Corvara and Colfosco are two beautiful villages nestled in the Alta Badia region of the Dolomites. Corvara is the largest village in Alta Badia and whilst smaller, and quieter, Colfsco certainly is in contention for the ‘most charming’ award.
Corvara (1568m) sits at the foot of the dramatic Mt.Sassongher and sprawls out quite a distance. The village offers a range of boutique shops and cafes, as well as some great apres-ski bars. There’s an indoor ice-stadium too. The main shops and some hotels cluster around a small piazza at the top end of the village, close to the Col Alto gondola, the top of which offering direct access to the Sella Ronda.
As well as skiing on the Sella Ronda circuit, Corvara also provides direct access to local slopes which are shared with the two villages, San Cassiano and La Villa.
Colfosco is located just above Corvara on the road up to the Gardena Pass and is a very pretty, which shares the same welcoming atmosphere as Corvara. There are some amazing hotels in Colfosco, our three favourites being set out below.
Colfosco is the final destination for one of the great off-piste descents in the Dolomites – the Val Mezdi (Mid-day Valley). It really is one of of Italy’s classic runs but please do take a guide with you!
As well as some really gentle local skiing, both Corvara and Colfosco are perfectly placed for the Sella Ronda circuit – a scenic, 26km route of mostly intermediate slopes – and for the Dolomiti Superski area with its 1,200km of piste. With lots of picturesque beginner runs spanning up from the village, you’e got a great base for novices and intermediates alike. And with easy access to the wider Dolomiti Superski and great value area lift pass, even mixed ability groups are covered.
Snow reliability is mistakenly underrated in most of the Dolomites, and whilst natural snowfall can be erratic, the snow-making and piste management systems and skills in the Dolomites are up there with the best in the world. This means good snow coverage is all but guaranteed even in the leanest of early seasons.
One final note about the Alta Badia is that the quality of mountain restaurants is excellent. Close to Colfosco, recommendations include Rifugio Jimmy (above the Gardena Pass) and, for a slightly more gastro, table-service experience, the Edelweiss Hutte.
130km (1000km in Dolomiti Superski)
1324m – 2550m
December – April
Hotel Kolfuschgerhof (Colfosco)FacilitiesSleep...
Hotel Sassongher (Corvara)FacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation...
Hotel Col Alto (Corvara)FacilitiesSleep CapacityThis...
Hotel Mezdi (Colfosco)FacilitiesSleep CapacityThis...
Alpe d’Huez is one of the best resorts for learnings as numerous base lifts connect easy slopes, some of which are free. There are also ski tranquille zones (slow ski zones) for slower skiers on gently sloping runs. For those that have already made some progress, the beginner ski pass 1ere Glisse is recommended. Especially surrounding the large village of Alpe d’Huez, many easy slopes are easily accessible.
Alpe d’Huez really is simply perfect for intermediate skiers. There are runs all over the mountain that will test them without any of them being too steep. Unlike some French resorts, many of the runs in Alpe d’Huez are long, meaning that skiers get lots of turns in between lifts, exactly what intermediate skiers relish so as to progress. The Signal l’Homme area in particular has some long reds with the added bonus that the runs here are often quiet – a huge factor in terms of enjoyment on the slopes!
Alpe d’Huez has plenty of long and challenging blacks and decent reds so for those in search of long, thigh-burning pistes and bumpy mogul fields will not be disappointed. The black Tunnel run beneath the Pic Blanc cable is one them, the pitch is of standard black steepness but can be very hard in the mornings due to late afternoon sun, and super-mogully in the afternoons, so it is not for the faint-hearted. Fearless intermediates can enjoy the Sarenne, a really long black run from the top of Alpe d’Huez, there are two ways that you can approach this spectacular run. Elsewhere another cluster black pistes worth a mention include the runs off the Marmottes II gondola from the Clocher de Macle, Balcons a steep and quiet run, Clocher de Macle is slightly easier but often busier and then there is the long Combe Charbonniere which requires a fairly long traverse at the start.
Beginner snowboarders will benefit from the multiple nursery slopes, although they should be aware of the large number of drag lifts which may prove challenging to boarders who are just starting out. For freeride snowboarders, Alpe d’Huez is an off-piste paradise. It is well worth a visit to the open powder field of Le Grand Sablat and Cheminees du Macles couloirs. There is also a giant terrain park which is suitable for park enthusiasts.
Come to Tomorrowland in March
The ultra-famous Belgian festival Tomorrowland, which attracts thousands of music fans, comes to Alpe d’Huez this winter. For a week in March, this alpine resort will turn into Ibiza on the snow thanks to the first-rate DJs that will grace Tomorrowland Winter Festival’s stage including Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Afrojack or Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, to name but a few. No need to ski for this one!
Over the past few years, Alpe d’Huez’s profile has been on a fast upward curve and this is reflected not only in the new five-star hotels in resort but also in the shopping now available here. The commercial centre at Les Bergers, by the Marmottes lift station, is home to several high-end winterwear boutiques and casual street clothing shops. Meanwhile, up in the main street and around the ice rink, there are plenty of fashionable boutiques like Superdry, Napapijri, O’Neill, Levis, Fred Perry, JOTT and Schott.
Take in a bit of culture
Every Thursday night throughout the winter season, the local church, located next to the leisure centre, hosts a classical music concert with artists from all over the world. Prices are 10 euros per person and the concerts get underway at 18:15. For those interested in Alpe d’Huez’s heritage, the museum regularly holds locally themed exhibitions with history and geology very much to the fore. The region’s rich history really means they have plenty to choose from.
