Sheltered by the stunningly beautiful crags of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is hailed as the world’s loveliest winter playground. Still the haunt of the rich and famous and their army of hangerson, who flock to the resort for the après ski as much as for the on-piste, Cortina has begun to shed its paphappy image; the hordes of beautiful people lounging on sundecks – taking advantage of Cortina’s sunny disposition – are now supplemented by serious skiers, who revel in the area’s challenging tree runs and scenery. Cortina boasts 115km of pistes, with grandiose scenery straight from the movies – the Pink Panther, a Bond film and Cliffhanger were all shot here.
The gentle slopes on the lower levels of Tofana are ideal for beginners, and there are several areas dedicated specifically to children. Romance seekers will love the famous ski tour of the Sella Ronda, which takes you through the Hidden Valley with its horse-drawn ski lift. No one could fail to be entranced by the charm of the area. Snowsure Cortina begins the season in November with a guaranteed 95 per cent coverage, and offers great deals for skiers wanting to beat the high-season rush. Boarders will enjoy the terrain parks and half-pipes and will find there is less expensive accommodation as well as the glitzy stuff. Cortina is part of the vast Dolomiti Superski mega-area, which offers 1,222km of piste. The only downside is the 10-minute drive to a connecting lift.