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A Collett’s Ski Safari in the Italian Dolomites

A Week of ‘Hut to Hut’ skiing in the world’s most majestic mountains

  • Ski in a group of up to 8 to the highlights and hidden corners of Dolomiti Superski, Europe’s most extensive and dramatic winter wonderland
  • Stay in surprisingly comfortable mountain huts, where the welcome is warm and the food is excellent
  • A Collett's Ski Safari

    The Collett’s Ski Safari originates from Mario Delmonego, a ski instructor from Arabba and a friend of Tom Collett. Mario married a New Zealander and wanted to create a special skiing experience for ‘kiwi’ friends, who travelled half way around the world to visit him and his wife, Patsy.

    He came up with a series of hut to hut skiing itineraries, which allowed him to show off the vast and spectacular Dolomiti Superski network of 1220kms of piste across 16 separate ski areas, most of which are seamlessly linked. These skiing experiences are now available to guests of Collett’s in a format, which we have fine-tuned with Mario and his colleagues.

    A Collett’s Ski Safari is hosted by two ski guides - plus one member of the Collett's winter team. It is available to 16 skiers, who ski in two independent groups of 8 guests. However, the two groups come together each late afternoon, converging on the same mountain hut (or Rifugio), where they will overnight after well-earned refreshment and a hearty dinner.

    While you spend your days skiing two or three different areas, each one an entire ski destination in its own right, one of Mario’s colleagues ensures that your luggage is awaiting you on your arrival at your overnight accommodation. By the end of the week, you will have covered many miles of stunning skiing; you will have seen many of the highlights of Dolomiti Superski and simultaneously you will have been off the beaten track to discover the many hidden gems of this immense winter playground.

    Rifugios are mountain huts, which are interspersed throughout the Dolomites and they offer surprisingly comfortable accommodation and a special convivial atmosphere. They are generally in beautiful and remote locations and from their terraces you can watch the sun set behind the spectacular peaks of the Dolomites, knowing you are the only people on the mountain. In the morning, after a good breakfast, you have the privilege of being the first ones on to the pistes, setting off on another day’s adventure from your vantage point high in the mountains.

  • Summary of the Itinerary

    As a Ski Safari guest, you will make your own way to Venice Marco Polo or Venice Treviso airports, where you will be met and taken to Arabba by transfer. Ski Safaris run from Saturday to Saturday and you should be ready for collection by 3pm so that we can get you to Arabba in time for ski and boot hire – if required. In Arabba you will be provided with your skipass, which is included in the cost of the safari. Soon after, you will be formally welcomed as a group by the Collett’s host. You will also meet the two guides, who will accompany you throughout the trip. As well as showing you the way, the guides are also qualified ski instructors, generally happy to offer tips and casual tuition as you go. From Arabba, you will be taken to your overnight accommodation before setting off on the tour, not to return to Arabba until the following Friday evening.

    Dates & Prices for Winter 2015/16

    In Winter 2015/16, we are offering the following Ski Safaris, each one running for 7 nights from a Saturday to Saturday.

    7 Day Ski Safaris - £1475 per person

    16th-23rd January - North & Eastern Central Dolomites - Click here
    23rd-30th January - Grand Tour of Western Central Dolomites - Click here
    30th January – 6th February - Grand Tour of Southern Central Dolomites - Click here
    6th-13th February - Cortina & Southern Dolomites - Click here
    20th-27th February - Grand Tour of Western Central Dolomites - Version 2 - Click here - SOLD OUT
    27th February – 5th March - North & Eastern Central Dolomites - Version 2 - Click here
    5th-12th March - North & Eastern Central Dolomites - Version 3 - Click here

    Price includes: 7 nights half board accommodation (bed, breakfast, dinner), skipass, ski guiding, luggage transfer between huts/hotels, bus and taxi transfers between certain ski areas (if applicable) & airport transfers to and from Venice or Treviso.