Local lift operator SATA also provides twice-weekly guided tours up to the summit of the Pic Blanc. The views from here are truly epic and, on a clear day, you see for literally miles and miles including as far as Mont Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’ to the west. These tours start from the DMC lift station at the top end of town and you will need to purchase a day ‘pedestrian’ lift pass to gain access up to 3300 metres.
Visit the leisure centre
The huge leisure centre really offers something for everyone, young and old, skier and non-skier. Indoor activities include a climbing wall, swimming, a gym, group indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, fitness classes, table tennis, crazy golf, squash, tennis, boules and a cinema, I think I’ve listed them all!
Try the Alpine Coaster
Opened in 2017, the Alpine Coaster has proved a huge success. Located in Les Bergers quartier, next to the Marmottes lift, the coaster comprises a 700m high-speed, adrenaline-fuelled course. It boasts a virtual reality option to further enhance the thrill, taking you through four seasons in one ride. Reaching speeds of up to 40kph, the action is certainly fast and furious. The coaster is open seven days a week throughout the season, with extended opening hours in the peak month of February.
Go ice skating
Normally only reserved for Christmas festivities in the UK, in Alpe d’Huez we are lucky enough to have an ice rink that’s open all year round. Situated right in the middle of town, on the main street, it’s open every day into the evening. Skates are available to hire at the rink. The ice rink also holds weekly ‘curling initiation’ sessions and is home to the local ice hockey team, who have regular home games here throughout the winter season. The ice hockey games are free to watch but wrap up as it gets bitingly cold in the evenings at the rink.
Over the past few years, several high-end spas have arrived in resort. Many are located in the larger hotels in resort, like the super-swish spa inside the Chamois d’Or Hotel at the DMC lift station. Pretty much every treatment you can think of is available in resort, with something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Whilst you may think you are like Scott reaching the Antartic with a couple of tennis rackets lashed to your feet, it really is a great way to spend a day here and take in the natural beauty that is all around. There are miles and miles of almost endless walks that await you and your ‘raquettes’, and it’s very easy to do. You can simply hire the kit from pretty much any ski hire shop in resort or you can buy the kit if you fancy, prices start at around 75 euros for the ‘raquettes’ and you will need a couple of poles to assist you as well. The area around the fort is particularly popular for snowshoe walking, as is the Sarenne Gorge area up behind the Altiport. If you prefer a guided snowshoe walk, this too is available, with prices starting at 23 euros.
Let the Husky or ski-doo take the strain
The scenery around Alpe d’Huez is truly stunning, and you can take it all in without breaking a sweat. Every day, ski-doo tours are run by Espace Motoneige from the Les Bergers commercial area at the bottom end of town (by the Marmottes 1 lift station). Prices range from 80 euros up to 260 euros depending on the length of trip you choose. Evening meals are included in some of the evening tours and are generally taken up at high altitude restaurants, which provide a wonderful view over the resort. For a more old-school trip around the slopes, why not try a traditional Husky-sled ride, operating from the top end of the Altiport at the end of the trail to the Sarenne gorge, the rides take place every afternoon.
View the live snow report for Alpe d’Huez here
Alta Badia is a family-friendly ski resort. There are many easy and wide runs. The ski kindergartens and play areas of the ski schools found in Colfosco and Corvara, especially popular with the children. Children up to 8 years old can ski for free when accompanied by a parent. The toboggan run from Piz Sorega to San Cassiano rounds off the offering.
Ski Children’s Area run by the Ski & Snowboard School Ladinia Corvara
Located directly at the Abruse pommel lift in Corvara, it’s the ideal spot for children to try their first curves. The ski school has many instructors to help the kids. When the weather is bad, the children can play in the ski children’s area.
Children’s ski area run by the Ski School Colfosco
“Ski and fun” is the motto of the Colfosco Ski School. In the children’s ski area, the little ones will find a people mover and funny characters. The ski instructors supervise and teach the children.
Ski Funpark Kids
The Ski Funpark Kids is located at the Pezzei pommel lift and offers fun race courses, wave runs and a large tunnel.
Hotel Kolfuschgerhof (Colfosco)
Hotel Sassongher (Corvara)
Hotel Col Alto (Corvara)
Hotel Mezdi (Colfosco)
Alta Badia is easy to reach by car. If you come from the north, you can cross the Brenner-pass on its motorway. Remember, though, that the highways are toll roads in Italy. If you want to experience the approach with the fascinating mountain scenery of the Alps, you can choose to drive on one of the attractive country roads of South Tyrol and Alta Badia.
Please note that Alta Badia is located at an altitude 1160-1650 meters above sea level. In winter you may experience heavy snowfalls. The roads are cleared quickly, but keep in mind that you are driving in the mountains and that you need appropriate equipment for your car (winter tires or snow chains). From mid-November to mid-April on all South Tyrolean roads winter tires or chains are required.
If you want to travel by plane, the most convenient airports for the Dolomites and Alta Badia are those of Northern Italy, Innsbruck and Munich.
From the airports Alta Badia can be easily reached by taxi, airport shuttle or public transport.
Travelling to Alpe d’Huez takes between 8 and 10 hours from Calais depending on the road conditions and your attitude to speed.
BALAD’AULPS BUS – Le Balad’Aulps is a shuttle bus which serves all the Vallee d’Aulps villages during the winter and summer season. A perfect way to visit the areas around Avoriaz.
The train stations near to Alta Badia are:
* Brunico – 37 Km (23 ml)
* Bressanone – 65 Km (40,4ml)
* Bolzano (via Gardena pass road) – 65 Km (40,4ml)
* Bolzano (via Brunico) – 100 Km (62ml)
Due to the proximity and the frequency of the buses we suggest the Bruneck railway station as final destination.