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Dolomite Superski vs 3 Valleys

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Have just booked a hotel (free cancellation) for a six-adult intermediate group in Val Gardena for January 2023. We plan on flying in to Innsbruck and booking a private transfer to the hotel, staying for a total of 5 days on the slopes.

Being intermediates that do a lot of miles on reds and blacks, we have always gone for the 3 Valleys or Paradiski in the past because the areas are massive and very well connected. I suggested we make a change and try out the Dolomite Superski area this time, none of us have skied in Italy before and the views/food look incredible. My questions are- how well connected is the Dolomite Superski area compared to the 3 Valleys? (we don't want to spend hours on lifts/buses/funiculars). Also, how good is the skiing compared to the 3 Valleys?

I understand that you can ski from Val Gardena to Alta Badia, Arabba and Val di Fassa. How well connected by bus etc. is Val G to other resorts? My concern is that the area may not get as much snow as the resorts that we are used to, and may not be as seamless to travel around. We are willing to sacrifice a little convenience for the views and food, but I don't want to feel responsible for a disappointing trip for my five friends!

Any advice is appreciated!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@fox15, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead

Been to paradiski but never VdI. Also been to Sella Ronda but didnt stay in Val Gardena tho' would do if I went back again. The Alta Badia end is fine but a bit out on a limb.

Lovely area - brilliant snow making - loads of skiing - you can get a sunfest as it is a very sunny area, great restaurants and so picturesque.

As a solo skier it is expensive and hard to get single accommodation and transfers which is why along with covid I have not returned from 5 years ago but I would love to, perhaps if I can find a package....
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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?
Val Gardena and the other resorts you mention give you ca 500km of slopes without needing to get on a bus and I'd day it's well connected re lifts but can't directly compare to the 3V. There is one point where you need to use a horse tow but that's actually part of the charm for that particular run.

If it doesn't drop a flake of snow 90+% of the runs will still be open due to the snowmaking.

Personally we drive just in case we want to try a different resort for a day but in 5 days you'll only reach the main areas and one or two highlights so a car would likely be over kill. (we've driven to places you can access by ski just to give us more time in the 'new' resort).

If you're really keen you can ski to Alta Badia (ca 45 mins to Corvara) and get a bus to Kronplatz, or a short shared taxi will give you access to Cortina but you'll only get a few hours.

Variety is the spice of life, just go for it. (first time I'd suggest looking at trips to Hidden Valley, Marmolada, Ortisei)
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A bad snow year in the Dolomites is a better option than a bad one in the 3 Valleys.
After a dump of snow the Dolomites are outstanding
Just my opinion obviously
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Sorry, For some reason thought you had put Paradiski rather than 3V. A harder decision but still Val G for me despite Combe de Vallon being my number one favourite red piste anywhere.

I can hear Paradiski fans gnashing their teeth
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@fox15, Which resort in Val Gardena is your hotel in?

The snow making facilities in the dolomites is outstanding, one of the best in the world, so lack of snow won't be an issue for you on piste.

If you're in Selva or Santa Christina then you won't need to use a bus to get anywhere on the Sella Ronda, and also down Val di Fassa as far as Pozza. From Ortisei there's is lifts and runs round to Santa Christina, but you'll probably find it quicker to just jump on a bus some days, espeically if you're planning on getting out to the far reaches.

The horse and tow that @richb67, mentions is at the bottom of the hidden valley run, and that requires a bus/taxi ride up from Armentarola, then a cable car, then it's one long run and horse and tow back down to Armentarola. Stunning scenery, but an average ski IMO.

If you like skiing lots of mileage and travelling around, then I can't think of a better place to go personally.

You'll also notice it's a bit cheaper than Paradiski and 3V's.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've done the 3 valleys and Paradiski many times. Spent a week in Val di Fassa for the first time this year i enjoyed it but i prefer the french resorts if i was asked to rank them specifically on the skiing. Wouldn't stop me going back to the superski area though, i'd probably stay in Salva if i were doing it again.

I found most of the terrain on the easier end of the spectrum if you like out and out challenging there ins't much of that. The views and scenery are absolutely stunning up there with Zermatt imo. The logistics of getting up and down the hill are similar to being in a valley in Austria can be PITA but there is definitely more charm to the stations.

I would recommend picking an area to ski each day rather that doing laps of the sella ronda, just doing the circuit either way is lots of short runs and lifts.

Just a general observation, the demographic tends to be older and it doesn't have a big party scene at least from what i can see. That may or may not be an issue for you though.

