Many of our guests head for Courchevel, St Anton or Val d’Isere and haven’t even heard of Corvara. Here’s why, despite being under the radar, Corvara has it all.
Arriving into Corvara from Venice we dropped into the resort from the mountain road to be greeted by the huge “welcome to Corvara” sign and the sight of happy skiers meandering their way back into resort. The sun was shining, as it does for 300 days a year; the region being truly blessed with a sunny disposition.
Our chosen hotel for our family ski trip (including my daughter’s boyfriend – ouch that was expensive) was The Col Alto, a superb 4 star owner managed establishment comprising of two interconnecting wings. The owners, Stefano and Aileen Pezzei offer a friendly high- quality experience without the over formality and stuffiness that can follow in such high-class establishments. There exudes a welcoming atmosphere that matches the warm wood interiors of the bar, lounge and restaurant.
The restaurant proudly offers Ladin dishes, mixed with Italian fare, and more general international cuisine. For simpler diets the Maitre D is only too happy to assist.
The health suite is located in the interconnecting wing, which, whilst situated across the road you would never know as it is joined by an underground corridor that includes various treatment rooms. In the spa you will find a wide array of steam rooms (various herbal), laconiums, kneipp baths, hot tubs, pool, ice showers, and footbaths. Just perfect after a hard day’s skiing.
Access back to the hotel on skis is via a very easy un-pisted track (don’t fancy this then the minibus will pick you up at the bottom of the piste). You can walk to the lifts but you won’t. The hotel runs 2 minibuses on constant loops from the boot room to the lifts. The amiable driver takes care of loading and unloading your equipment too. These minibuses depart every 5/10 minutes and it will take 2 minutes to reach the lift of your choice.
The ski area of Altia Badia is fully connected to the Sella Rhonda, but being in a in a different canton it is marketed slightly differently. The lifts are both swift and modern. The resort is snow sure but in Bolzano the famous snow making machinery manufacturer Techno Alpin is located. They regard this area as their shop window and so it has become the world’s best for snow making with the latest innovations and brand new equipment. The lift pass covers over 1100kkm of piste but in a week you won’t touch the sides of that.
Of course you can ski the Sella Rhonda in both directions (one harder than the other) but far more interesting is the 4 hour World War 1 ski route and see the effects that the war had on the region with bomb holes, trenches, fortifications, and artefacts. You will find information points along the way to broaden your WW1 knowledge. Then there is also the Hidden valley ski route, Lagazuoi. Here you ski to Armentarola just outside San Cassiano. A team of taxis wait to take eager skiers to a mountain set between Cortina and San Cassiano (15 minute ride and €5 pp). Then a swift cable car deposits you at the summit with stunning views across so many of the Dolomiti resorts. Here you ski in the most remote and wonderful setting with frozen waterfalls and you can always stop for a rewarding beer or chocolate mit rum at the bottom where the lamas roam across the piste (yes, I did say lamas). Following a further short ski along the valley floor and your journey is complete. Well, almost as to get back to Armentarola you are pulled by horses on a multi-person rope tow.
Most of the ski region is accessible for all standards of skiers and there isn’t anything too testing. However, if you want the steep pitches and deep powder then the off-piste can be great but head over to Arabba, where the most exciting adrenaline runs are.
As for lunches on the mountain, it doesn’t get any better than this ski region; Sudtirol is famed for its cuisine and it doesn’t break the bank either. Jimmi Hutte has one of the most panoramic views ever and serves great food. Piz Arlara serves fantastic food with beautiful views and Moritzino is an amazing fresh fish restaurant at the top of the main cable car in Corvara, just ask for the catch of the day. This Ladin region has something like 17 Michelin star restaurants.
When guests talk about the best places to ski and mention Courchevel, St Anton, Val d’Isere and others we are always filled with a wry smile as chances are many haven’t even heard of let alone tried Corvara. In fact, guests we send here always return with the same comment, “Please don’t send anyone else here, let’s keep this one between ourselves”.