With its 1,246 kilometers of runs, Dolomiti Superski is the largest ski resort in Italy, and one of the most extensive and famous in the world.
While many people know about the Saslong or the Gran Risa, famous for hosting World Cup races, not many people know that the area’s 3000+ square kilometers conceal some snow-clad gems that are a draw for many reasons.
We consulted with our athletes and the technicians at Dolomiti Superski, those who take care of the slopes every day and in all seasons, and who know all their secrets. And here are our tips for exploring the less beaten slopes that you may not know about.
Length: 2.8 km
Easy to ski and with a moderate incline, this run connects the Pralongià to Piz Sorega and is ideal for those who want a trail that is not too technically challenging yet fun for its length (2,829 meters). Its gentle slopes allow you to turn in total freedom and benefit from constant light throughout the day. And it is particularly appealing to anyone who loves those Dolomite views: From here you can see the enrosadira, a phenomenal sight where the mountaintops take on a unique and unmistakable reddish-violet hue as the sun rises and sets.
Length: 2.2 km
Castellazzo boasts three runs, numbered from 1 to 3 and characterized by numerous variants that see them interlink. All three Castellazzo runs are similar in terms of difficulty and wind with continuous changes in gradient down slopes devoid of vegetation. Like the Fiamme Gialle we’ll talk about later, these slopes were chosen as a training site for the Italian Paralympic ski team ahead of the 2018 Olympics.
Length: 2.2 km
This run is located in Passo Rolle and is approved for special slalom races. It is characterized by a “wall” just above the Ferrari ski-lift station. This slope is an easier alternative to Paradiso 1 and is recommended for those who want to admire the view from the natural terrace at the chair lift station, without having to necessarily tackle a European black run.
Length: 3.3 km
This is one of four runs that connect Porta Vescovo to Arabba. The steepest and most varied, as well as the least busy, is the European black run Sourasass. Almost three kilometers of thrills, with a vertical drop of more than 700 meters and a maximum gradient of 45%, while the average is 25%. Although these figures may be intimidating, the track is 27 meters wide, making for great skiing conditions. Plus, the fact that it is north-facing means winter-quality snow is guaranteed well into the spring.
Length: 1.7 km
Located in the Tondi - Faloria ski area, this is one of the most famous slopes in the Cortina d'Ampezzo ski area. The 1956 Olympics men's giant slalom event took place here. The slope is divided into Vitelli Alta (European black) and Vitelli Bassa (European red) and, although it is quite narrow, it is very enjoyable with its alternating ‘walls’ and seemingly flat areas. Although located in a busy ski area, it is far from the lifts and lodges, with long stretches that pass through the forest, guaranteeing close contact with nature.
Length: 700 m
One of the many legends making up the history of the Alpe di Siusi tells of an old witch who lived in those parts and would climb to the top of Mount Bullaccia, where she would sit and admire the view. Today that witch gives her name to this run (or rather, the two twin runs, namely Hexe/Strega 1 and 2). It is particularly popular with families and children because it is easy to ski and kissed by the sun. The Hexe/Strega 1 is a European blue run, while the Hexe/Strega 2 is a European red run, 700 meters long and with an 87 meter vertical drop.
Length: 2.7 km
For many but not for all, the Latemar ski area boasts six slopes that should be tried at least once if you are looking for some real excitement, but you need good technique in order to tackle and fully appreciate them. The first is the Oberholz, the ski resort’s very first run, opened in 1970, as well as the best known. 2,750 meters long and with a vertical drop of more than 500 meters, it has hosted many editions of the European Cup, cementing its status as one of the most complete and varied trails in the Dolomites.
Length: 1.6 km
Definitely more challenging than the previous one, the Maierl is one of the standout European black runs. It is no coincidence that the European Cup slalom is held here. The numbers say it all: 1,600 meters in length, an average width of 53 meters, a maximum gradient of 55% and a vertical drop of 433 meters. In short, the classic strip of snow on which to dart downhill.
Difficulty: easy or difficult, depending on the variant
Length: 2.3 km
The Pala di Santa run begins on the sunny plateau located 2,400 meters above sea level. For those who want to descend to the valley there are two alternatives. The first is definitely easy and offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the area. The second is very challenging, and is the real reason this run is so popular with those who love a steep downhill. We're talking about the Muro di Santa, a stretch that boasts a mind-blowing gradient of 58%.
Length: 2.6 km
Long and wide, the Agnello is one of the best known slopes in the area. This snow highway has a smooth bottom and very long curves, which makes it a lot of fun. Descending from Alpe di Pampeago, the first stretch is of European red difficulty. The initial part is not sheer, but if we also consider the steep Muro variant (350 meters in length), it becomes a race trail, very technical and with many possible trajectories. But the Agnello is not only a slope for ski lovers, as its 2.6 kilometers wind through RespirArt, one of the world’s highest open-air art galleries, composed of numerous works in wood and other materials.
Length: 2.6 km
It was on this slope, back in the 1970s, that the best skiers from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany battled it out to win the Five Nations Cup, to which it owes its name. A rather challenging European red run, it offers many variants, so it is possible to ski the same side of the mountain but take a different run each time.
Length: 1.5 km
So called because it takes its name from the famous Dolomite ‘steeple’ of Latemar and its lodge. This European black run boasts the steepest gradient of the Latemar Ski Centre slopes, at 59%, as well as a total vertical drop of 459 meters, for a total length of barely 1,500 meters. It is, essentially, an adrenaline rush combined with a panorama that spans the Pale di San Martino and the Adamello. It is not particularly sunlit, in fact its walls are often frozen. Beginners would be advised to give it a miss.
Whichever trail you decide to tackle, difficult or easy, it's always a good idea to be as prepared as possible. In order to embark on every run with peace of mind, and concentrate fully on performance or fun, you need to protect yourself. A helmet and back protector, in particular, are essential during every descent.