Dolomiti Superski Guide | Here's Why Italy's Largest Ski Area is the Place to Go This Winter
New investments in tech, combined with the area's rich heritage, make the Dolomites the place to go this winter
The Dolomites are one of the world’s great mountain ranges. For decades skiers from all over the world have been drawn in by the distinctive red rocks, the wide open slopes and the charming villages steeped in history. Good food, great wine and amazing snow, the Dolomites has it all. It’s no wonder that UNESCO named it a World Heritage site recently, or that James Bond himself decided to come skiing here as far back as the early 80s.
But the appeal of the Dolomites isn’t just about the rich history or the glories of the past. This year the Dolomiti Superski Area, which brings together 12 ski resports and 50 separate villages and their surrounding slopes, is investing heavily in new technology. With 1,200km of pistes Dolomiti Superski is already one of the largest ski areas in the world, but with its new app and a redeveloped website for 2017-18 it’s also becoming one of the most futuristic.
"It’s no wonder that UNESCO named it a World Heritage site recently, or that James Bond came skiing here"
The 3D Super Ski App
First off there’s the brand new app. Download this on your smartphone (it’s compatible with both Android and iOS) and you can wave goodbye to the frustrations of fumbling with a wet paper piste map. There are detailed 3D maps of all 12 ski areas that make up the Dolomiti Superski zone, and the app uses your phone’s GPS to tell you exactly where you are.
You can plan your day inputting start and finish points and let the app guide you round the mountain - taking you to snow parks, mountain huts or tourist info points as you please. At the end of the day you can look back at the ground you’ve covered using the “tracking" function and see stats like the time you took to ride a slope, the total distance covered in kilometres, or the amount of vertical you’ve skied. There’s even a “well-being factor", which will tell you whether your skiing has been “substandard, standard or optimal" from a health point of view.
“Skiing makes us healthy," explains Diego Clara, the Dolomiti Superski press representative. “This is what recent clinical trials from the University of Salzburg (Austria) and Cologne (Germany) clearly prove.
“Skiing regularly with medium exertion stimulates the body in general, positively influencing the cardiovascular and muscular system as well as having a positive influence on the psychological profile. All in all, skiing increases one's life expectancy, strengthens us and makes us happy."
"Skiing increases one's life expectancy, strengthens us and makes us happy."
Even if you you’re not a numbers boffin, that’s a sentiment all ski enthusiasts can agree with!
The New Dolomiti Superski Site
As well as the app, Dolomiti Superski have re-designed their website. There’s a new section called MyDolomiti where you can login and view stats from your day, or compare yours to other people’s. You can set up challenges between yourself and your friends, colleagues, or members of your family. Who’s skied the furthest? Who’s ridden the most vertical? Who stopped the longest at lunch? You can even set-up Strava style prizes.
Elsewhere the website has better social media integration and makes it easier to find the best bars, restaurants and apres activities than ever before. Not only that, but the area has invested in more that 100 WiFi hotspots throughout the ski area - at the main lift stations, skipass offices, ski huts and tourist offices - so you can login on the go without facing any roaming charges.
So Where Should You Go?
Obviously one of the principal attractions of the Dolomiti Superski area is its sheer size, and the new website and app make navigating your way around it much easier. But with 50 villages in 12 resorts to choose from, when you’re booking a holiday it can feel difficult to know where to start.
We’ve picked out a few highlights here to help get the imagination going, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. The honest truth is can’t really go wrong with any of the resorts in this area. Over the years the Mpora team has ridden most of them and loved them all.
Alta Badia offers one of the biggest single lift-linked ski areas in the Dolomiti Superski area, with direct access to more than 500 kilometres of slopes. With that amount on offer, there really is something for everyone - from easy blues to challenging blacks, not to mention one of the best snowparks in northern Italy.
Our sister site Whitelines says: “Val Gardena is without doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world, with astounding views of the Sella mountain range." This dramatic valley isn’t just good-looking either, it also offers fantastic skiing. The piste known as Longia is a particular highlight as it's one of the longest slopes in the Dolomites, descending from the top of Seceda to the village of Ortisei.
Arabba is one of the highest villages in the region and, as such, offers one of the most assured chances of snow at any time during the season. This elevated position also affords amazing views of the Gruppo del Sella to the West and the glacial Marmolada massif to the South. Arabba also enjoys some of the most challenging, steep pistes anywhere in Italy, making it ideal for skiers and snowboarders who really want to test their riding.
Val di Fassa
“Your jaw will drop as soon as you set foot here," was how Mpora’s Stuart Kenny described Val di Fassa when he visited last winter. With incredible views of the the Sella Massif, the Sassolungo mountain group and the Marmolada glacier, the slopes here are some of the most picturesque in the whole area.
This South Tyrolłean resort boasts an incredible snowpark and some brilliant expert pistes, but it’s arguably most famous for the Messner Mountain Museum. Named for the legendary climber Reinhold Messner, who hails from this German-speaking province, the museum is dedicated to celebrating the traditional, oxygen-free type of climbing he espoused.
The permanent exhibition, which includes artefacts from Messner’s famous first ascents of Everest and K2, is fascinating. But it’s worth a visit to see the outside of the building alone. Designed by the late, great British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, this stunning mountain-top structure affords incredible views in all directions “from the Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, from the Marmolada in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north", as the website puts it.