There are times when I crave beautiful mountain scenery and the pure joy of skiing groomers. This March, my wife and I will spend a week or so cruising through the magnificent Dolomites; staying along the way in pretty lodges with spectacular views.

The World’s Largest Ski-Pass Network
We’ll be with the outfitter, Inspired ITALYon Ski Safari in the world’s largest ski-pass network. They make all arrangements from the time you land in Innsbruck until the time you leave. Their English-speaking guides will lead us on a 125 mile journey across the mountains and valleys of some of the planet’s most beautiful ski scenery.

We’ll stay in on-mountain refugios, pretty and well-sited hotels, high in the mountains. We’ll start each day with a hearty breakfast, ski to the next mountain and the next valley, never once crossing where we’ve been. Each day, we’ll wind up in another lodge to enjoy a drink by the fire, regional cuisine, and excellent local wine.

Inspired ITALY is a small, specialty tour operator that understands how to take full advantage of the Dolomite’s terrain.  To enjoy it, you need to be fit and good enough to be comfortable on intermediate and occassionaly more challenging terrain. Virtually every older skier I know is good enough for this trip. Fit enough? You’ll need to make that call. 

Each Ski Safari has a maximum of seven skiers. We’ll use a lot of lifts, but every now and then we’ll leave snow for a short taxi or bus ride. Each of us will carry a lightweight pack for toiletries, jammies, and a few changes of the closest layer.

I haven’t been there, but this is what I know: The slopes are wide, smooth, and exquisitely manicured. These are perfect conditions for having a good time without getting stressed out — assuming, of course, that skies are clear. Most of the slopes are 1 to 1.5 miles long; a few, six times that distance. Sixty percent are intermediate. That’s where Inspired Italy spends most of the time. More challenging terrain also is available.

Tim Hudson is founder and principle ski leader of Inspired ITALY. He told me how he learned of the possibility of skiing for long distances by staying in mountain hotels.. “My friend Riccardo told me how his 72 year old father-in-law took him skiing equipped with back-pack. They were gone for four nights skiing from valley to valley, staying with friends in high-mountain rifugi.” 

Soon after, he, his wife, Louise, and some friends embarked on their first refugio-to-refugio ski safari. 

“We never skied the same slope twice. We ventured into and explored new places. We felt no end-of-day pressure to get down to a valley. We were staying on top of the world. We had great food and wine, slept soundly and woke up having the mountain to ourselves. What a wonderful experience!”

The rifugi are modern, warm, and welcoming places with terrific kitchens, wine cellars, wifi, and power showers. Most of the time guests have private rooms with attached bathrooms.

The cost for an Inspired ITALY Ski Safari starts at less than $2500 per person and includes all lodging, breakfasts, dinners, equipment rentals, airport transfers (from Innsbruck), lift tickets, guides, etc.

Inspired ITALY is in its sixth year of operation. This season it will be near capacity. But if you want to go, contact them. There may be openings Otherwise, consider Inspired ITALY for 2019-2020.

We’re booked for March. I’ll report on the expoerience. It looks like a great one.


  1. Sounds incredible!

  2. Sounds like a great trip John, I’ll be very interested in te post trip report.

  3. Larry Crofford says:

    I’ve skied the Dolomites several times. Everything about skiing in Italy is great. Great snow, great runs, great food, great wine, great hotels and inns, great ambiance! (And the price is right.)

  4. Keith Macpherson says:

    Hi you will love it, my wife has been twice and myself once.
    A great experience and a fantastic team to take you round.

  5. marc liebman says:

    My wife and I love Madonna di Compiglio. Its got open pistes that are great for cruising and steep runs down through the trees. Intermediates will have a blast on the open slopes. The village is tucked away in a little valley. We’ve been going on and off since the 1970s. Its uncrowded and the food is, well, wonderful. its one of the best kept secrets in the world.

    Its hard to find – about three hours from Milan – but the scenery along the road is fantastic, unless of course, it is snowing!

  6. We ski the Dolomites almost every year. We are now 68 and 71 and will be going with daughter’s family in February. Alta Badia is our favorite. You will love it. The skiing is easy and scenery breathtaking. Make sure you take the horse drawn “lift” in Armentarola.

  7. Robin Murray says:

    I went on my second ski safari with Inspired Italy last week (my first time was last year) and it continues to be a life-affirming event. Early morning runs on empty immaculately groomed pistes are the order of the day, every day. Tim or Lou, the ski leaders, take you on a journey through the Dolomites on long, curving, satisfying runs and take you to places for an excellent lunch that you would struggle to find by yourself. The rifugios at night are chosen for their excellence and location – you will eat well and sleep well! Every detail is organised so you don’t have to think – just ski. Right, I am off to book for next year.

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