It’s not every ski destination that offers the lift skier a tour. Typically, the alpine skier locks in and proceeds to yo-yo an area. All good, but imagine moving from point A to point B during the yo-yo process. In the Dolomites it is very much possible to lock in, drop in, and travel.
Thanks to the Dolomites extensive ski lift network, it is quite easy to travel around the entire region on skis. There are services that provide bag transfers so you can ski from one hotel to the next, linking runs, trams, lifts and the occasional ski bus to your destination. But the most famous of all “tours” is the Sellaronda Loop. While it isn’t point to point, it is a journey. You’ll circumnavigate the famous Sella massif, a huge island of Dolomite towers and vertical walls that may well be the very heart of the Dolomites. En route, you’ll pass three languages (German, Italian and Ladin) and see everything from idyllic ski towns to deep valleys on up to the highest mountain in the range, the Marmolada. During the summer, the Dolomites are beautiful, but it is in winter that they really show their character of sharp peaks, massive towers, shark fin walls and mind boggling relief. Throughout the entire loop, you will be in a landscape so stunning that you will not believe it possible.
Along the way are countless huts, bars, and ski restaurants. Most are blatantly obvious piste-side while others are hidden away, tucked into the forest where local knowledge is necessary to find them, and well worth the effort. One ski pass gets you access to the entire Dolomite ski area – the Dolomiti Superski which costs between €40-50 depending on the season, cheap when compared to the $100 American ski pass – and you get so much more…
The Sellaronda Loop
The Sellaronda is done from any of the four valleys and their villages butting up to the Sella; Canazei, Arabba, Selva di Gardena and the Alta Badia’s Corvara, San Cassiano or La Villa. The loop can be done in either direction, clockwise or counter clockwise, both are well marked. The entire loop has many options to add additional skiing or sightseeing. We started in Corvara at 8:30, made lots of photos, had a grappa, a long lunch, repeated a few runs and were back in Corvara as the lifts were closing just after 4:00. We skied 45km with 5200 meters of descent. Had we been skiing more and distracted less, we could have easily done a few more big lifts and gotten another 3000 meters. Point being… you can cover some ground.
Consider using a local guide so as to maximize your skiing and minimize time trying to make sense of it all. It’s a big tour and a massive piste network, you don’t want to come up short when the lifts close. To add to the experience, you’ll want to eat the best food and this absolutely requires help for there are some very special stops along the way. No matter if you want a pasta, a knödel or cajinci you have Italian, German and even the truly local Ladin culture all influencing the cuisine.
Like the Haute Route for a backcountry skier, the Sellaronda is a Must Do for any alpine skier’s tick list – put it near the top.
For full information about the Sellaronda including gear rental, guide services and ski instruction for the entire Dolomite region, visit Holimites.com