele, which makes the whole scene all the more authentic for visitors from elsewhere, with extended families enjoying the passegiata, well wrapped in furs. Most of these visitors don’t even come to ski and even those who do will spend as much time off slope as on. Staggering along in ski boots at six in the evening, you’ll feel very under-dressed and will definitely not slot into the refined après-ski scene in the wine-bars, where there’s no dancing to speak of, never mind on the tables.
The layout of the town is initially confusing when arriving by car – the one way circuit twists and turns up the hill and back down again, and missing your turn-off to one of the ski areas or an outlying hotel means a lengthy repeat of the loop. The town is on fairly steeply sloping ground and of reasonable size, so you shouldn’t count on walking to the two ski lifts which leave from the outskirts; as for the further outlying areas, you’ll definitely need to get a bus.
A key factor in Cortina when choosing lodgings and to make the most of your stay is town centre access – stay in the centre of Cortina and enjoy relaxed strolls and casual, impromptu nightlife rather than having to make an expedition of it. Then by day you can easily reach any of the ski areas from your nearest bus stop.
A member of the "Best of the Alps" association of twelve classic mountain resorts, Cortina d’Ampezzo is Italy’s most celebrated skiing and mountaineering resort. The 1956 Winter Olympics were held here and the legacy continues to be celebrated, in Cortina if nowhere else. The resort is also well known for having featured in numerous films, most notably The Pink Panther, the James Bond stunt sequences on snow in For Your Eyes Only and Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone, but the resorts enduring star attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage site are the Dolomite landscape and Italian traditions.
Cortina Tourism & Promotion
Via Marconi, 15
32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 862171
E-mail [email protected]
With more than 30 bars, coffee shops, pastry shops and snack bars, 40 restaurants and 14 pizzerias in an around town, apres-ski is one of the reasons to visit Cortina, though it has nothing to do with dancing in ski boots and Germanic beer-swilling revelry. Apres ski in Cortina is a full Italian experience, with the emphasis on several wonderful wine bars before dinner at one of many restaurants serving delicious homemade Italian specialities from the Veneto and South Tyrol.
Visitors to Cortina, mostly from Italy, include significant numbers of non-skiers who come to enjoy the town and to socialise by day as well as at night. Consequently, many cafés, bars and restaurants do brisk business during the day and hence not all of the bars stay open late. A few bars close as early as 9pm and most bars (and restaurants) will be closed by 11pm even in peak season. Though a few bars open late and while partying is possible well into the small hours in one of six discos (open from 11pm), during low season these tend to be weekend-only.
Mokarabia Coffee Bar, Corso Italia 44, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 863777. Email: [email protected]
Dolomiti Bar, Via Roma 50, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 868344. Email: [email protected]
La Suite Wine Bar & Aperitivi, Piazza Venezia 6, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 860563. Email: [email protected]
Enoteca Brio di Vino, Largo Poste 17, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 862218
LP 26 Prosciutteria, Largo Poste 26, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 862284. Email: [email protected]
X Bar, Largo Poste 65, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 2615. Email: [email protected]
Birreria Hacker Pschorr, Via Stazione 7, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 868121. Email: [email protected]
Stazione, Via G. Marconi, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 2529. Email: [email protected]
The Tivoli Michelin starred restaurant is the best around. It overlooks Cortina and has an innovative and extensive menu. Leone e Annac serves traditonal Sardinian specialities. El Camineto, Baita Fraina and Il Meloncino are expensive but all offer good quality food. El Toulà, set in a converted barn, is highly recommended. La Tavernetta is a new restaurant that serves traditional Italian food at reasonable prices. Da Beppe Sello, Ospitale, Pontejei and Ariston are all less formal and less expensive. For simple pizza try the Croda Café, Cinque Torri and Vienna. Da Lago Pianozes and Lago Ghedina are both situated out of town near a lake and combine traditional mountain atmosphere and good food.
Enoteca, which closes at 9pm, is always packed with tourists and locals alike who go there to drink wine by the bottle and share their latest skiing exploits. Brio di vino, Villa Sandi and El Becalen are all popular and trendy venues for pre-dinner drinks. The Blues Bar, LP26 and Molo open till late. If you want to stay out later there is a choice of six discos. If dining out, it’s a good idea to plan ahead; check locally on arrival and book in advance to be sure of a table in peak season, and at weekends especially.
