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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Val di Fassa ski resorts

Canazei
Canazei (m 1450 a.s.l.), with its four outlying areas of Gries, Chieva, Alba and Penia, not even being the most populated town of the Val di Fassa is surely the most renowned touristically and is above all acclaimed nationally and internationally for its winter tourism due to its strategic position by the Dolomite Passes of Pordoi, Sella and Fedaia. The very modern ski lifts make the area of Canazei a model resort in the alpine arc, directly linked to the Giro del Sellaronda. Set in a stupendous natural basin and at the foot of some of the most alluring Dolomite peaks, Canazei has seen a notable expansion in building work during the last decade, while remaining firmly tied to its Ladin origins and traditions, of which many visible traces remain in the architecture like they do in popular customs. Great care is taken to safeguard and look after the customs of the Ladin people who here, like elsewhere, are welcomed in dance, theatre and culture groups. At the end of each summer the representatives of all the Ladino peoples gather at Canazei for the "Gran festa da d'ista", now a classic meeting of local tradition. Canazei represents an ideal match between nature and sport, shows and culture, relaxation and night life: there are, in fact, many typical bars and restaurants, pubs, après ski and piano bars where people go, especially in winter, until the first light of dawn.

Mazzin
Mazzin (m 1372 a.s.l.) is the smallest municipality in the Val di Fassa and includes the villages of Campestrin and Fontanazzo. The town is known for the discovery of important traces of early human settlements, Rhaetian in origin (Doss dei Pigui), and furthermore preserves the only example of a rustic manorhouse in the whole valley, known as "casa Battel" which has a triangular-capped tower and frescos and decorations of notable artistic value. In the past Mazzin was made famous as the town of "pitores", the artisan decorators who at one time used to migrate with the seasons in search of houses to paint. Like every town in the Val di Fassa, Mazzin is a favourite departure point, especially in summer, for many outings to the nearby Dolomite peaks. In winter cross-country skiing enthusiasts can set off from here directly onto the beautiful track of the Marcialonga which goes as far as Canazei and then returns across the valley floor; for downhill skiing enthusiasts a widespread network of ski buses ensures a quick transfer to the ski-lifts in the nearby resorts.

Vigo di Fassa
The village of Vigo di Fassa (m 1393 a.s.l.) is situated up on a wide piece of terracing in a dominant position of the valley with views that stretch all around from Cima Undici and Cima Dodici as far as Marmolada. In summer this sunny resort enjoys a special status as a departure point for hundreds of outings and climbs in the Catinaccio group. After a few minutes in a modern cable-car directly from the village you will reach the natural terrace of Ciampedìe at 1998 m. which acts as a panoramic balcony of rare beauty giving 360° views from Catinaccio as far as the Pale di San Martino. In winter Ciampedìe acts as the focal point for the skiing area, where, thanks to the most up to date artificial snow making equipment, snow is assured from as early as the end of November. In summer and winter this magnificent Dolomite natural terrace runs an innovative and well attended "Baby Park Ciampediè" where children of all ages find their every wish fulfilled. Vigo is the headquarters of the Ladino Cultural Institute, the driving force behind the study and protection of Ladin culture, which in recent years has seen exponential growth and considerable success in the whole of the Fassa community. Also belonging to Vigo di Fassa are the villages of San Giovanni, Vallonga and Tamion, small settlements which preserve intact some interesting examples of Ladino architecture.

Moena
Moena (m 1184 a.s.l.) is the gateway to the Val di Fassa and marks the ideal border with the nearby Valle di Fiemme. It rises out of a splendid alluvial basin surrounded by some of the most alluring Dolomite groups which include the Latemar, the Valaccia and the green expanses of the Costalunga pass. It is the main town of the Valle di Fassa, known both in Italy and abroad as the "fairy of the Dolomites", which encapsulates its charm and tradition which are linked to stories lost in the mists of time. The village, which is well looked after architecturally, is notable for the attractive elegance seen in the boutiques, where you have the chance to satisfy your most demanding high-class shopping desires. Furthermore, Moena has shown in recent years that is very responsive to the Ladin culinary tradition and provides successful gastronomic reviews such as "Dinner with King Laurino" in winter and "Flavours of autumn" in September. In summer the area offers its guests many walking opportunities and many mountain bike tracks of varying grades of difficulty. It is already the classic mountain bikers' homeland where the route of the "Rampilonga" runs which with its 4500 participants has become the largest mountain bike marathon in Italy. In winter, though, Moena thrives in the heart of the Ski Area Tre Valli, featuring a functional network of ski lifts and splendid slopes whether at Alpe di Luisa or at Passo San Pellegrino, as well as an equipped cross-country skiing centre.

Fedaia Pass
Situated at 2054 m. you reach the pass having passed the hamlets of Penia and Pian Trevisan. The area features the presence of the imposing artificial embrace defined by the dam which blocks the top of the Avisio valley, from which a 1.85 km lake originated. The Fedaia Pass, in view of the Marmolada (Queen of the Dolomites) glacier, is well attended in summer and in winter. On the southern side of the Marmolada there is a famous skiing area served by a single cable car which runs very frequently from the end of February to the beginning of May when the views and the snow conditions are incomparable. This is a real paradise for off-piste enthusiasts and for climbing in sealskin boots, while in summer it is a ’must’ for walking enthusiasts and for traces of the World Wars.