    Price does not include: Flights, insurance, ski & boot hire, lunches and drinks

  • Other Notes & Important Information

    Airport Transfers - Airport transfers to Arabba from Venice are included in a Collett’s Ski Safari. On your day of arrival, we ask you to be at Venice Marco Polo Airport or at Venice Treviso Airport by 3pm. On your day of departure, expect an early start and please do not book a homebound flight that takes off before 11am. The transfer to Arabba from Venice / Treviso is a little under three hours.

    Guides - Your ski guides will be English-speaking ski instructors. As a rule, they gladly offer tips and casual tuition during the course of the safari, but this is done on a basis of goodwill and is not technically part of the package. On your day of arrival, they will be introduced to you and they will also give you a short presentation of the route.

    Collett’s Host - main task of the Collett’s host is to ensure that all guests feel welcome and relaxed about proceedings. Our host will also be responsible for the allocation of bedrooms on arrival at each hut, guest house or hotel. He/she will ski with one of the two ski groups at their discretion, but generally alternating between the groups on a day to day basis. Should a skier fall and require medical attention, the Collett’s host will accompany the injured skier to the doctor’s or to a hospital and ensure the complete well-being of the skier before rejoining the party.  

    Skipass & Equipment Hire - On your arrival in Arabba, your Collett’s host will issue your skipass (included in the cost of the Ski Safari) and you will also be able to hire skis and boots if required. Skis, boots and helmets are hired at your own expense.

    Good Level of Skiing - A Collett’s Ski Safari is for good and better-end intermediate skiers only, keen to do a long day, either side of lunch with one or two coffee stops. In general, the Ski Safari features red and blue pistes with the occasional black piste. The vast Dolomiti Superski network is made up of several ski areas in their own right, each of which has its own local pass (and some of which are well‐known, high‐profile resorts, such as Cortina or the Val Gardena). The idea of the Ski Safari is to ski from valley to valley so that we can visit each of these areas, whilst simultaneously spending a good amount of time skiing the best runs in each one and also exploring the more hidden and undiscovered gems. The Ski Safari is more about touring and distance than challenges and difficulty, so a good level of fitness and stamina ensures progress for the whole party on a series of extensive ski days. Being able to keep up with the group is important, essential even, as otherwise frustration inevitably occurs. The safari takes place on pistes and there is no off-piste skiing.

    Group Sizes – Our guides can guide a maximum of 10 skiers. Simultaneously, taking into account the average sleeping capacity of most huts, the optimum amount of guests for an evening in a hut is about 16 – plus the two guides and the Collett’s host. We therefore propose that guests ski in two groups of up to 8 or thereabouts. Naturally, if your party consists of 7 – 10 friends, we can arrange it so that you can ski together. The only time you might ski in a group of 10 would be in the event of us under-selling a safari, in which case we might cap the group at 10, so that we can relinquish one guide.

    Accommodation - Occasionally, depending on the itinerary, accommodation might be provided in a village hotel or  a guest house. This is most common on your first and last night. Otherwise you will be accommodated in mountain huts, also known as ‘rifugios.’

    The Mountain Huts – Frankly, the words ‘hut’ or ‘rifugio’ (meaning shelter) are considerably misleading. Mountain huts in the Dolomites are much bigger and more comfortable than their name suggests. They are also more substantial than they look from the outside, as the snow generally hides their true extent. During the day they host skiers providing them with food, drink and toilets. In effect, they are mountain guest houses, often staffed by several people. The main host is likely to be the owner of the hut and he/she is usually supported in their work by members of their family and other staff. Either way, the kitchens are well staffed and well stocked - you can expect excellent food and service. Included in the cost of your Ski Safari is breakfast and a three course dinner (taken around a communal table). Guests are given a couple of options for the starter and main course. Naturally, vegetarians are catered for. Drinks and lunch are not included in the price of the safari. Also in the huts, you can expect a bar, dining room, heating, hot water, ski room with boot drying facilities (in most cases) and several bedrooms or dormitories, either with en-suites or shared facilities in the corridor. As the years go by, the huts are modernising quickly (some quicker than others, mind you!) and whilst they retain a certain rustic charm, some purists claim they are becoming a comfy soft touch!  

