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International (Europe/Japan/Southern Hemisphere) Skiing the Alps - advice wanted

Rod MacDonald

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Chill.
I meant to say "trail maps in EUROPE..."
The trail maps of the 4 Sella Ronda areas also have their own resort on one side and the entire Sella Ronda on the back.

I just hope the trail maps are not the reason to pick one destination over another.
as far as I recall, there are at least 6 if not 7 separate individual trail maps for the areas. It seems some can't read a map that doesn't have runs cut between forestry. The Dolomiti superski maps are perfectly acceptable. That map posted above with "all the detail" - vague attempt by the resort to state "200 runs" where in fact the majority of them are simply small parts of a single run.
 

fatbob

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as far as I recall, there are at least 6 if not 7 separate individual trail maps for the areas. It seems some can't read a map that doesn't have runs cut between forestry. The Dolomiti superski maps are perfectly acceptable. That map posted above with "all the detail" - vague attempt by the resort to state "200 runs" where in fact the majority of them are simply small parts of a single run.

That seems to be a passive aggressive strawman. For myself, I'm just trying to help the OP out. And can see from the perspective of an intermediate newbie to Europe the macro map of the entire DS is functionally useless beyond giving an overall view of the region. Like the aforemention Nieheus "art" map of the Tahoe region. Doesn't really help in any way in translating a N American skiing blues experience into confidence to go into the unknown. An experienced Euro skier asserting that the maps are just fine and don't need any more specificity certainly doesn't help their original need.

Now I happen to know they'd be fine though I haven't really skied the area but that's because I've skied in Italy quite a lot and am familiar with the unchallenging motorway nature of blue pistes generally. Plus I know that relatively new skiers have been to the area and loved it.
 

Rod MacDonald

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If you say so. The difference between an overview map of a 1600km area and a 600 meter mountain map seems obvious. Nobody is expecting the skier to use the overview map as their actual piste map, other than if they're looking to understand the sella ronda, or work out the general route to one part of the area to another . While the other map is functional and pretty, you'd need at least 2 or 3 like that for each seperate area to give such explicit detail.
In regard to the OP using the maps to decide which resort to go to : you don't really go to an area like the dolomites to visit say (Arabba or Val Gardena) , each resort is merely the local area for the town/village , and it's the totality of the area that you go to ski (IMHO). The size of the locale and the nightlife/facilities therein are more important to the cost and popularity of each.
 

fatbob

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@Rod MacDonald I think we are in violent agreement. But it was a good question for the OP to ask because it gave us a sense of his concerns and an opportunity to give reassurance that "Yes you will have better information when you are on the ground". A

nd the decision on where to stay and base yourself is still non trivial because what if your favourite skiing turns out to be a resort on the opposite side of the Sella Ronda. That's a long commute every day which is impossible to understand if you've only ever skied N American resorts. In practice you'll never guess in advance which will be your favourite but you can try to avoid the pitfalls of "You shouldn't have stayed there that's really for kids/mileage hounds/experts"
 
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Mister Tea

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I rather had the impression he's not so much looking for a resort with a good map so much as trying to use the map to establish which resort might be best for him.

Yes, that's the point of the exercise.

In North America, resorts might have 3 or 4 base areas tops, and you can get from any base area to anywhere else at the resort in two, maybe three lift rides. At the Dolomites, there are many base areas and it can take a dozen lift rides to get to some particular place. So, I'm trying to figure out where to book accommodations that will give me easy access to what I'm looking for.

Plus, I really like looking at maps. The openskimap site is excellent. Thanks for the pointer.
 

Swiss Toni

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You will have get back to the village you are based in at the end of the day, this will almost certainly involve catching some lifts, so take this in to account when deciding where to stay. Most of the lifts are set to close at 16:15 or 16:30 this season, which I think this is earlier than in previous years. When I stayed on the Campolongo Pass I was surprised at the number of skiers who had set off too late to get back to Arabba and were having to walk up to the Bec de Roces hut via the Rutort piste.