As commented on before, snow making is good and helped by stable temperatures. When i went at the start of March they hadn't had any serious snow for over a month and conditions on piste were still perfect.
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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!
It's very different from 3V different people will probably prefer one over the other.
But if you're a keen intermediate skier and can't find skiing to enjoy yourself with in either place you're lacking in imagination.
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Dolomites versus 3V? Anyone who enjoys covering miles on skis should try both.

My view is that while the 3V is better supplied with challenging runs, there is something about the Dolomites that always puts a big smile on your face. And the food on the mountains certainly does.
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I cannot compare to 3V as not spent much time there but for me - nowhere compares to the dolomites for fantastic ski day trips.
I can compare to Val Disere / Tignes - on piste it has become rather dull - we seemed to ski the same runs over and over (I realise VDI has other attractions off piste)

You have the option of quite a few long days (with a good lunch) from Val Gardena...

1 - Do Sella Ronda (in either direction or both if lifts are quiet enough)
2 - Ski 1/2 the SR (either anti or clockwise) , divert off at Arabba and head to the Marmolada glacier . Lunch and come back
3 - Ski 1/4 the QR clockwise - head up to Alta Badia and then down to La villa and visit Santa Croce lunch and back
4 - As per 3 - but head towards Armentarola and then cinque torre (have lunch at Rif Averau there) - then down hidden valley run (or have lunch at Scotonis near the bottom)
5 - As per 3 and 4 - but instead of Cinque torre go to left hand side of Cortina via new connecting lift
6 - Stay local and Ski the Val Gardena world cup black to Santa cristina , then up the other side to Seceda and then down the 13 km red the "James Bond Run " down to Ortisei. Lunch and come back

There is more... but all of these are mostly lift connected . You might never ski the same run twice... Laughing

And the restaurants on mountain are mostly excellent - lots of them them very reasonable (compared to France).
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On top of @sheffskibod, get over to Canazei in Val di Fassa, and then over to Pozza, it's unbelievably quiet over there, and a long day out from Val Gardena.

We did that in the opposite direction, starting at Campitello, over to Seceda, down the James Bond run to Ortisei, and back, and skiing back over to Pozza, and you're looking around 50km's of skiing for that, according to strava.

That's entirely lift served as well, minus the bus from Pozza to Campitello in the morning.

I really enjoy the long, big mileage days out, and we had that every day for our week, and we did different areas on each occassion. I actually did a trip report, which you can check out here:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=158291&highlight=
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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.
Thank you all for your replies, I feel very reassured that Val Gardena is the right choice for us!

@swskier I've booked hotel Antares in Selva, it's a 5 minute walk to one of the main lifts, seems like good value and was one of the few options that had availability for our dates.

@sheffskibod thank you for the tips, I will be referring back to your post in 7 months time!

If anyone's reading this that is, like us, an intermediate that enjoys racking up the miles on reds and blacks, do yourself a favour and visit Paradiski. Les Arc and La Plagne both have fantastic skiing and are as well connected as you could hope for in any ski resort. We've found accommodation there to be very good value too, although most of the villages aren't much to look at.
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@fox15, you're in a good location to ski all the areas around the sella ronda then.

One thing to note, don't be surprised if you walk in to a bar/restaurant and the staff start speaking to you in German, it's almost as common as Italian in the area, due to the history of the area.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
dont be surprised if someone speaks Ladin...

Nowadays Ladin is spoken by 90% of the population in Val Gardena. This old Rhaeto-Romanic language dates back more than 2000 years and developed out of the Rhaetian language and the Latin language, brought to South Tyrol by Roman conquerors. Even though in the past the Ladin language was widely spread, today it is limited to few areas, such as Val Gardena (Gherdëina), Val Badia (Badiot), Val di Fassa (Fascian), Livinallongo (Fodom), Cortina, the canton of Grisons and Friuli and Ampezzo (Anpezan).

In addition to Italian and German, Ladin is one of the three languages spoken in South Tyrol. Moreover, it has become an obligatory subject in all schools of Val Gardena.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
j b wrote:
Dolomites versus 3V? Anyone who enjoys covering miles on skis should try both.

My view is that while the 3V is better supplied with challenging runs, there is something about the Dolomites that always puts a big smile on your face. And the food on the mountains certainly does.
exactly this
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
countryman wrote:
@fox15, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead

Been to paradiski but never VdI. Also been to Sella Ronda but didnt stay in Val Gardena tho' would do if I went back again. The Alta Badia end is fine but a bit out on a limb.

