The Dolomites, Italy

Dolomites Freeride Off-Piste and Couloirs

With average gradients between 30 and 45 degrees, this is one awesome adventure in a unique, visually stunning setting. With the emphasis on the downhill, many of the great couloirs are accessed by just a short hike or skin from the top of the lift making this a great trip for those adventurous skiers who prefer more down than up!

This adventure is 6 full days of skiing with our IFMGA mountain guide in the Dolomites area. There are lots of route / itinerary options and so the program below is a sample only and may change depending on weather and ground conditions and the recommendations of the guides.

We start the week in Cortina in the heart of the beautiful Dolomites mountains before mixing our days between the Sella Group of mountains and the Marmolada Group as well as some freeride skiing on the famous Cristallo.

The trip is guided on a 1:4 ratio allowing for small groups which means time can be maximised on the descents and it offers flexibility in the event of challenging weather.

Day Itinerary

  • Travel to Cortina d'Ampezzo.

    Welcome meeting and briefing with your guide at 7pm in the hotel.

    programme below is a sample only and may change depending on weather and ground conditions

  • A warm up, freeride day in the Falzarego area.

    Itinerary options include:

    Monte Nuvolao and Cinque Torri a short climb of 170m (good training!) and a long 850m descent with a steep pitch at the top.

    Canale (the Italian for Couloir) Strobel - a mere 40m of climbing for a long 600m of downhill! 

    Canale della Nonna - 80m up with a very nice off piste descent of 800m back to the ski area.

    After skiing we transfer to Corvara by taxi where we’ll be based for the next days in a comfortable hotel. The taxi transfer is included in the price.

  • Freeride in the Sella Group

    Itinerary options include:

    Val Lasties – a classic 1100m descent.
    Val Mesdi (120m up and 1450m descent), a great off piste route also called the Vallèe Blanche of the Dolomiti!

    We stay another night in Corvara

  • Freeride day in the Marmolada Group - one of the most renowned ranges in the Dolomites.

    Itinerary options include:

    Intra i Sass which is accessed straight off the ski lifts giving a whopping 1200m of descent!
    Canyon - a couloir living up to its name with dramatic rock walls on both sides.

    We stay another night in Corvara.

  • Freeride in the Sella Group

    Here we have one of the largest choices of easily accessed colouirs such as Canele Joel or the Piz Boe and Val della Fontane both offering exciting descents accessed after a short ski tour or boot pack.

    Overnight in Corvara.

  • Head back to Cortina

    In the morning we head back to Cortina for our last 2 ski days. The taxi transfer is included in the price.

    We have several route options:

    Creste Bianche in the Cristallo group or
    Sci 18 or Val Orita in the Faloria

    Weather-permitting it is also possible to do a helidrop in the Antelao.

    We’ll spend the night in Cortina.

  • Final ski day

    For our last day we have great options in the Tofana area such as Bus de Tofana, a short but technical ascent with an amazing ski down until the town, or Vallon de Raola.

    We return to our hotel in Cortina for our final night.

  • Depart after breakfast

2020

Dates

Price

Sat 08 Feb
- Sat 15 Feb
£1795 Book
Flexible From £1,795 PRIVATE GROUP Enquire

The price includes 6 guided days with all guide fees and expenses, 7 nights hotel accommodation on half board (twin share), planned taxi / luggage transfers.

The price does not include travel to and from Cortina, ski passes, equipment hire, heliskiing.

Single room occupancy will incur an additional charge and is subject to availability.

Taxi transfers between Cortina and Corvara are included in the price of the trip. Taxis could be taken on other days and would cost about €50 per person.

We are proud to offer all of our returning customers a £50 discount.

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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming on one of our Dolomite Freeride weeks. On these trips you’ll be staying in comfortable hotels during the week so when skiing you need to carry just a day pack containing your safety equipment and any personal items or extra clothing layers you may need.

