THE NEW YORK TIMES - Hut Skiing in the Dolomites: Storybook Scenery and Grappa Included

THE NEW YORK TIMES - Hut Skiing in the Dolomites: Storybook Scenery and Grappa Included

Every mountain is unique, sure. But, the rhythm of most ski resorts is predictable. So, when I heard about a “ski safari” in the Italian Alps, that involved crisscrossing the scenic towns and valleys of places like Cortina, Civetta, Val Gardena and Arabba, then sleeping at a different alpine inn each night (sadly, no tiger tracking), I was intrigued.

On top of appealing to my daredevil nature, there was another selling point: I am a solid intermediate skier. In the United States, hut-to-hut skiing is a backcountry endeavor designed for experts. Not so in the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeastern Italy. This territory of jagged limestone peaks, dipping plateaus and terrifyingly steep World Cup descents, I discovered, actually, boasted manageable terrain; 86 percent of the runs are blue (intermediate) and red (the easiest), ideal for nonelite athletes like me whose slope preferences are wide and easy groomers to couloirs, the narrow, hard-core gullies for advanced skiers.

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