Cortina d’Ampezzo is not only a stunning part of Italy but is one of the best ski resorts in the Italian Dolomites for a skiing holiday. There are slopes available for all levels of skiing whether you are a confident skier or a beginner. If you are a non-skier then the resort also offers a large range of activities to do.
It is hard not to be impressed by Cortina, Italy, from the top of the Dolomite mountains to the city below. I completely understand why it is known as the queen of the Dolomites. Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort is also part of the 12 ski areas that make up Dolomiti Superski circuit covering a massive area of 1,200 km of slopes.
This was my first ski trip back after several heart surgeries and having my Pacemaker/defibrillator inserted. Even though the weather was not great, I think that I had possibly some of the best snow conditions that I have experienced in a long time. It made finding my ski legs again, so much more fun and reminded me why I loved to Ski.
If you or someone you know is unsure about what steps to take before going skiing with a Pacemaker or Defibrillator (ICD). Then this article Travelling with a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), covers all aspects.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Dolomiti
Cortina d’Ampezzo Ski Resort Italy is one of the largest and most popular places for ski holidays in the Dolomites. One of the reasons is because of the many winter championships that have been held over the years. Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics and has been selected to co-host the 2026 Winter Olympics with Milan.
They will be hosting both the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals 2020 and the World Alpine ski championships 2021.
Weather in Cortina
It is known that the Dolomites have sunny ski conditions, with an average of 8 out of 10 days of sunshine. Between skiing, culture, food, and various activities on and off the slopes, Cortina is the perfect winter holiday. Especially for everyone either looking for adventure or for a leisurely experience.
Make sure that you have the right travel insurance while in the Dolomites on your ski holiday. You can compare the best holiday insurance quotes for FREE before you go.
Cortina Skiing Guide
The Cortina ski area
The Cortina piste is spread across 3 main ski areas, Tofana-Socrepres, Cristallo-Faloria and Lagazuoi – 5 Torri. As well as 4 smaller areas. While they all add up to a modest 120km of pistes, they each have different characteristics and vary in ski difficulty.
Even though the areas are spread out and are not linked by chairlifts or pistes. There are ski buses that run frequently between the areas and Cortina town. These ski buses are free for anyone with a valid lift pass and are available around town.
Skiing in Cortina ski area
The ski conditions in Cortina d’Ampezzo were cloudy and the visibility was not always that great, with small breaks in the clouds to see the stunning Dolomiti mountains slightly visible. The actual ski slopes themselves were perfect and I felt like I was just gliding along and getting back on the slopes.
It only got a bit bumpy in some parts near the end of the day in the busy sections, but to be honest the slopes were pretty quiet.
The Tofana-Socrepes area
The Tofana-Socrepes area is the biggest out of the 3 areas with 47km of piste and can be accessed via the Tofana-Socrepes chairlift or the new 10-seater gondola (Cortina/Col Druscie). It is also the most well known of the 3 areas hosting various ski competitions on the famous Olympia delle Tofane piste.
If you are a confident skier the upper Tofana-Socrepes is a fun area to test your technique with some challenging and fun red slopes. If you want to get your heart pumping and push your limits even more than the black slope, Forcella Rossa is considered to be one of the steepest in the resort.
Don’t worry if you are not an intermediate/confident skier because the lower slopes of Tofana-Socrepes are great for beginners and people who want to build their confidence. Most of the pistes back to the Roncato chairlift are wide blue slopes, which are great for practising your technique or beginners.
Skiing in the Tofana-Socrepes area Cortina
This was my favourite area and I liked the varied slopes here. It was also the area where I built my confidence back up to ski again. We started on the lower slopes then worked our way up to the upper the more comfortable I felt. The Tofana-Socrepes area also had some of the most amazing views, not only over the town but the mountains as well.
Eat & drink in Tofana-Socrepes
If you are looking for somewhere to eat for lunch with views across the Dolomites and Cortina town, then I suggest, Rifugio Pomedes. It is located at the top of the Rumerlo – Duca d’Aost chairlift near the Valon canalone piste.
Head to Chatel Tofane located at the base of the Roncato chairlift. After you ski back to the base station and you are looking for apres ski in Cortina around the Tofana ski area then check out
Read More – 48hrs in Val Di Fiemme Ski Resort Dolomites
Faloria-Cristallo Ski area
On the 2nd day, we headed over to the Faloria-Cristallo which is a little further out of town and covers an area with 44km of pistes. There are two ways to reach this area, by car or ski bus (then head to Rio Gere where you can catch the chairlift up either side) or you can catch the Cortina-Faloria cable car near the centre of town.
Most of the slopes here are red with a few black and a couple of blue slopes scattered. There is also a freestyle station in the area which you can get to via a two man chairlift but it is at your own risk and advised not to do it if you are not an expert skier.