    • A good quality pair of ski trousers. They must be made from a waterproof and breathable fabric like Gore-Tex or similar. It’s useful to have some venting zips on the legs either inside or outside thigh or full length side-zips. Integral snow gaiters and some pockets for handy items are good features.
    • An outer shell jacket made of waterproof and breathable material like Gore-Tex or similar with a built-in hood. We advocate the ‘layering principle’ and so a shell is recommended rather than an insulated jacket.
    • Comfortable underwear with good wicking properties. Very popular at the moment are the wool based layers from companies such as Icebreaker and Smartwool. They are comfy, breathable, warm when needed and can be worn for days without your friends catching a whiff!
    • Several thin (rather than fewer thick) layers between your skin and the outer shell - an approach that gives better heat retention and good flexibility. These tops are known as ‘mid layers’.
    • Insulation layer like a down or Primaloft jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.
    • Roll neck rather than a scarf. We use and recommend the ‘Buff¹ ¬ a light, stretchable tube. Excellent despite the name! They do both a fleece/cotton version for warmth or just a cotton one (to keep the sun off).
    • Headwear to include warm hat and sun-cap or wide-brim hat for extra protection from the sun. Mountain Tracks fully supports the wearing of helmets for skiing, although not mandatory for any of our trips we do recommend them.
    • Good quality, ski gloves or mitts if you suffer from cold hands and 1 thinner pair of gloves made from a soft shell or fleece material if the weather is warm. These are particularly useful if you do any ski touring or hiking on the trip as thick gloves quickly become too hot.
    • Silk inner gloves can be useful if the weather is cold and you suffer with cold hands.
    • Technical Socks - Investing in good quality ski socks will improve fit, warmth and feel when skiing for long periods. Bring along a few pairs.
  • We continue to see big changes in ski, boot and binding design and technology, which make off-piste skiing and ski touring much more accessible. For our Adventure courses we prefer you to ski with” freeride” skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings but are suitable for off piste then you are welcome to bring them with you. Downhill boots are also acceptable but please bear in mind that you will do some touring on ALL our Off-Piste Adventure courses so you made need to hire suitable skis and boots in resort.

    Skis
    There are many ‘all-mountain/freeride’ skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from Dynastar, Movement, Black Crows, Trab Skis, Scott and Volkl. Look for a ski that is the right size for you height, typically the tip of the ski should be somewhere around your nose height. As for the width of the ski or “side cut” a mid-fat ski – 90-110mm under the foot is a good place to start; this offers plenty of flotation off piste, while remaining suitable for day tours and they should also handle reasonably well on piste and mixed terrain.
    Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
    Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
    Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com/
    Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us/
    Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
    Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com

    Boots
    For our Off-Piste Adventure courses its best to have a pair of ski touring boots – they have great skiing performance and with the vibram soles they are much safer for scrambling around on rocky or icy ground. However standard downhill ski boots are also acceptable. We do not recommend you come on a trip with brand new boots.

    If you are going to be getting into off-piste and ski touring, then rather than having a pair of downhill boots and a pair of ski touring boots, we strongly suggest that you opt for a good pair of ski touring boots. With advances made in plastics, moldings and materials in recent years you can now get a ‘hybrid’ touring boot that offers as much downhill performance and stiffness but they come with a walk mode and good flexibility for the uphill too. Many boots fall into the category "hike & ride" so a 3 or 4 buckle boot, walk mode, vibram/grippy sole and possible Pin binding compatible.
    It just makes more sense - not only are they much more comfortable to walk in compared to ordinary ski boots, they are great to ski in too.

    Scarpa have lead the way in touring boots for many years but they have been joined by other manufactures like Dynafit, Salomon, Scott, Black Diamond, Dalbello and K2; all producing their own versions of a ski touring boot.
    • Scarpa’s Freedom boots are their Hybrid offerings, great ski performance, a walk mode and vibram sole. Their Maestrale (men’s) and Gea (women’s) boots are also highly recommended.
    • The Scott Celeste and Cosmos boots have stood the test of time and are good all round choices.
    • Salomon’s Quest Max series offer boots with a walk mode in various flex’s with good downhill performance.
    • Dynafit offer the Mercury or Vulcan boots plus a range of lightweight options like the TLT6.
    The best of the rest are:
    Fischer - Transalp
    Black Diamond – Quadrant and Factor
    K2 – Pinnacle boot
    Dalbello – Lupo or Sherpa
    Langue – XT series offer a ski boot with a walk mode in various flex options

    Boot Liners
    These days many manufacturers offer ‘thermo-fit’ liners as standard equipment. You may also want to consider a custom liner. Heated and moulded to your foot and boot for a perfect fit, they can make all the difference especially if you have trouble finding really comfortable
    ‘off-the-shelf¹ boots. Zipfit liners are a great option for anyone seeking total customisation in fit and comfort. They will replace the original liner.

    Custom Footbeds
    Essential kit – to provide additional comfort and ski control. If you want to get footbeds made or a pair of new boots fitted then we suggest you visit somewhere like Profeet for a professional fitting. Don’t forget if you have footbeds in your downhill boots but need to rent touring boots then you can bring the footbeds with you and put them in the hire boots.

