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Alta Badia Trip report Saturday 26th January to Saturday 2nd February

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Corvara
Country: Italy
Domain: Alta Badia / Dolomites
Dates: 28/01/2019 to 02/02/2019

Context:

2nd winter visit to Corvara, previously also been to Selva in Val Gardena and Seiser Alm (Alpe Di Siusi). Also been to Seefeld, Saalbach (twice) and Wagrain
Am an Intermediate skier and wife a beginner easy blue slope skier
Travelled with two friends both Intermediate skiers

Outbound Travel:

Flew with BA from Heathrow to Innsbruck a day earlier. Stayed overnight in Innsbruck at AC Marriott hotel. Taxi transfer to resort next morning. Good price at Euro: 193. Took 2 hours with 2 short stops. No traffic issues the entire journey. Cannot recommend taxi transfer company as they let us down for the return journey as did another Innsbruck based taxi company. None of them wanted to pick us up for return journey due to forecasted heavy snow

Hotel:

Hotel Table at bottom of main street in Corvara. Good location and massive bonus of having their own minibus to take us to lifts and will also collect you at end of the day. All you have to do is phone them up when you’re ready to be picked up and they will send the minibus to pick you up. Also a big bonus is that their boot room is on the ground floor (unlike in the basement of many other hotels). Never had to use the minibus to be collected though, as we could ski back to the Col Alto hotel car park opposite the hotel and simply cross the road.

Ski bus:

never used it. You now have to pay for it. Costs 10 Euro for the week or 6 Euro from associated accommodation partners. 2 ski bus stops were near the hotel

Lift system:

Mostly ok/pretty good but does in my opinion need a lot more investment in the Alta Badia area. Some lifts just cannot cope with the numbers of people. Prime example is the Sodlisia 4 seat chair lift in Colfosco. This is on the Green route of the Sella Ronda and 4 seats is just not good enough. Big queues in the mornings to get this lift. It needs to be minimum of 6 seats but much better if it was 8/10. Also you still have a long drag lift Capanna nera In Corvara which really needs to be a chair. And there are other older chairs around which need to be modernised. 2 seater Prei da corf is a prime example.

Ski pass:

Local pass was Euro 254 for 6 days. I personally think this is expensive considering the so so quality of the lift system. This covers 130km of slopes. Saalbach charges a bit more for the pass but covers 270km of slopes and a far superior lift system

Weather:

1 bluebird day, 1 or 2 partly cloudy days. 1 very snowy day, remaining days were mainly cloudy, windy, cold with light snow. Overall temperatures were cold

Snow levels:

Well Alta badia had a dry 2 months up until the point we went. It was at the bottom of the list of natural snow depth out of all the dolomite ski regions. On Sunday daytime in the main ski area above Corvara/La Villa/San Cassiano there was a lot of bare/patchy areas and it really didn’t look very wintery. On Sunday night it snowed and everything looked much better from then on. Another top up on Wednesday night and then heavy snow Thursday night and Friday.

Piste conditions:

Overall excellent. Only slightly less good/ideal on the days when fresh snow fell during the day. Probably overall the best snow conditions I have ever skied on. Some steeper sections on certain runs had the usual piles of snow which were only slightly more challenging. Otherwise I couldn’t complain. I don’t do off piste so cant report on that part.

Scenery:

Shan’t dwell on this much as many already know the scenery in the Dolomites is spectacular. Didn’t really appreciate the scenery much this trip as was too cold to sit outside and didn’t really have an awful lot of blue sky sunny days


Other nationality’s:

This trip noticed quite a few Americans/Canadians/Australians. Also several Dutch/Danish/Belgium. Quite a few Germans (which is normal for this region) but the vast majority were Italian (which was very different to my previous trip here). Oh also quite a few English (far more than other Dolomite trips)

Mountain huts:

Only stopped in a few on this trip. I mainly like to ski and don’t stop that often. Places I can recommend are Bioch hut, L Tabla, La Baita, La Marmotta, new café/restaurant in ski school building at base of Edelweiss gondola in Colfosco. Also visited Jimmy’s but, vegas hut, Saraghes and Capanna Nera hut.


