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RELAX, IT’S ALTA BADIA, LEAVE THE SPEED ITS WORLD CUP RACERS

When the sun goes down over Italy’s Alta Badia, its peaks turn a lazy, hazy pink. The colour causes locals in the cobbled piazzas of mountain villages to stop short. They stare, as they would at a pretty fashionista, or a painting by Modigliani. But if yo

 

These lovely views are all part of a relaxed Alta Badia skiing experience, a circle of linked ski areas in Italy’s Dolomites, also known as the Southern Tirol, not far from the Austrian border. Among North Americans, Alta Badia (pronounced ALL-ta ba-DEE-a) owes its fame to its annual World Cup GS race on the Gran Risa. This year’s race takes place December 21, 2014.

But Alta Badia can be appreciated for another reason, too. Its ski resorts—Corvara, Colfosco, La Villa, San Cassiano and Pedraces—are part of skiing’s infamous Sella Ronda.

The Sella is a massive, oval-shaped group of rocks in the midst of the Dolomites, also known as a massif, or what Italians call a massiccio. It looks a little like Australia’s Ayers Rock, but more jagged, and surrounded by the snow and ice of an Italian winter. Beneath the Sella are ski runs, streams of white trickling down from its base. The runs belong to eight different ski areas—including Alta Badia’s—which are all interconnected. Together they form the Sella Ronda, the ski route around the rocks. It’s a 40-kilometre circle tour—up one lift, down a piste, up another lift and so on. One never skis the same run, or rides the same lift twice. It takes an entire day to ski the Sella Ronda.

Often, skiers simply stick to the slopes of Alta Badia. Its runs are mostly beginner and intermediate. They’re always very well groomed. And the locals ski them slowly. They take time to stop, chat and admire the sweeping panoramas. 

 

They take time to sip cappuccino. And they take time to lunch on pasta tossed with seafood, flown in fresh from the Mediterranean.There are rifugios (mountain huts) speckled all over the resorts of Alta Badia. Inside the fires glow and the local wines flow.

Après-ski can be for shopping, too. Alta Badia has its share of galleries, bars, restaurants, and naturally, established ski shops selling a full range of Nordica products. Sport Posch (sportposch.com) in Colfosco is one such spot. “I’ve sold skis and boots for more than 40 years,” says owner Gerti Posch, “and Nordica is a fundamental element. I’ve collaborated with this Italian brand from the start, confident in its ability to keep pace with skiing’s latest innovations and trends.”

Posch notes that Nordica’s AI 2014-15 collection is worth discovering, especially with its innovative use of cork—a naturally adaptive material—in Nordica’s new NRGY line. “For women there is more great news,” Posch says.

“THE ITALIAN BRAND HAS HAD A BREAKTHROUGH IN MANY MODELS OF BOOTS FOR WOMEN BY USING PRIMALOFT, A MATERIAL THAT CAN KEEP FEET DRY AND WARM.”

After shopping, skiers can make their way to an outdoor patio, or a restaurant with a paint-worthy view of the Dolomites. It is the Italian way, afterall, to gaze, eat, and sip appreciatively, at a slow pace, and with flair and passion. They leave the speed to the World Cup racers. “Tranqui!” (Relax) they say. “Buon Appetito!” (Cheers). Life is beautiful.

Lori knowles
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