This original article was first published here: Alta Badia Italy – A World Beyond Skiing
Winter in the mountains means pure, clean air, wide-open spaces and snow-covered landscapes and peaks. In addition to its fantastic ski slopes, Alta Badia in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers plenty of attractions to venture out and explore this destination, from sledging to snow-shoe excursions. The beginning of the winter season is planned for January 7.
At a time like this, overshadowed by the problems linked to Covid-19, the mountains offer safety and peace of mind, thanks to their clean, fresh air and, above all, their wide-open spaces, easily allowing for social distancing in a natural way. What’s more, sport can help strengthen your body and mind, boosting your immune system, especially if you practise it out in the fresh air. You don’t need to ski yourself or be an enthusiast of this sport to come and spend a few days relaxing in Alta Badia during the winter. This resort in South Tyrol/Italy offers plenty of other opportunities to discover a world beyond skiing, a world where you can enjoy long excursions, snow-shoe trails and sledging or simply spend your days at high altitude, accompanied by a good book.
Cross-Country Skiing At The Foot Of The Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park
Cross-country skiing can do you the world of good. As well as getting all your muscles moving, it also stimulates your brain, as you practise this sport surrounded by nature. Alta Badia is home to over 35 km of cross-country ski trails that are prepared daily, stretching across three different areas. Alta Badia’s cross-country ski centre in Armentarola boasts a training field and four FIS-approved competitive pistes, in addition to 26 km of trails. The cross-country skiing area in Corvara, on the other hand, offers trails with little difference in altitude, making them perfect for beginners. All trails are prepared for both classic cross-country skiing and for skating. “La Val” cross-country ski area also stretches out at the foot of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park. Starting from the car park in Furnacia, just a 5-minute drive from the centre of the village, you can walk for 30 minutes and reach the Ranch da André mountain hut, where you can change, drop off your bags and shoes and put on some cross-country skis. This route winds its way around Armentara’s pastures and offers three different itineraries, for a total length of 12 km. Sports enthusiasts can replace their skis with shoes and head off along trail number 15A; after an hour, you reach the small church of Santa Croce and the mountain hut of the same name, overlooking the town of Badia.
Whether you’d like to improve your style, or try out this sport for the first time, you can contact one of the instructors at Alta Badia’s cross-country ski school.
Excursions With Or Without Snow Shoes, Enjoying Relaxing Walks In Snow-Covered Forests
Alta Badia offers over 80 km of winter trails, all clearly marked and well looked after, ideal for magical excursions out on the snow, surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes that the Dolomites have to offer. If you want to leave your mark on the snow and enjoy the thrill of “floating” on fresh snow, then you simply must try snowshoes, known as “ciaspole” in Italian. Snowshoes will allow you to enjoy high-altitude excursions, surrounded by the silence of nature and far from the busy ski slopes. To avoid any unnecessary risks and to discover the most beautiful spots, it is recommended to go on excursions accompanied by an expert local guide. Alta Badia Guides organise guided tours on a weekly basis, accompanying visitors to discover the area’s untouched nature, inhabited only by wild animals. There is no better way to leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind you.
Toboggan Runs With A View
Fresh air against your cheeks as you zoom down a toboggan run really is an experience worth trying. Alta Badia is home to two toboggan runs, both perfectly prepared and safe. The “Tru liösa foram” toboggan run starts from Piz Sorega, 2,000 m above sea level, and winds its way down snow-covered pastures and woodland, called “Foram”, for over 3 km, until reaching the village of San Cassiano, 1,537 m above sea level. You can easily reach this run using the cable car. Starting from winter 2021, evening runs will be organised for the first time, allowing visitors to enjoy the “Tru liösa foram” specially lit up for the occasion. These evening toboggan runs are planned for 12 and 19 January, and 9 and 16 February. Alta Badia’s second toboggan run is called “Rit-Biei”. This can only be reached on foot from La Val, after around an hour’s walk. The run starts from Rit’s small lake and winds its way down the area’s snow-covered pastures. This 1.8 km-long run is famous for the stunning landscapes you can enjoy, both on your walk up and on your sledge ride down: an excursion that will immerse you in peace and quiet and enchanting nature.
Romantic Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides
Horses have always been part of this valley’s history; loyal working companions for the local farmers and the pride of the area during processions or parades. Alta Badia gives you the chance to spend some time in the company of these wonderful animals: book a relaxing trip through snow-covered woods and pastures, on a horse-drawn sleigh.
If you wish to try horse riding in the snow, you can contact the local “Maneggio Teresa” stables, where experts can provide you with all the technical and logistical support you need.
Activities With Alta Badia‘s Moutain Guides
If you’re looking for adventure, in close contact with the surrounding nature, then local alpine guides can offer a range of outdoor activities, such as ice climbing or winter mountaineering. If, on the other hand, you want to experience the freedom of descent on fresh snow, then why not try ski mountaineering? This involves climbing up a snowy trail using dedicated skis covered with seal skins. Once you reach the summit, you simply remove the seal skins and enjoy skiing down the slope. It is recommended to only try this activity with expert local guides, allowing you to choose the difficulty of the route together and enjoy yourself in complete safety.
Discovering Local Culture And Traditions
Alta Badia, in the heart of the South Tyrolean Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an authentic place, bursting with culture and traditions that date back thousands of years and characterise the Ladin people who live here. To find out more about this world, we recommend a visit to the “Ciastel de Tor” Ladin Museum, part of which can be found in San Cassiano: The “Ursus ladinicus” Museum is dedicated to the prehistoric bear of the Dolomites.
Starting from December, this will also be home to the winter version of the “Nos Ladins” (“Us Ladins”) initiative, which offers tourists the chance to experience Alta Badia just like a local, carrying out a number of activities together with people who were born and raised in this valley. The aim of this initiative is to bring tourists closer to local traditions and the way of life here. No-one can do this better than those who were born and continue to live here.
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