San Pellegrino Pass
The San Pellegrino Pass (m.1918) is a wide alpine pass of interest to tourists, about 11 km from Moena and marks the border between Trentino and the province of Belluno. It is the destination in summer of numerous outings, whether on the slopes of Costabella and the Monzoni Group or towards the area of the Col Margherita and Cima Bocche with interesting communication trenches dating back to the first world war; in winter, the ski resort which is being developed is equipped with modern ski-lifts and pistes of varying length and difficulty which are directly connected to the Tre Valli carousel and to the ski resort of Falcade. The Pass features some prestigious hotels, which give direct access to the slopes, ideal for those who love the purest skiing and the slopes are always lit up by the sun. The Alochet cross country centre, with superb tracks set in the splendour of the woods, is well known by lovers of cross country skiing.

Campitello di Fassa
The village of Campitello (m. 1448 a.s.l.) is dominated by the imposing mass of the Sassolungo and by the Col Rodella (2404m) from where you can admire one of the most wonderful landscapes of the Dolomite arc whose summit is reachable directly from the village with a fast and regular cable car service. In winter you can choose from a wide variety of skiing opportunities offered by the Col Redella/Belvedere ski carousel which is served by the most up to date ski-lifts and a very advanced artificial snow-making system which guarantees maximum piste opening right from the start of the season. It takes only a few minutes from here to reach the ski-lifts and slopes which run from the Sella Pass to the Val Gardena and the Sellaronda circuit, while in summer it is a departure point for a myriad of walks and excursions which lead towards the Sassolungo group of mountains, the Sasso Piatto and the Scilliar plateau. Close to the valley's cable-car station at Ischia, set in the green of the beautiful walk which links Campitello with Canazei, a modern well-equipped sports centre has been developed in recent years which has amongst other things a permanent climbing wall, a Rollerblade hockey court, a basketball court, mini football, tennis, golf driving range, even a landing area for those keen on paragliding and hang-gliding which have made this area an international meeting point.

Pozza di Fassa
The village of Pozza di Fassa (m 1320 a.s.l.), with its outlying area of Pera, is located in the widest part of the valley at the confluence of the Avisio and Rio San Nicolò rivers. The village also benefits from a wide expanse of land set in a sunny basin over which Cima Undici and Cima Dodici hang. A particularly devoted clientele come to this pleasant resort and are assured of outings, walks, rock, geology, the Monzoni mountains, Gardeccia, the Vajolet Towers, direct contact with nature and, in recent years, the renovated ski resort of "Buffaure" which is really appreciated by everyone for its scenery and the gentleness of the slopes. The Aloch ski slope or "Ski Stadium Val di Fassa" is very well known and well attended in winter where the slopes are lit up every evening for night time skiing: it is a real snow stadium with courses suited to international downhill skiing competitions, to professional coaching and to high quality daytime and night-time shows, while for cross-country enthusiasts it reserves not only access to the Marcialonga circuit but also a good chance to do the Ciancoal Ring, which is enjoyable for the variety of its rhythms and guaranteed snow, and which is particularly attractive at night-time thanks to artificial lighting. In summer, as well as the Catinaccio and the Larsec Crags which change with the magical colours of Enrosadira and which offer a myriad of excursion opportunities, the Val San Nicolò and the Monzoni mountains, on the other side, present gratifying moments of peace and serenity.

Soraga
In the Ladin language "sorega", "super aqua", clearly defines the position of the village in relation to the Avisio river. Soraga (m 1210 a.s.l.) is considered one of the Val di Fassa's oldest settlements, which over the years has learnt how to grow and maintain its beauty, as well as keeping typical Ladin features intact. The village is set on the slopes of the Valaccia and is overlooked by the Catinaccio Group and the Roda di Vael; the central Fassa feature promotes a culture of calm and relaxation, offering the chance of fantastic walks to the ever-increasing number of admirers. In winter the cross-country skiers find a real paradise of slopes next to the hotels and Alpine skiing enthusiasts can reach the nearest ski areas in a few minutes and in comfort. Calm, simplicity and excellent value for money make Soraga one of the goals most coveted by the tourist.

Costalunga Pass
The original name is Carezza (m.1745) which derives from the German dialect term "KAR", or rather bowl, to indicate a concave shape between the mountains. It is about 8 km from Vigo di Fassa and extends over a wide field-like ridge set between the slopes of the Latemar group and the far ends of the Catinaccio group of mountains. The pass enjoys a very beautiful panoramic perspective and a favourable position facing the sun. Ski-lifts, some of which are especially suitable for beginners, and many walks of varying difficulty leave from Carezza. The unforgettable sensation of the Enrosadira at dusk: King Laurino and his elves used to live right here...

Pordoi Pass
The Sass Pordoi and the Sass Becé surround the Pordoi Pass (m. 2239). It marks the border between the provinces of Trento and Belluno and is 12 km from Canazei (featuring 28 bends). From the pass which has quick access to the Boé Group by means of a very modern cable-car, which in a few minutes reaches the 2950 m. of the Sass Pordoi, where you have 360° views across the whole Alpine arc. From here, in winter, you can face the demanding descent of the fork of the same name or come down the challenging Val Lasties (given the nature of these runs, they can be attempted only when perfect snow conditions allow). In summer you can travel along one of the numerous paths that pass through this incredible lunar landscape...

Sella Pass
The Val di Fassa connects with the Val Gardena along the SS 242 main road, which in 12 km takes you from Canazei to the Sella Pass (m. 2244), set on a grassy ridge which separates the Sassolungo group from the Sella group. It is overlooked by the splendid Torri del Sella and by the barrier of the Mesules, but what actually defines the view of Sella is the Sassolungo group of mountains which reach 3181 m. In winter and in summer the area around the Sella Pass offers various access routes to the main hubs for skiing and tours of every level and difficulty


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