High altitude early Spring skiing in Italy
Posted by - Richard Visick on Thu 21st February 2013
As winter gives way to spring, bringing warmer weather and longer days for skiing, there’s more time to venture to higher peaks, so now is a great time to plan a ski weekend or longer ski break with altitude in mind.
Snowfall across the whole of the Alps this year has been some of the best in recent seasons, so, if you're looking to make the most of longer spring days to reach the highest peaks possible, you're sure to find some fantastic snow at altitude. Italy is home to some of the highest and most accessible Alpine ski areas, and two locations spring to mind when it comes to planning a high-altitude ski break: the Marmolada piste in the Dolomiti Superski area and the Grosté pass in Madonna di Campiglio are perfect for a high-altitude ski weekend.
At 3343m, the Marmolada peak is the highest mountain of the Dolomites. What makes it great for a high-altitude ski break is the fact that you can climb up by cable car from Arabba, reaching the heady height of 3269m at the Punta Rocca, from where you can ski all the way back to Arabba along an exhilarating 12km run. It’s an exceptional experience; skiing down this wonderful piste, which is steep but still accessible to intermediate skiers, you’ll feel the snow subtly change beneath you as you make your way to lower heights. Once you’re down at Malga Ciapela (1446m) you’ll have earned a tasty dish of fried eggs and ham the local way.
For those after a sophisticated ski weekend in the area, we suggest staying in Selva Gardena, the premier resort of the Dolomiti Superski region, at the family-friendly Hotel Piccolo, which gives easy access to the area's wide range of slopes for all abilities.
The Grosté pass in Madonna di Campiglio is a wide plateau at 2450m, which is home to several great runs and half a dozen chairlifts. It is Campiglio’s most open ski area, offering picturesque, panoramic views for anyone on a ski break there. While not as high as Marmolada, it’s high enough to guarantee top quality snow throughout spring, both in the morning and afternoon. Higher runs are more suited to intermediate and experienced skiers, while beginners can make the most of Campiglio's 16 green runs. Harder Grosté slopes are mostly above the tree line, so it’s a great place to maximise slope-time on your ski break, before enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine sipping a glass of vin brulé (the local version of gluhwein) and gathering your strength for the last ski down to base camp.
Once you’re down, you’ll be spoilt for choice by this sophisticated resort's range of boutiques, bars and restaurants in and around the cosy central square. One of our favourite places to stay here is the luxury Hotel Hermitage, which is just 5 minutes from the town centre, with a luxury gourmet restaurant and fantastic views of the Dolomiti di Brenta. But if you want to be closer to the heart of things on your ski weekend or longer ski break, then the centrally located DV Chalet might be the place for you.