Unique winter experiences in the Dolomites
Issue 5 / 17 August 2018
Unique winter experiences in the Dolomites

The Dolomites have a wide range of unique winter experiences for all ages to enjoy.

Jackie Slaughter

The magnificent Dolomite mountains in northern Italy are renowned the world over for their excellent skiing and snowboarding. If you are eager to try other winter activities, then the Dolomites can also offer a wide range of totally unique alternative experiences.

Stargazing in the Dolomites

The best time of year to get the most out of your stargazing is in winter, and where better to enjoy the night views of winter starry skies than from on top of a magnificent mountain range. The Dolomites Astronomical Observatory is located at an altitude of 1,720m, in the very heart of the Dolomites, from where there are wondrous views of the night sky. In the observatory there are two domes, a Schmidt Cassegrain Celestron 11 and a Newton telescope, so in the unpolluted, clear mountain air, the winter skies abound with more stars, planets and galaxies than stargazers could ever have wished for.

Stay in Chalet Fogajard, an inviting rustic retreat with spectacular views, located just outside Madonna di Campiglio. The chalet is just 6 km / 3.8 miles from the Observatory, in the Adamello Brenta National Park. Madonna di Campiglio is a very chic and fashionable ski resort, second in Italy only to the more famous Cortina d’Ampezzo. Observatory and skiing apart, it is also an excellent base for snowboarding, thanks to its four terrain parks.

Bobsleighing in Cortina

Head to Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Cortina Adrenalin Centre, and enjoy an exhilarating ride down the icy bobsleigh run as a passenger (two per bobsleigh) with a professional pilot and brakeman to keep you safe. If you would prefer to leave the action to the experts and just watch instead, then head to the Eugenio Monti Bobsleigh & Skeleton Track, which was part of the 1956 Olympics, to observe practice runs and races. The track featured in For Your Eyes Only, a famous James Bond film from the 1980s.

Where else would you stay than Cortina d’Ampezzo itself? Winter sports apart, for chic designer boutiques, restaurants and bars aplenty, Cortina has attracted visitors for centuries and comes highly recommended. Known as the Queen of the Dolomites, it has been a tourist destination for a very long time and has hosted many major international sporting events. Chalets LV-01 and LV-02 are two of three fine chalets forming an exclusive ‘village’ just a few minutes’ walk from Cortina’s centre. Both are beautiful, spacious properties with fantastic facilities.

Sledging in Selva Gardena

If you are not quite as coordinated on your skis as you would like, or if you prefer to be seated as you travel down the slopes, a sledge ride down the mountains is a fun and exhilarating way for the whole family to enjoy the spectacular mountain terrain and breathtaking views of the Dolomites. At night, try a toboggan or sleigh ride by the light of the full moon, perhaps heading from rifugi to rifugi and enjoying fabulous local cuisine as you go. The final sleigh ride downhill to the valley below, with just the moon (and sleigh headlamp) to light the way, is sure to be a memorable experience. The Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm area has sledging slopes to suit everyone from beginner to expert which are accessible on foot or by cable car, all just a few minutes by road from Selva di Val Gardena.

Stay in Selva di Val Gardena in Pine Lodge - an exceptional chalet on the south-facing side of Val Gardena, situated just 300 metres from the ski lifts and a few minutes on foot from the centre of the village. The property has a number of fantastic facilities to enjoy, including a swimming pool and spa. Selva di Gardena is the perfect destination in winter, thanks to its central location as part of the Sella Ronda, the world’s largest ski carousel around the Sella mountains. The village centre has numerous shops, bars and restaurants, where you can relax after your activities on the slopes and enjoy the panorama of the Dolomites.

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