Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better!
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

TR San Cassiano and Venice 17/2-27/2 (long and with photos)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Family half term trip. The children are 7 and 6. The Mrs is now on her 5th trip but she’d be the first to agree she’s not naturally sporty. She’s improving every year though and is now competent on all blues and could push herself to an easy red. The children have done various lengths of group lessons each year and some
bits n bobs in Scotland.

Booking
Our half term was a week after most of the UK and didn’t clash with Carnevale or Fasching. We hadn’t been skiing in Italy yet so the Dolomites seemed like a good idea (thanks to the fans on Snowheads). I wanted somewhere we could all ski together and not worry that we would get onto routes that were too hard for anyone. I thought I’d found a great resort on Bergfex (Sulden am Ortler), then I realised it was 4 hours drive from any airport! The other areas I seriously looked at were Madonna/Folgarida and Madesimo. I chose San Cassiano as the immediate area is almost all blue runs. Bonuses were that it is linked to the Sella Ronda and it is really in the Dolomites which was my original idea.

Flights
Living in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, flights to most places are a bit hit and miss. There are essentially no local bookable flights to INN except going via a TO as far as I could see. EasyJet fly from MAN on a Sunday and from LPL on Saturday and Tuesday to VCE. Ryanair fly to BGO, not that helpful. Couldn’t see any flights to Verona or Treviso. Since the difference in price between flying back on Saturday and Tuesday (booking in late November) would pay for a nice flat in Venice for 3 days, we went for the 10 day holiday option! Most accommodation seemed to be SAT-SAT so for the first time in quite a few years it was a flight from LPL.

Transfers
I could see transfers to various Dolomite villages from various airports, and some transfer options from VCE but not from one to the other. All looked way more expensive than hiring a car anyway so we went for that. I was booking everything around Christmas and had been about to book the car but not got round to it. I was going to use Winrent as they seemed to offer some cars with winter tyres but when I came back to it the price had gone up by €100. Ouch! Searched again and found I could pay now (rather than in 6w when I was on holiday) with Hertz and get a ‘guaranteed’ Audi A4 Quattro Estate with winter tyres and chains for just over £200 for 8d. I’ve driven all round Scotland in atrocious conditions with winter tyres so this was booked.

Accommodation
Alta Badia TO actually has a very useful website! It lists lots of accommodation providers. You do have to be careful about where your accommodation is as even when you try and narrow the search, it gives you places way away. After a few nights perusing this and Booking.com (alternative maps and photos) and we went for this place: http://www.forcelles.it/
despite the website describing it as ‘enchanting and cured’.

For Venice, I left it to the Mrs who booked a flat right by Pallazzo San Marco via Airbnb. Our 6 year old doesn’t really do walking after about 10 mins, it’s more flouncing after that.

Holiday

Flights leaving at 0625 don’t sound so bad until you start working out what time you actually need to get up to be there. Alarm set for 0245 and strict instructions that all packing to be completed on Thursday. Friday evening is for food and last minute electricals only.

At about 6 I get woken up by a banshee wail and ‘itsnearlylightwhattimeisitwevemissedourflighthowdidwesleepthroughthealarm!!!!!!’ After about 10 seconds my brain engages and I realise ‘it’s Friday and we’re not going on holiday until tomorrow’. She’s obviously looking forward to the holiday a bit too much. Phew!

Saturday morning starts a few hours after Friday evening finished but as all preparations have been done we’re actually all in the car before 3.30. There’s unsurprisingly no traffic and we get to LPL 15 mins early. ANPR doesn’t work at the barrier but a sleepy sounding scouser lets me into the multistorey car park. It’s raining lightly so I almost feel the extra £20 for cover is worth it. Everyone else is asleep. Queue for check-in not to bad, about 15mins. Inevitably there is building work in the terminal and limited eating facilities. We brought breakfast with us having experienced the horrors of UK airport food prices/quality.

Then the gauntlet of duty free. A pretty limited whisky selection but 16 yr old Lagavulin is there, £6 cheaper than Tesco. Get in. But just before I grab a bottle, a lady asks, would I like to try any? I mean it’s between 4 and 5 am, but what else can you say but yes? I nod sagely and tell her I’ve already tried the first 3 she suggests but a travel only special edition Jura is given to me, then a Connemara. I stick with the Lagavulin.

On the plane, I get the other seat across the aisle and pretty promptly fall asleep. Wake up over the alps, the Mrs is looking pretty ropey TBH, glassy eyes but not sure much working behind them. The kids seem to have kept her occupied.

Baggage reclaim starts very well with rapid identification of the correct carousel and even better, our bags. Both seem to have been through a combine harvester, 1 is cracked, the other ripped. Await skis. Urgent toilet visit is called (they are always urgent for a 6 yo). Still awaiting skis. Spot ‘oversize luggage’ en route and work out there are two and this is the other one. The area for 1-3 is behind 1 and the area for 4-6 is behind 4. Eventually find the right oversize luggage area and there is my bag. The queue for reporting luggage problems looks enormous so we forget it and head for the exit.

Car Hire is the usual chaos. There is some sort of ‘take a ticket, await your turn’ system and bodies everywhere. I am called suspiciously quickly and get death stares. The guy says ‘you are early’. I point out my pickup time is 10am and it is now after 11! After telling me the car is worth more than my life and asking for 2 credit cards, I get keys. I remember to ask about anti waxing agent. He says ‘buy in mountains’. Car is as described and has the most minimal scrapes. Even better we are outside in Italian sunshine and can actually see the paintwork.

