I am new to these forums and thought I'd try and get some advice on a couple of things.
We are going to Arabba next week with Collett's Mountain Holidays, who were highly recommended by a friend who has traveled with them regularly. We are right on the Sella Ronda, so that's a must! But what are your best recommendations for the area? What is the MUST DO run/tour? and where is the best place to eat. I think we'll get involved with Collett's daily ski hosting but just want to make sure we aren't missing anything. This will be our last ski holiday for a long time and we want to make it a good one - just hope the Europe-wide heatwave wont ruin it for us!
Firstly you really should do the ski hosting as you will definitely see the best of the area this way. The staff are all lovely and great to ski with, though make sure you are confident on reds and the occasional (easier) black if you are going to do this. Tell the Colletts guys that Lynn and Mark say Hi )
Must do runs and tours - there are really so many, however here are my personal favourites:
The Marmolada glacier, the views are amazing, though pick a nice day as it's very exposed and no fun in a white out (been there!)
Red 13 down into La Villa. Top section is often tricky due to moguls but fabulous long red. Gran Risa world cup run lies parallel to this but I'm told it's often icy so not to be taken on lightly (I haven't, yet.)
Reds and blacks under the Porto Vescovo gondola back into Arabba, ideally early morning before they get busy.
Red from the top of Plan Boe gondola (silver one in Corvara) but gets busy and mogulled quite quickly as main link on Orange Sella Ronda.
Red 1 into Corvara
Sella Ronda (either way)
Sasslong men's downhill in Selva - black is better and actually easier then the red (red gets busier and icy in places). Dantercepies run on the way to Selva is also lovely.
Ortesi - there's a great 12km? red over here with an amazing stop for lunch (see below).
Kronplatz is well worth a visit but you will need to do this as part of a trip as not accessible from Arabba. It's about an hour's drive. There's a great long black (run 5?) and the home run is also a challenge at the end of the day. It's black but there is the option to take the gondola down if legs are tired or unhappy on steeper runs.
Civetta is also worth the trip if it's offered (about 45 mins drive).
Other suggestions which I haven't done but come recommended are those to Alba and Pedraces.
If you're up for a VERY long day (i.e. 1st to last lift with few stops) the 1st world war tour may be worth a look. It's about 100 km but some of this is on busses between resorts. I tried to do this 3 times during our trip but we kept getting thwarted by the weather and lift closures due to high winds. Next year!!
All the mountain restaurants are nice (it's Italy so to be expected) but the most novel is a little 'love hut' over in Ortesi, part way down the 12 km red. There's a fire pit in the middle of the hut and the food is delicious. There are also really nice places at the mid station of the Porta Vescovo gondola, the bottom of the Marmolada run, the plateau above San Cassiano and at the top of the black in Colfosco (sorry, can't remember names.)
In Arabba itself we liked Pordoi in the main square. They are very reasonably priced (6-10 euros for a pasta dish, 10-15 for meat and fish dishes, carafe of wine 4.5 euros) and also do a great take away pizza if you're self catering and fancy flopping. Micky's has a good reputation and has been excellent in the past but we didn't eat there this year. It's more expensive than other places in resort, main dishes closer to 20 euros plus and 20 euros upwards for a bottle of wine. If your food is included you will be eating at El Table. We only ate there one night as were self catered but the food was good and reasonably priced (15 euros pp for a set 3 course dinner including wine, booked through Collets).
There are two smallish supermarkets, a butchers, greengrocers and bakers (who do amazing chocolate brioche). Prices are on the whole quite reasonable (for a ski resort.) The apartments are well equipped should you want to eat in.
Not sure what the conditions are like at the moment as the area hasn't has much snow compared to the rest of Europe. The runs were quite hard packed when I was there (not a problem for me as I like it like this!) but everything was open and they have fantastic snow making facilities. Off piste was non existent, which wasn't a problem for me but lamented by the Colletts staff on their days off.
Anyway, hope this helps and that you have a great time. I'd love to see some photos when you get back.
The Sella Ronda had more skiing going clockwise, going anticlockwise there's a section of about six lifts in a row with next to no skiing, one is a gondola but in cold weather it starts to get to you. The runs on the Sella Ronda are the busiest and so chop up the worst and the restaurants are more expensive that are directly on it, but still the food is very good standard.
The hidden valley for the views are fantastic although you may need to do it on an organised trip as about 30 min drive, ok run but on a good weather day the scenery is stunning. The run finishes about 3 miles from a lift that links into the Sella Ronda and the local farmer will tow you for a euro with his horses to the nearest lift. 2 horses pulling about 50 skiers its a novel experience.
There's so much skiing to do there it its crazy. 1200km. I think, use the guides if they are on offer but don't be scared to go off to explore as the maps not badly drawn and sign posts very good.
Be careful of high wings as a couple of the lifts to the high passes can be closed easily and can cause a mad sprint to get back into the right valley before the lifts shut.
Have a great time, I love it there!
John987 - that's great - Marmolada it is. the long range forecast is for snow on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so perhaps it's one for later in the week! The 'hidden valley' too sounds great and I read the rifugio is a must for lunch. Thank you! The ski hosting is all included so we may partake for the first couple of days.
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