A Cortina Italy ski vacation can be just what the doctor ordered when the winter doldrums set in. Simply put, this is Italy's premier ski resort, and that distinction owes much to the stunning scenery. Cortina calls the Dolomites home, and if you've never passed through this part of the Italian Alps, then you are in for a most welcome treat. Craggy and pale peaks of stone that change color with the rising and setting of the sun rise up all around Cortina d'Ampezzo, as the town is more fully known. The result is an almost unworldly atmosphere that is truly inspiring.
Alpine enthusiasts who were searching for that next great destination first started coming to Cortina d'Ampezzo way back in the 1860s. By the early 1900s, the slopes at Cortina were hosting ski competitions, and in 1956, the Winter Olympics came to town. Since the Olympics helped to put it on the map, Cortina d'Ampezzo has hosted numerous World Cup ski events, and you might be interested to know that it has also set the stage for some big time movie scenes. The skiing scenes for the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only were filmed on the world-class slopes, for example, and the original The Pink Panther movie was mostly filmed in and around town.
Cortina d'Ampezzo calls northeast Italy's Ampezzana Valley home. Here, the craggy peaks that rise up high into the blue sky top out at around 10,600 feet, while the town itself is set at an elevation of 4,015 feet. As for the slopes, those who choose to enjoy a Cortina Italy ski vacation will have no fewer than 70 to choose from at the eight different ski areas. These slopes, which are easy to access from town, combine to offer 70 miles of runs, and since the resort can blanket 95 percent of them with manmade snow, they usually open up in November. From the top of the highest run on down to the village base, the vertical descent is almost 5,700 feet. As a result of this impressive vertical drop, some of the longest runs in the world call the Cortina ski areas home.
The slopes at the eight divine ski areas that can be found at Cortina d'Ampezzo are served by a number of funiculars and lifts. You can access both Tofana-Promedes and Faloria-Tondi from the edges of town, and the beginner-friendly slopes at Mietres are also especially easy to access from town. The Dolomiti Superski allows visitors to access all of the lifts and slopes at Cortina's eight ski areas, and it can also be used to gain access to the lifts and slopes at other regional ski areas. As is true at some of the other top rated Italy ski resorts, such as Alagna Valsesia, those who are of the advanced level can consider doing some thrilling off-piste skiing at Cortina d'Ampezzo. This involves hitting undeveloped slopes that aren't part of the main terrain. Arranging heli skiing adventures is also possible if you want to access untouched alpine runs by helicopter. Cortina d'Ampezzo is an expensive and glamorous ski resort, and it certainly isn't cheap to go heli skiing or snowboarding. If you want to save money on your extreme adventure, you might hire one of the local backcountry guides instead.
On a Cortina Italy ski vacation, all levels of skiers and snowboarders will have little trouble finding slopes that fit their wants and needs. Lessons can be arranged, and they range from beginner to advanced, and for those who need to rent equipment, there are numerous outlets around town. Accentuating the overall experience are a number of other fun activities that can also be enjoyed on a winter visit. These activities include sledding (tobogganing), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating at the Olympic Ice Stadium. Some fun indoor activities, such as playing tennis and swimming, can also be enjoyed on a Cortina Italy ski vacation. When the weather warms, activity options include hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Planning a Cortina Italy ski vacation is made easy by the fact that there are numerous travel packages to choose from. Most of the Cortina ski packages include airport transfers and lift tickets, and it's also common for accommodations to be covered. This might be a playground for the rich and famous, though there are some relatively inexpensive accommodations to be found in and around Cortina for those who might not be working with a bursting budget. Once you find the package that suits your needs, you can start gearing up for some of the best skiing, snowboarding, shopping, apres-ski fun, and scenery that any European ski resort has to offer.