With 450+ lifts, the Dolomiti in northern Italy is the largest ski region on the planet. This UNESCO World Heritage site is beautiful, historically and culturally interesting and overall, outstanding.

DOLOMITI SUPERSKI represents the area’s twelve regions, some quite famous (A portion of the 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Cortina d’Ampezzo), others individually unique. Best of all they can be accessed using a single RFID pass, which includes use of an expansive network of regional buses. Seniors (those born before November 30, 1954) get discounts on already low ticket pricesClick here for 2019-2020 ticket prices.

Climate Change now requires illogical and calculated guesses when planning long ski trips from ‘down-under’.  Mine began mid-February with 2 flights, a bus, a train, another train, and finally the local bus from Bolzano to the Val Gardena region – a tiring 27-hour journey.

My goal was to ski the famed Sellaronda ski circuit covering four Dolomite passes around the Sella massif. I would be there for three weeks, and during that time, I chose to change lodging only three times. It was a good plan created with the help of the local tourist office and one that easily can be followed by others. 

I started in the northern Dolomites. St. Cristina and Selva are ideal base locations offering plenty of lodging and dining options and providing easy access to skiing throughout Val Gardena. My first lodging was Garni Cir, a small BnB in St. Cristina. The next morning I caught a bus to the base area where I purchased my Dolomiti Superski Pass and took the Saslong gondola. The majority of slopes in the St. Cristina–Selva area are steepish and perfectly groomed; more relaxing intermediate slopes are on the Alpe Di Siusi slopes above Ortisei. 

My ski week in Val Gardena included first tracks on the World Cup slopes above St. Cristina and Selva, plunging down the steep skiers’ left off the Plan De Gralba cable car, and non-stop skiing the Saslong’s slick and bumpy pitch late one afternoon.

After 6 perfect days it was time to move from Val Gardena to the Val Di Fassa region. 

I took a local bus back to Bolzano, where I checked my luggage at the train station and visited the museum housing Oetzi, the world’s oldest “wet” mummy. This is a must-see for anyone visiting the region.

Reconstruction: Alfons & Adrie Kennis © South Tyrol Museum Archaeology/Ochsenreiter

After a stroll through this lovely small city, I caught the regional bus to Campitello, where I checked into the Tobia Hotel-Restaurant-Bar on the village piazza. Campitello is a rustic village with easy access to the slopes above Canazei-Alba and the off-piste steeps around Arabba. On route, I met two university students coincidentally staying at the same place. Both, I soon discovered, were excellent skiers and fun companions.

The next several days, we skied Canazei, Alba, Arabba, Marmolada and the Pozza di Fassa region. It was exhilarating and exhausting!

My next stop, a bus ride from Campitello, was San Martino Di Castrozza. On the way we crossed the beautiful Passo Rolle Pass before descending steep switchbacks into the town. I honestly think San Marino Di Castrozza is one of the world’s most beautiful mountain resorts. Surrounded by seriously steep peaks, it is a gateway to several ski areas. On this, the last leg of my Dolomiti journey, I stayed at Albergo BnB, a pretty place within walking distance of the new Ces gondola.

The mountains above San Martino Di Castrozza. Credit Murray Sandman

When I was there the snow was hard and fast, especially off the Tognola peaks and the Coston and Direttissima chairs. Many off-piste slopes are tree-covered and look like they’d be fantastic on a powder day.

It was the end of my three-week do-it-yourself Dolomite ski experience. Accessing my online DOLOMITI SUPERSKI Performance Check, I saw that in 15 days I skied 65,143 downhill meters over 357 kilometres of trials using 130 different lifts. On top of this let me say that the food was fantastic and the skies bright, bright blue. Another great ski trip!


  1. Ciao Murray,

    Delighted that you came to experience the Dolomites ski region. It is indeed a wondrous region!

    John and his wife Pam skied the Dolomites as our guests this last season on an Inspired ITALY Dolomites Ski Safari which takes in many of the areas you write about on a 7 night ‘Ski Safari’. For those who do not fancy the idea of creating their own itinerary in this vast ski area, a ski safari is the ideal way to pack in the kilometres!



  2. cansnowplow says:

    Murray, Thanks for this self-tour article. You inspire me to perhaps follow your multi-week Dolomite-tour @3 stays but maybe in the opposite direction. I do like seeking the steeps and deep and the off-piste. I am thinking of starting in San Martino Di Castrozza. I want to go there during their coldest weather. Perhaps you can write about each of your 3 stays in detail, one per newsletter. I enjoyed travel skiing, even having skied at your Treble Cone in 2 straight days of knee deep powder. Rockerfella bowl-hike back was fantastic in pow. Queenstown was unique.

  3. katie van hees says:

    Howdy Tim Hudson and Murray,
    Last ski season Inspired Italy was my best vacation ever (and I’m 73 with lots of miles on my odometer). I like both planning a solo ski trip mixed with a no-decision itinerary with it’s obvious pluses. Per Jon and Pam’s suggestion, I’m trying out Alpskitour this next season to find new mountains and towns as my no-decision choice but don’t think it will be easy to beat Inspired Italy. I’ve purchased the US Epic Pass and this has some benefits to lift passes in Europe and I’m too cheap not to take advantage of it. Maybe I’ll even have time to shop……(:

  4. Murray,

    Thanks for the article on Dolomiti Superski. It helped solidify our decision on resorts for a week of skiing in Italy. Having access to that many lifts and runs with one ski pass was amazing. And the runs were well groomed and maintained. My daughter and I set a rule of no duplicate runs (until we found some great pitches, then we broke the rule)

    We stayed in Selva Gardena /Wolkenstein at the base of the Campinoi gondola and found this a great place for getting to all types of terrain. The steeps of the Saslong, World Cup run and or Paprika. It also allowed us to do the Sellaronda both clockwise and counter clockwise all from the same town. The Sellaronda took us back to Arabba and up to Colfosco where we found some additional steeps. Not to mention great vistas and good on mountain restaurants.

    Of note is that the majority of the runs are well groomed intermediates. Which were great for cruising and made it fast to get around the mountain.

    For travel we started and returned to Florence since we wanted to spend some time in the City. Then took a non stop train to Bolzano for the bus / taxi. It helped cut down on the travel time. After speaking to some Italians they said flying into Milan, Venice and Bologna were also options.

    And we rented all our equipment, which proved to be cheaper than hauling everything from No. California. The shops had quality equipment, knowledgeable staff and let us change out if we wanted.

    It was an amazing trip and we would suggest it to anyone wants to have an epic ski week in Italy.

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