Alta Badia ski – 130 km of pistes, 6 villages, UNESCO world heritage status and a gourmet food festival in the mountains. Read on for why Alta Badia in Italy should be your next ski holiday destination…
Advertisement feature – Inghams Ski and Alta Badia Tourism kindly invited me to visit Alta Badia
A ski holiday in Alta Badia in Italy means 130 km of well-groomed pistes, an altitude that ensures good snow conditions and a variety of terrain. It’s also on the sunny side of the Alps with access to 500 kilometres of connected slopes in the Dolomites. You’ll find excellent food, world-class local wines and endless views of the Italian Dolomites. There’s also a large offering of Ladin culture and the best of hospitality. A stay in any of Alta Badia’s villages will put you in pole position to explore the area.
Alta Badia Ski
Alta Badia resort, in Italy’s South Tyrol, is one of 12 ski areas that make up Dolomiti Superski, the worlds’ largest ski network. Alta Badia’s slopes sit between 1400 and 2778 metres above sea level ensuring good snow coverage. And if the snowfall fails there’s an army of nearly 400 snow cannons which keep 80% of the slopes in pristine condition.
There’s a variety of runs for beginners to experts and plenty of other activities for non-skiers making it an ideal ski resort for beginner and family ski holidays. The slopes aren’t packed and there’s rarely a queue for the lifts.
Food in Alta Badia
The food in the resort is so good, and reasonably priced, that at lunch times the slopes magically empty as skiers head to the mountain huts. If you like good food you’ll love ‘A Taste for Skiing’ food festival which runs throughout the ski season. Just remember to pack ski pants with a little give!
Read more: Gourmet Skiing in Alta Badia
The Dolomites were awarded UNESCO World heritage status due to the majestic limestone crags that encircle the area. Take in infinite mountain views as you cruise. Mountain huts offer excellent food and wine and the six villages that make up the region means there’s an Alta Badia hotel for every kind of skier.
Alta Badia – Skiing for Beginners
There’s a good mix of terrain to suit all skiers and it’s the perfect destination for your first family ski holiday. Beginners can cruise the 70 km of easy blues with plenty of space to learn, practice turns and gain confidence. 54% of the runs are long, wide slopes and the entire resort can be accessed from easy slopes. There’s a beginners area, practise lifts and separate lift ticket for beginners.
Alta Badia – Skiing for Intermediates
There are 52 km (40%) of red or medium runs in Alta Badia. I’d have happily skied the reds all day although some were more challenging than others. It was also good to relax and cruise the blues to take in the stunning mountain views. That moment when you just need to stop, breathe deep the mountain air and take in the majesty of the almighty Dolomiti. That happened a lot in Alta Badia.
The Sella Ronda
The Sellaronda, one of the most impressive ski circuits in Europe, is suitable for intermediate skiers and is accessible from the village of Corvara, Alta Badia. The famous ski circuit is a Dolomites skiing highlight and leads round the Sella-Massif and offers 26 km of downhill trails past craggy peaks and through wooded runs. The total route is 40 km and can be completed in a day with modern lifts which are included in the Dolomiti Superski pass. Plan the trip properly as you’ll need to finish before the lift closes at 5 p.m. The circuit takes around 6 hours so it’s advisable to start by 10 a.m. at the latest. Get a different perspective by skiing the Sellaronda twice – once clockwise and once anti-clockwise. Sellaronda maps can be picked up at the tourist offices.
Alta Badia – Skiing for Experts
Alta Badia has 8 km of black/difficult runs. Seasoned skiers might want to ski the Sellaronda, adding on the Porta Vescovo run from Arabba for a few more challenging kilometres. Then there’s the Gran Risa Piste where the annual World Cup Race takes place. This run ends in the village of La Villa, Alta Badia. It’s a run that will take the breath away from the most experienced of skiers. The 1,255 metre run is 53% at its steepest gradient and passes through pine forests along a narrow track meaning it’s usually covered in thick ice. This makes it one of the most difficult stretches in world cup skiing. Brave enough?
Alta Badia Org | Photo: by Freddy Planinschek
Alta Badia Ski Park
There’s a stack of shredding to be had for boarders at Alta Badia Ski Park. Set on the Piz Sorega plateau between the slopes “La Frëina” and “Ciampai” the park is made up of three areas offering something for all levels from experienced to newbies with a range of obstacles including boxes, rails, moguls, jumps and jibs. Entry to Alta Badia Snowpark is free.