    Important Note concerning Bedrooms - By its very nature, a Collett’s Ski Safari is a convivial experience! Whilst we endeavour to sort the best possible arrangements to suit the make-up and social dynamic of each party, you must be prepared to share rooms with people you might not have known for very long. This is a concept right at the heart of overnighting in mountain huts. Naturally, guests of the opposite sex who don’t know each other would not be allocated to the same bedroom. Most rooms will be twins, triples or quadruples. Bunk beds are also commonly used and one hut has a room with six bunks in it. Remember that Austrian Double or Twin bedrooms are common in this part of the world, whereby you have – in a double bed frame - two single duvets on two single mattresses, which cannot always be pulled apart to form a conventional twin bed arrangement, so ‘topping and tailing’ is an occasional solution. On arrival at the hut, the Collett’s host will familiarise himself/herself with the bedrooms designated to us by the hut before allocating the rooms accordingly. We can assure you our host will take careful note of the make-up and dynamic of the group in order to allocate rooms as fairly and as appropriately as possible - so please don’t contact us prior to a safari to make specific requests concerning bedrooms. Thank you!

    Luggage Transfers – On arrival at your overnight destination, your luggage will be awaiting you. Very occasionally, on certain itineraries which include very remote huts, you might have a night without access to your main bag and therefore you will ski with your toothbrush, clean underwear etc. in your smaller ‘day’ rucksack. On very rare occasions, you might also be required to carry your main rucksack on a chairlift from which you will ski to your overnight hut – and then to ski with it on the first run of the next day before dropping it off at a designated collection point. This can mean that your smaller ‘day’ rucksack might need to be temporarily packed in your larger rucksack.

    What to Pack? - Packing suggestions will be available to you well in advance of your departure. We recommend you travel with a larger rucksack and a small ‘day’ rucksack. The larger bag will be transported each day between your overnight accommodation, whilst you will ski with the small rucksack, in which you should carry water, sun cream, phone etc. In general, you should travel as lightly as possible. On such excursions, it is generally accepted that you will wear the same clothes on a fairly regular basis and you might not be as fresh and well‐presented as you might usually be!

    Bus Transfers – Many of our Ski Safaris include the occasional use of free ski bus transfers to get you from one ski area to the next. The cost of these buses are covered by your lift pass and journey times can be anything from 5 minutes to 25 minutes.

    Price – £1475 per person

    Price includes: 7 Nights half board accommodation (bed, breakfast, dinner), skipass, ski guiding, luggage transfer between huts/hotels, short bus or taxi transfers between certain ski areas (if applicable) & airport transfers to and from Venice or Treviso.

    Price does not include: Flights, insurance, ski & boot hire, lunches and drinks.

    Booking early is recommended. Contact us now on 01799 513331 or email enquiries@colletts.co.uk

  • Private Ski Safaris

    Outside of the published dates for our normal Ski Safaris, Collett's can organise Private Ski Safaris for groups of 8 (minimum) to 14 (maximum).

    7 Day Private Ski Safaris - from £1395 per person

    Price includes: 7 Nights half board accommodation (bed, breakfast, dinner), skipass, ski guiding, luggage transfer between huts/hotels, short bus or taxi transfers between certain ski areas (if applicable) & airport transfers to and from Venice or Treviso.

    Price does not include: Flights, insurance, ski & boot hire, lunches and drinks.

  • Video Slideshow of a Collett's Dolomites Ski Safari

    The video below is a collection of pictures and film shot by me (Tom Collett) with my iphone during our ski safari in January 2013. We had a mix of fresh powder snow and cloudless blue-sky days on impeccably manicured pistes. It was a delightful group of people ranging from a couple in their late 20′s to two ladies from New Zealand in their late 60′s, both former national team skiers and still skiing competitively at veteran level.


In pictures – A Collett’s Ski Safari in Italy

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Ski Safari with Collett’s Mountain Holidays
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