Powder snow and idyllic mountain scenery. Three Peaks in the Dolomites: winter holiday options

Published by Mountainblog on .

Drei Zinnen Tre Cime ©H.Oberhofer (1)

Crisp winter air, snow-covered slopes and glowing peaks: Located at the heart of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site, the holiday region Three Peaks in the Dolomites turns into a true snow-lovers’ paradise during the winter months. Set against a breathtaking alpine background, the townships of Sesto/Sexten, San Candido/Innichen, Dobbiaco/Toblach, Villabassa/Niederdorf and Braies/Prags provide a wide choice of options: Perfectly groomed ski runs and cross-country ski tracks for the active, snowshoeing and hiking tours through a picture-perfect winter wonderland for those who are up for a more relaxed pace, and rustic mountain huts serving local specialties and home-made delights.

Alpine skiing fun and nature highlights on cross-country tracks
The Three Peaks in the Dolomites features more than 100 kilometers of ski slopes and tracks for all levels, located amidst the impressive Dolomites mountain range. A challenge for fit skiers is the 34 kilometer Giro delle Cime day tour with a vertical drop of 5,600 meters. The adventurous, on the other hand, may opt for the steepest run in all of South Tyrol, the so-called “Holzriese”, featuring a slope gradient of 71%. Meanwhile, families and kids are sure to have fun on the sun-drenched runs of the small and easy-to-explore Braies or the family-friendly Baranci ski resorts near San Candido. Fans of cross-country skiing will find more than 200 diverse and perfectly groomed tracks around Sesto, San Candido, Dobbiaco, Villabassa and Braies, making the valley Italy’s number one cross-country skiing destination. The Prato Piazza/Plätzwiese high-altitude track located at 2,000 meters, for example, promises truly stunning views of the Cristallo range and the Hohe Gaisl.

Fotoshooting TM Hochpustertal Winter 2010-11 Langlauf Platzwiese

Snowshoeing – A different kind of winter fun
How about exploring the unspoilt winter landscape on snowshoes for a change? A great choice is the easy route through the forests of San Candido via the Jora mountain hut and on to the Riese Haunold hut with its small and cozy rooms featuring 200-year old used wood from historic mountain huts. Not to mention the local specialties which are served there and should definitely not be missed! A bit more challenging is the intermediate tour up Monte Calvo/Golfen offering fantastic views of Dobbiaco and the Val di Landro/Höllensteintal. Experienced snowshoers may want to try the hike leading through deep snow from Ponticello/Brückele to the Rossalm at 2,164 meters.

Hiking tours in winter wonderland
Another way to enjoy a holiday around the Three Peaks is hiking through beautifully snow-covered landscapes and occasionally stopping at a mountain hut or rustic restaurant for a break. Visitors walking from the Val Campo di Dentro/Innerfeldtal to the Rifugio Tre Scarpiere, for example, will be rewarded not only with wonderful views of the Sesto Dolomites, but also with authentic culinary treats like dumplings and goulash or home-made dough-covered, fried apple rings, so-called “Äpfelkiachlan”, with vanilla ice cream. A picturesque trail just above the tree line takes visitors from the Prato Piazza high altitude plateau to the Rifugio Vallandro, opening up breath-taking views of the Hohe Gaisl, Tofane and Monte Cristallo peaks. The alpine hut is located at 2,040 meters and serves tempting regional and Italian fare. Yet another option is the quite challenging pathway from the Monte Croce/Kreuzberg mountain pass in Sesto to the cozy Coltrondo Alm alpine pasture with its menu of farm-to-table dishes. Following this nice break, hikers can continue on to the Malga Alpe Nemes hut and the Klammbachalm alpine pasture for a final warming-up before descending through snow-covered forests back down to the valley.

For further information about activities and accommodation in the Three Peaks Dolomites visit www.drei-zinnen.info