The main skiing is divided into two main ski areas: Faloria/Staunies and Tofana/Socrepes that can both be reached by cable-cars from either side of town. A busy ski-bus service provides a link to the lifts, but skiing convenience is not a strong feature in Cortina d’Ampezzo. These two are supplemented by a diverse handful of smaller, unconnected areas, as well a direct link into the Sella Ronda via another cable-car at Passo Falzarego, a 20-minute free bus ride away.
“When it comes to skiing it may not be the best for those who pay more attention to quantity than quality,” said a reporter. “I am one of those who see skiing as an experience more than a simple sport, and in this Cortina is unbeatable: the slopes are great and with stunning scenery, even though the lifts and links between them are not the best.”
Explaining the main skiing of Cortina
Tofana, the 3243m highest point in the ski area, provides spectacular views. Two chairs from the second stage of the cable-car give access to a collection of blue and red runs. An easy black run links into the more demanding Socrepes sector that can otherwise be reached by a blue run from the top of the first stage of the cable-car.
The bottom of Socrepes is devoted to a benign and scenic nursery area, served by four chairs and three drag-lifts, that curiously resembles a sloping Kensington Gardens. These beginner runs can be reached by bus from the town at Lacedel on the outskirts and at the top of the nursery area at Pocol, 6km from Cortina.
Faloria, accessed by a cable-car, which spans a cliff face on the other side of Cortina, has plenty of intermediate appeal. You can work your way along the mountainside through a sequence of chair-lifts and blue/red runs down to the road at Rio Gere. A modern chair-lift on the far side brings you up to Son Forca and one of the most dramatic runs in the Dolomites. The steep, black Staunies and the fast, red Padeon that it becomes in the lower stages is sandwiched dramatically between two mighty pillars of rock.
…and the outlying areas
Cinque Torri, on the road up to Passo Falzareggo, is the pick of the smaller ski areas. The lifts here are modern, and at peak times Cinque Torri offers some of the best and usually least crowded skiing in the region.
Passo Falzareggo is the base station for the cable-car that takes you up to Lagazuoi at 2800m for the long and scenic Hidden Valley run down to Armentarola and a link into the Sella Ronda. The old lift climbs a cliff-face dotted with windows into a rabbit warren of World War I tunnels that connected gun emplacements and observation posts. These can be explored with a guide in summer, but not in winter.
With skiers arriving from both sides of the pass, the queue for the cable-car can last an hour. But the reward is an 8km red roller-coaster that takes you down past a spectacular frozen turquoise waterfall to Armentarola. You have to return to Passo Falzareggo and to Cortina by bus.
Where to ride in Cortina
The slopes are generally steeper in the Cortina area than in the nearby Sella Ronda, with some groomed sweeping runs for intermediates as well as good riding for expert snowboarders. The drawback is that there are some flat links between the trails. Faloria is where you’ll find the steep, black Staunies run and it’s also home to Cortina’s only terrain park.