For a long time Alta Badia (a Ladin valley within the Eastern Italian Alps) has been the best kept secrets among skiers, gourmets and mountain lovers (especially among Germans and Italians). Now although it is getting some glamorous attention it is still a pristine and beautiful place. After having skied all over the Alps (from Megeve to Zermatt, from Saint Moritz to Kitzbuhel) I must confirm that Val Badia can offer the best ski, food and panoramas of the whole Alpine chain. Indeed, the mountains around Corvara, Colfosco, La Villa, San Cassiano and Armentarola are connected to one of the biggest and most scenic ski areas in the world, the Dolomiti Superski with 1500 kms of slopes. Among enchanted dramatic peaks, gourmets restaurants, kind people and beautiful villages, skiers of all abilities can find paradise.
The greatest discovery, however, was the Scola de Schi Dolomites located both at la Villa and Armentarola (I have only used the latter). To say that this is the best ski school of the area is not enough! The moment I reserved my ski instructor to the way I was welcomed and of course my actual ski lessons made my vacation memorable. The Armentarola school is located in a typical alpine chalet on an idyllic road and close to a fairy tale forest under the majestic Dolomites. Elena, a secretary extraordinaire, is kind and professional and can arrange ski-boot rentals in minutes and instructors assignments according to your ability and requests. During the low season she can create a ski schedule which could be defined as tailor-made. Elena can arrange any possible corollary of skiing: snowboard, helicopter skiing, special guided excursions, night ski tours etc. The greatest advantage of the Armentarola branch is that it is quite small, extremely efficient and composed by mainly young instructors. I have noticed that this is not true in other schools of the Dolomites where there is (sometimes) a sad lack of enthusiasm. The Scola de Schi Dolomites team conveys passion and love for what they do. More specifically I have taken lessons with Ingemar Comploi and I have no words to recommend him highly enough. He knows the slopes around Alta Badia and beyond by heart. I took a full day ski lesson for an entire week and he was the best ski instructors I have ever had. My sky ability evolved from blue to red slope in less than a week. My experience was so positive that I went back after 1 month and I finally skied the most dramatic black slopes of the Dolomiti Superski. Ingemar has a way to teach which is very professional and yet never intrusive. I had taken many ski lessons before but strangely enough I was not improving and I always felt that the instructors were making an effort even in being there. Through his enthusiasm Ingemar teaches you how to improve your balance, you posture, your movements and then stops when a majestic cliff appears to simply shock you by the poetic beauty of Alta Badia. If you go to ski in this region ask one of the instructors of the Scola de Schi Dolomites to take you to the Lagazuoi. It is the most beautiful ski slope: among the rocks where the movie Cliffhanger (with Sylvester Stallone) was filmed you will ski among boulders and dramatic views; then, after an amazing lunch at Rifugio Scotoni (in front of a fireplace) you ll go back home carried by a horse along a pristine river within the forests of the Armentarola. It is a dream! I am already booking my next session of lessons with this amazing teacher and I am planning to reach the Marmolada (the main glacier and the highest mountain of the Dolomites) by helicopter. It is supposed to be one of the most spectacular experiences on the Alps.
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