I pack the car. The cases only fit if I remove 2 heavy bars, which I chuck on top of the skis. Distinctly over engineered. In we get and off. Well, no. There are 4 cars which have in the meantime parked up the road and are completely blocking us in. The Hertz guys move two so I can get out. But only by driving the wrong way on the one way system. Not sure this is the best way to start driving an unfamiliar car with the wheel on the other side. Now I realise I have no idea how to move the car! Haven’t driven an automatic for 7 years and that was an elderly Nissan Bluebird. This is nothing like that, there isn’t a key or handbrake and the gearshift seems to be electric. Eventually work things out.

Mrs WS starts messing with the satnav. It wants us to go via Zolda. Having looked before, I’ve already decided on having lunch in Cortina so decide to ignore it.

It’s very easy driving out of the airport and straight away there are signs for Belluno. After she’s messed around with the music the Mrs falls asleep. Not sure the kids made it to the motorway awake. The road is very easy and not very busy. After Belluno there are signs to Cortina, the satnav spends 10 minutes politely asking me to turn before deciding that this way is fine too. The road is standard bad A road with a never ending string of villages all ending in ‘Cadore’. It’s like the A6 but with better scenery. Stop at a garage for diesel anti waxing agent. It is shut. Stop again on the edge of Cortina. The man speaks no English but ‘antigello diesel’ seems to be enough Italian to get the right stuff. €5. Thanks to Snowheads I remember it goes in the black hole not the ‘adblue’ one.

Park in Cortina. It’s definitely got some skiing around but can’t actually see any. There are a few people in ski boots though. Scenery on the way in is very good. Pizza is okay. I am very tired.

In Cortina there are road signs for P. Falzarego. Follow these and soon there are skiers on the right. After a short gap there are skiers on the left. This is Cinque Torri. The road is black and the scenery is fantastic. Turn right under the Cable car and the road reaches over 2000m before descending steeply to Armentarola then San Cassiano. Accommodation is dead easy to find as it overlooks the roundabout in the village. There is an enormous pile of snow in front of it so have to do a 3 point turn then drive along the pavement through a tiny gap in the snow to park.

Our apartment turns out to be the whole top floor. Kitchen (microwave, fridge with freezer compartment, coffee maker, 4 burner electric hob)is off the hall. Kettle is on the hob so a bit slow to boil. No oven but there is a dishwasher. There are 2 bedrooms, 1 with a double bed, the other with a double and a single and a bigger desk. There’s plenty of storage in each. The bathroom has a full size bath with shower over and is large. The living/dining room has a 2 person sofa and a dining table for 8. You can see the gondola from the window. There are 2 balconies, 1 has a great view up the valley.


View from Balcony on arrival

Still no chance to rest, have to get everyone else kitted out. After perusing the internet options I decided to hire from Ski Bar which is right by the gondola. Don’t think it was the cheapest but meant less carrying as their stuff all stays there for the week. It’s insanely busy so we go upstairs to ski school where we sort the lessons (I’d already emailed).

I booked the kids onto ‘half day’ group lessons (they like to met other children) which are Sunday afternoon, Mon-Wed am’s, Thursday and Friday all day. All day lessons are full days for 5 days but I would like to do some skiing with them. I’d actually prefer a bit more than this leaves me with. I booked Mrs WS 3x90min private lessons on Sunday afternoon and Monday and Tuesday morning. I ignored holiday organising for a week at the wrong moment and couldn’t get lessons at 10-1130 on Monday and Tuesday so she’s at 1130-1300.

There’s a connecting door from the ski school office to the lift pass office and the queue for passes has gone while we were there. Under 8s get free passes here with an adult so both kids are free. The lady checks all our passports to make sure. Back downstairs and it doesn’t look much better in Ski Bar but at least we can now force our way through the returns queue to what looks like the hiring end. There are lots of staff so the wait is not actually that bad, once we can reach it. The kids get 15% discount as they have booked group lessons.

It’s now dinner time but we’re all too tired to go out so we whizz round the supermarket (5 mins walk past the apartment) and boil up some pasta for tea. Bottle of wine, glass of whisky and a fairly early night.

D1

The following morning is a relaxed start. Downstairs for breakfast which is a buffet with a choice of everything you can think of and the lovely ever-present Simon who whips up coffee and eggs in whatever style you fancy. The coffee is very good, the scrambled eggs are very good and the breads are really nice, although one is flavoured with fennel, which son and wife are not keen on. There’s even a vast selection of nuts beside the cereals. All the other guests are elderly German couples
which does not impress the children. ‘There’s no one here to be friends with’ says our daughter.

Eventually we heave ourselves into our gear and walk to Ski Bar. Even carrying skis, boots, poles and trying to keep 2 children on the pavement not the road it’s no bother. The pavement does do a vanishing act for part of the journey and the road is quite busy with cars. It’s only a short walk though. Swap into boots, round the corner and onto a travelator up to Gondola level. Queue is moderate, maybe 5 mins again. Elbows oot, queue jumping and friendly shoves obligatory. Son loves this, he’s way ahead while our daughter is daydreaming way back. Gondola is 8 seater with proper seats.

We ski Codes which is the little button tow. My son is scarred by a recent debacle on the Alpha (at Nevis Range, a very hard to use button tow) but after 2 goes here with a little help he’s gone up and down on his own. Stop for cake and hot chocolate. Eat so much cake we can barely move but decide we should do some longer runs and go down to the 3 chairs (Ciampai, Biok and La Brancia all start at the same place). This is the only way into the ski area on a blue from Piz Sorega so it’s our first run every day. This blue is actually not that easy, traverse with a funny camber then quite a steep but very wide slope. In fact, it’s one of the hardest blues in the area but it needs to be done to get any further.

