Skiing & Snowshoeing Holidays

Winter Holidays in Europe’s most majestic mountains
Organised Ski Hosting, Snowshoeing & Winter Walking
Five days a week, free & optional

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Tel. 01799 513331 - - Open Today - 9am to 5.30pmCollett's Ltd. is ABTA bonded W6883 - Travel with confidence
Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

Learning to ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…

After having made my way through primary and secondary school without signing up to a winter trip, I decided skiing may not be a sport I would be privileged enough to try. It’s true when I say I was brought up with very little money and in all honesty I am thankful for that as it has made me realise what is important in life; money is not one of them. That’s not to say I didn’t dream about flying down slopes and face planting in the snow, which my Mum may find hard to believe as I really was a down-right wuss as a child.

Snowshoeing in the Dolomites
Skiing the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays in the Dolomites
Skiing in the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin
Skiing above Arabba
Snowshoeing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin Office Hour
Snowshoeing in Italy
Ski Chalet Angelo, Corvara, Italy
Snowshoeing

Originally, when being accepted as part of Collett’s Mountain Holidays I was all set to head out for winter 2012. A completely different experience popped its head up last minute however and I opted for that and instead got myself ready for a summer season in the Dolomites for 2013. Unsurprisingly I fell in love with the area and jumped at the chance to come back for my first ever winter season! In hindsight, returning with great knowledge of the Dolomites and South Tyrol has put less pressure on my lack of skiing ability so a lot more energy and time can go into it.

So, with 6 weeks to get myself sorted I had to find all of the ski gear, squeeze some lessons in and juggle a new temporary job in order to afford to get myself back to the mountains. The hardest part? Living and working in London. It couldn’t have been better however as I landed a job with an on-line outdoor retailer and subsequently collected bits of ski gear with a very generous discount. Leaving early every Thursday, I jumped on 2 tube trains, one overground and drove 1 hour each way for my 2 hour dry-slope ski lesson – phew! 6 hours of lessons later, a 6 week London experience under my belt and all of the gear packed, I really had no idea what to expect for the next 4 months ahead.

My first day on snow was definitely one to remember. I’m pretty sure my first words as I clipped onto my ski’s were “This snow is pretty slippery!” and as I stared down the (what felt like a steep) long, white and intimidating slope I questioned what the hell I had signed myself up for. Crashing my way through the barrier and gripping nervously onto the button lift I also started questioning who had named this the Nursery Slope – it looked huge and steep from where I was standing! Remembering everything I was taught, my snow plough was strong and I got down with only 1 or 2 (perhaps 3) graceful falls to the bottom. And so the process repeated for 3 hours as I slowly became more and more comfortable.

After a much needed rest and calf muscle stretch, I was met by the lovely Mario who whisked me away for my very own private lesson. We headed to Colfosco to try out the long blue run which offers a wide slope and an extended time to practise turning. It was also a good lesson in how the chairlifts work, a scary experience in itself when you’re unsure of what to do as you zoom towards a snow mound which drops down the other side. But never fear, with Mario in one hand and my poles in the other, I successfully avoided an embarrassing moment… this time.

The techniques he showed me were great and I really felt a significant improvement throughout the day. That was until tiredness kicked in and boy, did it come from nowhere! One minute I was happily doing my thing and the next my legs refused to turn. Being only halfway down the slope I had to carry on before I could call it a day. Many falls and a fed up grumble later, we were back on the chairlift and a big grin spread across my face – could I now officially call myself a skier?! The warm applause I received from the lift men upon my return suggested that yes, I jolly well could.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Happy New Year from the Dolomites
Capodanno Dolomiti

We greeted the New Year with a quiz at Ciasa Verena enjoying a few drinks with family and new found friends, our guests prevailed by rising bright and early for a big day out on the ski slopes for New Years Day. And what better way to start 2014 than by heading to the Marmolada to ski the 12km red run down into Malga Ciapela!

Stepping out of the chalet, the weather report held strong as we looked up to nothing but a blue sky. A fast moving stream of people meant we were on our way up the Boé lift nice and quickly as Rich, our ski host for the day, talked us through the route.