Slopes:

Well I know I’m going to get plenty of criticism but I actually don’t think that the main area above Corvara, La Villa and Sa cassiano, is the ideal place for early non confident beginners to ski. Once confident enough then yes but there are a few sections which could pose some problems. Ideally beginners should ski this section with an instructor. The majority of the blue slopes are easy enough but quite a few have of these have steeper sections which seem to be steep enough to cause problems for beginners. I must admit that some of these sections did seem a bit steeper than on my last trip, not sure why, is it because of the low level of snow on the piste? Not sure. But anyway I’m going to give my honest view of each of the slopes I skied on. Apologies for the length of the list but I think that it may help others in the future and at least pre warn beginners of what to look out for:

Starting in Colfosco:

Main slope In colfosco below Sodlisia chair: Perfect quiet wide easy slope for beginners. The ultimate practice slope to gain confidence, practice your turns, parallel skiing etc

Slope below first section of Plans/Frara gondola: Bit steeper than main slope in Colfosco, good for progression practice but busy as this is part of the sella ronda. There is another variant of this slope to the right hand side but this was closed on our trip. Slope then joins main slope in Colfosco below Sodlisia chair

Red slope 40 from Jimmy hut to Mid station of plans/Frara gondola: Short initial steep pitch but quickly becomes less steeper. One of my favourite runs of the trip. Absolutely perfect snow on the first section and very quiet. Bit busier when it joins red 41 from gardena pass. Becomes steep just above mid section of Plans/Frara gondola. Right hand side is less steeper. Few turns here and then ski right across the steeper left hand section and then your at the flatter bit left side of the midpoint gondola station. Would only class this as a red run due to this last steeper section

Blue 45/46 from Edelweiss valley: Now this would be a good progression slope for beginners but only early in the morning. The slope is definitely steeper than main slope in colfosco and is longer. It is wide for the majority but the snow is softer and hence a bit more difficult to ski for beginners (in my opinion)


Above Corvara:

Section of blue 8 below Costa Da lega chair. A nice easy slope for a quick warm up. Only has a steep section over the road bridge but you really need to go straight down this with no turning otherwise you will not get up the little hill just before the chair base station

Section of blue 8 beside Capanna nera chair. A lovely easy slope. Not as wide as main slope in colfosco but wide enough. Bit of a pain you need to use the long drag lift to do it unless your coming down from the main area.

Blue 31 from top of second drag Pralongia I. A bit steeper in sections than blue 8 described above but a good progression/practice slope for beginners as it is relatively wide but mainly very quiet.

Section of blue 8 from La Baita hut to top of Capanna nera drag exit. First section of this is steep, not very wide and nearly always chopped up with piles of snow. AN absolute pain for beginners. Saw loads of people struggle with this section. When it flattens out, its lovely and very similar to section beside Capanna nera chair. One of only 2 ways back from the mountain to Corvara just to warn you.

Short blue from top of Capanna nera drag to get down to Pralongia chair base station. You need to cross the main slope 8 to get to the chair but you will poll for a section. Bit of a pain. Easier to go up second drag and ski down to just past Capanna nera hut and veer left down to the chair. No polling required

Blue slope from top of Pralongia chair 14. Exit right at top of chair and follow all the way down to bottom of Cherz slopes and Maserai chair station. A lovely quiet slope. Several initial steeper bits but all are short and should be ok for most beginners. Last initial section down to maserai chair is quite steep and not very wide. Could pose bit of a problem to a non-confident beginner. I don’t remember this section being this steep in previous trip? Good section to practice side slipping down.

Blue 34 Pista Del Sole: A favourite slope for many. I would advise non confident beginners to avoid. Several quite steep sections at the start and end. Anyone practicing parallel turns on steeper slopes, this will be your ideal slope.

Blue 8 from top of pralongia down to la baita hut. Again not sure I would advise for non-confident beginners. Half way has a long enough section which is much steeper than the initial part. Also not very wide where it becomes steeper and is quite busy. Once past this section, becomes easier for a bit and then another steeper section down to the hut.