Skiing in the Faloria-Cristallo
My favourite piste back was the 73 known as the Rio Gere, it was a red run that offered a variety of sections that went between the mountains. You can access it via the Rio Gere- Son Forca chairlift which has some amazing views of the mountains on the way up.
Eat & drink in Faloria-Cristallo
For lunch, I suggest Rifugio Capanna Tondi located near the top of the Vitelli chairlift, when skiing in Cortina. The wine was good and the food was homemade and fresh. The views from here are supposed to be amazing but unfortunately, the clouds had come in and it was near a complete whiteout when I was there.
Don’t forget your GoPro for all those action shots on the Cortina d’Ampezzo piste.
Lagazuoi – 5 Torri
Lagazuoi-5 Torri area covers 29kms that includes both downhill slopes and the Super8 ski tour. It is the furthest area away and can be reached via car or ski bus. The slopes are either blue or red but then you also have the two ski tour routes, the Super8 or the Great War that have breathtaking views of the Dolomite peaks.
I also understand that the landscape here is stunning, especially with the Cinque Torri-five towers rock, giving the area its name. Unfortunately, due to time constraints (we flew out that day) and the 5 Torri chairlift being closed because of weather, we were unable to ski in this area or do the ski tour. It is definitely somewhere I would love to go back and ski in the future.
Eat & drink in Lagazuoi-5 Torri
I hear that Rifugio Scoiattoli is a good place to eat with the Cinque Torri five towers rock as the backdrop. It is located at the top of the 5 Torri chairlift.
Overview of the Cortina skiing piste
- There are 3 main ski areas, Faloria-Cristallo, Tofana and Lagazuoi – 5 Torri, are connected by a free of charge ski bus
- 36 lifts (4 Cable cars, 27 chairlifts and 5 Poma lifts (also known as button lifts)
- 4 Kinderpark (Kids Areas)
- 120 km of piste ski slopes
- 2 Snow Parks (Tofana/Misurina Area)
- 2 Ski Tour Routes Super8 and the Great War
New for 2019/2020 season is a 10-seater gondola (Cortina/Col Druscie) that reaches the Tofana-Socrepes area that replaces a 50-year-old cable car.
Make sure to wear a ski helmet especially if you are in the snow parks, a beginner or a child. If you don’t own a ski helmet you can also hire one.
Ski Pass and Piste Map
You can get a ski pass for the of Cortina d’Ampezzo Ski area or for the whole Dolomiti known as the Dolomiti SuperSki pass. If you don’t want to do a whole day of skiing, then you can get a half day ticket for either the morning or afternoon.
Ski Passes in Cortina d’Ampezzo are flexible too and there are a variety of different types, like multi days (1-31 days), family passes and combo ski passes. You can even get a season pass and pre-purchase your ticket in advance online.
Another ski resort that is part of the Dolomiti SuperSki pass is Val di Fiemme Ski Resort Italy, which you can go to for the day.
There are a few ways that you can obtain a piste map, you can download online, get one from the tourism office or ski pass office. Also, your hotel may have piste maps available to their guests.
Hire a Guide to go skiing in Cortina
One of the things I love most about being on a press trip is that you get the opportunity to ski with some great ski instructors (and guides). Not only are they happy to show you the best a ski resort has to offer but also give you tips on your technique if you want them to.
Having someone who knows the Cortian Resort and mountains can change your skiing experience. Whether you are an experienced skier, a complete beginner or group, getting a ski instructor can be beneficial. Even getting one for half a day at the start of a trip can really build your confidence, creating a more enjoyable ski holiday.
Read More – Learn to Snowboard or Ski in England
Our guide in Cortina d’Ampezzo Ski Resort was Nicola ‘Nic’ who was a ski instructor from SnowDreamers, a privately owned ski company. Nic spent 2 and half days skiing and showing us around Faloria-Cristallo, Tofana. Unfortunately the day we went over to Lagazuoi the 5 Torri chairlift was closed due to the weather.
As stated before this was my first ski trip back after several heart surgeries and having my Pacemaker/defibrillator inserted. I felt extremely nervous before my first ski run of the day but Nic took us up higher and high gradually. This not only made me feel very comfortable but built my confidence up again.
Ski school is another great option if you are a beginner or you want to brush up on your ski technique. Cortina has a number of Ski Schools that are privately owned. SnowDreamers also run ski school in small groups.
Hiring ski and snowboards
Hiring ski and snowboards in Cortina is super easy and a number of ski rental shops offer booking in advance on their websites. Check with your hotel too about ski hire as a lot of hotels and chalets work directly with ski hire companies to offer a discount to their guests. If you are on a package ski holiday, they usually offer discount deals on ski and snowboard hire as well. We used Snow Service Cortina who has some of the latest ski and snowboard collections for hire.
You can hire a locker for your skis and boots which are available at some of the main lift stations, located underneath, like the one at Tofana-Socrepes chairlift.