Run 14 looks quite steep from here so we take Biok and skied 13. It’s good, a fast 6 man lift and an easy slope.

Take Ciampai back up and eat at Las Vegas. It’s just ok enough to eat outside (v light snow but no wind and not that cold) and everyone else has lessons straight after. No one is that hungry after the enormous cake stop so soup and chips is our limit. I had a consommé with an enormous dumpling in it which was good.

Unfortunately it’s not the best connection back to Piz Sorega from here. Downhill then uphill is difficult especially when 90% of the traffic is coming towards you. Can see Mrs WS’ instructor well before reaching him. Kids lesson is in 30mins so I tell them no more skiing, play in the snow, which meets with grumbling but is sensible.

I leave the kids with (their instructor) Fabio and ski the red to Bamby (fast and quiet) then the black down to La Villa. It’s a decent black and the surface is quite firm. At the bottom there’s a sort of 45 degree lift to get back to the gondola. Piz La Ila gondola is a disappointment, bum rests only. Bah!


Black 17 with Piz La Ila gondola

In the interests of research I do the red to check out how steep it is after the blue joins it. The top section seems like a proper red, below the junction is only marginally steeper than a blue but again the piste is a bit firm and scraped. This run ends at a short chairlift that takes you to the car park at the gondola. There’s enough snow to ski through the car park (it’s slightly downhill to the gondola). Back up and down the red back to Sorega. The La Fraina chairlift here is new, fast and I never saw a queue for it all week. I’m so early that I decide I can do 12, the red into the village and get the gondola back up. It’s absolutely fantastic, empty and with smooth grippy snow.

Get back up to meet the wife for 3. She has decided her boots are too big and goes down to swap them. It is a straightforward blue all the way. Only right at the end do you need a little speed to get round the last corner. The (only other) person on the gondola is sweating profusely. He tells me he’s staying in Santa Christina and is worried he won’t make it back. Hope he made it to the Gardena valley at least. It is a long way. 6 more lifts just to get into the valley. Go back to collect the kids at 4. They are happy and have somehow got themselves into the same class.

We went out into San Cassiano in the evening. We ate at a restaurant which is in the foyer of the shopping centre, above the supermarket. If you take the stairs from the supermarket up you are in the middle of it. Can also get in via the bar in front of it (has a covered outdoor smoking section) or through the shopping centre doors. No idea what it is called. Good food, poor covers singer, especially the Robbie Williams medley. I had ribs which are pretty well guaranteed to be good. We went into the Rosa Alpina restaurant and booked for Wednesday (they were full). This was the normal restaurant not the Michelin 2*! Not my son’s kind of food there.

D2

My poor organisation turns out to be a blessing because we have to get the children to their lesson at 10 and it’s chaos at the top of the gondola every day. Mrs WS’ lessons are 1130-1 which means she gets an hour or so gentle skiing with me first. I think this is good for her confidence and she seems happy. After we drop the kids off we explore the blues via La Brancia. Biok has a queue so we go for the slower lift. Head down to the next 2 chairs, a 2 and 4 man. Take the 2 man (Pre dai Corf). This may have the best view of any lift. Anywhere in the world? Have to have a photostop at the top. The pistes are easy, the view is stunning.


View from top of Pre Dai Corf

You do need to get Roby back into the lift system though, unless you ski the red down to Bamby/La Fraina. This is a slow 4 man but due an upgrade to a fast 6 man over the coming summer. From the top you can get 15 which is a lovely blue that takes you to Bamby (for Piz la Ila), La Fraina (for Piz Sorega) or you can carry on down to La Villa (though it joins the red to go there). Or you can take 14 to the 3 chairs, or you can ski round the top restaurant and take a 2 way chairlift on its short side to a blue to Corvara. This lift (Brada Fraia) is impossible to describe but does work. You could also take 6 to Pralongia 2 if you like poling!


After dropping the Mrs back at Piz Sorega for her lesson I go over Pralongia with a shufti across the top to do the famous Pista de Sole (34) rather than 21. Lovely. This does involve a minor tussle with the slope so if you’re not short of time do 21 first then back up. They’re both worth it. Onwards over Cherz, cross the road and go up Bec de Rosses, down to Le Pale (fantastic view), back up and down to Costoratta to take red 1 to Corvara. Nice long steady run. The view as you ski into Corvara is super.


Corvara

It’s quite quick to get back to Piz Sorega, short fast Costes de l’Ega chair, short blue through the village (1 narrow road which is trafficked enough to ski over) to Col Alt gondola (8 seater), short run to Brada Fraia chairlift (red with a blue side track) then I’ve time for the lovely 15 blue to La Fraina. Get back at just the right time.

After the lessons we head down to the 3 chairs, take Biok and have lunch at the hut at the top. Again the weather is good, it has a big deck but is pretty busy. I have Spatzle which is fantastic. These are like small green gnocchi, made with spinach. Oddly, our drinks arrive as we are finishing our mains. We ask the waiter for straws, he brings 1, not much use for 2 children! Then he eventually brings a second, which is shorter than the glasses. Great food, poor service. The clouds lift and the children spot some other kids making a wee slide onto the upper deck. I take my beer up there to keep an eye on them but the view is so special that I just stand and stare and forget about the kids.


View from Biok

There’s even a kids slope here that they love so we do that a few times then take 10 home. Biok is a new 6 man fast chair. It takes you in the most useful direction from Piz Sorega but does tend to have a bit of a queue in the morning. From Biok you can go to Corvara, Pralongia or San Cassiano so it gets used a lot.

