dolomites freeride and touring base

  • epicpow
    epicpow op 11 December 2019 · 22:41
    Hi Guys,

    I am planning a trip for early March to the Dolomites. I don't know the area at all. I am trying to identify the best place to base ourselves for a combination of off-piste skiing and touring / ski-mountaineering. Looking for somewhere with some awesome lift-accessed skiing, touring options close-by and within 1hr drive, as well as some bad weather options (trees and low angle terrain). Will have a car. Also if you have any suggestions for nice huts to spend a couple of nights with a nice selection of objectives.

    Have been looking at Arabba and Canazei. I am sure there are loads of places, but it is quite overwhelming.


  • steveh
    steveh op 8 January 2020 · 10:07
    It is overwhelming! I've been a few times summer and winter and have only really explored a couple of areas. I'd say both Arabba and Canazei are good bases. I also like Corvara as a town, and you'll find some cheaper accommodation just north of there in the Alta Badia area. For a first winter trip I'd go for Arraba though, it has good access to the Marmolada area, easy road access to the Cortina areas, Tre Cime etc. Unless you have some piste-only skiers with you I'd avoid the "famous" Sella Ronda circuit. It's a great outing for someone who likes pistes but it's a waste of a day for freeriding. If you stay in Arraba and the weather is bad you can find trees to the North towards Corvara, I had a great day there in a storm a few years ago. It seems visitors to the area do not like to ski when it's snowing, so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

    I've not stayed in any huts there in winter, but there are dozens and I guess most are open all winter. Given the amount of lift access and day tours I'm not sure you need to worry about huts on a first visit though.

    If you've not seen them there are a couple of excellent guide books by a local guide Francesco Tremolada. This is one and there's also another volume which is touring specific. They're well worth picking up in local shops (the books are in Italian and English on alternating pages, so they're quite bulky). The best maps are the Tobacco maps, some show ski routes and pistes on them too, which is handy.
  • epicpow
    epicpow op 8 January 2020 · 16:31
    @steveh - Thanks. That is all really useful info. Seems like just pick an area and go with it. We will probably go with Arabba and maybe do some day trips to other areas. Have ordered both the Versant Sud books.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 8 January 2020 · 18:26
    @steveh +1 @epicpow enjoy!
    May the powder be with you.
  • steveh
    steveh op 8 January 2020 · 18:34
    One thing to check is the rules about free riding, especially near or above pistes. Depending on the province it may be illegal in some areas or you may be required by law to carry avy gear. Tremolada mentions this in more detail in his books. Makes sure you have the right gear (shovel, probe, transceiver) and plan routes carefully so you are not going to drop on to a piste in any exposed areas.
  • Polhovsky
    Polhovsky op 17 January 2020 · 21:28
    Check out Pordoi if you're looking for some spicy couloirs (make sure to check conditions because you'll need to rappel in some of them when the base is not great). You can pay per ride with the gondola and hitch back from the road. Amazing skiing. Another interesting area is Cristallo near Cortina d'Ampezzo, also beautiful couloirs. In terms of accommodation I can recommend Garni Mariam in la Villa (a few minutes up by foot from Alta Badia).
    'Skiing is the best way in the world to waste time' - Glen Plake
  • epicpow
    epicpow op 18 January 2020 · 10:07
    @Polhovsky Thanks!


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