I went on Italy’s most indulgent ski holiday.
On a ‘ski safari’ in the Dolomites, Sidonie Wilson enjoys three fabulous places to stay, with fine wines and feasting.
The ski holidays I am used to typically involve arriving at busy Geneva airport to pay £15 for a bottle of water, bundling into a three-hour minibus transfer, getting caught in the queues going up the mountain and arriving at a 20-person chalet hosted by an English gap-year student. I’m used to bumping into half of London at apres (unsurprisingly my last break to Val d’Isere sent me home with Covid).
But this trip — my first foray into Italian skiing — promises to be different. I’ve come to the Dolomites for my first “ski safari”. The premise is simple (and does, in fact, involve getting the binoculars out for some marmot spotting): instead of staying in one chalet, you ski between different accommodation, in different villages, via different resorts. The cynic in me is thinking what a faff it will be to lug my overpacked luggage and ski kit around. But Merrion Charles, my luxury tour operator, and her Italian sidekick, the ski guide impresario Mario Delmonego, promise no finger-lifting will be required. Within a couple of hours’ drive from Innsbruck in Austria our small group is crossing the Italian border at sunset, gazing at the tips of the Dolomites, highlighted in soft salmon hues above contrasting craggy cliffs. Gabriele, our driver, is an early indication of how charming this trip will be. With his golden curls and strange techno music, he takes us up the windy farm roads in his Tesla and delivers us to the first of three unique stays where we will spend our nights. We are welcomed with a warm hug by Stefano…