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TR - Cortina (and Venice) - April 2017

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Cortina, Italy with city trip to Venice
When: 7-15 April 2017, 1 Nights in Venice then 7 in Cortina
Who: 2 adults, 2 children (11 and 14)
Having combined a city trip to Oslo with our Trysil trip last year, I said we could do the same via Venice this time round… I should have checked a few things first (like which resorts even intended to be open even with snow) – but if I had then I might not have done it…

Travel: EasyJet Luton – Venice Marco Polo.
Skis/Bags into left luggage then Water taxi to Venice is worth the €120 (per boat)

[Rialto bridge]

Overnight in Venice then waterbus (vaporetto) and bus to Marco Polo to collect hire care (and yes Alamo did try to charge me €44 for snow chains that were supposed to be free, but I refused!). Very simple 2 hour drive to Cortina (mostly dual carriage way, no windy bits)

Venice – there is a lot of choice (!) but I went for the Hotel Bauer Palazzo as it was very close to St Marks square and on the Grand Canal – great way to arrive.

[Bauer Palazzo front door]

The central location meant an early morning visit to the Doge’s palace was easy (much quieter then), giving us time to visit the Jewish Quarter before getting our bus back to Marco Polo. Venice was lovely, though everyone (ie Mrs Wildebeaste) told me that 1 day was not enough. They (she) were right, but I didn’t want to trade an extra day’s (albeit non-existent) skiing or go for a cheaper hotel – I was expecting to get brownie points for organising a lovely trip to Venice on top of our Easter ski trip, instead I got constant brickbats for foisting a (possibly snowless) ski trip on their disappointingly short trip to Venice!

Cortina - Villa Capannina (via / stayincortina). Was a large apartment set on the river a short (in trainers) walk from the 1st Stage of the Tofana cable cars, 10 mins form centre of town – it might have been ski to door a couple of days in the last decade! It was a lovely setting with views from balcony to many of the frankly stunning mountains.
Décor / kitchen equipment / wifi were lousy but the place was clean and spacious. Cortina is a lovely town with a great 70s feel (especially if you have come to ski – everything is a walk/bus drive and slightly in the wrong place). There was a fantastic pizza / fish restaurant in the tennis club next door – the best pizza I have ever had to take away and great tuna/sea bass/octopus/squid/desert all set at the end of the 1956 Olympic bobsleigh run.


Nearby was a useful local shop come dairy with lots of cheese and dried meat and most essentials. We enjoyed the bar up at the cable car base (whilst the kids paddled in the river. The dolomites are beautifully set all around - and with the spring colours even more so: -

This was the bit I was most worried about. When I booked the flights, I found Cortina was due to close a week prior to our arrival! As the season approached they decided they would close on 1st May... and then the season arrived. Come April and only the very upper slopes were open around Cortina (actual close now 17/4) – we knew we were most likely going to drive to each ski area anyway so we factored in a couple of day trips to Arabba (excellent spring snow skinning available down to Arraba) and Kronplatz (bit slushy). Both were about 50 mins drive through stunning scenery. The two areas around Cortina, both accessed by cable car (up and down), had good snow and in fact very little slush. The Tofanna/Ra Valles area (c. 2250 – 2850m) had wintery/chalky snow in many places and the Faloria area (c 1900 – 2350m) stayed in good shape alternating between hard/ice and perfect spring (although the approaches to the bottom chairlifts were entertaining. There was little off-piste, but plenty on the sides as the snow softened and black runs available at Arabba, Kronplatz and Falaoria. All-in-all it was a lot better than expected (feared) and great fun. Just about every day forecast sun in the morning followed by rain showers evening/night – in fact we basically got full on sun most days with some patchy cloud with very little rain and about 4 flakes of snow up at 2850m on the side of Tofana.

