A guide to one of Europe’s most beautiful but often overlooked ski regions.
On a glorious morning, we stumble out of the helicopter on to the top of the world. At the summit of Marmolada, 3,343 metres above sea level, we gaze over the Dolomites – wave upon wave of mountains designated as a Unesco World Natural Heritage Site in 2009. Then we click in and zoom down the boy racer track, a rolling red that demands high-velocity turns and tucks. At this early hour, we have the 1,490m vertical drop all to ourselves. Once at the bottom, we flash our Super Dolomiti passes – 450 lifts on a single magnetic card accessing 1,220 kilometres of marked runs, undeniably as big as it gets.
Most of the Super Dolomiti resorts, with the exception of Veneto’s Cortina d’Ampezzo, are in Südtirol (South Tirol), a province that is culturally and linguistically German but politically Italian. When the First World War ended in 1918, Italy received the wealthy province from Austria, the promised reward for being on the winning side.