The kids vote for dinner in so we do that. I nip to the supermarket for essentials (beer, prosecco, red wine). There is also a deli with more expensive wine next to the supermarket as well as another deli on the way. Kitchen utensils and pans are plenty for cooking.

D3

The next morning is a repeat of the day before. Big breakfast with Germans in Birkenstocks. And socks. This is the true division of Europe. Not language or politics, wearing socks with sandals.

After dropping off the kids we take 6 towards Pralongia but it really is flat and involves too much poling. To be avoided. 7 is much better and the one slightly steep section is easily bypassed by heading left. Most of it is fairly flat. The blues off Pralongia are all lovely. The only steep section of 8 is below Pralongia 2 lift and even this isn’t too bad. It helps that it is quieter than the higher section. This is all easy blue terrain.

After dropping Mrs WS off I think I’ll do yesterday in reverse. Take La Brancia then Braia Frada in reverse. This is a lift that does a dual function and has a long side (from Col Alt into the plateau lift system) and a cheeky short side that allows skiing from La Brancia to Corvara. Take 5 into Corvara which involves too much poling at the start but then a long run, then up Boe, then up to Mont Vallon. Stunning amphitheatre of cliffs at the top. The black down isn’t hard, then red down to Passo Campolungo and up Cherz then Maserai. Rather than skiing to a village I thought I’d have plenty of time to ski across the plateau. Oh dearie me no. I get Pralongia button lift to take me to Arlara chair which only leads to Pre Ciablun chair which only leads to 20 heading to Roby. Usual big queue here and I’m 25 mins late to meet her and the children. Not impressed.

That’s her and me.


Mont Vallon

Ski the usual and take La Brancia in search of a quick meal. Go to Utia La Brancia, it’s busy (everyone is inside) but there is a table with stools by the door. I have Gamberoni with spaghetti which is so good that I photograph it and order a glass of Pinot Nero after my Birra Dolomiti. We do have to shuffle round the table to get our son closer to the heat from the fire but this place is great. Have to stay inside as it’s cold and cloudy.

We have to do 14 to get out of here but it is now no problem, despite how steep it looked just 2 days ago. Lessons are effective! We head back to Biok for the kidslope.

A couple of runs and back home. Take the option of 10a from Ciampai as the home run. We’re the only skiers on it and it is fantastic. We swap skis for sledges at Ski Bar. Son is not interested in doing this with his Mum, neither is daughter! As usual our lovely daughter gives way. Mrs seems to have forgotten everything from Radstadt (2 years ago) and is stressed. Children love it. Mrs says never again, like she did the first time.

Eat at Rosa Alpina this evening. Food is very nice and not outrageously priced, wine list ranges from very expensive to Oligarchs only which has a deep impact on the bill. There’s no need to charge this much for local wine.

D4

Wednesday dawns as the loveliest day of all, not a cloud in the sky. Mrs WS is feeling some tiredness but the forecast for tomorrow is snow so I persuade her into skiing for another day.

Ski across Corvara and take Borest to Colfosco. Take all the lifts up to Jimmi’s Hutte. Scenery fantastic around here too, but as noted by SteveM, it’s a bit dark up this valley.


Just above Colfosco

Ski back for the children and go to Club Moritzino for lunch. Outside deck is huge and very loud. Loose son immediately, then find him basking on a sun lounger! This place is massive, inside and out. There appears to be a fine dining restaurant that needed booking, a big dark bar area, then the canteen bit with a large table area behind. End up getting a big table with a great view towards La Crusc. Except it is somewhat obscured by frilly net curtains. Big icicles though. Pasta with ragu de Cervo, not bad but overpriced. Kids have chips due to lack of options (they aren’t that fussy) so at least not expensive.

Ski down to Roby, 14 to Biok then 7 to Pralongia 2. The children spot another kidslope and want to try it. Mrs does the blue beside it 21b and we meet up at Pralongia 2 again. The kids want to go again but Mrs decides to go home so takes 9b. Kids go, daughter first, me at the back. Take a couple of photos and head down. Son is attached to the second fence by his helmet strap. Seems to have gone straight into it and over the edge of the berm. Not injured but not happy! Get his skis off, detach him and ski down to daughter. No one else passes us the whole time I’m floundering around in the deep snow. Apparently he ‘wasn’t looking where he was going’. Decide my nerves are shot and we’re going home. The children have obviously done this route with ski school as well so daughter keeps darting off the side of the piste to do jumps. Have to keep an eye on her so lose son. Keep expecting to see him by the side of the piste. Get all the way to the gondola station, still no sign of him. Ski left under the gondola to the last strip of snow to find him lying in the snow on the edge of the road. Not sure whether to strangle him or cuddle him. May have raised my voice slightly in explaining this was not good enough. Get home surprised I still have hair.


Kids about to do kidslope Pralongia (off 21b)


Skiing home on 9a

Eat at La Sieia this evening, which is on the way to the lifts. Food is very nice, as good as last night, wine is great. Less child friendly but €100 more wallet friendly! Toilet is fancier (but less accessible) and gets an ‘Ooh! Nice’ from my son. Try to use lift back upstairs and get trapped in the ski workshop! Get the right doors to open eventually and use the stairs.

D5

The forecast snow is falling so the Mrs decides to spend the morning in the village. I get the joy of getting up the gondola with a couple of small children. 3 pairs of skis are not that easy to get through the queue and into the lift. Stagger out, depositing gear all the way across the plateau then go back to pick it up.