When I go hiking or skiing in Italy I use the GPS navigation app Locus Map 3 Classic together with the applicable OpenAndroMap https://www.openandromaps.org/en these are free offline topographical maps that are based on the OpenStreetMap. Locus Map has a ski theme, which shows the ski lifts and ski pistes in the resorts covered by the map you downloaded in a similar manner to OpenSkiMap / OpenSnowMap. I don’t use it all the time, just when I need to know exactly where I am.

The provincial government provides pretty good weather forecasts https://weather.provinz.bz.it/default.asp If you want to check the snow depths see https://avalanche.report/weather/map/ bear in mind that these are the natural snow depths as measured by the snow depth monitoring stations. The Dolomiti Superski area is in a pretty dry region so it is heavily reliant on man-made snow, temperatures permitting they will cover the pistes with about 1 meter of man-made snow starting in December, which should last to the end of the season.
 

Tony S

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When I go hiking or skiing in Italy I use the GPS navigation app Locus Map 3 Classic together with the applicable OpenAndroMap https://www.openandromaps.org/en these are free offline topographical maps that are based on the OpenStreetMap. Locus Map has a ski theme, which shows the ski lifts and ski pistes in the resorts covered by the map you downloaded in a similar manner to OpenSkiMap / OpenSnowMap. I don’t use it all the time, just when I need to know exactly where I am.
I read up on this. Following that I forked over the $11.00 for Locus Map 3. (I believe this an an outright purchase, not a subscription.) Installed the Open Andro Map for "Eastern Alps". It appears to be very good, although I confess I didn't get to the point, in my first session, where I figured out the point-to-point navigation capability. Anyway, bottom line, this appears to be an excellent tip. Thanks!
 

Zirbl

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he Dolomiti Superski area is in a pretty dry region so it is heavily reliant on man-made snow, temperatures permitting they will cover the pistes with about 1 meter of man-made snow starting in December, which should last to the end of the season.
Just in case "dry region" and "man-made snow" set off alarm bells, if you're going to ski on piste, it might be worth adding that there are plenty of people who consider the piste preparation in Dolomiti Superksi far better than anything resorts on the northern side of the Main Alpine Ridge serve up, irrespective of the snowfall.
 

Cheizz

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When it comes to percentage op pistes open and good quality throughout the day, Dolomiti Superski is hard to beat, especially in the first half of the season. There is a difference between high quantities of natural snowfall and perfectly groomed and maintained runs. I completely agree with @Zirbl on this.
 

Swiss Toni

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Grooming and snow making in the Dolomites are second to none, they have 6000 snow cannons and 350 grooming machines. Unfortunately, they use a lot of energy, 100mW for the snow making systems alone. As energy has become a lot more expensive in recent years they have had to increase the price of the lift passes considerably, since 2018 lift pass prices have increased by around 33%.

This hasn’t stopped them from investing. This year the Dolomiti Superski consortium of ski lift companies have spent 110 million euros on upgrades. In Alta Badia they are installing new automated snow cannons and improving the efficiency of the pumping stations in the San Leonardo sector. In the Colfosco sector they are replacing the Col Pradat snow making system. In the Corvara sector they are widening of the first section of the Gran Risa piste and replacing the snow making system, overhauling the Vallon 2-seater chairlift and the Arlara 4-seater chairlift and altering the La Baita piste for the 2023/24 season.

@Tony S Locus Map 3 is an outright purchase, they moved to the subscription model with Locus Map 4. For hiking I plot my routes in the BRouter web client https://brouter.de/brouter-web/#map=13/46.5532/11.8591/OpenTopoMap&profile=hiking-mountain and import them into Locus as gpx files. If you would like and offline router check out https://brouter.de/ If you want a more detailed ski theme for the maps, a German guy has added a winter sports theme to the Open Andro Map Elevate theme https://www.senotto.de/index.html?Tipps und Tricks&Tipps_Tricks/GPS/OAM_Winter/OAM_Winter.html after downloading you select it by pressing on the small green icon next to "Elevate" in the Map themes menu.
 