Make sure that you have the right travel insurance so your mind can be at ease when you are hitting the ski slopes in the Alps. Compare the best holiday insurance for FREE
How about these Ski Goggles for your next trip
Non-ski activities to do in Cortina
There are still plenty of other things to do in Cortina d’Ampezzo if you don’t ski or snowboard or you simply want a break from the slopes. Due to its location, you can even take day trips from Cortina.
- Try your hand at indoor climbing at Cortina360
- One thing Italians do best is fashion. Head into town and go shopping in some of the most luxurious brand shops in the world.
- After shopping sit down for a coffee or try the iconic Bombardino drink while people watching
- Head to Alexander il Gusto Antico, owned by Italy’s best sommelier and try some of the wines and cheese.
- Try your hand at Curling, a sport that has been played for over a hundred years.
- Go snowshoeing at night to Rifugio Mietres where you can relax in a hot tub and enjoy a hearty meal.
Getting to Cortina d’Ampezzo
Closest International Airport
Treviso 2hrs drive (140kms) or Venice 2hrs drive (150kms) are the closest international airports to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Other options are Milan (411kms), Verona (256.9kms) or Innsbruck (164.5kms) in Austria.
If you like to get a FREE, easy and fast comparison of flights to Venice, then try out Skyscanner’s flight comparison site.
Venice to Cortina
There are several ways to get to Cortina d’Ampezzo from Venice airport Italy, from catching a bus, driving, transfer to train. It really depends on your budget and how you booked your Cortina Ski holiday.
Driving from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo is the most convenient and quickest way to the resort. Most of the roads from Venice are highways and the roads up to the Cortina are in pretty good condition.
Getting lost should not be a problem either, as most of the roads are market.
Hire a car from Venice airport to Cortina, if you are comfortable driving in Europe or the snow. You can always compare different car hire companies and rates on a FREE car comparison site before you go.
The closest train station to Cortina d’Ampezzo is either Calalzo, 45 minutes (35km) and Dobbiaco, 35 minutes (32km). From there you can take the connect bus services or arrange a taxi transfer. This will take you around 3 and a half hours from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Catching a bus from Venice to Cortina is another way to getting to the resort. It will roughly take you around 3hrs one way depending on traffic. There are a few services but Cortina express seems to be the best option. You can also book it online in advance.
Mietres by night Picture By Paola Dandrea
Accommodation in Cortina
Accommodation in Cortina d’Ampezzo is spread out widely across the resort and a large range of different types are available. Meaning you should choose your accommodation location wisely, depending on accessibility to where you like to ski. You can get anything from luxury five-star hotels like the Cristallo Cortina, apartments, guest houses or even Airbnb in Cortina.
I stayed at the lovely Hotel Cristallino d’Ampezzo for 3 nights during my time in Cortina d’Amprezzo. It was located only a few yards from the ski bus and about 10 min walk to the town centre.
My room was spacious with good Wi-Fi and a beautiful view of the mountains from my private balcony and bed. If you are driving, Hotel Cristallino has an underground car-park that is available to guests for free.
Check the current availability of accommodation in Cortina d’Ampezzo or other areas in the Dolomites.
- Most hotels have in Cortina will have piste maps for their guests, if you required one.
Top tips for skiing and staying in Cortina
- Check out Bar Sport or Bar Dolomiti both are located in town near the Cortina-Faloria cable, if you are looking for apres ski bars in Cortina
- Cortina and the Dolomiti area uses European adaptors
- You can download Cortina d’Ampezzo map from tourism site.
- The currency used in Cortina is euro’s
- Try some local sparkling wine, Trentodoc is so nice!
- Cortina is a great day trip from Venice if you there on holiday.
- Take a helicopter from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo, if you are looking to indulge and money is not a problem.
- If you don’t have a car, make sure your accommodation in Cortina is located near a ski bus stop.
- The skibus is FREE with your lift pass and runs frequently between town and these areas.
Make sure that you have the right travel insurance before hitting the ski slopes in the Dolomities Italy. Compare the best holiday insurance for FREE
Other Ski Resorts in Italy
If you are interested in discovering other Ski Resorts in Italy and Ski articles feel free to read the following. All are great options for a ski holiday’s within Italy with either family or friends.
- 48hrs Val di Fiemme Ski Resort – Dolomites Italy
- Italian Side of the Matterhorn – Cervinia Italy
- Top tips for saving money skiing – Europe
- A weekend Ski Trip to Monte Bondone Ski Resort – Trento Italy
Panoramic views of Cortina d’Ampezzo Dolomiti Italy
Thank you for reading this article ‘The ultimate Cortina D’Ampezzo Ski Guide’, Italy. I hope I was able to help you with anything you need to know before your ski holiday. It truly is the queen of the Dolomites.
Have you been skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo or to the Dolomites area before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
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Skiing Cortina Italy – Cover Picture By Michael Cranmer
Disclaimer: Even though I was there as a guest of the Cortina Dolomiti tourist office. All views are my own and based on my own experience.