Self Catering Ski Chalets
Skiing in Italy - Chalet Haus Valentin
Self Catering Ski Chalets
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Corvara

The beauty of heading out early, especially on New Year’s Day, is having the slopes almost to yourself for the first hour or so. The snow has barely been touched and skiing becomes effortless as you expel your energy on absorbing the view around and across to the Portavescovo ridge instead. The ski run down into Arabba was long and enjoyable, weaving its way round and back down into the valley.

Reaching the first gondola to take us to the summit, the group decided it would be a good time for a hot chocolate stop and who could blame them! We found a sweet little hut on the side of the road, lovely and warm inside and surprisingly quiet considering the ever growing queue for the lift outside. When we did go outside to join it, the process was smooth and before long we were gathered inside the lift to head up higher.

Standing at the 3,269m summit of the Marmolada – ‘Queen of the Dolomites’ – is truly like being on top of the world – snow-capped peaks on a day like today stare back at you from every direction across to Austria and as far as the eye can see. Temperatures sure do drop at this height however so after a quick photo we eagerly started our descent before the next gondola of people caught us up. After a short steep start, the ski slope opened up and became a windy and enjoyable run with plenty of room to stop and give our burning knees a rest – something each and every one of us needed to do more than once. Looking back up to where we had come from, I definitely felt a sense of achievement which I’m sure was shared amongst the group.

After a full and successful day out in the mountains, it was time to look forward to the evening procession in the village. To end the first day of the year, instructors from the Corvara ski school came together for a torchlit descent, followed by impressive paragliding-flights overhead and a memorable pyromusical show.

Happy New Year from all at Collett’s Mountain Holidays, we hope you have a great start to 2014!

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Offers for Winter 2013/14

We have some special offers for January in Arabba – Click here for more details.

Hosted Apartments £345pp HB – SOLD

  • Dates available for Hosted Apartments in Arabba
  • 11 to 18 Jan
  • The Offer – The price includes 7 nights B&B, 3 course evening meal with wine (not Thursday), free return transfers from Venice Treviso or Venice Marco Polo* and optional participation in our organised ski days. *Our transfer times have already been set, please check availability and transfer times with us before booking your flights.
  • Prices
    £345 per person half board based on two people sharing an apartment
    Some apartments sleep more people – further discounts apply
Skiing in Arabba
Hosted Apartments £375pp HB – Was £535

  • Dates available for Hosted Apartments in Arabba
  • 18 to 25 Jan or 25 Jan to 1 Feb – 1 Apartment left
  • The Offer – The price includes 7 nights B&B, 3 course evening meal with wine (not Thursday), free return transfers from Venice Treviso or Venice Marco Polo* and optional participation in our organised ski days. *Our transfer times have already been set, please check availability and transfer times with us before booking your flights.
  • Prices
    £375 per person half board based on two people sharing an apartment
    Some apartments sleep more people – further discounts apply
Felicity skiing the Sella Ronda, a 52km ski tour
Self Catering Apartments £295pp – SOLD

  • Dates available for Self Catering Apartments in Arabba
  • 11 to 18 Jan
  • The Offer – The price includes 7 nights Self Catering Accommodation, free return transfers from Venice Treviso or Venice Marco Polo* and optional participation in our organised ski days. *Our transfer times have already been set, please check availability and transfer times with us before booking your flights.
  • Prices
    £295 per person self catering based on two people sharing an apartment
    Some apartments sleep more people – further discounts apply
Felicity skiing the Sella Ronda, a 52km ski tour
Self Catering Apartments £315pp – Was £395

  • Dates available for Self Catering Apartments in Arabba
  • 18 to 25 Jan or 25 Jan to 1 Feb
  • The Offer – The price includes 7 nights Self Catering Accommodation, free return transfers from Venice Treviso or Venice Marco Polo* and optional participation in our organised ski days. *Our transfer times have already been set, please check availability and transfer times with us before booking your flights.
  • Prices
    £315 per person self catering based on two people sharing an apartment
    Some apartments sleep more people – further discounts apply
Skiing holidays

Winter in the Dolomites starts this weekend
Preparation for Collett’s Winter Season

To start the season off, snow-shoers from Haus Valentin and Verena headed off to explore the Pralongiá Plateau; a stunning open meadow which stands at 2,100m at its highest point and offers views across to the Marmolada, the Sella Massif and the Austrian Alps.

Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy

After successfully meeting up on the bus halfway to our start point, we waved off other guests for their day of cross-country skiing as we headed up on the gondola to the plateau. It has to be said, the conditions for early bird week today were perfect for snowshoeing, with beautifully pisted snow and a completely clear blue sky – it was only after 5 minutes of walking that almost everyone decided to take a layer off!

We had to tread with care as we crossed a couple of ski pistes at the beginning, but it made for a good excuse to stop and admire the view. Soon enough the guests from each chalet mingled and conversations were flowing as we approached the first rifugio – is it ever too soon to stop for a leisurely coffee? We didn’t think so. This also gave one of our guests the opportunity to take in the view and create a small drawing in preparation for water colour, whilst others spent time wandering off to take photographs.

The next section we had the mountain to ourselves as we strolled across the undulating hills and towards Rifugio Pralongiá. We met three guests from Verena along the way who had decided to see where the day would take them and they all agreed they did not expect to be walking around in a t-shirt! Some of the guests had gone ahead to feast on a well-deserved slice of strudel, (an Italian delight I always struggle to say no to!). Although buzzing with people, it was a great spot for a rifugio lunch and a natter. The short ascent to the Rifugio left one of our guests feeling thirsty but what was thought to have been a Tizer soft drink ended up to be a Spritz, a refreshing alcoholic drink found commonly in the area. The descent down was a wobbly one for poor Sue!

With everyone satisfyingly well fed, our organiser for the day Jack gathered the group and offered two options for the afternoon. Some of our guests decided to head back the way they came whilst the rest continued down the other side and through the woods to Armenterola. The temperature soon dropped away from the sunlight but the woodland walk offered a completely different feel for the day – clumps of snow had collected on the branches of the trees, a particularly beautiful sight. The colour of the limestone began to change to a deep yellow as we approached the road and would you believe it, a bus came along within 3 minutes – we couldn’t have timed it better if we had tried. A sense of déjà vu became apparent as we climbed aboard, only to find the cross-country skiers and the guests that split off earlier sat comfortably after another great day on the mountains!

Buon Natale! Happy Christmas!

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Winter in the Dolomites starts this weekend
Preparation for Collett’s Winter Season

Before the 4 month season of skiing, snowshoeing, sunshine and excitement (perhaps the odd cheeky grappa) kicks off, the enthusiastic winter team come together for a 12 day training period. It is a privilege to spend this time at Haus Valentin, the one chalet Collett’s offer in Badia, which I’m sure our guests will agree, is a wonderful introduction to such a fantastic Dolomiti superski experience.

Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama Dolomites
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama Dolomites
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama Dolomites Corvara
Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama Dolomites Corvara
Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara - Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's
Hotel Panorama, Corvara, Dolomites Walking Holidays with Collett's

What instantly brings the team together is the shared love for people, winter activities and the enjoyment of hard, yet rewarding work. To see so many returned faces amongst the group is a sure sign that taking part in one season, whether it be summer or winter, is just not enough for most. After a lovely evening spent at Tom Collett’s house, the convoy sets off in the early hours for a two day drive towards the mountains, giving everybody a chance to chat and exchange stories as to what ultimately brought them together for the experience ahead.

Arriving just before dark, the group enjoy the famous Enrosadira on the Fanes Massif – the returners smile at the thought of being back and the new faces feel a sense of honour to call this place their home for the next 4 months.

