Cortina d’Ampezzo Ski Resort Guide
Out of a host of seriously chic Italian ski resorts, Cortina d’Amprezzo is regarded as the country’s most fashionable location. This famous ski racing town is found at the heart of the Dolomites area. Magnificent mountain peaks and limestone cliffs rise up from the pretty wooded valleys all around the town. At dawn and dusk the mountains take on a tinge of pink which adds to the already jaw-dropping local scenery.
Cortina d’Ampezzo itself is a sizable town spread across a scenic mountain bowl. It is well known as one of the oldest and most attractive ski resorts in Europe. The heart of the town is the cobbled Corso Italia street. This pedestrianised avenue is lined with designer shops selling clothes, jewellery, antiques and furs. The pretty floodlit church on the Corso only adds to the upmarket atmosphere.
Cortina has historically been a resort that is serious about its ski racing. They played host to the 1956 Winter Olympics and still runs World Cup races. These days though many of the Italian visitors take the pastimes of shopping and eating more seriously than their skiing. This has led to Cortina d’Ampezzo becoming one of the most sophisticated areas for style and the outdoors in Italy. This does have the benefit that the pistes are usually quiet and there are no crowds or queues up the mountains despite the town being busy.
It is perhaps unsurprising that this upmarket ski resort has had plenty of celebrity attention too. James Bond actor Roger Moore was fond of Cortina d’Ampezzo – as was writer Ernest Hemingway before him. Many of the accommodation here can be classed as holiday-homes for the wealthy residents of Milan, Rome & Venice. For the rest of us there are plenty of three-star hotels which provide good quality accommodation at a reasonable price.
Away from the mountains it is the boutique shopping that many people visit Cortina d’Ampezzo for. There are also some great bars in the centre of town and food both on and off the mountain is of an exceptional quality almost everywhere. There are also activities like ice skating, bobsleigh & toboggan runs to be found around the resort. The closest international airports to Cortina are Venice at approximately 2 hours transfer time, and Innsbruck which is a transfer of 2 hours 15 minutes.
Skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Despite a reported 70% of Italian visitors never venturing on to the slopes when visiting Cortina d’Ampezzo there is some excellent skiing to be had here. The pistes immediately surrounding the town are renowned for being perfectly groomed, having scenic tree-lined runs and featuring Italy’s best range of advanced runs. For those wanting to explore further afield Cortina is also linked on the famous Dolomiti Superski Pass giving access to almost 1,100km of pistes and trails all over the Dolomites.
Cortina d’Ampezzo’s skiing is grouped in to three main areas. Tofana is the largest skiable area with some great advanced terrain through the trees plus a beginners area. Faloria’s slopes are less challenging, but are largely north-facing and provide the best snow conditions. The Falzarego area features something for every level of skier & snowboarder and is well worth exploring.
Cortina d’Ampezzo has invested in a good amount of new lifts recently so travel whilst on the mountain is relatively efficient. Unfortunately, there is no real ski-in/ski-out accommodation in the town and walking or taking buses and taxis is part of skiing life in Cortina. All the ski areas are linked by bus, but to minimise travel times look for hotels close to the central Corso Italia area and the nearby Faloria cable car.
The ski are in Cortina may be more fragmented than others, but there are a fine selection of blue and red runs through glorious mountain scenery to make up for that. There are a number of black runs spread around to keep more experienced skiers happy plus some challenging off-piste areas when conditions allow. If you want even more choice though the Dolomiti Superski is the largest linked ski area in the world. Spread across twelve beautiful valleys and with 450 lifts available on one ski pass it is accessed via the Armentarola trail just off the Falzarego-Lagazuoi cable car and provides almost unlimited skiing options.