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Domain: Sella Ronda, Dolomiti Superski
Date: 3rd-10th January 2009
Our holiday: A mate and I booked a last minute catered chalet deal, we're intermediates with about 8-10 weeks experience.
Website : http://www.fassa.com/hp/articolo.asp?IDcms=6390&s=272&l=EN
Basics : Canazei is located in Val di Fassa in the Trentino Dolomites, transfer took 2-3hrs from Verona airport with Thomson/Crystal.
Lift system : The local ski area accessed by a gondola is directly on the Sella Ronda circuit which gives lift-linked access to around 450km of piste in the Arabba, Val Gardena and Alta Badia valleys. Free ski-buses also run up and down the Fassa valley to other ski areas in Alba, Pera, Pozza, Vigo, etc. The Dolomiti Superski area pass also covers many other large and small areas all across the Dolomites including Cortina d'Ampezzo, Civetta, Kronplatz, etc. A total of 1220km are available making this the most extensive liftpass in the world. The lift system has been considerably upgraded in recent years with new gondolas, cablecars and fast chairs. Very few slow chairs and drags left now. Must-dos on the periphery of the Sella Ronda area are the Marmolada, Hidden Valley of Armentarola and Seceda-Ortisei 10+km runs.
There is a red run which returns through the forest to the village centre in good snow conditions, but this is about 800m walk from the gondola. We always downloaded on the gondola as our accommodation was close by.
The terrain : These are some of the most beautiful ski mountains in the world, you ski on the alpine meadows gazing up at the huge vertical limestone spires and buttresses, feels a bit like skiing the Grand Canyon at times. The local Belvedere area is all rated red, the Sella Ronda area is an intermediate's paradise of mainly reds and blues, which can be skied clockwise (about 18km lifts, 25km piste) and anti-clockwise around the Sella Massif with many lifts and runs fanning out from this central, sometimes busy core. There is a lot of opportunity to travel huge distances from village to village without covering the same route twice, just make sure you don't get stuck in the wrong valley as the lifts close. There are numerous mapped ski tours to take advantage of the areas away from the Sella Ronda.
Check out some photos I took, click thumbnails to see medium size and descriptions, click these to see full size:
The snow : This season started with some spectacular snowfalls (2-3 metres fell in the 4 weeks leading up to Xmas 2008), reportedly the best in over 20 years. This huge amount of snow was well-preserved with cold air temps, a small amount fell while we were there which only added to the enjoyment. Extensive snowmaking and meticulous grooming usually make up for any lack of natural snowfall.
Off-piste : There are some pretty extreme off-piste itineraries off the Sasso Pordoi cablecar which we weren't able to exploit. Plenty of opportunity to find areas near the pistes after a snowfall.
The resort : It's a pleasant all year round village in a steep wooded valley with an ancient core of both rustic wooden and pretty frescoed buildings, new development is mostly sympathetic in alpine chalet style. There are quite a few shops, banks, restaurants, bars, etc. The Giardino delle Rose, Husky Pub and Lieber Augustin were lively in the evenings. Lots of Italians at the weekend, Scandinavians and Russians more in evidence as the week progressed. The locals retain their ancient Ladin language, culture and traditions, the area also has strong historical links to Austria, so this influence can also be seen in the food and architecture.
Food : On the Chalet night off, we ate at the Pizzeria Italia near the church, excellent huge pizzas (â‚¬6-8.50), large beer (â‚¬4), dessert (â‚¬4) served in a large, atmospheric, vaulted cellar room. Osteria La Montanara opposite got good reports by other guests for it's local Trentino specialities (polenta, game, etc). One of the highlights of the area are the plentiful, characterful wooden mountain huts with large, sunny terraces serving pizza, pasta, meat and local specialities, almost always with table service.
Accommodation : We stayed at the comfortable Chalet Rigoletto which was about 200m from the gondola and 800m from the centre. Food was tasty, wine flowed freely and many laughs and jokes ensued.
Costs: Liftpass is a bit pricey at â‚¬220 for 6-day high season Superski pass, but it does cover a huge area. Mountain restaurants offered dishes of omelette, burgers, sausage, pasta, dumplings and hearty soups for â‚¬6-8, meat mains â‚¬10-15, large beer was â‚¬3.50-4, cappuccino/latte macchiato â‚¬2-3, mulled wine â‚¬2.50-3.50. Ski-service (edges and wax) cost â‚¬17 in Canazei.
Conclusion: I love this area for the spectacular scenery, culture, atmosphere, food, sensible prices, extensive skiing and sunshine. I would eagerly return as long as the snow conditions looked promising.
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Last edited by A snowHead on Tue 20-01-09 1:33; edited 3 times in total