Alta Badiaby Liz Harper on 14/01/2014
When it comes to family skiing, Alta Badia in the Dolomite mountain range of northeastern Italy is a tough one to beat, offering immaculately maintained snow and gentle pistes, fast efficient lifts, great food at every turn, and sunshine 8 out of 10 days.
Made up of the villages of La Villa, San Cassiano, Badia, Colfosco and Corvara, the Alta Badia region offers over 130 kilometres of long, wide and gentle blue and red runs – perfect for families. What’s more, there is a mountain refuge every few snow plough or parallel turns, offering one of the best ratios of piste to mountain pit stops anywhere in the world.
It is also part of Sella Ronda, the famous circular ski loop that runs around the Sella massif (mountain range). Nippers of reasonable ability can happily complete this 26 kilometre circuit in a day (as long as you set off no later than 10am), including hot chocolate and lunch stops. You’ll need a Dolomiti Superski pass to do the Sella Ronda (this pass gives access to 1200 kilometres of piste – a seriously massive ski area!), but you can also buy these for individual days.
Italy has often been overlooked in favour of the better known French resorts when it comes to skiing, but Italians have a very different to approach to skiing than their European neighbours that makes it particularly appealing for families. You’re unlikely to see people jostling for position for the first lift of the day – they’re way too laid back for that. What’s more, post lunch, the pistes are virtually empty as the locals take to the terraces: this is a region where food and relaxation is taken just as seriously as skiing!
Renowned for its locally produced meats, cheeses and wine, Alta Badia not only produces world class meats, cheeses and wines, but also knows what to do with them. It’s a region visited by foodies the world over, and for good reason
Three resident Michelin star chefs (known locally as ”The Dolomitci”) set a high culinary standard for the region, and this standard is reflected in food across the area: even the pizza here tastes better than anywhere else! You’ll struggle to find a self-service mountain lodge with food stagnating under a heat lamp (“hurrah” we all shout!): instead the lodges offer table service and freshly cooked food to order, all at reasonable prices and in a timely manner. Oh the delights of delicious fresh food bought to your table at a fraction of the price you’d pay to queue for a hotdog in the French Alps. Plus it’s all so very child friendly – we’re in the home of pizza, pasta and gelato remember!
GETTING HERE easyjet flies to Venice from Gatwick, Luton, Southend and Manchester. Prices start from £30 per person one-way. A bus service runs between Venice airport and Alta Badia every day of the week. Prices from €35 per person.
LIFT PASSES Alta Badia 6 day ski pass – €194 adult, €136 child | Dolomiti Superski 6 day pass – €210 adult, €147 child.