A traditional Italian meal to settle us in, we prepare for the training ahead. With little time before early bird week begins, the training is split between indoor and outdoor days. These indoor days, full of group interaction and presentations, bring to light the importance of chalet upkeep, office hour and the general home from home experience we, as a team, aim to create for our guests. When the crisp evenings hit, our hosts alternate to practise their high quality cooking skills whilst the staff help prepare, serve and keep on top of the dishes! Outdoor days, although minimal, give the group a chance to get their bearings of the area and familiarise themselves with some of the snowshoe routes and ski itineraries. For some people, including myself, skiing is a relatively new experience and so heading out to find their ‘ski legs’ is an important part of training – something that I’m sure everybody can relate to as a beginner once themselves.

As the days pass, the lifts across Badia and Corvara open as one or two tiny black dots turn into five or six as they zigzag their way down the piste. The weather so far has been kind, with stunning blue skies and not a breath of wind, but the upcoming forecast suggests a big snowfall which will no doubt create a winter wonderland, just in time for Christmas and the long-awaited arrival of our first guests of the season. Our teams will be split into their chalets in the next few days to set up and get the place ready – we hope to see you all next week to get the season started off with a snow-falling, mince pie eating bang!

Buon viaggio tutti! Have a safe journey.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.

When thinking of a mountain holiday many of us may think that this activity is exclusive to professional climbers, sportsmen and adrenaline junkies alone. Here at Collett’s we aim to prove this notion wrong – with holidays in the mountains available for absolutely everyone. Seaside holidays are ten-a-penny, sightseeing getaways are typically too expensive, spa resort holidays can be boring and cruise ships allow no room for real adventure. So why not try something different? Try something unique, memorable and completely customisable to your own personal wishes.

Whilst holidaying with us in any of our fantastic destinations, you choose when you arrive, when you leave, where you wish to stay and what activities you’d like to take part in. In a nut shell – your holiday is tailored and designed totally by you. All of our organised walks are completely free and utilise our unrivalled knowledge of the Dolomites area; running every day apart from Wednesday. For self-guided walks, we are always happy to help with route planning, recommendations and advice.

Italian Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites is one of the most awe-inspiring valleys in the Alps and provides a picture-perfect environment for walking holidays. With such a wide range of different routes available to you, at various different grades, the Dolomites really are the envy of the rest of Europe. The area also includes two National Parks, a range of rare flowers and birds, old WWI sites and the magnificent Sella massif and Marmolada (3343m mountain). Collett’s exact location in the Dolomites is set in the neighbouring villages of Badia and Corvara within the Val Badia.


Moderate Walking in the Passo Gardena
Easy walking in the Val Badia

Accommodation: We have four fantastic chalet hotels available, all with en-suite bedrooms and excellent cuisine. You also have the choice between three mountain hotels, all of which come with spectacular views and incredible hospitality. Your options are full-board, half-board, self-catering and B&B – the choice is up to you. All accommodation provided is within easy walking distance from the village centres and the starting points of many of our walks.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in the Dolomites you have the option of participating in the following activities:

  • High level walks on rocky terrains
  • Moderate walks through stunning mountain scenery
  • Easy treks along woodland and riverside paths
  • Floral walks with a flower specialist throughout June & July
  • Painting strolls take you somewhere majestic armed with watercolours
  • Self-guided walks allow you to roam independently with the use of our expert knowledge

Extras: The Dolomites has a wealth of amazing extra activities for you to take part in, including tours of the famous Via Ferrata and World War walks that take place every Wednesday. There are also guided glacier tours and summit ascents available on the same day. We can help you hire a mountain bike for your adventures and can also put you in contact with local suppliers of alpine pursuits; including climbing walls, canyoning, white-water rafting, horse riding, tandem paragliding, golf and much more.

Picos de Europa

Located within the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Castile & León (20km from the north coast of Spain) the spectacular mountain range forms part of the Cordillera Cantabrica. The majority of rocks in the Picos are made up of limestone and some peaks can reach altitudes up to 2,600m. The area itself, famous for its cider and piquant blue cheese, is largely protected by the Picos de Europa National Park and as such can offer some absolutely remarkable views.

