A snowshoeing holiday in the magnificent Dolomites in the northern Italian Alps. Enjoy a week of winter walking and learn about the First World War history, enjoy Italian hospitality whilst exploring the regions jaw dropping scenery. Our base for this week is Cortina d'Ampezzo, a town with a beautiful landscape perfectly situated within easy reach of the regions most iconic mountains. Explore trails that negotiate this dramatic mountain environment offering a unique perspective on this magical place. Be prepared to be impressed!
The Dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage site and have eighteen peaks rising to over 3000 metres (9840ft), many with spectacular rock spires and towers, such as the world famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It is the exceptional natural beauty of the rock formations and geology that have given the Dolomites, World Heritage status.
I was surprised by the scenery, absolutely stunning! The food was great, brilliant mix of cultures, with Austrian and Italian dishes. Never quite knew when to speak German or Italian, but loved the challenge.
Today you arrive in the town of Cortina d' Ampezzo in Italy, known as the jewel of the Dolomites.
The beauty of the Ampezzo Valley along with it's 1000 years of history attracts visitors all year round. Surrounded by majestic peaks Cortina, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, can't fail to impress any mountain lover. Our hotel for this trip is within easy walking distance to the bustling pedestrian town centre and numerous musems and galleries. Cortina is proud of it's heritage; learn about the local traditions, history and environment at the Ethnograhic Museum or visit the "Rinaldo Zardini" Palaeontological Museum which houses one of the most significant collections of fossils in existence.
Your local guide will meet you at the hotel before the evening meal to answer any questions and discuss the days ahead.
A short drive today takes us to Misurina, a lovely village by a mountain lake and the starting point for our first snowshoe hike. In winter, as in summer, it's easy to see why the original settlers chose to live in this idyllic mountain setting. After fitting our snowshoes our aim is to catch views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known as the Drei Zinnen, a world renowned mountain of the Dolomites. Made up of three immense rock towers rising above the valley the view is truly breathtaking and captures the attention of any hiker or climber visiting the region. We have various options for our hike in this area, and we will make a decision based on the snow conditions. However, wherever we go we are sure to be treated to a vista of rock towers and jagged spires in a truly spectacular mountain setting!
Ascent: 800m (2624ft) Descent: 800m (2624ft) Distance: 9km (5.6 miles) approximate as it depends on our chosen route
Today's snowshoe walk is unique and has the ingredients of an unfortgettable mountain day. Just a short drive south-west of Cortina are the Cinque Torri or Five Towers. Loved by rock climbers 'The Cinque Torri' are spectacular. This is also the site of strategic Italian trenches and tunnels systems used during the First World War. We begin our snowshoe day by hitching a ride on a chair lift to 2137m (7011ft). We then head for the military emplacements in a fabulous open-air museum which brings to life how important this site was during the Great War. Across the valley we have incredible views of the Castelletto, Col dei Bos and expansive south face of Tofane di Rozes 3225m (10580ft) and Mount Lagazoui 2732m (8963m). During the war Mount Lagazoui was the base for the Austrian troops and the site of many trenches. We then snowshoe up to a col at 2413m (7916ft) to reach another strategic military site between the mountains of Averau and Nuvolao now home to the Rifugio Averau. After lunch we plan to climb a further 170m (557ft) to reach the summit of Nuvolao 2575m (8448ft) which arguably has the best 360 panoramic views of the Dolomites. It boasts views south towards the highest peak of the Dolomites, the Marmolada at 3343m (10967ft) and north to the glaciated peaks of Austria. For our return to the valley we will either snowshoe all the way taking an off piste route away from the main trails, or we will snowshoe part of the way down and then take the chair lift to the bottom. A fabulous and memorable day out.
Ascent: 500m (1640ft) Descent: 500m (1640ft) or 1100m (3609ft) Distance: 7km (4.5 miles) or 10km (6.2 miles) depending on the descent path
We head south of Cortina today and over the Passo Giau which is surrounded by yet more impressive rock towers and spires. The Passo Giau is renewed as one of the tougher Cols in the Giro d'Italia road bike race. Our goal today is the summit of Monte Mondeval - which sits at 2455m (8054ft) and offers excellent views towards the Dolomiti Bellunesi. Our trail begins at the Malga Giau, first of all through pine forests and then a gradual climb through a wide open bowl to a high pass, the Forcella Giau. Here we are truly on the open mountain with fine views all around. After a short descent we climb again, occassionally zig-zaging to reach the top of Monte Mondeval. We are rewarded with fine views of yet more wonderful Dolomitic peaks such as Monte Pelmo, Lastoni di Formin, Civetta, Becco di Mezzodi, Monte Cernera and Piz del Corvo. We complete our circuit and hope to find good snow for the descent! We love this snowshoe walk with its sense of wide open spaces and stunning views.
