Ski in the Dolomites area in the Italian Alps was on my bucket list since previous years, so nothing could have stopped me to go there. Not even a bad knee, a hard to manage luggage or a long way back.
When I’ve first heard about the Dolomites I was fascinated by the Sella Ronda, the main tourist attraction. In plain words, Sella Ronda is a circular tour around Sella massif in Dolomites mountain area, touch pointing 4 mountain areas and valleys. The mountains here are not the highest, especially if I’m comparing them to my previous ski trip in the Italian Alps – Breuil Cervinia. Thus, the ski domain is extended – 1.200 km! – and it offers you plenty of options for accommodation and ski along the 12 ski areas there!
Our choice was Arabba, a tiny mountain village, with a quiet atmosphere and scenic views. The advantage is that Arabba has a good connection with the Sella Ronda route and also with the Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites.
You need to buy Dolomiti Super Ski pass in order to get access to all the slopes and take the Sella Ronda tour. I am talking about 40 km (26 km of actual slopes), which means an all-day ski, 4 or 5 hrs. Add even more if you’re a beginner. You must start this journey in the morning, especially if you don’t have direct access to the route. If you’re an experienced skier, you will have time to get lost (kidding!) and try other interesting slopes around.
Sella Ronda Clockwise is the orange route, for the intermediate-advanced ones. You will notice the colored signs at the panels which will make it easier for orientation.
Sella Ronda Counter-clockwise is the green route, easier and probably a bit shorter. Even so, there are too many ski lifts you need to take and personally, I did not enjoy skiing so little just to get to another lift.
The highest point in the Dolomites is Marmolada, 3342m, where you have an outstanding panoramic terrace to enjoy surrounding peaks. From the top, from the Punta Rocca station, you will start a memorable 12 km slope, “La Bellunese”, the longest ski slope of the Dolomites. Needless to say, this one was my favorite: high enough, long enough and beautiful surroundings.
Historically, this place was a battlefield during World War I, when Austrians and Italians fought for this land. If you’ll get in the Dolomites you will notice the influences of Austria, in many aspects of life. While going up with the cabin, you will have an intermediate station at 2900m, and an insightful stop at Marmolada Great War Museum 3000M. There’s no entrance fee and you can check it in quickly, so I recommend it.
Check the map, cause it could be a long way for you to get to the Marmolada and go back to your resort.
How to get there
Bolzano Airport is the closest, but could be too expensive or not reachable from your city.
Venezia (Treviso or Marco Polo) airports and Verona airport are a good connection: 2hrs and a half, 3 hrs to Arabba. Even Innsbruck, Austria is a good option, and although it’s across the border, there is only 150 km (2hrs and a half).
You can take Milano airports into consideration as well, but consider the costs for the car rental or the bus transfer if any and about 5 hrs ride. The overall transportation cost via Milano, with a low-cost company and ski equipment included plus the car rental, was approx. 200 euros.
Italian roads are excellent and the second you’ll get in the region you will be amazed. One of the best rides ever!
Ski pass and domain
- Dolomiti Super Ski is a pass for all valleys, which includes 1.200 km and 12 ski areas. The ski pass price for 6 days is 265 euros in season or 290 euro in high season. Some hotels and apartment rentals offer discounts. So it happened to us, and we paid 230 euros for 6 days.
- The local pass is a bit cheaper, but I only recommend it for beginners only or for a few days. Arabba-Marmolada pass covers local ski area (at least you can reach Marmolada) and it costs 230 euros for a week.
We booked apartments at Alpenroyal Arabba, which was a nice accommodation, with good conditions.
To give you an idea, if you are 4 persons and you split a studio or a 2 rooms apartment, the price for 7 nights/person will be 270 (studio) or 350 euros (apartment).
Ski Resort tips
Food everywhere around is very tasteful. Watch your weight, cause here you’ll be tempted to try all the pizza, pasta and gnocchi varieties. Food is made locally and prices are decent for a mountain resort: 10 – 12 euros for a regular meal and going up to 20+ euros if you prefer meat or steak.
Of course, restaurants are limited, but you can also buy from the minimarket and enjoy the local taste. You can have some local cheese, local ham (Speck is recommended) and you’ll have a good and cheap snack. I estimate around 5 euros for 2 or 3 sandwiches if you make your own.
Why I loved it?
Honestly, Sella Ronda circuit was the main trigger for me. However, the Dolomites are known for the variety of options and this is a significant plus. You have here plenty of mountain resorts around and different ski domains options, not to count all seasons activities.
Carrying on, Sella massif has one of the world-known free ski paths. In general, you will see ski lines on many open valleys, off-piste, an extremely challenging adventure I’d say, only for experienced ones.
Personally, I’m interested to come back during summer, to try one of the many mountains and via ferrata trails.