Chasing spring skiing in the Dolomiti Superski

As spring beckons and the piste bashers power down until December, we look back at the closing weeks of the winter ski season in the Dolomites. While I am always excited to hike out and discover fresh powder in the depths of Winter, spring offers great skiing and a far more relaxed holiday.

March is a great time to go skiing. With days being longer, lifts being open later and the afternoon sun beating down on weary bodies, an afternoon aperol or beer feels that much more special when sunbeams surround you. If you’re out early, the pistes are groomed perfectly and the heights of the Dolomites ensure a cold overnight that keeps the snow where it should be.

If the snow is there, there are turns to be had.

The Dolomiti Superski is an incredible ski area, with multiple resorts and locales each having their own unique topography and run grades. For me, my favoured resort to spend time in is Arabba. High up in the range with chairlifts and gondolas sprawling through tunnels of sun and shade, letting you pick your line depending on the time of day, avoiding the more slushy afternoons that March inevitably brings.

Our trip with Collett’s this year gave me the second opportunity to ski the Dolomites 1200kms of piste, so returning to some favoured lines and spots I’d spent a lot of the season thinking about, awaiting our flight out of Manchester airport.

Our chalet: Ciasa Roch

This year we stayed in Ciasa Roch a two star B&B with some added bonuses. Incredibly comfortable beds ensured a good night sleep, and a comprehensive breakfast offering including cereals, bread, cheese, meats and plenty of coffee to fuel up the day ahead. Ciasa Roch also boasted a great shower – which deserves a mention as after a long day skiing.

We also met some of the hotels residents, who ensured our stay was purrfect… (awful. I know.)

Each night save one, we ate at the hotel across the road, Hotel Christian. Included in the price of the stay, each evening included a five course meal, including an (almost comically) extensive salad bar. Naturally I got too excited on the first night, and over did the cheese, wouldn’t you?


First Day

Our first day on the hill, after hopping on the ski bus that goes from directly outside the hotel, we beelined for Arabba where we knew the runs would be wider, colder and well groomed. Warming up on the red runs heading down to the Arabba flyover. The hazy cloud softening the sun’s rays and keeping us at a balmy -6 at the top.

Through the afternoon the clouds cleared and a beautiful vista met us at every turn as we meandered our way through piste and side-piste alike. Stopping for coffee at the perfectly situated Rifugio Padon.

Our lunch stop that we frequented this holiday was Chiosco Da Paolo. Near the base of the Arabba flyover, and the lifts that set you off on the Orange Sellaronda and Marmolada runs, this Rifugio had THE BEST and handily most affordable lunch food you could get. Two house burgers, fries and two large Moretti’s were €34, and worth every cent.


Day Two - fresh snow day


Any drop of snow found in the middle of March in any European ski resort is a blessing. While the Dolomites didn’t have the troubles of the French Alps this season, parts of the hill were starting to look bare on the day we arrived. Thankfully we awoke to a sprinkling of snow.

This of course puts pressure on visibility and how much skiing you can really do, safely. We elected to head down the mountain to Kronplatz, where we’d not skied before, and heard good things about open runs and different terrain. In hindsight, it might have been a bridge too far. While on its day Kronplatz looked to be a fantastic resort, this day with low visibility and a good part of it sitting lower in altitude compared to the rest of the mountain. After a few runs, and even taking on the Sylvester run, which made the journey worth it and a great challenge for more able skiers and a good one to tick off the list.


Day Three - The Sellaronda (orange)


More snow overnight, and a sharp dip in temperatures had us heading up the Boe lift on first chair at 08:30, a feat I’d not achieved for many years and a worthwhile effort considering the perfect conditions that lay in front of us. With some expert advice from Collett’s team, Hannah & Emily, off we embarked on one of the most popular routes in this expansive area.

The orange Sellaronda is takes you round the different resorts of the Dolomites and gives you a great variety of skiing and opportunity stop and take in the Tyrolean culture and cuisine. While learner skiers might want to wait a while to take it on, if you can handle red runs with relative ease, the Sellaronda is a relaxing and easy to follow route.

Highlights for me are always the runs around Val di Fassa, and the entirety of the Cabinopia Dantercepies area – each boasting a great variety of runs you can charge through, lap, or take at your own pace. 


For lunch, we’d made faster progress than expected – so we took our time over it at La Stua and enjoyed pasta, burrata and fries while basking in the sunshine. 10/10. Absolutely perfect way to spend an hour.