Snow and poor visibility so I stick in the trees, down to Bamby, down to La Villa on the black. Have to take skis off for the lift and realise it would have been much more sensible to take the red as would have then been at the right side of the car park. Never mind, get the chairlift which takes you across La Villa and it’s obvious the route to the next lift all the way out to Pedraces. Snow is, if anything heavier here and I’m glad there is a hood on the flat chairlift. Head right up both lifts, second one is very slow but the descent is nice in boot deep fresh snow. So nice that I do top to bottom twice. Plenty of nice variations for a few more runs here but have to head back.

Rendezvous with wife on time and ski down to La Utia for lunch. This is on 11 on the way back to San Cassiano. The children have their race this afternoon at Armentarola so we’re going there. There’s plenty of time for a leisurely lunch but as it is snowing it’s very busy inside. I have gnocchi with some red leaves which is the nicest lunch of the week. We leave with lots of time as they need our table.

Guide us to the right turn for Armentarola, there is a big sign but the track here is very flat so keep the speed up if heading this way. Reach button tow and see our children almost straight away. Very early so go up and down the lift to scope out ideal viewing locations. Neither child comes last and they both get a medal. The snow lessens just in time for us to see them too. It’s pretty flat skiing back to the main run into San Cassiano too. No photo worth showing for today due to weather.

D6

Drop the kids off at lessons, up Biok, down 7 and Mrs ignores me taking the easy route and guns it down the hard way!!! I’m agog but she is oblivious. Wave her down past the queue for Pralongia 2 and down to Pralongia chairlift. The steepest bit of blue around here is immediately below the start of Pralongia 2 but it’s not long until it considerably mellows. Pralongia chairlift has a travelator to aid access. Down 21 to Cherz. Mrs WS happy so far. Up Cherz and down the blue. Mrs finds last section even steeper but just about avoids swearing at me. Cross road and up Bec du Rosses so that she has gone into Arabba ski area. Try a Bombardino at the top. Not convinced I’ll be having these regularly but the view is great (again).

Back down the blue and forget that there is an easy chairlift back so take my skis off to cross the road. Then put them back on again and turn round. Certainly confuses the wife. Have lunch at Cherz. Self service and I can’t remember what I had so it can’t have been that awesome. The lady on the table beside us got a massive steak ‘senza glutine’ which looked great. Mrs decides to ski home and agrees to pick up the children so I have the afternoon free. Decided to do some sight skiing round the Sella Ronda since I’m only 1 lift away and the weather is great.

Down the red back to Campolungo, up Bec de Rosses and down to the Arabba Fly. The signs around Arabba point to Portados. Scenery great, wish I’d gone right up to Porta Vescovo but have to move on after a few photos. The slopes are quite hard. Bumps and narrow with skiers all over the show. Have to keep stopping to plan a route through the maze of all the skiers. After a couple of chairlifts I reach Vauz-Pordoi gondola and it’s so quiet I get a cabin to myself. This is a new 10 seater so quite the luxury ride. It’s a long gondola too. Lezuo 4 man chairlift is quite a comedown after this but the view from the top is fantastic. More photos looking down Val di Fassa.


Val di Fassa from Pordoi Joch

A long ski down to a much busier gondola. 10 minute queue and all seats taken on Pradell-Rodella. As it’s only been an hour since Cherz, the signposting has been ace and I’m into the Gardena valley so I take one of the lifts up to Col Rodella. There’s a nice view of Sassolungo and the jaggy mountains behind it but it’s a big busy Col as the cable car to and from Campitello drops off up here. Been skiing for ages only to find myself beside a load of ski lockers! Phone on last legs so of course I use its final juice for photos rather than route planning. The signs point to Ciaves-Grohman, which is a slow chairlift. Then it’s an easy run down. It’s also very long so when I see a little sign saying Sella Ronda in orange I follow that rather than carrying on down into Selva. Up Piz Seteur/Sole, Comici 1 and 2 and Piza Pranceies and down 2 blacks. There’s a short queue each time, except Piza Pranceies which has a rather longer queue and is a slow 2 man.

Eventually reach Selva village and find horror of horrors, stairs! Up a short chair and down to Dantercepies. Odd arrangement getting on here as the lift goes right in front of you but lots of people walking round a barrier to get on earlier so by the time the cabin reaches you, it’s full! As I’m alone I see the first empty space and insert myself into it.

After the big detour I’m late so no time to soak in the scenery at the top, it’s a long easy red to Borest, then the fastest route across Corvara. Do allow myself the joy of 15 then 12 rather than 14 and 10a which would probably be slightly quicker. Minimal queue at Costa da l’ega and Col Alt lift, none for Brada Fraia or La Fraina. In fact, again I’m the only person on my 6 chairs here.

Glad The Mrs has picked up the children as I’m half an hour late. Miss a final sledge but all told a fantastic holiday. Get into the flat just as daughter is taking off her ski boots.

Do most of the packing then eat out at L’Tiac which is almost across the road from our apartment. It’s very busy, reasonable prices, good wine, good food. Waiter somewhat flustered and doesn’t speak English at all. It’s fine ordering in Italian.

Saturday morning and have to drive back to Venice. Decide to try the Zolda route back. No problems getting car out even though there’s a ramp of ice round both front tyres. Steep uphill to Passo Valparola, right at Falzarego (instead of left). Great views towards Arabba and the back of the Cinque Torri. Scenery slowly mellows but still all snowy as we drive through the Civetta ski region. Not quite as spectacular as some of the views earlier but still lovely. Road is quieter which allows for most cliches of Italian driving to be spotted. Overtaking on blind bends and through villages, yup. Overtaking someone engaged in overtaking themselves, natch. Driving at 20kph up middle of road while on phone and smoking a fag, check. Section of hair pins at 10kph in overloaded people carrier, why not? Lovely scenery and quiet but glad to reach the motorway.