Blue 9A/11 from pralongia down to San Cassiano. Long lovely slope. Few short steeper sections just before Saraghes hut but should be ok for most even beginners. Another very short steeper bit after Saraghes hut but start from the right hand side and you’ll be fine, only requiring a few turns till your back on the less steep section. Soon after Saraghes where it joins blue 11 there is a turn off on the right hand side into the woods (blue 9). Nice quiet run through the woods from where at the top of the drag lift you can turn left to rejoin 9A/11 or go down beside the drag on a nice easy run

Blue 10 from Bioch and 10A from Vegas hut. Both closed so cant report on them

Blue 11 from Piz Sorega: Just an initial short steepish section but otherwise a lovely run, fairly quiet. Joins 9A from pralongia or there is a cut through to the right to take you to Saraghes hut

Blue 28 from Piz Sorega down to Ciampai hut: Nice wide slope, good for progressing/practice on a steeper blue slope. Right hand side initially going down is a bit steeper than left side but then becomes less steeper half way down. So wide should not present a problem to anyone

Blue 13 from Bioch: Another brilliant slope for practicing beginners. Wide and very quiet. You can avoid the last steeper section by veering to the left and down to join the blue 14 slope just below la Para hut

Blue 14 from L Tabla hut down to Ciampai hut: Well this first section is a nightmare for beginners from the amount of people ‘Ive seen fall here. Keep to the right hand side initially and work your way across to the left where blue slope 15A veers off. Once here you should be ok continuing down to Ciampai hut.

Blue 15A from part way down blue 14 to Bamby and La Fraina chairs: A lovely pretty run with several steeper sections near the end. Doable for confident beginners

Blue 7 from Bioch to La baita hut: Another good fun relatively easy run. Only one steep section which can be avoided by keeping to the left

Blue 6 from Arlara to La Baita hut. Was closed so cant report

Blue 20 from L Tabla down to Roby and Pre da corf chairs: Tricky steep initial section for beginners. Also not very wide. Once past this, nice and easy all the way down and quite quiet

Blue 19 beside Roby chair: Quite steep initially but otherwise an excellent run. Had perfect snow when I skied it and was very quiet. Great to practice on

Blue 18 from Piz La Illa: Lovely wide run. Maybe bit too much fresh snow on the piste when I skied it but that’s just timing. Would be a nice run for beginners to practice on. Can’t think of any steep sections here

Blue 5B from Arlara down to braia Frada chair: Another pretty very quiet run. Does have one initial steep section which is a bit of pain for a beginner as it’s on a slant as well. Once past this, nothing to present any problems. In fresh snow you may even be doing some polling near the end

Top of Col Alto gondola down to Braia frada chair: use the blue alternative if you don’t fancy the steeper red main slope. Blue alternative joins the main slope further down and you do join on a section which still is quite steep before it flattens out. A beginner tip!! Where it joins, ski right across the slope and you will come to a less steep section where you can do your turns more easily. Remember to veer left after a few turns to head to the braia Frada chair


Food in resort:

We had several good meals in resort at the Taverna Posta Zirm where pizzas very good and at Fornella restauirant which is very popular so you may have to wait. Both were reasonably priced


Bars in resort:

Regularly went to Iceberg bar across the road but was always quiet early evening. Became busier later on. Also enjoyed drinks in Toccami and L’got


Apres:

Only went twice to L’Murin apres bar but enjoyed both times. Good music, nice drinks but quite expensive


Village amenities:

2 supermarkets in the village, one at both ends of the main street. Several sports shops obviously and a few non sport clothes shops. Otherwise not much here. Couple of chemists at least. Newsagent is next to chemist at top of the street near L’Got bar


Ski Hire:

Hired from Sport Kostner opposite marmolada hotel. Far better skis this trip than Ive had on other trips. Excellent service and far less hassle than other places on previous trips. Well recommend the place


