The Ski Safari

Utah vs Dolomites? Which is the best Ski Vacation? [ review ]

“Alta Utah is my local ski resort, so I don’t travel for deeper or more extreme skiing. I look for the best ski vacation experiences.”

Throughout my skiing life, I have been intrigued by ski travel of different styles. I have linked back country ski huts in Colorado, bounced around Lake Tahoe, and based out of huge Austrian resorts with ski runs measured in kilometres.

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Paul Dowler – Utah Powered Hound on a Dolomites Ski Safari 2015.

Italians I met around the fire at the Alta Lodge told me about the massive interconnected resorts that ring the Dolomites. A little internet research soon revealed the perfect mix of expedition and modern convenience, offered by Inspired Italy, and their Dolomites Ski Safari.

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There are 12 interconnected mega ski resorts that make up the “Dolomiti Superski” area.  Tim and Louise, your guides and hosts are the best at getting you around this massive ski area.

They make your connections, guide you day-to-day and book you into perfect mountain-top Refuges.

 

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A ‘rifugio’ is a mountain top bar/restaurant, usually concentrating on hardy gourmet lunch fair. A few of these grandiose to rustic havens, provide spectacular accommodation for the overnight ski guest.

A Ski Tour on Groomed Trails.

The skiing in the Dolomites is completely different to our American Western resorts. The base is laid down early in the season by a massive snowmaking infrastructure along with natural snow dumps. Every night while you’re tucked into your cozy bed on the top of the mountain, the groomers are up late, putting the finishing touches to the groomed trails in the dawns early light.

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Red Fizzy Drinks, Deck Saunas & James Bond.

Another ski day starts, after a gourmet buffet breakfast, with “boots on and ready to ski at 8:30”.

In Cortina, we traversed all over the ski area! We tucked the women’s downhill, just like Lindsay Vonn and we skied the James Bond run right into town.

My Brit Ski Safari buddies have an App that measures ski-speed. “90 Kms per hour, no wonder you can’t keep up with us Yank”. Yea, there’s a little different approach to skiing here, I love it!

 

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The Aperol Spritz

 

I’m introduced to the favorite Italian slope-side cocktail. The Aperol Spritz, a beautiful red fizzy concoction, served in a chunky wineglass – preferably with a blood orange garnish. They’re great, but I prefer the local lager which mimics a good German Pilsner.

Even the Ski Safari transfers are fun! We barely make the last bus out of Cortona to link us to the last lift of the day to get us to Rifugio Lagazuoi. There’s got to be a turbo in this beast, as the bus driver races up the switchbacks like it’s a Porsche instead of a bus. We stumble onto the last gondola up to Rifugio Lagazuoi at over 9,000ft ASL, with it’s stunning deck that hang gliders launch off of in the summer. The barrel shaped sauna out on the deck overlooking the Dolomites is usually booked, so reserve it as soon as you arrive.

 

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On the Horse Tow

 

I’m bushed! Tomorrow is the last Ski Safari day. We will be helped along by a horse drawn sleigh, Gondolas and rope tows and back into Val Gardena via the men’s World Cup Downhill and Slalom courses.

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Unlike anything you could find in North America!

My action-packed, Dolomites Ski Safari, all 270 kilometres of it, was all I could handle. I’ve been tempered by the Italians joy of living and the perfect Après-ski, international fellowship of my new ski friends.

Inspired ITALY’s Dolomites Ski Safari’s delivered everything I was looking for in a different, exciting and diverse ski vacation, unlike anything you could find in North America!

 

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Paul [ back row, 2nd from left ] with his Brit Ski Buddies and Konrad Bartleski, Britains Best Ever Downhill Skier

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