12C at VCE and my demand that we pack thermals in our rucksack for Venice is snorted at. Drop off car, then most of the bags at left luggage. €100 for 3 days (on pick up, cash only) but with a bit more planning could have reduced this. Bill is per item and they counted skis and boot bag separately. Go to counter and order a water taxi. €120 but worth it once, it’s a great way to arrive. For a family of 4 it’s €60 each way on the waterbus anyway. Temps in Venice drop off rapidly and by the following morning everyone was very glad of thermals. 3 days there was great. The highlight for me was the trip to Burano but we also went up the Grand Canal, explored through San Polo (to look at the mask shops), into San Marco Cathedral and over the Rialto bridge (many times). Found a fantastic wine shop near there on Calle di Mori. Best bargain is still a €2 Traghetto ride. It’s still very atmospheric despite the tourists but it was reasonably busy even at this time (well after Carnevale).

Flight home delayed over 3 hours as the plane was stuck in Liverpool that morning so didn’t get home until after 9pm instead of 6pm. With no washing done and no planning for school it was a bit crazy on Wednesday morning!

Costs (for whole family in pounds)

Flights (inc 2 bags, 1 skis) 900
Accommodation (San Cassiano) 1000
Accommodation (Venice) 300
Lessons 700
Ski Hire x3 200
Car Hire (8d) 200
Food and booze - lots, eek!
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Fantastic report.

We certainly know about 6 year olds who arent keen on walking much. Luckily skiing is fine though.

Looked a bargain on the cost front, (you don't count food and booze as you have to eat). Were the passes included here somewhere?

Which ski school did you use and were the lessons good?
snow conditions     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Forgot pass prices. 6d Dolomiti Superski for 2 adults €588, children under 8 free with an adult! Alta Badia lift pass about €20pp cheaper IIRC. Wasn’t sure if the free under 8s also applies.

Ski school was this one:
http://www.skidolomites.it/en/ski-school-lessons-alta-badia.htm

There are 2 in San Cassiano. I asked on here before I booked but didn’t get anything back. Chose this one because the office of the other one is 100yards further away, significantly uphill, on the ski slope! The children loved their lessons and improved. There instructor seemed really patient and calm. There were 6 in their group.

The Mrs was happy with her instructor and improved from wobbly ploughing to nearly parallel on easy slopes. She seemed to be practicing things while skiing with me and was more confident by the end of the week. I’m sure she did more skiing than any previous holiday. This ski school do private lessons in 90min blocks, the other one do them in hour blocks. Same price per min (varies depending on time of day).
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@what...snow,

Excellent TR. Only scan-read but will print off for my summer beach read in August wink

It will be really useful to many considering the Dolomites SR area. Also those who’ve been before will pick up useful details.

I reckon you should get complementary upgrade to snowHead status for your efforts.
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Fantastic.

And I can heartily recommended both Solda/Sulden and Madesimo for future holidays.

If you want a different Dolomite experience, then San Martino Di Castrozza.
latest report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Super report. we had considered San Cassiano for Dolomites this year but went to Selva instead. Sounds like we would have enjoyed SC too! Maybe next time.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Top work
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
"Road is quieter which allows for most cliches of Italian driving to be spotted. Overtaking on blind bends and through villages, yup. Overtaking someone engaged in overtaking themselves, natch. Driving at 20kph up middle of road while on phone and smoking a fag, check. Section of hair pins at 10kph in overloaded people carrier, why not? Lovely scenery and quiet but glad to reach the motorway."

I have never ceased to be amazed by drivers in Italy. It's as if they are engaged in a completely different activity than drivers in, say, the US, or UK, or frankly even France. It used to be that everyone thought they were Tazio Nuvolari, but now it seems to be more of the cellphone jockeys swerving wildly about in the center lane of the autostrada. Add to that the generally sh***y condition of Italian roads and infrastructure...however, I see it as a challenge and now having navigated Rome, Florence, Milan w/out incident, can say I"m the better for it.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Very entertaining trip report, thank you.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Mike Pow, I really enjoyed your TRs of Madesimo and San Martino. Have you done one for Solda/Sulden? Where did you fly into?

@Pasigal, so much crazy driving on the way back, glad I chose the boring route there as I was quite tired. Even though it's boring driving in a long queue of traffic at 60-70kph, it's a lot less stressful. I've driven around the Amalfi coast and Lake Como before and thought the driving improved as you went north but some of the driving was awful. I thought the roads were better than here, certainly fewer potholes.

Thanks for the +ve comments everyone and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
what...snow wrote:
@Mike Pow, I really enjoyed your TRs of Madesimo and San Martino. Have you done one for Solda/Sulden? Where did you fly into?


Thanks.

Part of a longer trip, so flew in to Innsbruck.

Corvara, Marmolada, San Martino di Castrozza, Trafoi, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Verona, Pejo, Solda

TR here (info and vids)

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=125291


Photo links will be down (facebook coding) but can be seen here

https://www.facebook.com/mike.richards.927/media_set?set=a.10154090912868624.1073741875.506688623&type=3
snow report     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Wow, stunning report there and appreciate the time you took to write it:

Few questions/comments which I would be interested on your views:

Blue 28 from Sorega:

I used to access this slope via the narrow track from Sorega to avoid the steeper initial top section. Once I cut across the slope I didnt think the remainder was particularly steep. Maybe steeper than other blues in the area but not excessivley so. In fact I thought it an ideal progression slope to experience/learn skiing on a slightly steeper slope

rom the top you can get 15 which is a lovely blue that takes you to Bamby (for Piz la Ila),

I never done this slope. It looked quite steep and not wide initially from the top just past La Fraina. Whats your opinion?