Ristorante Pontejel, Largo Poste 11, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 863828. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Bar Son Zuogo, Passo Tre Croci 1, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 867571. Mob: +39 338 4710026. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Pizzeria La Perla, Piazzetta San Francesco 3, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 4681
Ristorante Rio Gere, Rio Gere 1, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 3434, Email: [email protected] Web: www.dolomiti.org
Ristorante Pizzeria Il Ponte, Via B. Franchetti 8, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 867624. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Pizzeria Ariston, Via G. Marconi 10, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 866705. Email: [email protected] Web: www.ristoranteariston.dolomiti.org
Ristorante Pizzeria Al Passetto, Via G. Marconi 8, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 2254. Email: [email protected] Web: www.alpassettoghedina.it
Birreria Vienna Ristorante Pizzeria, Via Roma 68, Cortina d’Ampezzo
Tel: +39 0436 866944. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Pizzeria La Tavernetta, Via del Castello 53, Cortina d’Ampezzo (0.6km north)
Tel: +39 0436 868102. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante El Zoco, Via Cademai 18, Cortina d’Ampezzo (1.6km north via SS51)
Tel: +39 0436 860041. Email: [email protected] Web: www.elzoco.it
El Brite de Larieto, Località Malga Larieto, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2km east via SR48)
Mob: +39 368 7008083. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Al Camin, Via Alverà 99, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2km east via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 862010. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Leone e Anna, Via Alverà 112, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2m east via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 2768. Email: [email protected] Web: www.leoneanna.it
Fattoria Meneguto, Via Fraina 6, Cortina d’Ampezzo (2km south via SS51)
Tel: +39 0436 860441. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Baita Fraina, Località Fraina, Cortina d’Ampezzo (3km south via SS51)
Tel: +39 0436 3634. Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Tivoli, Via Lacedel 34, Cortina d’Ampezzo (3km west via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 866400. Email: [email protected] Web: www.ristorantetivoli.it
Ristorante Lago Scin, Località Lago Scin, Cortina d’Ampezzo (4km east via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 2391. Email: [email protected] Web: www.ristorentelagoscin.com
Ristorante Il Meloncino al Camineto, Località Rumerlo 1, Cortina d’Ampezzo (5km west via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 4432. Email: [email protected] Web: www.ilmeloncino.it
Croda Cafè Ristorante Bar Pizzeria, F.lli Ghedina 28, Cortina d’Ampezzo (6km north via SS51)
Tel: +39 0436 866589
Ristorante Baita Pie Tofana, Località Rumerlo, Cortina d’Ampezzo (6km west via SR48)
Tel: +39 0436 4258
Gastronomia El Panaruò, Via Nazionale 46, San Vito di Cadore (11km south via SS51)
Tel: +39 0436 5893, Email: [email protected]
Ristorante Passo Giau, Località Passo Giau, Cortina d’Ampezzo (16km southwest via SR48/SP638)
Mob: +39 346 0696745. Email: [email protected] Web: www.passogiau.it
Ristorante Da Aurelio, Passo Giau 5, Cortina d’Ampezzo (17km southwest via SR48/SP638
Tel: +39 0437 720118. Email: [email protected] Web: www.da-aurelio.it
Blu Room Gall, Nuovo Centro 8
Bilbò Club Gall, Nuovo Centro 7
Area, Ronco 82
Belvedere, Pocol 38
VIP Club Cortina, Corso Italia 207
Ciarlis, Largo Poste 35
Beyond the confines of the town there is excellent walking and cross country skiing while the Olympic facilities, for skating in particular, are exceptional. Don’t forget that simply riding a cable car here is an extraordinary experience - with top quality restaurants at the far end, it can make a complete day out.
It’s difficult to imagine a better mountain landscape for walking in winter (and summer) with numerous mountain refuges for leisurely lunches and to enjoy the spectacular Dolomite views, by daylight or moonlight, but especially “Enrosadira”, the enchanted time before sunset when the peaks are tinged with red refelctions.
The Fiames Nordic Ski Centre is the focal point for cross-country skiing around an open field and on the track of the former railway line. There’s up to 10km high altitude cross country skiing for experts at the Tre Croci Pass (1,800m) with various routes and detours and spectacular views. The cross-country ski school (10 instructors) at Fiames offers private or group lessons (for 5-8 people) for adults and children. Cross-country ski gear available for rental at Fiames. Open: 08:30-16:30 from December to mid-April. Tel: +39 0436 4903. Email: [email protected]
There’s a 1km long toboggan run at Guargne served by the Mietres chairlift and snowbob toboggans available for hire at the base station. Also, a number of mountain refuges organise moonlit toboggan descents after-dinner.
The Olympic Ice Stadium has been fully renovated and is now a covered indoor ice stadium open to the public for ice skating in winter and summer, and with instruction available for those that need it. The ice rink also hosts 1st division ice hockey championships. Tel: +39 0436 881812. If you prefer your feet more firmly grounded, the Cortina Curling Centre is open from December until mid-April with instructors and national team athletes available for individual instruction or group lessons. Tel: +39 0436 2400. Email: [email protected] Web: www.curlingcortina.it
As an alternative to more conventional forms of skiing or boarding, thrill seekers can experience being pulled along on skis or a borad by wind-powered snow kite with indificual and group courses available for beginners and advanced including freestyle and freeride options. For more information contact Kite4Freedom Tel: +39 331 488 5789. Email: [email protected] Web: www.kite4freedom.it
Top Gear enthusiasts may like to try the excitement of ice driving in safety, available from December to February at Fiames (3km from Cortina), with expert instruction from rally driver Franco Munari and to test the limits of a Mitsubishi Evo VIII rally car equipped with winter studded tyres and telecamera. For more information contact Snow Ice Tel: +39 349 764 8279. Email: [email protected]