Bolder

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Maps aside, Dolomiti Superski is basically a can't miss option for the OP. We have always based ourselves in Selva just 'cause I really like going to Seiser Alm, but any of the Alta Badia towns are also pretty good. It's certainly quieter over there. Innsbruck is the closest international airport, I believe, although Venice isn't far...but I digress, for someone who likes intermediate groomers it's hard to argue against Alta Badia. Selva takes a bit of sussing out to avoid iced-up red runs by midday, but certainly possible. In January/early Feb you'll have the place largely to yourself anyway.

Another nice thing about area is that it's mostly tree runs so you have plenty of options in flat light conditions. Most runs are between 1400-2000 meters, I believe.

A word on Italian slope ratings -- green is basically flat, as in you'll struggle to avoid poling or skating. Blue is more like U.S. beginner slopes, as in you could ski blindfolded and not worry about crashing if you stayed in a straight line. Reds are what I would consider North American intermediate runs, although some tend to get icy with overuse. There are only a few black runs around the Superski area; some are reasonably gnarly but again, they're groomed, so if you can confidently skid a turn you can get yourself out of trouble. You won't find double-black mogul runs. My theory is they might kill some of the Russian wannabe oligarchs who frequent the area.
 

Bolder

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Is that specific to Badia? Not my experience around Pozza di Fassa.
That's specific to Alta Badia. But since we've largely been tethered to European school holidays, I have a very low bar for "uncrowded."

For the OP, this is good, if rather 2 dimensional, map of Alta Badia: https://www.dolomitisuperski.com/dam/jcr:b654909f-8e83-47fb-acc2-a1798bd83d05/Alta_Badia_WEB.pdf

The huge knot of blue runs in the center is the sweet spot. I mentioned earlier that there are a lot of tree runs, but I think that the map doesn't show all the trees. I recall a lot more forest cover above Corvara. Another nice spot is the spur off right center, near Colfosco. Some of the best views, and one of my favorite restaurants. You could base yourself in Corvara; you can't tell if you don;t know the area, but if you follow the lifts up through Colfosco you reach the Dantercepies saddle above Selva.
 
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Mister Tea

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Thanks for all the helpful input. We booked a hotel in Ortisei that is a short walk to a red run that seems to allow access to a whole network of lifts and trails a bit west and south of the Sella Ronda. There's another lift on the other side of the village, about 1km away that links up to the Sella Ronda with three or four lift rides.

We opted for the half board at the hotel, not sure if this is a mistake or whether we'll be missing out of the possibly better restaurants in the village, but the hotel is a hike up the hill from the village and it will be nice to not have to go anywhere in the evening after a day of skiing.

Our base is the Hotel Pradel https://openskimap.org/#14.49/46.57002/11.66977

After a week in the Dolomites, we're driving back to Innsbruck where I'll have a day to ski before our flight leaves. Any pointers on where to ski there? It's just one day, and we're staying somewhere in town not slopeside.
 

fatbob

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Re Innsbruck, to be honest I'd decide on the day depending on conditions. Axamer Lizum, Patscherkofel, Glungezer and Seefeld are all on hand. I'd avoid Nordkette at your level because the only real point is off piste and it is south facing. Or it's a relatively short drive up to Kuhtai or into Stubaital to Schlik 2000
 

Black Dog

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Thanks for all the helpful input. We booked a hotel in Ortisei that is a short walk to a red run that seems to allow access to a whole network of lifts and trails a bit west and south of the Sella Ronda. There's another lift on the other side of the village, about 1km away that links up to the Sella Ronda with three or four lift rides.

We opted for the half board at the hotel, not sure if this is a mistake or whether we'll be missing out of the possibly better restaurants in the village, but the hotel is a hike up the hill from the village and it will be nice to not have to go anywhere in the evening after a day of skiing.