Accommodation: Our main hosted accommodation is the beautiful Posada El Corcal, located 2km away from the town of Potes. With en-suite bathrooms, modern interior design and rustic tradition – this is the idyllic setting to lay your head after a day’s walk. These rooms are available as full board, half board or B&B. Alternatively; you can stay in Tama near Potes or arrange your own self-catering apartments.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in Picos de Europa you can participate in the following activities:

  • Hard level walks along magnificent high trails
  • Moderate rambles through meadows and the beautiful Picos massifs
  • Easy walks following woodland tracks and riverside trails
  • Floral walks throughout May and June
  • Self-guided walks of all grades with local knowledge provided

Extras: Supplements in Picos de Europa include mountain biking, horse riding, canoeing, paragliding and canyoning. Also, if you’re visiting this remarkable area you won’t want to miss the Cares Gorge or the Fuente De, where you can take cable car rides to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and atmosphere.

Organised walks with Collett’s

High level walking in the Picos

Self guided walks with Collett’s

Pyrenees

This natural border between Spain and France spreads across approximately 491km of land and encompasses numerous National Parks along with the beautiful Valle de Tena. These magnificent assets make the Pyrenees a photographer’s heaven with beautiful wildflowers and charming scenery to revel in. Collett’s is based in Panticosa – an idyllic village placed amongst the beautiful scenery high up in the mountains.

Accommodation: The Hotel Sabocos is a wonderful 3 star hotel located in the Valle de Tena, right in the centre of the Pyrenees. With modern interior design, en-suite bathrooms and many balconies available to enjoy the view; rest assured your stay will be a comfortable and relaxing one. This hotel is available on half board or B&B basis. You also have the option of self-catering in apartments that sleep 2-6 people.

Activities: When staying with us in the Pyrenees why not take part in the following activities:

  • High level walks along the peaks of the frontier ridge and Ordesa canyon
  • Moderate strolls through wonderful wilderness areas
  • Self-guided walks of moderate and harder levels with expert advice and direction
  • Walk 5 stages of the famous GR11 footpath, involving 700-1000m ascent and 11-20km of walking

Extras: Third party suppliers also have a range of extra activities to offer, including mountain biking, horse riding, canyoning, high ropes, swimming, tennis and much more. The Mediterranean and Costa Verde are also within easy reach for something a little different.

Organised walks with Collett’s

Hike the Valle de Tena, Pyrenees

On the Pic du Midi circuit

Yorkshire Dales

You do not necessarily need to leave the country to enjoy some of the greatest views nature has to offer; here in the UK we display some of the most spectacular scenery available to man. Our base in Yorkshire is perfect for those wanting a quick and easy trip, or maybe a quiet weekend away with family and friends. Leyburn, close to Dales National Park, is where we are based; but there are many options of different walks available to you in this magnificent setting.

Accommodation: Eastfield Lodge in Leyburn is a beautiful guest house just 300 yards away from the village market square. This lodge consists of 8 en-suite bedrooms which are furnished to great taste and individuality. Each room comes with Wi-Fi, flat screen television, DVD players and unmatchable comfort. Awarded four stars by Visit England, you won’t be disappointed with your time spent here!

Activities: Yorkshire has a wealth of activities to offer, some of which include:

  • Pennhill circuit covering 11 miles, taking you through Coverdale, Bishopdale and Wensleydale
  • Fremington Edge encompasses 500m of ascent across 10 miles, providing an immaculate view of Arkengarthdale
  • Gunnerside Gill and Swinner Gill stretch across 11 miles and takes in amazing woodland and limestone scars.

Extras: There are countless other things to enjoy around the Yorkshire Dales, such as visiting nearby Middleham, Richmond, Kettleworth and Reeth. You can also see the Dales National Park Visitor Centre, the Wensleydale Railway, Aysgarth Falls and the beautiful Bolton Abbey. Wherever you choose to visit, you will not be too far away from the lodge and transport is readily accessible at most times of the day.