Lovely area - brilliant snow making - loads of skiing - you can get a sunfest as it is a very sunny area, great restaurants and so picturesque.

As a solo skier it is expensive and hard to get single accommodation and transfers which is why along with covid I have not returned from 5 years ago but I would love to, perhaps if I can find a package....

Surprised I am the first and its taken so long......have you considered a Snowheads Bash??
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@fox15, maybe after this trip you will consider the Bashes too
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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?
toyah807 wrote:

Surprised I am the first and its taken so long......

It's only been 1 day! Toofy Grin
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A good thread this. We (4 old farts) skied 3V in March and are planning to go to Selva next winter (no date yet).

@fox15, I'm assuming you are dong this trip as a diy rather than a package?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Did both the 3V and Dolomiti superski this year in March and hope to do both again next year ...all I can really say is that the food is better in Italy Very Happy
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@toyah807 the Bashes look great fun, will definitely consider joining in the future.

@halfhand yes it's a DIY trip, one of the group has family commitments and can't do the full week, 6 days on the slope. I'm not seeing too much difference in price compared to previous package trips to France anyway.

We've got two snowboarders in the group. I've been watching a few videos and seen very few boarders on piste compared to other resorts. Is there a reason for this?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've skied the Dolomites, Paradiski based in Belle Plagne and 3V based in VT, but the Dolomites is the only place I keep going back to.

Not that the French places are bad, it's just the combination of scenery, food, reasonable costs, architectural & cultural charm, as well as the extensive snowsure ski area that is compelling to me. It can be busy in peak season, but January should be OK.

The big Tarentaise resorts no doubt offer longer verticals, more challenging pistes and more snowfall for off-piste, so there will be a bit of compromise in that regard. Arabba & the Marmolada offer the most challenge in the area, though Val Gardena has some nice reds and blacks and there are some amazing off-piste itineraries off the Sella when the snow is good, but a guide is needed.

Snowboarders may not like the occasional flat traverse and lack of natural snow, that may be why you don't see so many.

The Antares is a good spot, not far from the Ciampinoi gondola or the Costabella chair for access to the extensive ski area. As others have suggested, use the Sella Ronda route to access some of the areas away from the main circuit, @sheffskibod's ideas are great. Selva is the liveliest place to stay with lively apres on mountain at Piz Seteur and La Stua in town. Luislkeller is lively later on.

I'm sure you will enjoy the different experience and may want to return again! snowHead


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 22-05-22 9:30; edited 1 time in total
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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!
In General in S.Tirol and Austria there are not so many boarders
Also in Switzwerland (except LAAX)
Many boarders you could find probably in Mayrhofen, LAAX, Livigno...usually where there are snow park
France has more because the UK has more boarders and many from UK travelling to france
Otherwise snowboard is not so famous among the locals in AUT, GER etc
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The skiing in the Dolomites is entirely different to the 3V. You can travel huge distances across dozens of interconnected resorts, and every day there is a new place to visit - that's what I love about the Dollies. But be prepared to ski on the same type of groomed piste day after day. The snow is not as nice due to low altitude, and it is rare to find a mogul - that's what I hate about the Dollies!
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@fox15, I have not yet skied the 3V, but have quite a few trips to Dolomiti Superski, including a three week trip. I have also done a couple of seasons in Paradiski. Comparing Dolomiti Superski to Paradiski, personally I think the Dollies are in a completely different league, better scenery, better uplift, better grooming, better accomodation, better bars, better food etc.... (and we have had very good snow there as well).
The only area where Paradiski could be considered better is if you like steep mogulled black runs, in the Dollies everything is groomed, in Paradiski they don't groom the steep blacks.
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@fox15, where are you staying in Val Gardina (Gröden)? The towns are quite big and spawling. Wolkenstien is the biggest and unless you are very lucky you will need to get a ski bus to the lift in the morning and around town in the evening, but as you are adults that shouldn't be a problem. I like the series of moving footpaths in St Ulrich to get to the lift stations. Do not expect the conveinence of 3V skiing to exist in the Dolomites, but it's not too bad.

Every summer I spend a couple weeks climbing in the Dolomites, which IMHO is the best rock climbing in the world and the odd ski trip there. In terms of skiing I think the Dolomites and the 3 valleys are very different and worth experiencing for that reason. It might be more expensive but it is worth giving it a go.

In terms of scenery the Dolomites wins hands down. In fact it beats everywhere hands down.

