Best Pistes: Hidden Valley, Dolomites
The following is an extract from ‘THE SIX BEST DOLOMITE PISTES GUIDE’ by Inspired ITALY Ltd, The Dolomites Ski Safari.
There are few pistes that offer you a true feel of isolation, wilderness and solitude. This is one.
The Hidden Valley drops-in from the top of the Lagazuoi mountain at 2,752m, adjacent to the famous Rifugio. Only after a few hundred meters does the valley reveal it’s full character.
Gentle rolling undulations on a gradually narrowing piste, allow you the time to throw your gaze east to the towering walls of the valley. There is nothing here. Few trees and bushes. Just snow, shadowed light, rock and for a fleeting moment, you.
After a few kilometers, the piste drops to the right, directing you to face the opposite valley wall. You are confronted with the enormity of your surroundings, cranking your neck back and from side to side, to gaze at the high Dolomite wall. Then, a twist and a turn, takes you passed the only building in the Hidden Valley, The Scottoni Rifugio and restaurant. Take a moment here. Stop. Turn back to look at the valley and amaze at the light, the colour and from where you just came.
A short distance further along is the frozen waterfall. It isn’t a water-fall, really, this is water that has seeped through the rock to be frozen on its passage to the valley floor. The colours, shapes and scale are mesmerising.
From here, being careful, carry as much speed as you are comfortable with, as, at the bottom of this gradient, the slope flattens for a couple of hundred metres, finishing with a slight upward gradient.
The piste eventually gives way to a frozen river bed along which you glide until such time you spy the horse and sleigh tows, the final highlight of this memorable piste. The horseman lays out a long rope, with carefully tied hand-sized loops along its length to tow as many as 50 skiers the final kilometre or so towards Amentarola and your return to Alta Badia for the sum of €2 per person.
A fantastically memorable piste! Hidden Valley is featured on The Dolomite Ski Safari – Day 6.
How to get to the Hidden Valley
From Alta Badia – Head to Armentarola. As you join the final stages of piste 9, adjacent to the drag lift on your right, look straight ahead and keep to the left, skiing around the trees towards the Hotel Armentarola. When you reach the road, there is a taxi/bus stop and waiting area, usually marshalled by a two men. Join the queue if there is one. It can be extra-ordinaryily busy, so do check the waiting time. The taxi/bus cost is €6 per person. If you are a large group, you may need to split up.
Hidden Valley Piste Map
We have created this simple piste map showing all critical information. The map is not to scale and is for reference only.
Eating at in the Hidden Valley
You can eat at the Rifugio Lagazuoi adjacent to the top lift station. There is a good menu and the view from here are truly spectacular. They say that you can see Venice on a good day!
Rifugio Scotoni has an in-door BBQ area. This place can be one of the busiest lunchtime stop overs anywhere in the Dolomites! If you really wish to try the BBQ, and we recommend it, get there early, or late. Scotoni is approx 4k/2.5miles along the piste.
Capanna Alpina is a nice, ordinary style restaurant cafe at the side of the piste. Look out for the dogs on the roof.
Hidden Valley FACTS …
Official Run Name – ‘Armentarola 101’
Official Grading – Red
Length Approx – 8k / 5 miles
Start Altitude – 2,730m / 8,956ft ASL
Finish Altitude: 1,630m / 5,347ft ASL
Vertical: 1,100m / 3,608ft
Our Grading: Easy/Medium
Best Time of Day: First Lift
NOTES the Horse & Sleigh Ski Tow is €2.50 per person and typically, first tow of the day is around 9.30am
Hidden Valley photographs …