This ski season is probably one of the best of the past few years on the Italian Alps. Exactly the snow I like, fresh and fluffy, and tonnes of it. It’s virtually impossible for me to ignore this, every other day, amazing pictures of perfect slopes and sunny resorts appear on my Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp.
And frankly, this is pretty annoying because it means that every time I feel like hitting the slopes, very often if you wonder, I need to catch a plane. My sister is one of the biggest offenders, bombarding my timelines with her amazing pictures of perfect Alpine resorts and fabolous après-ski late lunches.
When I was a kid I was blessed with ski resorts 1h drive from home – probably not the best ones.. but it was quite handy. Often on Saturday afternoon after school, my friends and I would catch a bus for an afternoon ski on the Mottarone slopes. I love how incredibly liberating going down a piste in one go feels, with your heart racing and your eyes watering because of the cold and the speed; or how fantastically well you sleep after a day of ski, wrapped up in a cozy and fluffy duvet, after a hot shower and a huge dinner.
Now, don’t believe my nostalgic stories, because in all honesty, I went skiing in January. Twice. Albeit only for the weekend. My first ski trip of the season was to Cortina, known to be a pretty exclusive ski resort on the Eastern Alps, not far from the Austrian border, nested in a tea-cup-like magnificent valley of Dolomite scenery. This makes it quite an expensive destination, however most of the celebrities holidaying here spend their days lunching and shopping, which means far less people skiing, and very short queues for the lifts. A note of warning, don’t even think to hit the town for après-ski aperitivo in your ski gear, furs and baubles is the uniform of the regulars.
After a morning and early afternoon spent skiing, we caught the four-seat lift from Bai de Dones up to Cinque Torri, then skied down to a single-seat lift, and then up to Averau peek (2,413m) and Rifugio Averau, known to be a ‘fine dining’ rifugio. We enjoyed a prosecco relaxing on the outdoor terrace, and finally walked into the cozy dining room for lunch. Having worked up quite an appetite, we ordered a selection of dishes to share. From Pata Negra ham, fried porcini and tartare, to more substantial home-made pasta of three large spinach ravioli shaped like the traditional green hat of the Tyrol, stuffed with chopped walnuts and fontina cheese, venison pappardelle and speck and potato eggs.
Lunch was washed down by a few glasses of red wine and a few rounds of bombardino (flavoured grappa).
After sunset, still in a slightly inebriated state, we quickly skied down to the village for a shower, followed by, of course, a few more proseccos at Enoteca, and some more Spritz at Caffe’ La Suite. I usually don’t drink that much, but it seems it’s pretty much unavoidable in Cortina. Let me just say it was an err… interesting night When in Rome…
Apart from the terrible headache and my comatose state flying back to London the day after, it was such a fun weekend, and I even managed to take a few Instagram shots to inspire my sister’s jealousy…