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DOLOMITI SUPERSKI A mountain of wonder

There is plenty of fun to be had in the mountains, but if you want an unforgettable dream holiday, choose Dolomiti Superski: a mountain of wonder in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, which are located in the north-eastern part of Italy. Magnificent views around, 450 uphill facilities, 1,200 km of perfect slopes, prepared daily, 8 days of sunshine out of every 10, and for food lovers, gastronomic delights from five different cultures and traditions of fine cuisine: Tyrolean, Trentino, Venetian, Ladine and Mediterranean. You couldn’t find a more intense way to spend the winter. A mountain of wonder, dreamed of by many from the summer onwards.

The famous architect Le Corbusier once stated enthusiastically, “They are the most beautiful architectural construction in the world.” The climber Emil Zsigmondy defined them as “a precious stone set in the Alpine landscape” and Reinhold Messner simply said, “The Dolomites are not the highest mountains in the world, but they are the most beautiful.” Even UNESCO is of the same opinion, and has included them among the 199 World Natural Heritage Sites worldwide in June 2009. The Dolomites are in fact protected with 7 natural parks covering 1/3 of the whole territory. The alternating soft slopes and “malghe” (traditional mountain farmhouses) dominated by steep limestone masses is a unique, incomparable view. Rocks with bizarre fissures reaching up to 3,342 m into the skies, transforming every ski run that passes through the terraced slopes into a panoramic descent. 

So, a winter paradise, formed 250 million years ago from the primordial sea. At that time, the highest and most famous peaks (Marmolada, Sassolungo, Civetta, Pale di San Martino, Rosengarten, Sciliar, Tofane and the Three Peaks of Lavaredo) were probably atolls. Then, in 1789 they took the name of the geologist Déodat de Dolomieu, who discovered their particular chemical composition.

We might therefore say that, as they let their skis and snowboards slide smoothly along the splendid snowy world of Dolomiti Superski, skiers from around the world are in fact exploring a barrier reef.

A barrier reef that salutes its guests every evening with a magnificent show of nature, when the “pale mountains” and their peaks dress in fiery red, turning to dark violet. A colour show called “Enrosadira”, which due to the special qualities of the dolomitic rocks can be seen only in these mountains. The most beautiful performances are given on clear winter evenings, on the Rosengarten, the Croda Rossa, the Sella, the Fanes and the Tofana. A unique moment, not to be missed, that warms any heart.  

The Dolomites have clocked up 100 years of skiing tradition. As early as 1895 the first skiers could be seen on the snowy slopes of the Val Gardena and Cortina. In 1912 a young man from Merano, Peter Böttl, took two days to ski round the Sella massif, creating the Sellaronda race. The first giant slalom was held in 1935 on the Marmolada. But in those days, the competitors had to reach the top of the Queen of the Dolomites (3,342 m) on foot. In 1956 with the winter Olympics held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, this skiing region saw world fame. Still today, Alta Badia, Val Gardena and Cortina d’Ampezzo host spectacular World Cup ski tournaments, which attract many visitors from all over the world every year.

Small villages, home to mountain shepherds, have roots that date back to the Bronze Age. Some finds prove that even at that time the first settlements were to be found in the valleys. A historical place, that has seen three different cultures live peacefully side by side: the Ladines, the Italians and the Germans. The Ladines, descendants of the Raets, have been living in the dolomite-valleys for almost 2000 years. Thanks to the isolated position of their villages, it has been possible to maintain languages, customs and traditions alive up to our times. In fact, 25,000 Dolomite Ladines still speak Ladine today, a language with roots that lie in popular Latin. Three cultures that explain the multiplicity and wealth of this mountain region, that has no equals around the world.
And on the most beautiful mountains in the world, people do not just ski: it is possible to take a veritable journey on skis. Every day, new landscapes to be discovered, 1,200 km of slopes to be enjoyed, divided into 12 unmistakeable skiing areas, composed of 45 small and suggestive mountain villages: all within easy reach, with just one skipass, the Dolomiti Superskipass. Every night, 300 snow cats work to prepare perfect trails, and the most modern ski lifts (450) help skiers to follow ski itineraries on foot, including the legendary Sellaronda, in the heart of the Dolomiti Superski zone, and to reach other ski districts and areas. Skiers and snowboarders of any level will not be disappointed on these world-famous slopes, including the Bellunese which starts at the peak of the Marmolada, the Lagazuoi, the Tognola Uno trail, the Saslonch, the Gran Risa, the Olimpia on the Tofana, the Silvester, the Trametsch trail and other wonderful slopes for snow lovers. In fact, on average in the Dolomiti Superski district skiers use the same ski lift only 1.34 times a day. The Sella, the Latemar, the Civetta and the Schlern will always call you to stop for a breathtaking panoramic break. The mountain heights, from 1,550 to 3,342 m, as well as the 1,100 km of slopes equipped with snowmaking systems, make for perfect skiing practically 100% of the time. In addition, the sun shines 8 days out of 10. Perfect snow, great sun, fabulous slopes and views, to satisfy all demands for a fun-packed winter holiday.

