Cortina ski resort
Cortina ski resort is one of the world's classic ski areas and is part of an exclusive club of a dozen resorts in five countries branding themselves the 'Best of the Alps', of which Cortina is the only Italian member.
The 1956 Winter Olympics host, Cortina was also one of the locations used in filming for the James Bond movie franchise during the Roger Moore years, when scenes from the 1981 classic For Your Eyes Only were shot here. Further fame is coming, with the resort being named host of the 2021 World Alpine Skiing Championships.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, to give the resort its full title, is an attractive old mountain town beneath truly beautiful mountains. Many come here just to be seen, so those serious about their skiing should get in plenty of ski time on the often-quiet slopes.
That said, some believe Cortina has rested on its laurels through recent decades and that the on-piste options are limited for better skiers. There's no doubt, however, that for beginners and intermediates it's a wonderful resort.
Unfortunately, most of Cortina's ski areas are linked only by bus, which can be a slow and frustrating way of getting to the slopes. But the resort does give skiers access to the mighty Dolomiti Superski area, which covers a whopping 1,200km (750 miles) of pistes and around 450 lifts.
Cortina is situated in the Dolomite Mountains in the Veneto region of north eastern Italy, and is part of the Dolomiti Superski region.
CortinaResort Elevation: 1225m
Top Elevation: 2930m
Base Elevation: 1225m
On the slopes
Cortina is marvellous for beginners, who have four ski schools competing to offer the best tuition, with the Socrepes area being especially user-friendly, while intermediate skiers who don't mind repeating the same runs will enjoy the Tofana and Faloria sectors. Lifts are generally fast and efficient, but at peak season queues may be a minor problem.
Advanced and expert skiers may find their on-piste options limited, although the steep black at Tofana is enjoyable and Staunies from the top of Cristallo is challenging. It is, however, well worth hiring a local guide to check out some of the off-piste descents, for which the region is famous.
Apart from complete beginners, all skiers can enjoy the lovely 'Hidden Valley' run through magnificent mountain scenery finishing with a horse-drawn lift ride. The fun (but busy) Sella Ronda circuit is also accessible from here by taking a bus to the Fassa Valley (or horse- drawn lift ride).
Snow conditions have not been that reliable in Cortina in the past, but 95% of the area is now covered by snow machines. In fact, over the last few seasons Cortina has been widely regarded as one of the most snowsure resorts in the region. As such, the season is relatively long, generally running from mid-November to early May.