Costs: Far too much. Paid a lot for our hotel in an upgraded room which increased the overall cost quite significantly. Will for future trips probably chose B&B and then eat out. Would save a small fortune that way. Food and drink costs on the mountain are higher than Ive experienced in Austria (Saalbach, Wagrain and Seefeld) but coffee is definitely cheaper here. However the higher costs are not that much higher but can add up if you’re a family


Overall:

Very good trip overall. Disaster journey back to Innsbruck Saturday due to heavy snow on the motorway and long train delays meant we missed our flight. Would fly into Verona next time even though it would be a longer transfer time but hopefully avoid winter weather problems over the Brenner and Innsbruck airport. Otherwise a great trip. Managed to ski all the runs I wanted to, some I wanted to I couldn’t as they were closed. Snow was excellent which just made the skiing so much better. Far far better than our last two early March trips to Saalbach. I really should now venture to other dolomite areas to try them out but I really do like the Alta badia ski area. AT least for me nothing I skied presented a problem. Apologies for the long long report. Any questions please do ask.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nice write up Smile

Blue 13 and Biok chair is ace for beginners and those more advanced wishing to practice carving skills. One of my favourites, but can be over a bit too quickly.

Blue 24 - don't ski that one unless you want to practice cross country poling skills (that's the "blue" alternative to the Gran Risa GS black and the red non-WorldCup to La Villa)

Blue 9A/11 - lovely slope, and of course the "Wooden Elephant" hut (Saraghes) does superb hot chocolate Smile

Blue (forget the number) - top of Cherz/Vizza chairs down to bottom of Vizza/Maserei chairs - quite possibly my favourite run in Alta Badia. Mix of wide and carvy, then thru the trees. Best done early in the day when it's all nice and sunny.
PS wrap up warm on Maserei - there's something odd about the terrain that makes that chair really cold even on a stunning bluebird day.
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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?
@jimmybog, I've always fancied the look of Corvara, but never been. Of the two (Selva/Corvara), in your opinion, which is the best village ?
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andy wrote:
Nice write up Smile

PS wrap up warm on Maserei - there's something odd about the terrain that makes that chair really cold even on a stunning bluebird day.


OMG yes I totally agree. Went up when it was cloudy, cold, the wind was blowing down on us from the top and snow was blowing on us. Friend of ours was absolutely freaking out. When we got to the top, the wind was howling all around, blowing snow all over the place. Never experienced anything like it. I thought I was in a scene from Fortitude!!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
albob wrote:
@jimmybog, I've always fancied the look of Corvara, but never been. Of the two (Selva/Corvara), in your opinion, which is the best village ?


Mmmm, personally I prefer Corvara but only because I feel its a bit more quieter and refined. Others will probably prefer Selva as its a bit more livelier in the evening. I also found the traffic through Selva a bit too heavy and the resort overall just too busier for my liking (with regards to the packed ski busses and gondolas at Ciampinoi and Dantercepies). I did like the learner slopes in Selva (this was my first ski trip) but for progressing you really had to go to Plan De Grabla which I really did like. However I used to catch the bus there as I wouldn't do the slope to there from Ciampanoi being a nervous first time beginner. However you can also get the bus to St Christina and take the chair up to MOnte Pana where there are also some nice easy slopes. From there you can also get the bus to ALpe Di Siusi where there are also lots of nice easy runs

Accomodation wise, I think hotels in Selva are generally more expensive than in Corvara but I susppose it depends which hotels your comparing. We stayed in the excellent 3 star Flora which was a good price at the time.

With Selva though, I do find its much easier to get to than Corvara/Alta badia by road/rail/bus, being just a few miles in from the main A22 motorway. ALta badia is just that bit further via the Pusteria valley and not as easy to get to or should I say its longer to get to

Overall I still prefer Corvara as I like the easier access to lots of easier blue runs nearby. But I wouldn't dismiss Selva. There's nothing really wrong with it. Both main lifts go straight from the main village, it has a good apres bar Luiskeller (I think), several bars for evening drinks, but cant comment on evening restaurants as we ate every night in the hotel.
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Thanks for the reply (also, nice 'trip' report..)
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