Ski holiday in Alta Badia with toddlers
Is it possible to go on a ski holiday when you have toddlers, or even better twins? Of course you can, and Alta Badia is the perfect place! We were there in 2018 and after the great success of that week we decided to go back and here we are again! You could stay in any of the Alta Badia villages, but we choose again La Villa. We usually don’t do holidays, we usually travel…but the ski week is the closest thing to a relaxing holiday we have during the year! I know, don’t laugh…I know it looks odd, even people that love to ski sometimes tell me that going skiing with kids is a lot of work, but in La Villa I feel we found a perfect place to combine family time, sport, and grown up time. We decided to book into the same place as last year “La Bercia Dolomites chalet” and you read my review in this post.
I made some updates to my previous post “how we made ski holiday possible with twins” where you will find the story of the drama to find a kindergarten that would welcome children under two years old, and some practical info about how to get there, and about the amazing kindergarten itself (I will recap them in bullet points at the end).
In this new article I will focus more on the ski experience itself and how to get the most out of this amazing place.
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Where is Alta Badia
Alta Badia is one of the 11 areas that are part of the Dolomiti Superski area located in Alto Adige. In Alta Badia there are 130 km of slopes but by purchasing the complete Dolomiti superski ski pass, you can ski on 1,200 km of slopes. In 2019 the difference between the Alta Badia skipass and the complete ski pass was 20Euro for six days, so, unless you are a total beginner I suggest buying the complete one (In high season 6 days cost Euro 304 per adult, kids up to 8 years old get a free skipass with a paying adult). If you want, you can ski every day on different slopes and even if you are a beginner you will have plenty of slopes available. Don’t forget: there is no fear that there is no snow, because the area is fully covered by sophisticated snow cannons
HOT TIP: if you stay in La Villa you can buy your ski pass at the gondola lift Piz la Ila or at the chair lift Gherdenaccia, but not at the small chair lift Doninz
Check this article if you want an overview of other family friendly ski resort in Europe.
Where to ski
So, there are undoubtedly many people more experienced than me in the field, but all the info below is based on my direct experience as an intermediate skier, but who now gets along pretty well everywhere. First of all from La Villa, depending in which area of the village you stay, you can start directly from the cabin Piz la Ila or if like us you drop the kids to the nursery slopes/ski courses, then you can get on the small chair just behind them, ski down to the Gardenaccia chair and connect to Piz la Ila. This will save you walking 7 minutes in ski boots, so it depends how comfortable you feel in your gear! Our days started with dropping the kids at the kindergarden at 9:30am We had six full days to ski and we organized them more or less like this:
We used the first day to regain confidence with the skis and the board (I ski and Mark snowboards), and we explored the slopes from La Villa to Corvara and then San Cassiano and the small area towards Badia up to La Crusc. When you arrive at the top of Piz la Ila you could be overwhelmed by the choice. There are so many routes you could take, most of the pistes are blue (easy). If you are not used to read ski maps, then in this area it could seem a bit confusing, but you shouldn’t worry to get lost. Each chair-lift or cabin has a name and pistes have a number so at any moment you should be able to check where you are. If you move towards Pralongia’ and Cherz, you will get some nice long pistes, and from Prolongia you can even get down to San Cassiano with a long (with some flat bits) blue piste. All pistes are wide and even the few reds didn’t seem too difficult. Unfortunately the weather was so good while were there that the snow on some easy pistes was getting ruined quite quickly making skiing much harder than it should have been. Or you can go the other direction toward Corvara and then make your way back to La Villa and explore the other side towards La Crusc. This area is quite small, but is really nice because you can go up to the top and then have long uninterrupted run down.
The second day we went skiing in Colfosco e Val Gardena. I loved this area, slopes are wide and long, in good condition and again you can go up to the top and then have a super long run down. Good mix of medium and easy slopes. You can access this area from Corvara, on your way back you can also have a quick detour to Piz Boe. When we were there the slope going down to Arabba was in terrible condition, perhaps this is happening often when the temperature rises too much.
The third day was dedicated to the Skitour Lagazuoi. Last year we took information, and this year we finally managed to go. I’m talking about the far left area on the Alta Badia map. You have to go down towards San Cassiano, but in the end follow to Armentarola. When the track ends, continue a few meters to the road and there are mini buses waiting for skiers and for 6 euros each, in 15 minutes they will take you to the top of Passo Falsarego where you take a funicular to reach almost 2,800m. From the summit there is 8.5 km of uninterrupted track to reach the valley floor (the last stretch is fairly level). Downstream there are clear indications on where to go to reach the horse drawn sledges that pull the skiers back up to Armentarola (2.50 euros each, and snowboarders get to sit with the driver !!!!) and then of course back to La Villa. I enjoyed it a lot!!! From the base of the funicular you can also explore some of the beautiful slopes of Cortina. The Super 8 circuit starts from the base of the funicular and looks very interesting, but we were a little tight with times and so did not venture further.
Sellaronda day. Sella is the name of a group of mountains which gives the name to the route that can be skied around them. I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend a whole day in a sort of circuit. Speaking with several people, I heard conflicting opinions, such as too much time is spent on the lifts. Maybe in the past the lifts were slower, but I didn’t get this impression. For those who go snowboarding, there is definitely a greater waste of time due to locking/unlocking bindings, but for an average skier (if you start at 9am) there is plenty of time to even add tracks that are not part of the circuit and stop for a rest / photo / lunch. We did the green route in 4 and a half hours without stopping. Unfortunately we started late due to a little morning protesting by Liam and Santiago, so we left Corvara at 11am and we were back in Corvara at 3:30 pm. Being based at La Villa we had to add the transfer time to reach / return from Corvara and be at the kindergarten punctually at 4:30 to take L&S. I would do it again for sure.
