Cortina d’Ampezzo is a town and comune in the southern (Dolomitic) Alps located in Veneto, a region in Northern Italy. Located in the heart of the Dolomites in an alpine valley, it is a popular winter sport resort known for its ski-ranges, scenery, accommodations, shops and après-ski scene. After the scheduled 1944 Olympics had been cancelled because of the Second World War, it hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as various world cup events.
The Ampezzano climate is typically alpine, with short summers, and long winters that vacillate between frigid, snowy, unsettled, and temperate. Between the end of December and 1 January every year, some of the lowest temperatures recorded in Italy are in this region, particularly in heights of the Cimabanche Steppe, the area on the border between the provinces of Belluno and Bolzano.
The slopes in Cortina give skiers about 70 miles of runs, but when the Super Ski Pass is taken into account, skiers can enjoy over 740 miles of beautiful runs. A dream for beginners, the ski school and the perfect conditions combine to make Cortina a great place for novice skiers. Intermediates and experts alike will not be disappointed because 65% of the trails are for the more advanced skier. In addition, the off-piste skiing will appeal to the more experienced skier. Problems with Cortina can include the sometime lack of snow covering the slopes. Due to the location of the runs, and where they face can cause thin snow and unsuitable slopes in some areas. Also, as with other Italian resorts, the holidays and weekends will find the resort more crowded.
The lifts are fast so there is not much of an issue of long lift lines. Sometimes, the cable cars of Faloria and Tofano can be crowded, but generally only for the first morning runs. One must take a ski-bus between the different resorts in the Super Ski Pass, and these lines can be long, but the service is free. There are 37 total lifts that include 8 draglifts, 24 chairs, and 5 cable cars in the modern lift system of Cortina.The Dolomiti Super Ski Pass gives skiers access to the whole Dolomite region and over 700 miles of runs. The pass includes 12 different resorts and has 450 lifts in the system. Discounts are available for children and seniors. The other option would be the Cortina Area Pass, which encompasses the resorts of Cortina, Auronzo, Misurina and San Vito. There are discounted available to children and senior citizens. One is encouraged to buy lift tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.
There are two reasons why beginners should come here to Cortina to learn to ski: the ideal beginner slopes and the expert teachers at the ski school. With over half of the slopes in the Super Ski Pass linked region being beginner runs, there are more than enough slopes to keep beginners skiing for days on varied terrain. In Cortina itself, 39 of the trails are blue-coded and there are 259 in the whole region. Some of the best places for beginners are: Passo Falzarego or Tofana and Socrepes. These trails are very gentle and the lift system that supports them is perfect for someone who has never attempted a lift before. Located at the bottom of the mountain and facing towards the south, the slopes can experience a lack of snow at the beginning and end of the season. There are snowmakers in place that seek to keep the slopes covered and in ski-able condition.
For the skier that enjoys long, cruising runs, Cortina is the place for you. 62% of the trails are at the intermediate or red-coded level. With the Super Ski Pass, intermediates can 205 slopes to explore. There is less of a problem of lack of snow for the red-coded runs, and almost no problem for the runs located on the upper half of the mountain. However, the beginning and end of the season may see thinning on the slopes. Some areas for intermediate skiers to try include: Cinque Torri (which means five towers), Faloria, and Tofana. There is a six-mile cruising run, which goes from Lagazuoi in the direction of Armentarola, from where one can take a taxi back to town.
There are only 3 black-coded runs in Cortina, but these are great slopes for the expert skier. In addition, the region boasts 101 black-coded slopes in all, so one will not run out of challenging terrain. The best slopes for the expert skier are in the Tofana area, with the Forcella Rossa and Stratofana runs. Otherwise, skiers can head off-pist to the Forcella Staunies in the Cristallo area. The Gruppo Guide Alpine Cortina should be contacted as a guide is recommended when skiing the off-pist/backcountry areas. As the host of the Winter Olympics in 1956, Cortina first made a name for itself in the international arena. There are but a few trails for racing, however those are open to the general public. The racecourses are the Super G and the GS, while the Canalone, is the slope where the women’s Alpine Ski World Cup is held every January.
Children will find themselves welcome in this ski resort as they are in all of Italy. The Natural-Mente childcare center is Cortina is open from 8 am to 5 pm. The skiing for children is fabulous, and the nursery slopes are some of the best in the continent. Kids 4 and up can take lessons through the ski schools. Rentals and lift tickets are discounted for kids under 12. Older children and teens will love Cortina, not only for its skiing, but also for the variety of things there are to do after skiing. There is a cinema, video arcades, skating, swimming, rafting, sledding and bobsledding; enough activities to keep teens and their parents happy. The best slopes for the expert skier are in the Tofana area, with the Forcella Rossa and Stratofana runs. Otherwise, skiers can head off-piste to the Forcella Staunies in the Cristallo area. The Gruppo Guide Alpine Cortina should be contacted as a guide is recommended when skiing the off-pist/backcountry areas.As the host of the Winter Olympics in 1956, Cortina first made a name for itself in the international arena. There are but a few trails for racing, however those are open to the general public.The racecourses are the Super G and the GS, while the Canalone, is the slope where the women’s Alpine Ski World Cup is held every January
There is no night skiing offered in the area.
Information Courtesy of Ski2italy
Après-ski comes from the French for “After Skiing” but is now used universally and refers to the socializing that is popular after a days skiing ends. When the sun goes down is when the ski resorts come alive and enjoying a steaming mug of hot Chocolate laced with rum or a glass of hot Gluhwein whilst watching the sunset over the snow covered mountain peaks is a memory which will last a life-time.
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