Top three reasons to ski around Cortina d’Ampezzo
Marvel at the sheer size and sublime beauty of the Dolomites
Avoid the tracked-out snow and have the powdery descents all to yourself
Access the stunning backcountry from the comfort of your charming Italian hut
Situated in the heart of the majestic Dolomitic Alps, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a quaint town in an alpine valley teeming with opportunities for adventurers of all tastes. While its winter sport resort and high-quality skiing trails enjoy an enviable reputation, the backcountry options are readily available as well. With seemingly endless valleys, dazzling peaks, stunning bowls, steep-sided couloirs, and dizzying limestone cliffs, this alpine off-piste area captures the imagination of every backcountry skiing fanatic! Aside from the fantastic terrain, the backcountry around Cortina is strewn with comfy mountain huts offering well-deserved rest after shredding top-notch powder. Get away from the urban buzz and experience this tranquil area while soaking up the unbeatable vistas all around you. Join your knowledgeable guide and let them show you the ins and outs of this backcountry heaven!
December through March
Venice, Italy, is about 2 hours away
Intermediate to advanced
Choose how you spend your days
Private Backcountry Ski Tour Around Cortina d’Ampezzo
Feel the peace that the backcountry around Cortina d’Ampezzo offers and ski far from the crowds and lift lines in this stunning winter wonderland. Reach the charming rifugios, mountain huts dotted along the way, where you can enjoy the hearty meals, get a true taste of the Dolomites and Italy and rest up for the upcoming adventures. Suit all your backcountry needs on the quality powder and marvel at the snow-dusted peaks, towering limestone cliffs, couloirs and valleys ahead of you. Let your knowledgeable private guide show you all the gems in the area and experience some of the best backcountry skiing in Europe!
Group Backcountry Ski Tour Around Cortina d’Ampezzo
Get your skis ready and head into the magnificent backcountry area around Cortina d’Ampezzo. Skin up to the lovely rifugios, mountain huts scattered all along the way, and rest up for your upcoming backcountry adventures. Shred the quality snow and enjoy the snow-dusted peaks, towering limestone cliffs, steep couloirs, never-ending valleys and much more. Join your professional guide, avoid the crowds and tracked-out snow and have this backcountry haven all to yourself!
Day 1: Arrival in Cortina d'Ampezzo
On the first day of your adrenaline-fueled backcountry adventure, you’ll arrive in the heart of the Dolomites–the picturesque town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. After that, you’ll check into your hotel. This alpine resort town is encircled by dazzling peaks and is a popular destination for all thrill-seekers year-round. In the winter, it offers some of the best skiing in Europe, while in the summer it draws in hikers and climbers who wish to conquer the Dolomites’ rocky terrain. The valley offers amazing scenery and is an ideal place to experience the Dolomites to the fullest. You’ll spend the night in a hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Day 2: Croda da Lago
In the morning, you’ll meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel for a trip briefing and equipment check. Before departing, you’ll need to prepare your backpack with your personal belongings for the next three nights.
You’ll then take a private transfer to Ponte de Ru Curto and from there skin up to Rifugio Palmieri Croda da Lago (2,042 m / 6,699 ft), where you can rest up and grab a bite. From Lago Palmieri, you’ll ascend to Forcella Ambrizzola (2,277 m / 7,468 ft) and remove your skins for a brief descent to a lower plain. Revel in the towering peaks and vertical rock faces at the foot of Croda da Lago. Put your skins back on and continue to Forcella Giau on a gentle uphill (2,360 m / 7,740 ft) and enjoy the marvelous views over Mount Nuvolau (2,575 m / 8,448 ft). There is an option to summit Picco de Mondeval (2,504 m / 8,214 ft). You’ll descend in powder snow from Forcella Giau and get to the main road, where a private transfer will take you to your mountain hut (rifugio) for the night where you’ll have dinner.
