The Dolomites is a big place, with various massifs, some very famous and busy, some quiet and wild. They are all connected by one of the biggest lifts system in the world. This means that, just by using lifts, you can travel around really easily. Sometimes it is quicker to ski to places than drive! If you are also confident using skins, the possibilities for discovering the area are endless.
Due to the peculiar geology of the area, the valleys aren't parallel, like they are in the Western Alps; where they start from a plain, or a main valley, and end against a ridge or mountain. In the Dolomites the valleys end on a pass, because they go around the massif, which stands out like an island of pure white rock, surrounded by woods and meadows. This means that, while the ski pistes go around the massif, allowing skiers to circumnavigation it (the most famous being the Sella Ronda tour) by using skins it's possible to go through the massif, allowing you to discover hanging,suspended valleys, and ski over high cols and down couloirs.
The best thing is that you have lots of different options, each one catering for different levels of ability, with varying slope aspects, so that you are always able to find the best snow. Even if you accidently end up on the other side of the area than you had planned to go, you can always ski back!
And the best is yet to come! Hospitality here is an art, combining the best of the Germanic and Mediterranean culture. Chalets have wood panelled snugs, with traditional wood stoves and offer a welcome and warm atmosphere for an après-ski beer and the chance to sample the joys of Italian
And, after a well-deserved rest, what better than another day of fantastic, adventurous, skiing?
You can see why I get inspired and excited when I go on a ski safari in the Dolomites!
Paolo Intropido - ISM Guide