Ascent: 600m (1968ft) Descent: 600m (1968ft) Distance: 9km (5.6 miles)
Our hike today starts at Podestagno, where the Cortina d'Ampezzo and Sennes Regional Natural Parks meet. During this week we are literally spoiled for choice when it comes to breath-taking mountain scenery and today is no exception. Easy trails through the pine forests soon reach the lovely family run Rifugio Ra Stua. Situated in an idyllic snowcovered high alpine pasture makes it a fine objective in it's own right. We plan on testing the local strudel and coffee before the main climb to reach the wild open plateau of Valbones de Inze and yet another fantastic panoramic view. An amazing location to absorb the full breadth of the Dolomites and learn about the regions unusual geology. We return back to our transport the same way with time spare before dinner to relax.
Ascent: 850m (2788ft) Descent: 600m (1968ft) Distance: 10km (6.2 miles)
Just a short drive north of Cortina is the provincial border of the South Tyrol which neighbours Austria, and you will soon notice that the road signs and the names displayed have changed. Here there are three official languages; German, Italian and the Romance language of Ladin. We begin our snowshoe hike from Misurina village and take good trails to reach a rifugio and flat open plateau and summits of Monte Piana 2324m (7624ft), which is the site of another fascinating open air World War I museum. During the war the Austrians occupied the Northern summit Monte Piano, while the Southern summit Monte Piana was in Italian hands. Many remnants of the fierce fighting and trenches can still be found along with the 'Piramide Carducci' a monument dedicated to the Italian writer and nationalist Giosuè Carducci, who won the 1906 Nobel Prize. He was very influential and was regarded as the official national poet of modern Italy. From the Piana we have spectacular close up views of the mighty peaks of the Tre Cime di Laveredo.
Ascent: 600m (1968ft) Descent: 600m (1968ft) Distance: 10km (6.2 miles)
Our final snowshoe hike starts close to Carbonin. The trail climbs gently through the forest up a zig-zag road to reach the snow covered meadows beside the Rifugio Vallandro also known as the Dürrensteinhütte where we may stop for refreshments. As we climb the vista continues to be spectacular and once near the summit of Monte Specie at 2307m (7566ft) the skyline opens up with views to the massive red rocks of the Croda Rossa, and to the world famous Tre Cime towers. The summit of Monte Specie, also know as the Strudelkopf, is easily reached on snowshoes and ensures we end our week with on a high point. In summary this is an easy and panoramic tour in beautiful surroundings.
Ascent: 865m (2837ft) Descent: 230m (754ft) Distance: 11.2km (7 miles) approximate as it depends on our chosen route on the day
Today you will leave Cortina and head home after a week of snowy peaks, fabulous hospitality and stunning scenery.
It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.
We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. Our suggested accommodation, given below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.
Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room in Cortina d'Ampezzo. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. Single rooms may be available in Cortina, but will incur a supplement. Cortina is a vibrant bustling town and offers a range of hotels.
The Park Hotel Victoria is an historic 4* hotel situated in the heart of Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is known as the jewel of the Dolomites. The hotel is decorated in traditional Italian style and offers a traditional 3 course evening menu. You can enjoy the magnificent views from the panoramic terrace and from most of the guest rooms. Single rooms are available for an additional fee, please advise us if you would like this option. There is a spa which offers a sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish bath and an emotional shower. Access to the spa costs 20 Euros per session, and must be booked. Massages are available upon request.
When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.
Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted.
Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions. We are sure there will be various scenarios which we have not even thought about that might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.
Please read our Covid-19 Cancellation Policy and ensure you have appropriate insurance as per our recommendations. We also ask that you make yourself aware of the entry requirements of any country you are visiting on your trip. We have compiled a Travel Links Advice list to help you source the correct information.
Cortina has excellent train and bus links. Rome2Rio is a useful site which gives a map and overall picture of how the local public transport network links up and who to book with. Local trains and buses to reach Cortina can be found at www.sad.it and trains from the UK to Dobbiaco can be sourced here.
The closest airports are Venice in Italy and Innsbruck in Austria.
Venice: Venice has two airports. The main airport is Venice Marco Polo but some airlines such as Ryanair fly to Venice ‘Treviso'. There is a 15 minute drive between these two airports. To transfer from Venice to Cortina choose either the Cortina Express or Flixbus the journey time is between 2h-2h30. We recommend buying tickets in advance which can be done easily and in English. Check the timetables carefully as they vary with stops and times. If arriving into Treviso airport you will need to take an airport bus into Treviso town to pick up the Cortina bus. The bus tickets vary in price depending on how far in advance you buy them from 5€ - 20€ one way.