Heading on over the bridge and up the chair we then ascended the Dentercepies gondola, and tackled the no.2 black run, a long and challenging run that is worth taking your time through, especially if you’re still working off lunch.

We celebrated our success in finishing the Sellaronda by heading to Le Murin – one of the few true Aprés bars in the area, featuring pulsating dance music, strobe lights and more – even at 3:30pm.

Day four - The Marmolada


With the temperature dropping again to -16 at the top of the world, we headed back through familiar territory in Arabba to ascend the three stepped cable car to the Marmolada Glacier, squeezing ourselves in with other budding skiers and snowboarders hoping to catch what turned out to be the only morsel of powder left in the region.


Pictures, truly do not do the Marmolada justice, on a clear day you can see all the way to Austria. The 360 viewpoint upstairs is a well spaced and signposted area that you can spend as much time as the cold will allow you to.

As the wind chill was hitting -20 or so, we enjoyed the view, and got on our way.

While I dropped slightly off-piste* to catch some shallow powder turns, (*if you have not done this before, this is not the place to start – any off piste done is at your own risk) my companion stayed on the wide and open groomed run that meanders round the mountain all the way down to base station.We met at La Cienel – a very popular and bustling stop for many, so get there early to avoid the queue’s that by the time we were preparing to leave, were at least 20 people deep and well out the door.


The Marmolada isn’t a casual ski even for experiences skiers, so the rest of our day included some more reds and blacks around Arabba, before lunch at our favoured Chioso Da Paolo from day one.

We ended where we started, at the base of the Boe lift adjacent to the ski bus drop off. Probably the best, most affordable and most convenient place to enjoy (multiple) drinks at the end of a day before returning to the Chalet for Collett’s office hour & pre-dinner drinks. Baking in sunshine, euro-pop and trashy covers belting out of the soundsystem, there is nowhere else I’d rather be while my body recovers from another day in the mountains.


Day Five - the 50k challenge


Making the right decision on an injury precaution, my companion opted to finish off his week’s skiing after the Marmolada day, so on the Friday, I was skiing solo. So while he took the advice of Hannah & Emily to head off on a winter walk, up to the frozen waterfalls toward Badia – I set myself a challenge.

As a strong skier, and as someone who doesn’t mind a challenge, I opted to throw myself into tacking both the Marmolada and the entire orange Sellaronda in a single day.

It was a challenge I relished, and found myself at the 48km mark just as I was hitting the final approach to complete the circuit, with just 2km to go to meet my challenge goal, I ascended the Colfosco bubble lift to round off what would be my last run of the week.

Day Six - Corvara > La Villa and back again


With two sets of tired legs, and temperatures rising – we decided a walk might be a more suitable last day than heading back up on the first lift for the third time in a week.

Hannah and Emily helped us map a route from our Corvara base, down a woodland trail that took us to the next village over, La Villa.

The 8km walk took us through sunny woodland and shaded glades, we ended up in La Villa in under two hours, giving us plenty of time to enjoy a pizza and a Tiramisu at Pizzeria La Fana, which was a perfect way to cap off our excursions. La Fana giving some serious competition to my personal tried and tested favourite, Pizzeria Fornella – which is where we took ourselves to on Collett’s day off. (Go early to avoid queuing for over an hour!)


The trail followed the river that runs between the two towns, and by the time we’d gorged on pizza and tiramisu, we weren’t in the mood to walk the same trail home. So we hopped on the 460 bus that took us back almost directly to our door.

Our final evening in The Dolomites had all the Collett’s guests sat together watching England give everything to battle Ireland in the Six Nations rugby. Thanks to Petra, Hannah and Emily for figuring that one out for us all!

A special shout out to Hannah and Emily, the Collett’s in resort team who were fantastic. Every step of the way, every trepidation or uncertainty, and every unexplored corner was soothed and exposed by their knowledge. As the winter is coming to an end, they are preparing to head south for warmer climates. I hope we cross paths again!


Thanks to Collett’s for setting us up for a great trip, getting us safely in and out of resort and guiding us through this sprawling ski resort with confidence.

We’ll no doubt be back to The Dolomites again, whether in the winter or the summer. There is magic here. Through the culture, the people and the relatively undiscovered nature of it for many Brits compared to the French Alps, it’s been another journey of discovery and reflection. Once again proving that skiing in March is not only worth it, it’s a great holiday no matter how good or bad the snow might be.

See you soon.

Thanks for reading,

Craig Stockwell


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