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Dolomites: Cortina, Val Gardena, Arabba, or?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Asking for a friend - who has US friends arriving into Venice in January with the intention of skiing the Dolomites, thinking perhaps Cortina.

They are all very long-time experienced heli-skiers, happy on absolutely anything on and off piste, but of that fine age where stunning scenery, a long morning on piste, and a late, robust Italian lunch is probably the agenda.

Opinions?

While I've skied Cortina once, 20 years ago, and a few weekends in Madonna, I don't have a lot of experience with the area.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I was a little disappointed by Cortina. I think it's a place that has become complacent, trading on its reputation as an upmarket ski resort without continuing to put the effort into infrastructure and customer services. It's nice for a day out, but I wouldn't stay there for a week.

It sounds like your group might be better off in the Sella Ronda area anyway, which will deliver on the scenery and lunches, but give them a bit more to do. If they stay at the Alta Badia end of things, a day out to Cortina is possible anyway. Corvara and the connected villages are very nice and very beautiful, although Arabba has more challenging skiing.

There are a lot of options for accommodation all around the Sella Ronda and also within the connected villages though, so it might take a bit of work to narrow down.
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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?
Here are my two cents (and I resemble your friends except for lunch!). Cortina: has the big name, a real but not pretty town, and pockets of great skiing here and there. But its the most disjointed ski area I've ever seen, and its lift system is comparatively antiquated. I prefer the Cinque Torri/Lagazuoi sector. Might be the best scenery over there, though its damn good everywhere. But they should do at least this day no matter where they end up staying: get themselves over there to Cinque Torri, with a mid-morning cioccolato at Rifugio Averau, and then head up Lagazuoi and down Hidden Valley to Rifugio Scotoni for lunch, then down to the valley floor where a horse will pull them over to Alta Badia and their next adventure. Val Gardena may have the best skiing of the Sella Ronda resorts. Some longer runs there including the Saslong DH. Better lifts too. Arabba, which most Americans have never heard of, also has good terrain and probably the best lift system in the group. I'm a Yank, and while you note your friends are very experienced, make sure they understand the differences about in-bounds off-piste skiing over there vs North America. If conditions suggest staying on piste, they should definitely do a day or more at Kronplatz. If there is a better place to do high speed cruising I have not seen it. Two nice museums on top, icing on the cake.
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Somewhere on or near the circuit. Take a day to go to Cortina as suggested.
Can’t go wrong.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Experienced Heliskiers - I do not realy think the Sella area is their field.

Arabba would be a option - so would Cinque Torri.

And for the view north side of Sella and for the brave the gap in Sella toward north.

Sella is nice but more for us elderly. Madeye-Smiley
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Scooter in Seattle wrote:
If conditions suggest staying on piste, they should definitely do a day or more at Kronplatz. If there is a better place to do high speed cruising I have not seen it. Two nice museums on top, icing on the cake.


Well you do get quite empty 'top to bottom' runs - I'll give you that but most of the ones from the top are quite similar in feel. I did one day there (cruising at pace) and we'd pretty much covered it all in one day including accessing from the Piculin side.

I agree it's probably worth a day, especially if based on the Alta Badia side, but if not it's easy to pass and spend the time doing the obvious 'day trips' including Hidden Valley, Cortina, Santa Croce, Sella Ronda, Marnolada and more
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@bertie bassett, agree. I would not park myself there. Its for ripping the biggest and I think best group of long steep groomers in the Dolomites, and as near as I can tell, little else. I use it on my arrival or getaway days, its a good stop along the way. There is a bus from AB but I have not taken it.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@under a new name, Arabba
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Hyst, I don't believe the motivation is super hard core skiing, more a "Let's have a look at Italian skiing"...

Thanks folks. Why Arabba?
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Arabba; because it sits on the Sella Ronda and therefore is well placed for all the likely excursions, Hidden Valley, Cortina, Santa Croce, Marnolada, Saslong, Alba. Kronplatz is do able if you don’t hang about. snowHead
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Did a week in Cortina this past March.

No new snow but everything open top to bottom.

Didn't queue once, except to pack up a cable car here and there.

Stunning views.

Great food on and off mountain.

Did a day trip to Sella Ronda.

Would heartily recommended Cortina.

Corvara and Arraba would be great too.

And don't discount San Martino di Castrozza.
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 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.
I think it depends when you go to Cortina. Only been once but we queued for an hour and a half every morning at the main gondola in Cortina town centre (having made the mistake of going over New Year when it was rammed with wealthy Russians). Apparently the rest of the year it's fine. We had to arrange cabs to get us back to the hotel - as others have said, very disjointed. Some really beautiful scenery, though, and some nice if unchallenging runs.

I would recommend Selva if they want a longer day.
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 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
@under a new name, Arabba has a nice big section of long reds and blacks from Portavescovo down to town, served by maybe the best piece of the lift system in the Dolomites (tram, 2 condos and a fast chair). Terrain sufficiently challenging to satisfy the OP's friends is not found everywhere in the Dolomites, but Arabba seems to have more than its share. As for the Sella Ronda, its something fun to do but not necessarily the best skiing. They need not worry about completing it timely unless they fall asleep at lunch; it can be done in 3 hours.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
under a new name wrote:
@Hyst, I don't believe the motivation is super hard core skiing, more a "Let's have a look at Italian skiing"...

Thanks folks. Why Arabba?


In that case Arabba or Corvara. Arabba for the hardet skiing, Corvara for the more South Tirolian/Italian atmosphere.
And Corvara open up for many long trips on ski.
https://www.altabadia.org/en/winter-holidays/italian-alps/first-world-war-ski-tour.html

Sella Ronda, Ortisei, Cortina, Kronplatz and everything on the way.

https://www.altabadia.org/en/winter-holidays/italian-alps/ski-tours-dolomites.html
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