This guest post is a real first – I’ve let my Canadian fiancé get a word in for once – to share his experience of skiing in Cortina.
He explains what skiing and snowboarding in the Dolomites feels like from the perspective of a native Canadian more used to taking to the rather different slopes of British Columbia…
Getting To Cortina
I’m excited for my first time in Italy – I’m going skiing in Cortina, and I find it remarkable that my budget air travel with Ryanair is only £40 return from London Stansted to Venice – that’s about $65 CAD.
This allows me to travel with only hand luggage but I manage to squeeze my ski gear (trousers, jacket, gloves, thermals and goggles) into a small carry-on suitcase.
We need to make the 135km trip from Venice Treviso Airport to our hotel in Cortina. Car rental companies of course seemingly never have the compact vehicle you hired available, so for the price of a budget car I end up driving a nice brand new land yacht up the swervy mountain highways.
I then hire a snowboard, boots and helmet from the shop directly opposite the hotel for a total of about 36 Euros for the day.
Skiing In Cortina
I find out that Cortina is part of something called the Dolomiti Superki area, which allows one ski pass to take you to 12 different skiing areas, 1200 km of slopes and 450 lifts; the idea is that you can never get bored while skiing or snowboarding around here.
Eating In Cortina
In the northern Italian town of Cortina d’Ampezzo the mountains are draped with world class slopes and also dotted with tons of tasty bites – literally. The ski runs are peppered with eateries called refugios.
Across from the hotel there is a small restaurant that specializes in different kinds of prosciutto.
At Al Camin, in a rustic wooden dining room, you get to taste some local classics and some new interpretations created by chef Fabio Pompanin.
Not to mention during my weekend in Cortina I manage to enjoy my first, second and third time eating pizza in Italy.
Skiing In Cortina vs Snowboarding In Cortina
There are plenty of different runs to choose from and there are multi-stop gondolas leaving from convenient points around the very centre of the quiet snow-capped town.
It seems skiing is the popular choice here; I count about 10 skiers to every 1 snowboarder. By being on a snowboard myself I double our numbers.
Riding on artificial snow because of a low snowfall this year I find I’m a little bit rusty – but hey, if it is good enough for the women’s world ski cup who just left town yesterday, it’s good enough for me.
I find my groove after the first couple of tumbles. The day after the big competition finished was the right time to pick because the hills are practically empty today.
Cortina vs Canada
After riding the gondola up to one of the highest refugios I stop in for a nice lunch of spaghetti bolognese and a refreshing frosty lager, and as luck would have it as I start eating a snow flurry comes over the sharp peak of the mountain, wrapping around the building, closing off the panoramic view of the valley.
After lunch I dust off the 4 inches of new snow from my snowboard and enjoy this soft new, and very welcome, powder by going down some long runs.
I then stop off at an outdoor bar at the top of a chairlift for one more beer. It’s something that I just can’t picture doing in Canada; getting a nice pint poured for you while you’re still strapped in.
I enjoy the view of the valley before taking the last lift of the day down to Cortina from the slopes.
Savoirthere was a guest of Hotel Ambra Cortina and Restaurant Al Camin
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