Alta Badia for Non-Skiers
There’s plenty to do in Alta Badia without putting your toes anywhere near a ski boot. Over 80 km of signposted paths are ideal for Nordic walking and snowshoeing. Guided hikes introduce local wildlife like fox, roe deer and rabbit. A toboggan trail runs 3.5 km from Piz Sorega and there’s sledding, horse sleigh rides, ice skating and an indoor swimming pool.
Alta Badia Villages
Alta Badia is made up of six villages; Badia, La Val, San Cassiano, La Villa, Colfosco and Corvara. Ski between all the Alta Badia villages with the Alta Badia ski pass. We stayed in San Cassiano which has a gondola up to the main central ski area nearby. Most hotels provide a shuttle service to the lift.
Alta Badia Org | Photo: @Freddy Planinschek
Our Hotel, Alta Badia
Our hotel in San Cassiano was Hotel Diamant a 4-star, family run hotel, with recently renovated rooms. My room was spacious and contemporary with cool green tones and natural wood furnishings. A lounge area in the room had a sofa and coffee table with a flat screen TV and mini-bar, there was also a desk. Tea and coffee-making facilities were available which was great as I like to have a cuppa while I potter for an hour before going for breakfast.
The bathroom was roomy with separate areas for the loo, basin and shower. A large rainfall shower with seating area was good but I’d liked to have seen a bath tub. There was plenty of space for one and after a day on the slopes sometimes only a hot bath will do.
Wardrobe and drawer space was plentiful for all my ski gear along with an electronic safe big enough for my Mac, camera and other techie things. A large balcony overlooking the town and the tree-lined hills beyond completed the space nicely.
The food in the hotel was very good and the restaurant served a good breakfast to set you up for a day on the slopes. Dinner was from a small a la carte menu with an excellent selection of wines. A traditional Alpine-style bar leads through to a casual contemporary lounge area. Downstairs, a wellness centre offering spa treatments, a gym and indoor pool and Jacuzzi.
The hotel is two-minute’s walk from the town’s main street lined with a few bars, restaurants and shops. There was a small Christmas Village (we were there in December) with the aroma of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts wafting on the air. San Cassiano ski lift is 550 yards from the village centre.
Ski Schools and Ski Rental
There are ski schools in all the villages offering skiing, snowboarding and cross-country lessons. Lessons are available for adults and children from 3 years old with some kindergartens offering full day care for toddlers.
If you’re looking to hire equipment I can recommend La Villa who have shops in San Cassiano and La Villa. We rented boots (very comfortable), skis and poles. In Italy it’s compulsory for children under 14 years to wear a ski helmet. Click here to see ski helmets on Amazon.
Alta Badia Ski Pass
Skipass Alta Badia costs from €45 per day and is suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers. The Dolomiti Superski ski pass costs from €49 per day and a must for experienced skiers. Alta Badia is just one of 12 ski regions all covered by the Dolomiti ski pass – the Sella Ronda ski pass is included in the Dolomiti ski pass.
Alta Badia Weather
The area has a good record of snow due to its high altitude (the clue’s in the name). We had enough on our early December trip with some overnight snowfall and the snow canons making up the difference. Being south-facing there’s a good amount of sunshine and shelter from chilly northerly winds. Check here for the current Alta Badia weather forecast and for the Alta Badia Webcams.
Alta Badia Map
For piste maps and hiking maps follow this link – Alta Badia Maps
Alta Badia is accessible from the UK via flights from Innsbruck or Venice. Transfer time from Innsbruck is two hours and three hours from Venice. I prefer to use Skyscanner to find the best value flights.
Essential Guide: What to pack for a ski trip (with downloadable packing list)
Alta Badia resort is the perfect destination for family and beginner skiers. There are excellent ski schools, good outlets for ski hire and good beginner slopes. There are a range of pistes to advance to a variety of skiing for more experienced skiers.
Inghams offers a seven-night stay at the four-star Hotel Diamant in San Cassiano, the Italian Dolomites. Price from £1,189 per person based on two sharing on a half board basis. Price includes return flights and airport transfers. To book, visit www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays or call 01483 791 114.
Many thanks to Inghams and Alta Badia Tourism who kindly invited me to visit. All thoughts, opinions and mountain hut love are entirely my own.
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Suzanne Jones is creator, writer and photographer at The Travelbunny. When she’s not indulging her wanderlust you’ll most likely find her enjoying coastal walks in her home county of East Sussex, UK.
Suzanne co-writes Sussex Bloggers which showcases the best of East & West Sussex.