The Italian Dolomites offer a fascinating alternative to the Alps, thanks to its unique geology, extensive linked ski terrain and the Mediterranean influences that pervade the cuisine and outlook of the locals. Visually different to the Alps, the Dolomites form vast jagged stacks of limestone which tower over the ski areas - including the infamous Tre Cime, Cinque Torri and Marmolada. In the setting sun of the late afternoon, the colourful minerals in the rock are amplified and reflect a pinkish hue over the snowy slopes, creating a magical scene for the last run home. A popular attraction for skiers is the chance to ski the legendary 24km long Sella Ronda Ski Circuit - a rewarding challenge for intermediate skiers with a sense of adventure.
The mountainous belt lying between the rivers of the Adige and Piave, south of the Austrian Alps, is dominated by the mighty peaks and high pastures of the Dolomites. Recognised in 2009 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomiti Superski area that wraps itself around these dramatic peaks offers over 450 ski lifts serving 1,220km of marked piste - the largest ski area in the world. This region is steeped in colourful local traditions and a culture that has remained largely intact thanks to its remote location and the independent spirit of the Ladin communities. A diverse mix of local meats, cheeses, soups, dumplings and strudels feature on the menu here and with fresh fish brought up from Venice daily you'll be spoilt for choice.