The only steep section of 8 is below Pralongia 2 lift

yes I agree. mostly used it to return back to Corvara and caused me untold problems as it was always chopped up and the steepest part was not that wide. I should be able to handle it better in future, hopefully


I get Pralongia button lift to take me to Arlara chair which only leads to Pre Ciablun chair which only leads to 20 heading to Roby

Yes once at Arlara, not much you can do otherwise. I used to just ski down blue 5B and get Brai Frada chair back to the top to avoid the prei Dar Corf and blue 20


Take all the lifts up to Jimmi’s Hutte

From Jimmys hut did you go down the first run red 40 or down to chair 42 and up and down to red41 via the pass itself ?

Up Cherz and down the blue. Mrs finds last section even steeper but just about avoids swearing at me

I also thought that last section was steep. Didnt try the red so would be curious if you thought it easier than the blue? Looks ok on Youtube!!
latest report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
jimmybog wrote:
Wow, stunning report there and appreciate the time you took to write it:

Few questions/comments which I would be interested on your views:

Blue 28 from Sorega:

I used to access this slope via the narrow track from Sorega to avoid the steeper initial top section. Once I cut across the slope I didnt think the remainder was particularly steep. Maybe steeper than other blues in the area but not excessivley so. In fact I thought it an ideal progression slope to experience/learn skiing on a slightly steeper slope

rom the top you can get 15 which is a lovely blue that takes you to Bamby (for Piz la Ila),

I never done this slope. It looked quite steep and not wide initially from the top just past La Fraina. Whats your opinion?


The only steep section of 8 is below Pralongia 2 lift

yes I agree. mostly used it to return back to Corvara and caused me untold problems as it was always chopped up and the steepest part was not that wide. I should be able to handle it better in future, hopefully


I get Pralongia button lift to take me to Arlara chair which only leads to Pre Ciablun chair which only leads to 20 heading to Roby

Yes once at Arlara, not much you can do otherwise. I used to just ski down blue 5B and get Brai Frada chair back to the top to avoid the Pre Ciablun and blue 20


Take all the lifts up to Jimmi’s Hutte

From Jimmys hut did you go down the first run red 40 or down to chair 42 and up and down to red41 via the pass itself ?

Up Cherz and down the blue. Mrs finds last section even steeper but just about avoids swearing at me

I also thought that last section was steep. Didnt try the red so would be curious if you thought it easier than the blue? Looks ok on Youtube!!
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Blue 28 from Sorega:

I used to access this slope via the narrow track from Sorega to avoid the steeper initial top section. Once I cut across the slope I didnt think the remainder was particularly steep. Maybe steeper than other blues in the area but not excessivley so. In fact I thought it an ideal progression slope to experience/learn skiing on a slightly steeper slope.

Yes, it's just the initial narrow traverse and the busyness when we did it. Lots of traffic. What a beginner would really like for their first run of the day is something wide, flat and straight. It's not that bad and is short. The run down Ciampai itself is a nice blue and probably underused as everyone from Sorega does 2/3rds of it and thinks 'let's move on'.

rom the top you can get 15 which is a lovely blue that takes you to Bamby (for Piz la Ila),

I never done this slope. It looked quite steep and not wide initially from the top just past La Fraina. Whats your opinion?

You missed out! From La Brancia you head down towards Roby then very soon turn to the right, in front of the restaurant. It corkscrews round the mountain so in fact you have to maintain a bit of speed to get over the 1st hump. then its a twisty route through the forest. Same steepness as 14. Can cut across from bottom of 14 to join it. Last bit is a relatively narrow piste but too wide to describe as a cat track, then a last little steep section to the 2 lifts. My favourite blue in the area.


The only steep section of 8 is below Pralongia 2 lift

yes I agree. mostly used it to return back to Corvara and caused me untold problems as it was always chopped up and the steepest part was not that wide. I should be able to handle it better in future, hopefully

I think heading left as soon as you can under the lift will take you to nicer snow. Its shaded and the run joining is likely to be quieter.


I get Pralongia button lift to take me to Arlara chair which only leads to Pre Ciablun chair which only leads to 20 heading to Roby

Yes once at Arlara, not much you can do otherwise. I used to just ski down blue 5B and get Brai Frada chair back to the top to avoid the prei Dar Corf and blue 20

Yeah Blue 20 is a bit blink and you miss it, fairly steep straight bit then hard left onto narrow flat that takes you to just below the inevitable queue. I didn't feel like I'd fully explored that 5, 5b, 4 1/2, section of the mountain.


Take all the lifts up to Jimmi’s Hutte

From Jimmys hut did you go down the first run red 40 or down to chair 42 and up and down to red41 via the pass itself ?

With the wife I just went down 40 as she spent 20 mins queueing for the ladies, then decided she might get a bit tired on the way home. She got back on the Gondola, I skied to the mid-station then realised you can only get off there when going uphill (I even remembered someone mentioning it here, whicle I was watching for her). So I waited til she went past and met her at the bottom.

When I did the Sella Ronda, it felt like I was nearly back when I reached the Dantercepies Lounge or whatever its called. Did the lot straight to Borest then, a long run with just skis off to cross a road once.