Dolomite skiing tends to be mile after mile of almost the same terrain - extremely bashed smooth carving slopes of more or less the same gradient. I know there are the odd steep bits around Arraba but the vast majority of it is blues and easy reds. Some people love that style of skiing, some people get bored. The 3Vs tend to have a much greater variety of skiing from really gentle stuff in Meribel to the Grand Couloir in Corchevel. There are a lot more mogul fields in the 3V. In fact probably more in Meribel than the whole Dolomites. Some people like the variety others don't

Lift queues and uplift are about the same in both ski areas.

It was an intersting observation about snowboarders. I cannot recall seeing any. In Les Arcs this winter there was quite a lot of them - a crude estimate was about 10%. Only a few years ago it was less than 1 in 20. I don't know why the increase. I would have thought the wide smooth pistes of the Dolomites would be much more attractive.
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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.
@johnE, the OP said Hotel Antares in Selva, a pretty convenient spot for accessing lifts and evening apres.
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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
The Dollies are stunning but skiing fresh snow, terrain variety and steeps are the main reason some of us love skiing.
I’ll go back to the Dolomites but give me the big French hills most often.
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You know it makes sense.
@johnE as Luigi said, we're staying in Selva, 5 or so minutes walking from a main gondola.

I think we're going to go with the Dolomites for the experience. I'm setting all group members expectations now- the pistes may not be as varied or with as much fresh natural snow. We hopefully have many years of skiing left ahead of us, so plenty of opportunity to get back to 3V's/Paradiski
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Half your group will probably not want to go back to 3V's/Paradiski half probably will. rolling eyes
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Bit of a plug this, but think it could be useful too.

We've got some 9-seat vans available for rental and they could be ideal for skiing trips. Would be self-drive and (as mentioned already on this thread) might be a bit of a long drive for a 5 day trip. However, you could drop your friend off at the airport and the rest of you could ski a couple of days more - making a 7 or 8 day ski trip for most of you.

With a van, it would be possible to start and finish from different locations at least a few times during your trip and, maybe, even visit some of the other independent resorts available on the lift pass.

Apologies for the plug. I'll try not to do it too much, but this thread has got me thinking (again) about the vans as a useful tool for ski holidays. So, I'm hoping that some might think this to be useful information as opposed to blatant self-promotion.

Just in case, a ten-night van rental in January works out around £1380 for a standard van and £1620 for a luxury van, includes Euro insurance and breakdown cover, snow tyres and snow chains. Probably not that much different from the cost of flights and transfers, but might give you a bit more flexibility. We could give you £100 off in January if you took some photos of a van in resort surrounded by lots of snow!

Have a look a the link below.

https://www.vansforbands.co.uk/winter-holidays
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Plus fuel and tolls and overnight hotels (in case ppl don't want to drive 17hrs in one go) there and back...

There are so many lowcost flights to the cities of N Italy and car hire is cheap as chips in Winter, it really wouldn't make sense to schlep all that way in a rented van.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@luigi, yeah, you might be right. Just that someone else on this thread mentioned that they drive to Val Gardena, and I do think a vehicle could be of some use whilst there and for perhaps visiting nearby resorts.
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luigi wrote:
Plus fuel and tolls and overnight hotels (in case ppl don't want to drive 17hrs in one go) there and back...

There are so many lowcost flights to the cities of N Italy and car hire is cheap as chips in Winter, it really wouldn't make sense to schlep all that way in a rented van.


To be fair a lot of people do drive and a decent van is a nice way of doing it if it suits your situation. There is a market for those who are scared of planes, are environmentally conscious, want more flexibility etc etc. Nice to know someone out there is trying to offer a decent service.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Legend., +1

And it's by no means certain that flying will be as cheap in the future as it has been, for a whole host of reasons
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Legend. wrote:
luigi wrote:
Plus fuel and tolls and overnight hotels (in case ppl don't want to drive 17hrs in one go) there and back...

There are so many lowcost flights to the cities of N Italy and car hire is cheap as chips in Winter, it really wouldn't make sense to schlep all that way in a rented van.


To be fair a lot of people do drive and a decent van is a nice way of doing it if it suits your situation. There is a market for those who are scared of planes, are environmentally conscious, want more flexibility etc etc. Nice to know someone out there is trying to offer a decent service.


Yeah, sure, it might suit a few, but the economic case is not there from the UK to Italy/Dolomites.

