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The slopes near Cortina d'Ampezzo make a lovely winter playground for intermediate level skiers and snowboarders...
Cortina d'Ampezzo ski holidays may provide craggy and dramatic scenery, but this is the Land of La Dolce Vita - a byword for Italian style, and a carefree, laidback approach to life.
There's good, intermediate-friendly skiing to be had in Cortina d'Ampezzo, on the pastures that stretch beneath the limestone cliffs. But for the most part it's only a backdrop to the main sport of posing and preening in the Piazza Venezia, and in the cafes and bars that line the Corso Italia.
Resort height: 1,225m
Cortina's 140km of pistes are divided into several separate areas - the two most important of which are Pomedes and Faloria. Getting between them involves riding a shuttle bus, and then jumping onto a cable car. It's a slow process, and anyone who likes the go-go-go style of skiing in France or North America will get very frustrated here. So too snowboarders and off-piste addicts: the Italian Dolomites area of the Alps, in which Cortina is set, have a notoriously dry climate, and rely heavily on snow cannons. Sometimes, the only snow on the slopes is the man-made stuff.
That said, the less confident kind of intermediates will enjoy the gentle pitch of the slopes, and the lazy, undemanding approach to skiing, which involves lots of stops for coffee in the morning, and drinks in the afternoon. The mountain restaurants above town are superb too - but be sure to book a table in advance.
Finally, for first-time skiers, there's a highly rated area of beginner runs in the Socrepes sector.
The easiest way to get to Cortina d'Ampezzo is to fly to Treviso airport, which is about 90 minutes away...
Venice airport is a two-hour drive on a good run - but the trip will take longer at weekends.
The skiing in Cortina d'Ampezzo is best suited to skiers who are trying the sport for the first time or still building their confidence...
Experts will probably find the ski area a bit limiting, though, while those in search of powder will usually be better off elsewhere.
Attractive Cortina d'Ampezzo is a mecca for stylish Italians, making it a great place to relax and watch the world go by...
The party scene in Cortina has a very Italian flavour: quieter than the likes of St Anton or Verbier, and much more concerned with looking good than letting your hair down! You might want to change into your glad rags before you sample it. Start by joining the people-parade on the Piazza Venezia, and then migrate to the Enoteca wine bar.
Non-skiers will be in good company. Many people come to Cortina simply to relax in a beautiful mountain environment rather than to ski. They like to shop too: popping into the fashion boutiques that line the Corso Italia. Anyone in search of more active pursuits will find a bobsleigh track, a curling centre, a large public pool and gym, and - when there's snow - good cross-country skiing too.
Cost of living 7/10
It's one of Italy's ritziest resorts, but the international market has ignored Cortina in recent years, and so it hasn't seen the vertiginous hike in prices endured by the likes of Courchevel, Val d'Isere and Verbier. The very best food and wine is much cheaper here as a result - especially if you drink Italian "champagne" rather than the French stuff.
Attractiveness of the resort 9/10
Cortina is a sprawling town, marked by more than a hundred years of mountain tourism - so don't expect to find a huddle of simple, rustic chalets. That said, the glittering boutiques, elegant bars and beautiful people make it an attractive spot - and one with a different character from most ski resorts. The mountain scenery is superb and, thanks to a system of roads and cable cars, can be enjoyed by skiers and non-skiers alike.