Updated: Jan 18
This might sound like a deceptive title, but you can really afford to ski in Italy next year with a little bit of advance planning. If you can afford a trip out West in the U.S. or up to Vermont, you can ski the glorious Italian Alps. We're doing what seems like an incredibly luxurious vacation off the beaten path in the Dolomite Mountains for much less than a comparable trip to Colorado from the East Coast would be. We're estimating that we're spending no more than we would have spent for a nice trip to New England for a week. The secret savings are in the bargain cost of lift tickets and of top-notch accommodations here combined with snagging a bargain airfare to Venice. We have returned to the Alpen Hotel Corona in Vigo di Fassa, a picturesque village in the heart of the Dolomites and about a 3-hour bus ride from Venice. The luxury of this hotel belies the price charged for a ski week that the Italians call a Settimana Bianca or White Week. The price of the ski week includes a very generous breakfast buffet, delicious cakes at 4 o'clock tea time, a 5-course gourmet dinner each night, and the services of expert ski guides each day as well as free transportation to the ski slopes. If you added all of that up, you would already exceed the cost of just your seven hotel nights at any comparable hotel in the Rockies.
Venice is the gateway city for skiing the Dolomites.
The first task in planning an affordable but luxurious ski trip to Italy is to scour the fare sales year round. We booked our plane tickets when Lufthansa Airlines offered $480 flash roundtrip fares to Venice with a change of planes in Frankfurt. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the bargain fare included a free checked bag and free alcoholic drinks before, during and after dinner. We can't remember ever having been offered cognac after a really delicious meal in coach. That unexpected treat was to set the tone for a truly luxurious vacation at bargain prices.
We arrived in Venice at 10 in the morning and walked about 20 minutes from the airport to the Hotel Gronda Lagunare, a small hotel above a pizza restaurant. We had found it on booking.com and were pleased with the clean but Spartan room since we had only paid 62 Euros and just wanted a clean and soundproof place to sleep off our jet lag. This place was perfect for one night and saved us the cost of going all the way into Venice for a night we were too tired to enjoy. At breakfast the next morning we met some British skiers who were doing the same thing so it seems to be a popular choice with Europeans too. We walked back to the airport the next morning to board the noon ski bus to Vigo di Fassa. The round trip ticket is 60 Euros and is available from Fly Ski Shuttle.
The shuttle dropped us about 50 yards from the Alpen Hotel Corona. We were thrilled to be back in the warm, cozy alpine-themed retreat. After a dip in their spa pool and a drink by the fireplace, we were ready to tackle the ski week to follow.
The view from our hotel window shows snow only at higher elevations.
Our accommodations are sunny and sparkling clean.
The pool is free and open every day for several hours. There is also a complete spa with very fair prices.