Glass spends the weekend skiing in Trentino, Italy

SKIING in Italy is said to hold more emphasis on fun, food and relaxation rather than breakneck speeds, extravagant aprés and early morning starts. I arrive in to northern Italy to experience it for myself having found a resort where the enjoyment factor is centred at the top of the list.

Not only is Italy much more laid back than its rivals in France, Switzerland and Austria, it is also cheaper.

Val di Fassa – Ciampac. Photograph: Gloria Ramirez

Flying into nearby Venice, I was quickly escorted deep into the mountains to the traditional and homely Hotel Catinaccio Rosengarten. It’s the type of hotel that has everything you could want for a ski holiday: views of the valley, authentic local cuisine, ski storage and of course, a hot sauna and a heated pool to soothe your aches.

Tucked away in the Dolomites’ Val Di Fassa – or Fassa Valley – is a friendly and welcoming ‘chocolate-box’ hotel, with chalet-style rooms overlooking stunning alpine scenery. After a welcoming and refreshing local cocktail known as ‘The Hugo’ (sparkling wine, elderflower, sparkling water and peppermint), I immediately made myself at home in the circular bar.

Val di Fassa – Col Rodella. Photograph: Tommaso Prugnola

Once acquainted with the hotel and delightful local town, I made my way further up the mountain. With over 150 runs and seven separate ski areas in one valley, there’s a huge amount to explore offering a path for every skill set – even offering flexible ski pass’ to choose from ranging from day to week.

The dramatic scenery is famous around the world for its huge rock formations and sheer cliff faces. The beauty and diversity of the Italian Dolomites landscape will enchant you in any season; even proving popular with summer hikers. However, once coated with a blanket of pure white snow it becomes a unique Narnia with sharp, towering rocks unexpectedly peeping through, a definite change from the cityscape. I’ve never been to a mountain range this unique. We were hoping to wake up early for the Trentino ski sunrise tour, which was free with our ski pass, but unfortunately, we were forced to cancel due to extreme weather – those that have the chance are advised to catch a 6.30 am lift for a truly breathtaking sunrise experience. To make up for our morning disappointment we were rewarded with an adrenaline junkies dream. Pozza di Fassa is one of Europe’s only floodlit black runs, a night-time experience for brave skiers. I forced myself down it slowly but to say I lacked the enthusiasm of some of the locals was an understatement.

 Hotel Catinaccio Rosengarten

Val di Fassa – Col Rodella. Photograph: Tommaso Prugnola

For dinner we were escorted by ski mobile to the magical restaurant at Rifugio Fuciade, a family-owned hotel set at 1,982 metres on a mountain pasture. An old and very unique restaurant that I will genuinely treasure as one of my finest Italian culinary experiences down to Chef Martino, who fuses traditional Italian cooking with alpine influences to create a seasonal menu made from local ingredients.

He insisted on offering a tour of the building that included ancient alpine artefacts, a cheese and meat curing cellar and a hidden second cellar full of more than 600 wines from both Italy and other global regions. Once seated for our dinner, I chose the excellently cooked lamb with creamy mashed potato, flavoured with rosemary and pepper and finished my meal with the ‘Operà’; a chocolate biscuit with coffee cream and chocolate and whiskey ganache. I was in food heaven struggling back down the mountain so bursting I almost fell out of the ski mobile!

Val di Fassa – Moena. Photograph: Carlo Baroni

The following day after another long and rewarding day of skiing, we were taken to relax further down the slopes at QC Terme Dolomiti – a top of the range and fantastically designed wellness centre spa with more rooms and treatments than you can think of.

Having bathed in the rejuvenating thermal waters and chilled in the hydro-massage tubs, I finished the day off by simply lying back and enjoying the panoramic views in the heated outdoor pools surrounded by snow. In between treatments, my hunger set in, so I nipped upstairs to sip on locally made sparkling wine and tasted endless amounts of cheese. My kind of Italian spa.

Val di Fassa – Passo Sella – Col Rodella – Sassolungo. Photograph: Enzo Schiavi

Val di Fassa – Sass Pordoi e Sella dal Buffaure. Photograph: Gloria Ramirez

by Amanda Bernstein

Day passes cost from £49.69

Double rooms at Hotel Catinaccio Rosengarten B&B cost from £44.55 to £59.97 per person

Rent ski gear from Scuola Sci Dolomiti in Moena, 15 minutes from the hotel.
Skis and boots cost from £19.70 a day

Plan your trip here and here