Day 1 – Arabba. We had to do this first day as it was the final day of the season here – I think based upon numbers of visitors rather than snow as it was excellent: great snow, just about everything open from Belvedere across to just above Malga Ciapela with a short bus to the Marmolada glacier – slushy down towards Malga though. The slopes were empty, no lift queues – a great day to be in this fantastic area.


Day 2, 5 & 6 – Faloria (Cortina)
This is reached from a cable car set just above the town – a car is useful (though in full season I imagine the car parks get full). The area is small but varied skiing above and below the treeline with some appreciable between-the-pistes fun, several shortish easy blacks and a good little fun park (and would be a lot bigger for most of the season, stretching across the valley to the Cristallo area).

[a black]

We ate (all three days coz’ it was so nice) at the Rifugio Tondi near the top – great polenta with goulash and even better 360 views of the peaks around Cortina.

Day 3 – Ra Valles/Tofana (Cortina)
The cable car for this area was just about walkable from our apartment (we drove), but not really from the centre of town/most places (there were busses). Two stages took us up to 2450m with a small area between 2850m and 2250m open – in full season there is a black down which links to the other (and biggest) areas of Socrepes/Pocol/Pomedes/Duc d’Aosta (not open and no snow on them!). The area was empty again with fast cruising on red slopes with cold chalky snow. The lifts were slow and old (a bit dangerous for those only used to the modern declutchable lifts I think) – and skilfully positioned to ensure a short climb / push / grapple was require to reach each lift departure point. I said this was an essential element of skinning in the 70’s and 80’s.

Day 4 - Kronplatz
A really easy 50 min drive north into the Pustertal to ski Kronplatz – we accessed from the Olang lifts at Casola Gassl. It was noticeable how the roads and buildings improved as we left Veneto and entered Sud Tyrol and this contrast was even more stark upon seeing the Kronplatz lift station – suddenly everything looked new, fast and at the right level. The skiing was more extensive but also much more slushy (the top is c 2000m) and pretty crowded – still fun though – and the link to St Viglio was not skiable, so reducing the area. We had great fun on the north facing Pre da Peres slopes which were firm but had genuine ice on them (the first we found all holiday) and ate there at the Utia Picio Pre near the top. Here the youngest son discovered Schiwasser – which was worth the ticket price alone given the warm weather.


Skiing back to the car we debated taking the final closed section of the home piste which was nearly complete (may 100m of walking needed in places) – would have been fun, but I think illegal in Italy (?) so we decided against it and had some mote Schiwasser instead. The drive back was simply stunningly beautiful (for the passengers at least), particularly at Durrensee / Carbone where there is a shallow lake with the Cristallo mountain in the background. Really glad we went for this tour!

Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 17-04-17 16:14; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Sounds like you made the most of it all, @Wildsmith. A great TR - very good reading. snowHead
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 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?
Great TR - thanks for sharing.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Great read. Many thanks
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Useful. Thank you
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@Wildsmith, you get to do some good trips! We just did a Oslo/Trysil trip ourselves this Easter, had a great time, and I had been thinking about doing a ski trip incorporating Venice too at some point.

I had thought of staying near the airport and getting into Venice each day but looks like staying in the centre worked well. When leaving luggage at the airport could they take skis? (Ah, a re-read of your post says yes)

Which of the ski areas that you visited did you find the best? And which would you recommend for a mix of abilities? I had liked the look of Kronplatz based on the little research done to date and sounds easy enough to get to.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The bus each day is certainly doable though adds a lot of time - as I said it is good to get up early (there are lots and lots of visitors about) - in fact a river of them as we walked towards the railway station on Saturday.
Ski areas for mixed abilities - Kronplatz definitely. Arabba less so (reds/blacks to home base). I think Faloria might be harder as there were no real blue alternatives to the reds/black. The Socrepis area is all blue (but no snow) and links to some harder pistes at Tofana. Really though for mixed ability I would go across the pass to Alta Badia - masses of blues and the excellent LA Villa/Grand Risa black and the villages are a bit more convenient for skiing (why does the auto correct change this to "skinning"!!?!)
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