Our base is the Hotel Pradel https://openskimap.org/#14.49/46.57002/11.66977

After a week in the Dolomites, we're driving back to Innsbruck where I'll have a day to ski before our flight leaves. Any pointers on where to ski there? It's just one day, and we're staying somewhere in town not slopeside.
We stayed in Ortisei last year in an apartment in town. You can can get over to the Sellaronda from there but it adds a extra hour or 2 (at least) of skiing each way. We did that the first day then after that would drive over to Dantercepies lift in Selva each moring. Having a car was a great asset.
Ortisei has many resturants but I don't think you are in walking distance to town from your hotel?

 

Bolder

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Thanks for all the helpful input. We booked a hotel in Ortisei that is a short walk to a red run that seems to allow access to a whole network of lifts and trails a bit west and south of the Sella Ronda. There's another lift on the other side of the village, about 1km away that links up to the Sella Ronda with three or four lift rides.

We opted for the half board at the hotel, not sure if this is a mistake or whether we'll be missing out of the possibly better restaurants in the village, but the hotel is a hike up the hill from the village and it will be nice to not have to go anywhere in the evening after a day of skiing.

Our base is the Hotel Pradel https://openskimap.org/#14.49/46.57002/11.66977

After a week in the Dolomites, we're driving back to Innsbruck where I'll have a day to ski before our flight leaves. Any pointers on where to ski there? It's just one day, and we're staying somewhere in town not slopeside.

Ortisei is the nicest and most "authentic" town in Val Gardena so you won't lack for evening options, bars/restos/shopping. There's a museum of Ladin culture that's well worth a stop (Ladin is the local language). Half board does make things quite easy, however. Just roll down to dinner...but I think your hotel is about a 15-20 minute walk to downtown so not bad. Could always take a taxi back.

The "red" run you're talking about is the one that comes down from Alpe di Siusi, or Seiser Alm -- will need to take the cable car up (so walk? down from hotel). It's the largest high-altitude meadow in Europe and one of my favorite spots in the Dolomites. Alpe di Suisi is 90% easy cruisers (ok, maybe 95%) but it's so beautiful and peaceful, and relatively uncrowded. Great food at some of the baitas, also.

Definitely save the Alpe di Siusi for a sunny day. Two days there should be more than sufficient; save the rest for the Sella Ronda runs.

To access the Sella Ronda, easiest way is to catch a bus or ski taxis, (or hotel shuttle?) to Selva Ciampinoi lift (or Dantercepies). You can ski there via the cable car up to the Secada from Ortisei (down to the funicular, across to Santa Christina). That will indeed add an hour -- would need to first get to the cable car across town, then there's a wait, then it takes a solid 15 minutes to the top of the Secada. Then ski down, catch the funicular across to Santa Christina...but don't miss the "James Bond" run down from the Secada to Ortisei -- 10 km or more, absolutely beautiful. Do it once...

The ski taxis are usually VW vans with ski racks that take up to six people and aren't that expensive as a group. If you have a car, just drive to the Dantercepies lift, or continue along the road a few kms to the Plan Gralba area.

Once you're in Selva, you have access to the whole SR area.
 
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Mister Tea

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The "red" run you're talking about is the one that comes down from Alpe di Siusi, or Seiser Alm -- will need to take the cable car up (so walk? down from hotel). It's the largest high-altitude meadow in Europe and one of my favorite spots in the Dolomites. Alpe di Suisi is 90% easy cruisers (ok, maybe 95%) but it's so beautiful and peaceful, and relatively uncrowded. Great food at some of the baitas, also.

Definitely save the Alpe di Siusi for a sunny day. Two days there should be more than sufficient; save the rest for the Sella Ronda runs.

Thanks for the info. It looks like that red run is about 50 meters from the hotel, so hopefully I can just walk over to it and ski down. If not, we have a car - my wife doesn't ski so she can drop me off just about anywhere in the morning. And we might take the car into town for après ski before heading back to the hotel for dinner. I'm sure it will work out.

I'm somewhat of a cheap date - if I find a run I like I can ski it over and over and over and not get bored. So perhaps I'll do more than one day at Alpe di Suisi if it's really the ski-in ski-out situation that the map indicates. Or maybe they have a fence or something that prevents access mid-slope. Anybody know?
 

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