The Dolomites are the right destination for food lovers too. In particular in the areas of Alta Badia, Kronplatz, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Val Gardena and the Val di Fassa, the concentration of restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide greatly outnumbers many European cities. But the gastronomic delights do not wait for skiers and snowboarders only in the towns, as suggestive traditional refuges and stops can also be found on the slopes, and sophisticated mountain restaurants attract diners with their exquisite recipes. Here you can find both typical specialities of traditional mountain cuisine and veritable gourmet delights, to transform any stop in a journey to discover the pleasures of the palate. Five different types of cooking can be found on the local menus, with classical and traditional dishes: Tyrolean, Trentino, Venetian, Ladine and Mediterranean cuisines have led to the birth of an incomparable creative culinary culture which is able to satisfy any kind of palate. With speck, cheeses and “Knödel”, to fresh  lobster and prawns served in the refuges. From Parma ham and Pecorino cheese, through lasagne or spaghetti with clams to Ladine Schlutzkrapfen (ricotta and spinach ravioli), to Tirtlen (stuffed fagots) and pork shanks. A whole book would be needed to list all of the delicacies, and so here more than anywhere, “tasting is believing”, obviously all washed down with Prosecco and other excellent wines. And to end with a flourish, you can’t say no to an excellent grappa! Or would you prefer something sweet? Tiramisu, Strudel and “Buchteln” (baked yeast-dough-pastries) with vanilla sauce are a speciality you can try sitting comfortably in the sun, soaking up the breathtaking scenery of the Dolomites.

A holiday for the body and soul: after a tough day on the slopes, relax in a sauna or a Turkish bath, go from A for Ayurveda to Z for Zhi Zhu, a moment of relief that many winter sports lovers look for and find in the beauty and wellness oases that can be found in the many spas and wellness centres in hotels and bed & breakfasts located in the Dolomiti Superski area. According to an independent study carried out in 2000 by Austrian Moderate Altitude Study, exercise and sports done in the mountains are good for your health. Spending time at an altitude of between 1,400 and 2,000 metres, more than 100 excursionists found that their blood pressure was lower, they had lost weight due to the improved fat and sugar metabolism, and an incredible improvement in the transport of oxygen by red blood cells. The people in the survey also stated that they slept better and were more positive and optimistic. Therefore, whether you just want to get out of doors a bit or you want to try the thrill of pushing yourself to the limit, come to the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and discover the harmony and wellbeing of a skiing holiday in the world of Dolomiti Superski. 

We all have different needs and desires. Some want to relax and prefer wide, soft sun-kissed slopes, others run the 1,200 km of slopes like champion skiers, looking for the challenges and emotions of the World Cup slopes. But also gourmet skiers, who pass from one culinary peak to another, nature lovers looking for uncontaminated landscapes, families, singles, young people and those who still feel young, everyone will find something here that fits the bill. In the valleys of our 12 pure skiing pleasure zones, winter holidaymakers will find all they need to make their holiday an unforgettable mountain experience. All this is Dolomiti Superski.
Text: Press Office Dolomiti Superski

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