LOCAL AREA: Alta Badia
CONNECTED AREA: Sellaronda, Marmolada, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Plan de Corones, Dolomiti Superski
SEASON START & END: Early December to Mid April
SKI ALTITUDE IN METRES: Local resort 1348-2778m
PISTES: Local Resort: 130 km of slopes : 74 km blue / 47km red / 9km black
Connected Area: 500 km of slopes around the Sella mountain
LIFTS: Total 53 /Local Resort: (Cable cars 10 / Gondola 1 / Chair lift 30 / Drag Lifts 12)
SNOW: 783 snow cannons
LIFT TICKET 2022/23 Ski Pass: Alta Badia Skipass: from 58 Euros – 1 day / from 292 Euros – 6 days // Dolomiti Superski: from 63 Euros – 1 day / from 317 Euros – 6 days
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: 38 km of trails
LANGUAGE: Ladin, Italian & German
AIRPORT: Innsbruck 130 km / Venice 180 km / Venice 200 km / Verona 213 km / Milan 310 km / Munich 330 km / Milan 400 km
TRAIN: Brunico 37 Km / Bressanone 65 Km / Bolzano 65 Km / Bolzano 100 Km
Alta Badia Town
Located in the South Tyrol, Alta Badia consists of 6 villages: Corvara, Colfosco, San Cassiano, Badia, La Villa and La Val. The area was remote and very difficult to access until the mid-19th century so its culture, tradition and language remained untouched for a long time, hence Ladin still existing as a local language. Once tourism arrived around the 1940s, a very decadent lift was installed in Corvara for sledging in 1938, which was replaced with the first chairlift in Italy in 1947; it may have been cut off for years but now it was ahead of its time.
The nine mountain ranges of the Dolomites became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, this included the local Nature Parks: Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Senes-Braie. The creation of Dolomites started 2.5 million years ago; so Alta Badia tourism has been busy for some time. The area started life as a coral reef and through lots of volcanic activity and flooding the white-grey rocks, which glow orange at sunset, were formed.
We drove over from Cortina d’Ampezzo via the Passa Falzarego Pass which reaches 2105 metres, along steep roads and through a snow blizzard it was quite the adventure and only possible with the correct tyres or snow chains, but a beautiful way to enter Alta Badia. We stayed in the centrally located village of La Villa / Stern (German name) at the 4-star Hotel Antines (surprised it is not 4-star superior), a great hotel with many modern renovations; our hotel room was huge and beautifully designed too. Plus the food and drink with local cuisine nights with music was also fun. The village of La Villa is fairly small but has a cosy vibe and some cosy places to drink or eat.
Corvara is the biggest of the villages and the main tourist centre of Alta Badia, this is where the first visitors such as writers, geologists and natural scientists from Britain came to stay and explore the Dolomites which eventually led to tourism.
Skiing in Alta Badia
Staying in La Villa, one can ride up the Piz La Ila gondola which delivers you straight into the heart of the Alta Badia Skiing area. With what seems to be non-stop blues pistes, rolling their way through forests and glades, over mounds and through bowels this is heaven for beginners and intermediates. When we visited before Christmas, the trees were clad with snow and the local mountains looked gorgeous. In a whiteout, it is still possible to get around, thanks to the tree-lined pistes.
Is it possible to get lost? One would think so when first looking at the map, but actually, once you get your head around the lay of the land and which directions other local villages such as San Cassino or Corvara are located it is pretty easy to get around. We loved some of the long, wide and rolling pistes like 9a and 11 down to San Cassino.
The area is famous for the Sellaronda circuit, a 40km circumnavigation (Including ski lifts) around the Dolomites’ Sella Massif crossing four Ladin valleys and three the three Italian provinces Bolzano, Trento and Belluno including skiing through Val Gardena. Corvara is the place to start the circuit from, going either clockwise (Orange signposts) or anticlockwise (Green signposts). Confident amateur skiers can attempt the circuit, but do allow about 5 hours so start before 10 am, although fast skiers can complete the circuit in half that time.
There seems to be a mountain restaurant at the top of every ski lift. These Tyrolean Italians certainly know how to build a ski resort, all very pretty buildings with very good food. We attended the Gourmet Ski Safari in early December, whereby a handful of Michelin Star chefs set up camp in various mountain restaurants and one skis from hut to hut eating a course prepared by each chef along with a paired wine. What a great idea! It is planned so that you only ski a blue piste to get from hut to hut, the food and wine are outstanding and served by the very chefs themselves; be prepared to not ski anything once you have eaten your fill and drank 4 glasses of wine.
A mountain restaurant of note is the Club Moritzino at 2100 metres, at the top of the Piz La Ila gondola. For over 50 years this mountain destination has been doing it in style. Club Moritzino has a fine dining restaurant, Pizza and grill as well as a snack and wine bar, it is the perfect location for Apres-ski and an evening of dining along with a true high altitude club experience. We stopped by for lunch. From almond-crusted prawns and tuna tartare to the Cheese fondue with black truffle tortellini we were in gourmet heaven. The food was beautifully presented, with seafood and local cuisine perfectly balanced in texture and flavour all with the finest wine; one could go for lunch and stay for the whole afternoon.
There is a small collection of nursery pistes down at La Villa, but once the little ones master these, it is time to head up the mountain where there is a huge selection of blue pistes of various lengths with plenty of restaurant stops on hand. Tip! Take the Piz La Ila gondola back down, do not ski the very long blue 24 which leads into a red if the little ones are tired.
Whilst the majority of pistes are blue, there is still a lot of carving fun to be had, with some very long blue pistes. Red Piste 12 is not too long but a lovely descent down to San Cassino. Also, use this as your jumping-off point to go ski the Sellaronda from Corvara, can you do it clockwise and anticlockwise in one day.
OK, so Alta Badia may not have much when it comes to difficult pistes, but when they do a black piste they certainly ‘DO’ a Black Piste, try piste 17 at the end of the day, it is steep and can get bumpy, but it is a great ride back to La Villa and you will feel like you have achieved something.
Ecology & Sustainability
-GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) certification obtained by Alta Badia in August 2022, this was only the first step towards an increasingly sustainable resort from an environmental, cultural, socio-economic and management point of view.
–Alta Badia Climate Plan project, calculated the overall impact of the area in terms of CO2, which was found to be 219,008 tonCO2e. This figure allows Alta Badia to undertake a targeted strategy to reduce and compensate for the emission of carbon dioxide. The study found that the most impactful sector is transport to the destination (73%), followed by accommodation (11%) and ski lifts (4%). All future strategies, related to sustainability, will be based on these calculations, giving rise to initiatives aimed at contributing to the resolution of the problem.
-The most ecological ski lift of the Alps: at the bottom of the Lagazuoi slope there are horses waiting for the skiers, pulling them from there to the next ski lift.
Photos copyright of Alta Badia © Freddy Planinschek