Total Length: 11 km / 6,8 miles
Ascent: 825 m / 2,706 ft
Descent: 521 m / 1,710 ft
Mondeval summit (additional 1.5 hours):
Ascent: 2,2 km / 1,37 miles
Descent: 164 m / 540 ft
Day 3: Cinque Torri—Lagazuoi—Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, you’ll skin up to the foot of Mount Averau (2,649 m / 8,688 ft) and ski down to the bottom and skin up to Passo Falzarego. From there, you’ll ride the cable car up to Rifugio Lagazuoi (2,752 m / 9,029 ft), one of the highest rifugios in the Dolomites. This wonderful mountain hut allows you to feel like you’re sitting at the edge of the world with its 360° views of the surrounding mountains, including the two highest peaks of the Dolomites. Located near the summit of Mount Lagazuoi, and set just above the Lagazuoi gondola, it’s the ideal lodging for skiing. You’ll then set off from Rifugio Lagazuoi with an exciting descent on the famous Armentarola slope. Test your skills on kick turns as you ascend to Forcella dal Lago (2,486 m / 8,156 ft) where the views from the top are breathtaking. Descend into Val di Fanes and skin on flat terrain, with soft ups and downs for about 2 hours to your mountain hut for tonight, where you’ll have your dinner.
Total Length: 15 km / 9,3 miles
Ascent: 656 m /2153 ft
Descent: 1,166 m / 3,825 ft
Day 4: Fanes—Sennes
Extending across 25,680 hectares and offering superb views of the surrounding peaks, Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park is one of the largest nature parks in the region. Depart your mountain hut after breakfast and ski down to Rifugio Pederü (1,548 m / 5052 ft). From there, skin on a fairly steep uphill section to Rifugio Sennes (2,126 m / 6,975 ft), also a part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. From here you’ll have an amazing view east on the Croda Rossa Massif (2,818 m / 9,245 ft). Taste delectable Ladin dishes, served in the comfortable wooden stuben (traditionally the room in a farmhouse where the stove was located and cooking took place). The menu abounds in various handmade pasta dishes, as well as Tyrolean specialties such as dumplings and diverse meat dishes. You’ll spend the night in a mountain hut.
Total Length: 10 km / 6,2 miles
Ascent: 637 m / 2090 ft
Descent: 570 m / 1,865 ft
Day 5: Sennes—Lago di Braies
On the penultimate day of this backcountry ski tour, you’ll explore a new area of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park, one of the most popular lakes in South Tyrol, Lake Braies. In summertime, you can see the reflection of the surrounding mountains on its green surface. In the wintertime, it is completely covered in snow and ice. Skin up to Forcella Cocodain and immerse yourself in the off-piste descent in powder over to Lake Braies for your private transfer to Cortina d’Ampezzo, where you’ll spend the night in your hotel.
Total Length: 10 km / 6,2 miles
Ascent: 297 m / 9750 ft
Descent: 957 m / 3,140 ft
Day 6: Departure
On the last day of this adventure, you’ll have your breakfast and depart on your own.
Meet your guide
Dolomite Mountains Guides
I would just like to say a big thank you to Marco and Massimo who guided our group last week. They were thoroughly professional both from a safety point of view but also in ensuring that we all had a great holiday. We stayed in some great places and dined in some excellent restaurants. They are both rightly very proud of the Dolomite skiing area and their passion for the skiing and the history of the area came across with enthusiasm. They are both great company and have a great sense of humor.
I would recommend them without hesitation.
Thank you for a trip of a lifetime! We did a 6 day ski safari, 3 nights in rifugios. Our guide was outstanding, not only professional, but engaging and knowledgeable about everything from the geography, history, food, and culture. We always had a well laid out plan, lunch reservations, and perfect timing for transfers. The skiing and sightseeing was amazing and we learned so much about the area. When it was windy one day and we could not go to one area, he easily adjusted the schedule mostly without us even knowing. All the accommodations were great! The trip exceeded my expectations in every way. Besides our amazing guide, the team at Dolomite Mountains took care of all other details of our trip and again, we could not have had an easier or better time. I can’t wait to go back!
