Dolomites vacations have been popular for decades on end now, as there are few mountain regions in the world that offer as much scenic beauty. In this Italian Alps region, sharp, craggy peaks rise high into the sky, and their picturesque sublimity is impossible to deny. As if the views weren't enough to justify a visit, there's the Dolomites ski resorts. These resorts offer some of the finest slopes in all of Europe and can also be excellent places to enjoy other outdoor activities, such as ice climbing, ice skating, and tobogganing.

The king of the ski resorts in the Dolomites is Cortina d'Ampezzo, but it certainly isn't the only destination worth keeping in mind when visiting the region. The various ski resorts offer different atmospheres that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences, so you just might prefer spending the majority of your time at one of the other regional bases.

The Dolomites portion of the Italian Alps belonged to Austria until it was turned over to Italy after World War I ended. As such, the region maintains a decidedly Austrian feel. A German-based dialect prevails, and often times, you will hear village residents speaking Ladin, which is a dialect that is similar to the Romansch dialect in Switzerland.

The relatively gentle mountains of the eastern Alps give way to craggy peaks in the Dolomites region, and you might be interested to know that these peaks are coral formations that started out below sea level. In addition to peaks that are responsible for wearing out many a camera, the Dolomites region boasts high alpine meadows and lush valleys, the likes of which outdoor enthusiasts have come to love. Hiking is among the top summer activities, while skiing and snowboarding are what draw most people in during the winter season.

Should you be looking to snow or ski Dolomites Italy, the options are complete. More than fifteen ski resorts can be found in the region, and they include world-famous Cortina d'Ampezzo. Cortina, as it is known for short, is largely hailed as the premier ski resort in Italy, and this has a lot to do with the fact that the scenery is about as good as it gets. The apres-ski scene in Cortina only accentuates the fantastic skiing, and due to its upscale nature, there are some very tempting accommodations to choose from. Should a more quiet and affordable escape be the aim, other Dolomites ski resorts are smaller and more traditional. Such is the case with Arabba, for example, which is among the more quiet and casual destinations. Regardless of the resort, lessons and rentals are relatively easy to arrange should you need them.

No fewer than twelve Dolomites ski resorts combine to form the famed Dolomiti Superski network. This collection of lifts and trails is the largest ski network of its kind in the world, and you can buy a special lift ticket that allows you to access everything that it has to offer. This includes the slopes at resorts such as Val Gardena, Tre Valli, and others. It is worth mentioning that anyone who is looking to snowboard or ski Dolomites Italy can also consider enjoying the Sella Ronda. This ski network isn't as big as the larger Dolomiti Superski, but it still manages to offer an exceptional amount of terrain. The Sella Ronda network is a relatively easy-to-negotiate series of lifts and downhill runs that make their way around Sella Mountain. Four different ski areas combine to create the also famous Sella Ronda network, and they are Arraba, Selva di Val Gardena, Corvara, and Canazei.

Whether you enjoy groomed runs or off-piste trails, you will be in your element when you snowboard or ski Dolomites Italy. There are runs for every level and preference, and if you want to take things further, you can hire a backcountry guide or access isolated slopes that are full of fresh powder by way of helicopter. The Dolomiti Superski network has 745 miles of runs and more than 450 lifts, so you can imagine just how diverse the skiing and snowboarding opportunities can be. Dropping into a glacial field at the top of Marmolada is just one of the experiences that can help to make a Dolomites ski vacation unforgettable. Marmolada is the tallest peak in the Dolomites at approximately 10,965 feet, and should you start your descent from the upper reaches, you can enjoy a more than seven mile journey to the bottom.

Adding to the allure of a winter visit to the Dolomites are the lodging options. As is true of the slopes, the Dolomites Italy hotels offer something fit virtually every taste. They also offer something to fit most budgets. Many of the hotels, even those that are not four or five star rated, feature good facilities, such as a swimming pool and a sauna, and more often than not, breakfast is included in the rates. It is also common for dinner to be included in the rates at many of the Dolomites Italy hotels, and if you prefer cooking your own meals, or at least having the option, there are apartment rentals in the area that feature kitchen facilities.

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