Towards the end of the week we went and explored Arabba. I really enjoyed this area where we found the slopes in the best condition. The slopes are a bit more challenging, perhaps not suitable for those in the early days of skiing. From Arabba you can then get to Malga Ciapela, and with three very long cable cars get to the top of the world, to the Marmolada, and then descend for 12km without stopping.
The last day we went back to Colfosco and Val Gardena, my suggestion is that you go back in the area you liked the most.
HOT TIP: if you are based in La Villa you have 3 options to come back down to the village at the end of the day: the 2 variations of the Gran Risa (part of the slalom world cup) and a panoramic easy piste through the woods. The panoramic piste (24) is really nice, but there is a long flat bit (very irritating for snowboarders), as soon as you see it you need to get a lot of speed because it continues for some distance. The Gran Risa is your other option, the very start of the red route is not great but the rest of both is perfect and never busy.
What else to do
Alta Badia is quite an foodie destination. Three restaurants for a total of 6 michelin stars are found among the various villages. During winter the Alta Badia has been able to combine skiing with various food and wine activities. Unfortunately for us, the week we spent in the area seemed to be a break and we could not participate in any of the very interesting activities (at least on paper). On the Alta Badia website you will find the complete program with dates and costs. I would have gladly participated in “sommelier on the slopes”, where an instructor accompanies you skiing to savor some of the best local wines…maybe next year. If you stay in La Villa then another interesting thing to do is to ski at night on the small piste behind the ski school, that is lit every Wednesday from 8pm to 10pm.
Where to eat
As you probably understood from the previous paragraph, food in the area is taken seriously. As the owner of our hotel confirmed, you eat very well almost anywhere. On the slopes there are an infinite number of offers with the Utie (the local name of mountain shelters that offer food and sometimes rooms to sleep). We especially tested the Utia Jimmy and Edelweiss in Val Gardena / Colfosco, the utia Crep de Mount in Piz Boe and the Utia Pralongia ‘and we liked them all. Club Moritzino seemed to also be really popular, but we stopped only for some drinks so we cant comment on the food. There was definetely a good vibe! In the evening at La Villa we were less adventurous and two or three times we took advantage of the restaurant of our hotel (La Bercia), so as to put Liam and Santiago to bed and have a romantic dinner by ourselves. Even this was a great option because the menu is extensive enough to try different things every night.
if you read my previous post you have an idea how happy I was last year when I found this solution, that confirmed to be really great also this year. Just as a reminder: the kindergarden accepts kids from 6 months onwards, but I recommend you to book a space well in advance because in high season they are often fully booked. They have several options, from just booking a couple of hours to the full day (7 hours including lunch). They are also connected to the ski-school. I got information in case we decide to go back next year: from 3 years onwards kids can start the ski school, you can drop the kids in the morning and the ladies will take care of them, bring them to their lessons and back to entertain and feed them after. The lady from the school gave me good advice, she suggested to book the kindergarten and drop them an email explaining that the kids want to try the school, if the first day test goes well then we can pay the price difference. As we are talking about 3 years old there is the possibility that they won’t like it and there is no way they are going to do it if they don’t want to!
The kindergarten was only 7-8 minutes walking from our accommodation.
As you can see our Joolz Geo double pram is still coming with us wherever we go…even on the slopes, and I can’t recommend it enough, if you are looking for a pram have a look at my full review in 7 reason why Joolz Geo is the best double pram for twins
unless you have your own skis and boots I recommend you make your life easier and rent them at the rental place just below the kindergarten. You can rent also a locker to leave your gear at the end of the day and walk back in comfortable shoes. Of course if your kids are a bit older you can ski down at the bottom of the gardenaccia and walk from there or get on a skibus. In case for any reason you need to carry the ski with you consider to buy Wolffepack Summit. It is the best backpack to go skiing. On top being fully waterproff (of course), you can attach your ski on the side and keep your hand free for the kids. But the best part is that you don’t need to take down from your shoulder to actually take the stuff inside. Have a look at video because this product is truly amazing!
In the village there are several shops and 2 big supermarkets in case you decide to go for a self-catering accommodation.
How to get there
Innsbruck is the closest airport, 1h and half driving away, but it is across the border. Venice, Treviso and Verona are more or less 2 hours and a half away. There are public transport connections, but they take quite a long time and I couldn’t find anything direct, always a mix of train and buses. In here and here are the websites I found with more detailed info. For us also this year the best option and cheapest was to rent a car even if we then keep it parked at the hotel while there. This year we drove in from Venice (experiencing a calmer way of driving in Italy) , and before to rent the car to make our way to Alta Badia we spent 24 hours in Venice and it was wonderful! If you can add an extra day before or after your ski holiday then a stop in Venice is really easy and magical! Read how to make the most of it in my post “is Venice worth visiting for a day with toddlers in tow? Another option with more flight connections is to reach one of the Milan airports (around 4 hours and half). In that case I recommend you stop for a couple of days visiting some of the beautiful villages around Lake Garda, such as Sirmione even in winter they will not disappoint you!
Do you need some tips to build your family trip itinerary? Check out this Step by step guide!
These are some of my recommendations, if I forgot something important or if you have a question then write to me in the comments