Another bedroom at Eastfield Lodge
One of our bedrooms in Eastfield Lodge, Leyburn
Walking in Wensleydale

Winter in the Italian Dolomites

As well as offering fantastic summertime walks in the Italian Dolomites, we also cater for winter holidays in the same stunning surroundings. When the snow falls on these mountains the landscape turns into a magical winter wonderland, perfect for winter walkers and skiers alike. Here at Collett’s we organise walks, cater for downhill skiing and also offer snowshoeing as an alternative activity. Don’t let the cold put you off – come and experience something different this winter!


Skiing the Val Mesdi
high in the Dolomites

Snowshoeing on the Pralongià Plateau above Corvara

Santa Croce above Badia

by Tom Collett

The first Collett’s Ski Safari was a huge success and a truly memorable Dolomites experience for a group of 12 skiers. I was privileged to be one of them. (Occasionally one has to ‘up-sticks’ and leave the family in the name of product research!)


Skiing at San Pellegrino
Colin and I above Alleghe with Monte Pelmo (3,168m) behind

This unique ‘hut to hut’ skiing holiday in the Dolomites was made all the more special by a variation of sublime snow conditions and a delightful group of people – from Paddy and Carol in their late sixties (ex-members of the NZ ladies ski racing team) to Steve and Amy (a couple in their 30’s from Washington D.C .) As the week progressed, snowfall and fresh powder made way for immaculately manicured pistes and sensational panoramas set against cloudless blue skies. It was a great pleasure to witness people’s amazement as every turn revealed another staggering vista.

Skiing the ‘Hidden Valley’
Skiing down to Nuova Levante
from San Pellegrino

A Collett’s Ski Safari highlights the extent and sheer beauty of this vast ski network. The feel-good factor is immense and it is further intensified by the ability to ski from one beautiful valley to the next, covering miles of pistes (mainly intermediate, often easy and occasionally quite steep), starting perhaps at 3000m before descending into the lower tree-lined pistes that spill you out into picturesque, little-known resorts. From these you start your next ascent to another breathtaking launchpad, which, moments earlier, had been a distant speck against a backdrop of dramatic peaks. Sometimes ski buses and taxis were required to keep us on the move but these journeys were generally short and hassle-free.


Our guide, Mario
Setting out for the day at Passo Carezza

If you stay in one of our catered chalets in the Dolomites on a conventional Collett’s winter holiday, you can certainly ski for miles, visiting several different valleys before heading back to your base. Indeed, this is one the key attractions of our winter holidays in the Dolomites. However, on a Collett’s Ski Safari you just keep going and going. And everyone in the group looked forward to sitting over a map and a beer in the late afternoons retracing the day’s route and marvelling at the distance covered. This particular tour took in Arabba, Pordoi, Canazei, the Val di Fassa (Vigo, Pozza, Moena & Predazzo), Carezza, Obereggen, San Pellegrino, Falcade, Alleghe, Zoldo, Cinque Torre, Cortina, the Hidden Valley, Corvara and the Alta Badia – but the sheer enormity of this ski area meant that we missed out on places such as the Val Gardena, the Marmolada, San Vigilio and Plan de Corones, all of which are gems and will surely be included in future Collett’s Ski Safaris.

Skiing at San Pellegrino
Skiing at Cristallo, above Cortina

Finally, a mention for the huts that accommodated us each evening. This aspect of the safari was certainly one of the most gratifying and heartwarming. It is a wonderful experience to ski to a hut in the late afternoon, take off your skis and settle in for the evening. It’s also a bonus to find your rucksack waiting for you. The first thing I did was to call the family and let them know where I was, describing the day and then the amazing winter landscape before my eyes. Some of the rifugios were perched high in the mountains just off the piste, some were lower down in wooded areas accessed by winter tracks. All were homely and provided more than adequate accommodation with en suite bedrooms and hot showers. We had such delightful evenings playing cards and other games. In one hut perched high above Cortina we were all on such a high that dancing and singing prevailed for most of the evening, admittedly fuelled by a drink or two. The hospitality in the huts was warm and welcoming. The staff fed and watered us very well and dinner was always excellent and an enjoyable focal point of the day.


Steve & Amy skiing Son Forca at Cristallo
Admiring the view and taking some photos of Monte Pelmo (3,168m)

After dinner we would usually stay at the table for a couple of nightcaps. Everyone seemed to have a recommendation in this department and our tired limbs would eventually hit the sack sedated by a certain grappa or amaretto – you name it, we probably tried it. But such was the camaraderie that inevitably prevailed on such a venture, no one really wanted to break up the party and be the first to bed.

Either way, every morning I woke up forgetting that I was in a remote mountain rifugio in the Dolomites, only to enjoy that realisation when I heard the voice of a room-mate that wasn’t my wife’s. Then I would throw back the curtains to be invigorated by the view, get dressed, enjoy breakfast and slowly but surely get excited about the day ahead…. the skiing, the scenery and the sheer exhilaration. I came home feeling 20 years younger.

Getting ready to ski the hidden valley
Collett's Dolomites Ski Safari Slideshow
Collett’s Dolomites Ski Safari Slideshow – Click to play

The next Collett’s Ski Safari is 16th to 23rd March and there are still places available. For Winter 2013/14 we hope to launch a more extensive programme of ski safaris, so keep an eye on our website or email enquiries@colletts.co.uk or ring us on 01799_ 513331

The whole group!
Setting off for the day’s skiing

by Felicity Lee – Ski & Snowshoe Host, Chalet Haus Valentin (Badia)

As our first guests were greeted by a spectacular sunset over the beautiful peaks of the Dolomites and staff were busy beavering away making final touches to the hosted chalets and apartments in Arabba, Corvara and Badia, the FIS Ski World Cup Grand Slalom took place in the Alta Badia on Sunday. Guests staying in our hosted apartments in Arabba who arrived the previous day were able to see American Ted “Ligety Split” Ligety take the top spot on the podium with a combined time of 2:37:27 for his runs on the Gran Risa. Ligety also had the fastest single run at 1:17:10 – not a speed we would suggest any of our guests try to match! Ligerty, whose favourite event is the Giant Slalom, beat his closest rival, twenty year old Marcel Hirscher of Austria, by just over 2 seconds while two time former Giant Slalom winner Davide Simoncelli of Italy had to settle for 5th place.

Snowshoeing the Pralongia Ridge Ramble

Here in Badia, the week kicked off with some great snowshoe itineraries including favourites Runch Hut Round and Lake to Lake. One of our new snowshoe routes was trialled for the first time with guests and received rave reviews from returners, who enjoyed visiting a new valley and seeing the impressive Fanes massif from a very different angle. Our organisers have plans to research more new routes throughout the season and so watch this space for updates.

Skiing the Sella Ronda
Cross Country Skiing
Christmas decorations

Jo, who is joining us for her first winter season having spent the summer as a Collett’s walk organiser with myself and Dan in the Pyrenees, took a group of guests from Haus Valentin out to nearby Armentarola for a day of cross-country skiing. The result being smiles and achy muscles all round!

Skiers in all three villages have had some great itineraries as well, including the Sella Ronda, Marmolada and play days on the Pralongia Plateau. Conditions are tip top both on and off the piste after a foot of snow fell last Friday, making for some stunning days out on the mountain.

All the chalets are adorned with lovely Christmas decorations ahead of next weeks’ celebrations and everyone is getting into the festive spirit. I’ll let you know next week how it all goes providing I’m not too full of turkey to write!

Merry Christmas from Flee and all the Collett’s staff in Italy and the UK!

Corvara at night
Arabba at night

Late availability in early January – Click here

Beat the January blues with a last minute skiing or snowshoeing holiday in Arabba or Badia. Click here for more information about our late availability prices.

Preparation for the Winter Season
fresh snowfall and colder temperatures
Last minute space left on our Early Bird Week – Click here

Based at Haus Valentin, Collett’s Mountain Holidays training week in the Dolomites has taken shape nicely with the help of all the snow that’s fallen over the last eight days (over 1 metre – see here to see live webcams of the Dolomites). Cristina and Rainer of Haus Valentin are getting into the Christmas spirit hanging decorations around the chalet in preparation for our first guests arriving on the 16th December.