    Bindings
    We prefer you to have ski touring bindings on your skis for our adventure courses but if you have downhill bindings mounted on your skis then this is perfectly acceptable. The new touring bindings are every bit as safe for downhill as alpine bindings, yet you have the additional advantage of being able to walk uphill with them to access the real off-piste. Fritschi Diamir and Marker both have great bindings which can be used with ski touring boots and downhill boots. Many more people are seeing the advantage of the “pin” binding system now offered by a number of manufactures; they are light and offer ever improving security despite their minimalist looks!
  • Although our Off-Piste Adventure courses rely heavily on the lift systems in resorts, access to and egress from runs sometimes involve climbing and walking a short way and you may undertake 1 or 2 day ski tours, for this reason its best to have skis with ski touring bindings, skins and ski touring boots.

    • Ski Skins – these are skins which, now made of artificial fabric, stick to the bottom of your skis and allow you to walk up hill. They must be cut to fit your skis exactly, so if you are bringing your own skis you must provide your own skins.
    • Ski Crampons (aka Couteaux) - most ski touring bindings have ski crampons specifically designed for the binding. We always carry these just in case. Again if you are bringing your own skis and touring bindings you must provide your own ski crampons.
    • When skiing on glaciated terrain you will need a harness and occasionally boot crampons and possibly an ice axe. Your can guide can supply you with these items if you do not have your own.
  • The “Safety Trilogy” - applicable for all our off-piste courses and ski tours.

    Avalanche Transceiver/Beacon 
    Snow shovel
    Avalanche probe

    Avalanche airbags/rucksacks – if you wish to ski with one of these on our courses you are welcome to do so, they are not mandatory but we always support the use of available safety items.
    You can hire avalanche rucksacks in a lot of resorts, makes are usually Snowpulse/Mammut, ABS or BCA Float sacks. Prices vary from shop to shop and resort to resort but a guide line price would be from €20-30 per day or around €100-120 for 6/7 days.

    Remember it is not enough just to carry this equipment; you have to know how to use it.
    How about joining one of our specialist avalanche courses – check out https://mountaintracks.co.uk/discipline/winter-mountaincraft

  • Good pair of goggles – essential. Useful to have 2 pairs on powder days in case of head plants! A pair with a lens for low light is essential in the event of snow and poor visibility
    Good quality sunglasses – UV factor category 4 recommended
    20-30 liter rucksack is usually suitable for most off piste skiing. Key features are a method of attaching your skis in either a A-frame (one either side) or both together on a diagonal ski carriage; easy access into the main compartment without having to empty the sack to get something at the bottom; separate pocket for avalanche shovel, handle and probe; small top pocket for items like wallet, sunglasses/goggles etc; an ice axe loop and possibly a built in rain cover and a secure method of attaching/stowing a ski helmet (if you use one). It’s essential that the pack has a good hip/waist belt and adjustable shoulder straps.
    Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used but please remember that they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack with cylinder in; so unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
    1-1.5 Liter water bottle – we don’t recommend hydration-systems (e.g. Camelbaks) as these often freeze in winter
    Suncream and lip salve (factor 30 or higher recommended.)
Dolomites Ski Touring 1.JPG

The Dolomites

View map

The Dolomites are a part of the Italian Alps. They are located in equal parts in the provinces of South Tyrol, Belluno and Trentino (all in northern Italy) and extend from the Adige river in the west to the Pieve valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Pustertal (valley of the Rienz) and the Valsugana.
The region is commonly divided into the Western and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Badia valley - Campolongo pass - Cordevole valley (Agordino) axis. The range includes more than forty glaciers.
The Dolomites are particularly renowned for climbing and the main centres include Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo and San Martino di Castrozza.
The name "Dolomites" is derived from the famous French mineralogist Deodat de Dolomieu (1750 -1801) who was the first to describe the rock, Dolomite, a form of limestone which is responsible for the characteristic shapes of these great mountains.

Our top reasons for visiting the Dolomites:

  • Stunning mountain scenery combined with friendly Italian ambience
  • Skiing or climbing with Guido Candolini, our charismatic local Mountain Guide who leads many of our Dolomite adventures
  • Enjoying the sunset at the Rifugio Fanes or Rifugio Lagazuoi - mountain huts with a difference!
  • Excellent ski touring amongst the limestone towers
  • The Via Ferrate trails - 'iron ways' that are a relic of the wars between Austria and Italy and enable hikers to scale the steep exposed mountains in safety
  • It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
     

  • Our Dolomite Freeride courses are usually led by Guido Candolini or one of his team of IFMGA Mountain Guides from Inmont Guides. We have worked with them for several years and they are extremely professional and popular guides.

    The guide to skier ratio is 1:4 and we can run with a maximum of 2 groups on the same week.

  • In Cortina we usually stay in the Hotel Da Beppe Sello which offers comfortable accommodation and excellent food in their restaurant. The hotel is located a 10 minute walk from the centre of Cortina.

    In Corvara we will stay in one of the town's comfortable 2-3 star hotels close to the centre and the main ski lifts.

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