Maybe at peak times to N French Alps when flights and Geneva car hire can get crazy expensive and the driving distance is shorter...or wanting to haul loads of specialist ski equipment...or a longer duration stay...but most of those would be best done using own vehicle (where sunk costs are already accounted for) as hire charges would certainly be prohibitive.

No probs with the guy touting his services, but I can't imagine many circumstances where it would make sense to hire a van at £138 a day to drive to Italy for a week's skiing.

We paid £16 return for our flights and £135 to hire a car with snow tyres for the week at half-term this Feb. I rest my case! snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
luigi wrote:
Legend. wrote:
luigi wrote:
Plus fuel and tolls and overnight hotels (in case ppl don't want to drive 17hrs in one go) there and back...

There are so many lowcost flights to the cities of N Italy and car hire is cheap as chips in Winter, it really wouldn't make sense to schlep all that way in a rented van.


To be fair a lot of people do drive and a decent van is a nice way of doing it if it suits your situation. There is a market for those who are scared of planes, are environmentally conscious, want more flexibility etc etc. Nice to know someone out there is trying to offer a decent service.


Yeah, sure, it might suit a few, but the economic case is not there from the UK to Italy/Dolomites.

Maybe at peak times to N French Alps when flights and Geneva car hire can get crazy expensive and the driving distance is shorter...or wanting to haul loads of specialist ski equipment...or a longer duration stay...but most of those would be best done using own vehicle (where sunk costs are already accounted for) as hire charges would certainly be prohibitive.

No probs with the guy touting his services, but I can't imagine many circumstances where it would make sense to hire a van at £138 a day to drive to Italy for a week's skiing.

We paid £16 return for our flights and £135 to hire a car with snow tyres for the week at half-term this Feb. I rest my case! snowHead


Yeah but your argument is purely about one thing, saving money. Or the 'economic case'.

That may not even in someone elses top 5 things they look at when picking a holiday. Hence the fact that is is a decent option. Loads of people (used to) take the ski train for extra days skiing and environmental reasons amongst others. So they are not looking for the cheapest option. Loads of people do not like driving even from the airport to resort as they do not like the idea of driving if it snowed so sharing a ride may work well. It's definitely a decent option sharing a big vehicle and it may be something people need to start getting used to more and more in the future.
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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!
I like to drive and find it far more convenient than flying ...and generally cheaper and not that much slower.....If you go to the Dolomites you can do it with one overnight stop and no tolls .This year I left London on Friday morning and was in the Val di Fassa by Saturday teatime ...I did not have to pay for airport parking. incredibly expensive transfers and an extortionate premium for taking my skis or get up at 3am for a 7am flight ....and my car takes 2-3 comfortably for the same cost ...In the resort I can visit other areas without getting any stress ....and of course after 2 weeks in Italy I did nip across to the French alps for a week as well ...the only real eyewatering cost was the Frejus Tunnel but I could have avoided it but it is a long way round.....

But fortunately I can afford the time and I might not do it for a weeks trip Very Happy
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These are all interesting views. To be honest, the vans were a genuine suggestion for the OP but, at the same time, something like this is more interesting to me for market research purposes than attempting to secure a van rental.

One thing I do think driving does offer is flexibility (whether that is in your own car or a rental van). If the snow didn't look great in your chosen resort but other parts of the Alps had received recent (and decent) snowfalls, then there's always the option to cancel your original plans and go somewhere else. And in somewhere like Val Gardena, a vehicle in resort is useful to get to other parts of the system or other resorts on at least a couple of days.

Anyway, don't want to hijack someone else's post.
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All sorts of good advice here. I and a lot of others on here can't recommend the Dolomites enough for intermediate skiers. You are nearly guaranteed well-groomed pistes and at least a few bluebird days. We've been to Val G 5 years straight, minus 2021, and this year I think I saw 2 or 3 clouds the entire week. That said, we also didn't get a flake of new snow, and I have to say I was craving fresh, natural snow by the end of the week.

The one thing that the Dolomites offer is the ability to give intermediate skiers the feeling that they're not missing out on anything. If you can even skid a turn, you can ski the entire SR area without fear. Even the few so-called black runs are just groomers, albeit steep, but not fearsomely so, and completely devoid of moguls.

IDK if the Antares is a proper "hotel" or small apartments. We always stay in apartments and splurge on lunch then make our own simple dinners. The dining options in Selva proper are not tremendous, to be honest. Whereas there are dozens of mountain restaurants that range from acceptable snack bars to near Michelin-starred places...
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