Dolomite Mountains provided us with an all around amazing trip experience! From the start, they were quick to respond to messages, detailed in the information they provided, professional and courteous. Everything about the trip was amazing: the mountains, the accommodations, the detailed maps and instructions that were provided to us, and the last minute weather conditions updates (we were self-guided). THANK YOU all who made this trip possible for us!
Amazing experience. The Dolomites are a special place. Using Dolomite Mountains really takes all of the legwork and uncertainty out of the trip so you can focus on having fun. Probably exchanged two or three emails and before I knew it I was all set to have the trip of a lifetime.
Things to know
Covid measures in the Cortina d’Ampezzo area
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Cortina d’Ampezzo area please refer to Italy’s Ministry of Health Website and Italian National Tourist Board Website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Six day backcountry ski touring adventure
- Trip briefing
- Logistics and map of the area
- 2 nights’ accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- 3 nights’ accommodation in the best available rooms at rifugios (mountain huts)
- All breakfasts
- Dinners in rifugios (mountain huts)
- Lifts mentioned in the itinerary
- Private transfers mentioned in the itinerary
- Local tourist tax
- Italian VAT tax
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- (Air) transportation before and after the trip
- Airport transfers
- Dinners in Cortina d’Ampezzo
How fit do I need to be?
To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to be in very good physical shape. You will be on your feet for multiple hours per day for 4 full days, covering 6-10 miles (10-15km) of terrain every day as well as ascend and descend steep terrain. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
For the enjoyment and safety of everyone involved, participants must be approved to participate in advanced backcountry skiing tours either through a previous trip with the guiding service or through recommendations.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
To participate in this tour, you need to have previous powder skiing experience. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on glaciated terrain for multiple hours every day, covering up to 10 miles (15 km) of terrain. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safe.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis with bindings and skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots with boot liners and poles (can be rented)
- Technical socks
- Ski crampons
- Boot crampons
- Climbing harness
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon (with two sets of fresh batteries)
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and a warm hat
- Liner gloves
- Wide-brim hat or sun-cap
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- Middle or insulation layers
- Neck gaiter and roll-neck
- Face mask or balaclava — optional
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water or a hydration system
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 25-30L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including beacon, shovel and probe can be rented from your guiding service. (must be booked in advance)
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Snow Service 3.
Most resorts have ski shops that rent ski equipment. Ski rental locations are in Cortina d’Ampezzo and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and pricing:
- For the private trip, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1. It takes a minimum of 2 people for the private trip to operate. Costs per person decrease as the group grows for the private trip, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ski with friends and family.
- For the group trip, the minimum guest-to-guide ratio is 4:1. It takes a minimum of 4 people for the group trip to operate. Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows for the group trip. If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.
Ski touring in the Cortina d’Ampezzo area can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellations
Booking will be confirmed upon receipt of a 30% deposit. Payment of the balance is due no later than 60 days (2 months) before departure for Italy. For “last minute” bookings (trips booked 45 or fewer days before departure), full cost is due at the time of booking.
In case you need to cancel your trip, the following fees will apply:
– 91+ more days prior to departure: 20% loss of trip cost & 10% transfer to a future trip (within one calendar year)
– 46 to 90 days prior to departure: 100% loss of deposit
– 31 to 45 days prior to departure: 50% loss of full amount
– 30 days or less prior to departure: 100% loss of full amount
These charges are a percentage of the total cost of the booking. The days indicated are from the trip departure date. All cancellations must be made in writing.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Cortina d’Ampezzo, most people fly into Venice-Treviso Airport or Venice Marco Polo Airport, both 2 hours away from Cortina d’Ampezzo. From there, you can rent a car or take a train and bus. The major airport is Milan Malpensa Airport, about 5 hours away from Cortina d’Ampezzo. From there, you can rent a car or take a train and bus.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo and check into your hotel. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.