Up Cherz and down the blue. Mrs finds last section even steeper but just about avoids swearing at me

I also thought that last section was steep. Didnt try the red so would be curious if you thought it easier than the blue? Looks ok on Youtube!!

It really didn't seem that hard, maybe the same steepness for longer? Certainly quieter IME (of being there 4-5 times). You do have to give it the beans to get round the entry to the 2 man lift and get across to the road crossing without poling. That is easier from the blue.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks for replies what..snow. heading back to Corvara next year after a break, having just done Saalbach for the past 2. Can't wait and will make sure I do the runs I missed last time.
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@ what...snow - Thanks so much for this TR!

I just booked a trip this week to San Cassiano (Feb 2019) for myself and my 2 kids (11 and 13). I loved reading your report and following along w/ the piste maps and google satellite view.

This will be my first ski trip since Kitzbuhel 2005 and I am lucky that my kids have an aptitude for skiing. We were originally planning on Alpbach - Ski Juwel region but I think the terrain above San Cassiano will be ideal for the kids to progress with easier homeruns. They are confident on blues and the easy blacks at our local resort in the USA so I think they be fine in the Dolomites.

Any tobogganing recs nearby besides the Foram above SC? I think we might take a trip to Kronplatz one eve. for some night sledding.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
WOW!! Thanks
Quote:

Family half term trip. The children are 7 and 6.


We are seriously looking noe at going to the Dolomites with the three children for half term. My worry is ski school for the 4 1/2 year old who would be learning to ski, and ski school for the two eldest girls (aged 8 and 11 next Feb). Did you find a language problem with the kids? We are thinking about using the ski school in La Villa, as they have a choice of two, and one does all day lessons (which the children are used to), nd the other looks much better for small children as it can provide some sort of kindergarten thing as well as the skiing. We have been gong to Champoluc for the past 10 years, skied extensively around the Dolomites before children, and had two holidays in Selva with two children with Esprit (who no longer go there). We have stayed summer and winter in the Alta Badia, as well as Arraba, but have now dismissed Arraba as a place to go with a 4 1/2 year old as there are many, many more play parks and things to do in the Alta Badia.

Any suggestions on places to stay most welcomed! Deal breaker atm is that all children need to have a separate bed to stop the squabbling. I don't want to drag them out again of an evening to a restaurant to eat (middle child can't keep still) and would moan about going out again, so I think as nice as your apartments were, they are't suitable for us.

Thanks, Zoe
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
gaschick wrote:
WOW!! Thanks
Quote:

Family half term trip. The children are 7 and 6.


We are seriously looking noe at going to the Dolomites with the three children for half term. My worry is ski school for the 4 1/2 year old who would be learning to ski, and ski school for the two eldest girls (aged 8 and 11 next Feb). Did you find a language problem with the kids? We are thinking about using the ski school in La Villa, as they have a choice of two, and one does all day lessons (which the children are used to), nd the other looks much better for small children as it can provide some sort of kindergarten thing as well as the skiing. We have been gong to Champoluc for the past 10 years, skied extensively around the Dolomites before children, and had two holidays in Selva with two children with Esprit (who no longer go there). We have stayed summer and winter in the Alta Badia, as well as Arraba, but have now dismissed Arraba as a place to go with a 4 1/2 year old as there are many, many more play parks and things to do in the Alta Badia.

Any suggestions on places to stay most welcomed! Deal breaker atm is that all children need to have a separate bed to stop the squabbling. I don't want to drag them out again of an evening to a restaurant to eat (middle child can't keep still) and would moan about going out again, so I think as nice as your apartments were, they are't suitable for us.

Thanks, Zoe


As your looking to use the La Villa ski school, then I'm assuming you want to stay in La Villa. You could look at the following hotels, all of which are next to or very near to the main gondola and ski school: Hotel Savoy, Hotel Christiania and Hotel Gran Risa
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
The children loved ski school. One of the best (their 5th/4th year of ski school). Instructor spoke excellent English. I think their class was 4 English speakers and 2 French. That ski school operates from 4 offices and their main base is in La Villa.

I expect you would know the pros and cons of staying in La Villa over the other villages in Alta Badia better than I. I chose San Cassiano as there are almost endless blue runs with lots of variety and multiple blue runs home. But there are 2 reds off the 1st lift and a decent black is 2 lifts from the village. Sella Ronda is 2 lifts to Corvara or 3 to Passo Campolungo. The village itself is quite pretty and has a lot of nice restaurants (only saw 1 pub though, not a concern for us for another 10 years). I was a bit concerned about the road in front of the apartment but it was quiet, except for a few ski buses in the morning.

We like self catering as sometimes knocking up something quick while knocking back something alcoholic is quite enough for an evening but we all like a meal out, especially if it’s a short walk home.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@what...snow, Thanks for the reply. The ski school that we were thinking of using for the two eldest is the one you mention as they do all day ski lessons (the girls like these!). There are some lovely restaurants in San Cassiano - but I think Michellin star with three kids is a little out of our league. We used to pick a destination for lunch when we were in Alta Badia and Val Gardena, and then ski there, long lunch and back home for tea. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Santa Croce refugio for lunch - very lovely, the Sponata hut rabbit pasta - amazing! The Cinque Torre Michellin starred pasta restaurant - AMAZING! Not to mention Comici's seafood delights! OMG! We are just getting lots of quotes for family rooms in La Villa.
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
gaschick wrote:
@what...snow, We are just getting lots of quotes for family rooms in La Villa.


if you find anything then book it quickly especially if your going in February. We have already had a few issues booking rooms for next January in Corvara.
latest report     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy