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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Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

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

  • Ski in a small group (Minimum 7 skiers – Maximum 10) to the highlights and hidden corners of Dolomiti Superski
  • The Dolomites – Europe’s most extensive and dramatic winter wonderland – 1250kms of glorious pistes
  • Stay in twin rooms in surprisingly comfortable mountain huts, where the welcome is warm and the food is excellent
  • Luggage transfers between huts included
  • For good and better-end intermediate skiers only
  • Private Ski Safaris also available

A Collett’s Ski Safari
Rifugios in the DolomitesSki Safari

A Collett’s Ski Safari

The Collett’s Ski Safari originates from a ski instructor from Arabba, who is a friend of Tom Collett. Having married a New Zealander, Mario Delmonego wanted to create a special ski experience for kiwi friends, who came to visit. Skiing from valley to valley across significant distances allowed him to show off the 12 beautiful and extensive ski areas that comprise Dolomiti Superski, one of the world’s largest ski networks. Instead of returning to the starting point (Arabba) each evening, Mario booked his guests into mountain rifugios, where everyone drank, ate and slept comfortably – before the overwhelmingly special moment of setting off on skis early the next morning after a good breakfast and being the first on to the pistes.

Hosted by a ski guide, who will be a colleague of Mario’s, a Collett’s Ski Safari is a finetuned version of Mario’s adventures with his friends from downunder. Each day you will ski 2 or 3 different areas, each one an entire ski destination in its own right, while your luggage is transferred to your next 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, 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. Mountain huts are a key attraction of a Collett’s Ski Safaris, but certain itineraries might include a night in a guest house on a mountain pass or in a remote resort.

Click here to make an enquiry for 2020 – Or call us on 01799 513331

Itinerary, Dates & Prices
Rifugio ScotoniA break from skiingSki Safari group - Civetta Ski Area

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. You should be ready to meet your transfer by 3pm latest so we can get you to Arabba in time for ski and boot hire – if required.

In Arabba you will be met by a representative of Collett’s, who will welcome you and give you your liftpass, which is included in the cost of the safari. Soon after, our representative will welcome all participants formally and introduce you to your Ski Safari guide, who will accompany you throughout the trip. As well as showing you the way, your guide will be a qualified ski instructor, 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 2020

In Winter 2020, we are offering the following Ski Safaris:

7 Day Ski Safaris – £1795 per person

(£1770 for Seniors, born before 25/11/53)

Click here to make an enquiry for 2020 – Or call us on 01799 513331

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.

Essential Notes

Essential 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 guide will be an English-speaking ski instructor. 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 Representation – a member of the Collett’s team will welcome you in Arabba and ensure all guests feel relaxed about proceedings. Thereafter, you will be in the company of a local guide, who works for our Ski Safari partners based in Arabba. However, Collett’s is based in the Dolomites in winter and, should anything arise that requires our presence or input (e.g. injury or illness), we can soon intervene to offer help and support.

Skipass & Equipment Hire – On your arrival in Arabba, you will be issued with your skipass (included in the cost of the Ski Safari) and you will also be able to hire skis and boots if required. Depending on arrival time this will often be done first thing on the Sunday morning in order to avoid an additional drive into Arabba itself at the end of a long day travelling. 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 – the maximum group size will be 10 skiers. Minimum – 7.  

Rooming & Accommodation – Accommodation is provided in twin bedrooms, which might occasionally involve bunk beds. Depending on the itinerary, accommodation might be provided in a village hotel or guest house once or twice during your stay, instead of a mountain hut. This is most common on your first and last night. Otherwise you will normally be accommodated in mountain huts, also known as ‘rifugios.’ Please note that Austrian Twin bedrooms may occasionally feature on an itinerary, 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.

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, 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 & Odd Numbers – Please note that if your party size is 1, 3, 5 or 7, one member of your party is likely to share a room with someone they will not have met before.

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!

Luggage Transfers – On arrival at your overnight destination, your luggage will be awaiting you. Very occasionally, on certain itineraries which include the remoter 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.

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.

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

Video

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.

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