Snowshoeing above Falzarego
Haus Valentin, Badia – 10th Dec. 2012
(formerly Pedraces)

Christmas in the Dolomites

Likewise, new and returning staff are preparing for guests by being shown some organised snowshoeing routes including Cinque Torri and Edelwiess Terrace. Some new snowshoe routes around the La Valle area have been successfully trialled by returning staff Charlie, Rich, Dan and Flee. We also had a staff trip to Innsbruck on Saturday, where we sampled some excellent strudel and some lovely coffee!

Snowshoeing above Corvara and Badia
Snowshoeing at Cinque Torre

Collett’s Organisers moved over from Chalet Haus Valentin in Badia (formerly Pedraces) to the other two villages of Corvara and Arabba this morning to prepare the chalets for their first arrivals at the weekend. There are a number of familiar faces in each village as well as a few new ones for you to get to know. Sarah and Nick will be hosting in Chalet Verena with Rushy managing the chalet. They will be helped by Joanna, Alice, James and Owen.

Snowshoeing at Cinque Torre
Snowshoeing at Cinque Torre
Finding a lunch spot

Lynne will be looking after all three villages as our area manager and Dan will be taking care of Chalet Haus Valentin with the help of Charlie, Flee, Terry, Sarah and Ric.

Tom Coulthard is going to be looking after things in Arabba and is looking forward to some great days out skiing the Pralongià Plateau, the Sella Ronda, the Marmolada and the ‘Hidden Valley’! He will be joined by George and Tom R.

On the weather front, the forecast is looking cold and sunny across the Dolomites – perfect conditions for great pisted ski runs and glorious views on snowshoes (also good for the odd snowball fight!).

On a ski training day, Charlie made great use of his GoPro head cam to take some excellent footage of our first run out of the Piz La Ila gondola above La Villa. This was at the start of our first ski day out on Pralongia Plateau, where all the runs are open. The wonderful Sella Ronda is also open for skiing and the conditions are fantastic all the way round.

Our Early Bird week starts on the 15th & 16th December (Due to a last minute cancellation, we still have a couple of places left for Early Bird and Christmas Skiing – click here for more information).

Edelweiss Snowshoe & Ski Touring in the Dolomites
Preparation for Collett’s Winter Season
Over a metre of snow has fallen in the Dolomites during the past week, allowing our organisers to get out and enjoy some snowshoeing and skiing in preparation for our winter holidays and the upcoming ski season. Our Early Bird week starts on the 15th & 16th December (Due to a last minute cancellation, we still have a couple of places left for Early Bird and Christmas Skiing – click here for more information).

Skiing on the Pralongia Plateau
Skiing in the Dolomites above Corvara

Click here to see live webcams of the Dolomites.

Yesterday we went out on the Edelweiss Snowshoe which starts from Colfosco. It is easy to catch the bus from Corvara or Badia to the start point, just ask one of our organisers at office hour – click here for more information about planning your days at office hour.

It takes a cable car to the start of the route from Colfosco, where on a clear winter’s day you can get a superb panoramic view across the whole of the Dolomites. The snow conditions are excellent for snowshoeing and skiing.

The route starts with a steep but easy descent down a natural gully. Way marking is easy to follow and the route. It arrives at the Utia Edelweiss where we took a break for lunch. Then we continued down to the bottom of the Col Pradat gondola lift and caught the lift up to Col Pradat before descending steeply down the well way marked path 4a to Corvara and a well-earned cup of tea.

Deep snow on the Edelweiss snowshoe
On the Edelweiss Snowshoe

We look forward to meeting our first guests next Saturday and can’t wait for the season to get into full flow.

Buon viaggio tutti! Have a safe journey.

We have a couple of late availability dates and offers for our Early Bird week (starting 15th & 16th December) and for Christmas week (starting 22nd & 23rd December)- Click here for more details.