Innsbruck: From Innsbruck the journey time about 4 hours. From the airport you can take a free shuttle bus, it takes 15 mins and leaves every 10 mins, to reach Innsbruck central railway station. From the central rail way travel by train to Brennero (also known as Brenner) then to Fortezza (also known as Franzensfeste) then to Dobbiaco (also called Toblach) and then the local Sud Tirol no. 445 bus to Cortina.
If you would like to arrange a private transfer from Innsbruck or Venice or any other destination then we can recommend the services of www.taxicortinasci.it
When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:
Mountain Rescue Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.
Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance
You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.
As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.
Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.
All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions.
If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.
For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.
Winter mountain weather in the European Alps can vary considerably, and in this respect it is no different to any mountain environment where the terrain influences the weather and it can change from valley to valley.
In winter the weather can deliver everything from clear blue skies, and glorious sunshine, to heavy snowfall and strong winds. Essentially, as with all mountain journeys, you should be prepared for any eventuality.
Temperatures vary depending on the month, generally December, January, and February are colder, but by March and April the temperatures are warming up and spring is on the way.
In December and January they can range from -10°Celsius (14°F) to 3°Celsius (37.4F), in February from -5°Celsius (23°F) to 7°Celsius (44.6°F), and in March from 0°Celsius (32°F) to 13°Celsius (55.4°F).
The above figures are a general indication only as the weather can vary considerably year on year for any given month.
When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have the appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you might encounter and the accommodation you will be staying in.
Generally clothing for snowshoeing should be equivalent to that used for walking in the mountains in winter. For this trip all the necessary snowshoe equipment is provided free of charge. This includes snowshoes, walking poles, snow probe, snow shovel, and avalanche transceiver. The carrying of this safety equipment is compulsory and demonstrates ‘best practice’.
Your guide will arrive at the ‘Welcome Meeting’ with only enough snowshoe equipment for those who have booked it via their Booking Form.
Personal First Aid
**Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**
Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit
The image below gives examples of how snowshoes can be attached to your rucksack
On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.
The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person.
If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened.
Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.
For each of our trips a minimum number of guests is required before we can confirm that your trip will go-ahead. The minimum and maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page.
We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.
When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. This trip has a single supplement of £400.
We go to great lengths to work with first class guides who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.
Please note your snowshoe guide has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. This is particularly relevant in a winter environment where the snowpack can change on a daily basis.
For our Dolomites snowshoe trip your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced IFMGA International Mountain Guide. You can learn more about our guides and instructors on the About Us page.
For this trip where you are centre-based, in other words where you are staying in the same accommodation all week, you are welcome to bring whatever luggage you require. However, please note that not all the hotels we use have elevators. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom and this might involve climbing several flights of stairs. We would suggest that luggage with wheels is generally a good idea.
We do not include lunches in your trip fee for various reasons. We have found our guests have particular tastes and requirements for 'trail' or 'hill' food and it is better you purchase your own snacks. Buying supplies and trying local specialities is a great way to inter-act with the local people and to practise your language skills.
Lunches on our trips are 'picnic' style lunches, in other words you take a packed lunch with sufficient snacks, food and fluid to sustain you throughout your day of activity. If there is the possibility of lunch being taken at a restaurant/farm/cafe beside the trail, your guide/instructor will advise you of this.
Each evening you can choose to order a picnic or a sandwich from the hotel, or your guide/instructor will advise you of other options such as a local shop or market and whether you need to purchase items in the evening or if the shop/market is open early enough the next morning not to delay your start. In all cases we would always ask you to settle any 'bill' for lunch or drinks in the evening before you depart, and not on the morning of your last day when there may be a queue.
On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip.
We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day.
The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required.
It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card.
On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.
On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region.
If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.
If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.
If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.
The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly.
A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.
We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:
Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera.
Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.
For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance.
If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it. The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number.
We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.
You can read our full policy here.
Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case.
Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. These are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging other companies to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.
There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners.
We guarantee that companies with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally they may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same.
We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you.
Prices may vary depending on date.
|Code||Start date||Return date||Dates||Price||Status|
|IDS1||Sun 21 Jan||Sun 28 Jan||
Sun 21 Jan - Sun 28 Jan
|Price: £1925||Spaces available||Book|
|IDS2||Sun 03 Mar||Sun 10 Mar||
Sun 03 Mar - Sun 10 Mar
|Price: £1925||Spaces available||Book|
I was surprised by the scenery, absolutely stunning! The food was great, brilliant mix of cultures, with Austrian and Italian dishes. Never quite knew when to speak German or Italian, but loved the challenge.
|Maximum Altitude||2575m (8448ft)|
|Meet In||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy|
A great film showing the beauty of this amazing landscape in winter.