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Ski tour and snowshoe in the Dolomites with a Cicerone guidebook - Introduction

Cover of Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites
24 Jan 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
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Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites

50 winter routes

by James Rushforth
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guidebook to winter in the Dolomites, featuring 50 ski touring and snowshoeing routes in the Italian mountain range. The graded routes, all of which take less than a day to complete, commence from the bases of Cortina, Arabba, Val di Zoldo, San Martino and San Vigilio, taking in stunning scenery, quaint villages and enchanting mountain vistas.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
Weight: 320g

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Guidebook to 50 ski touring and snowshoeing routes in the Dolomites. The routes, which carry an Alpine (and when appropriate, a Volo/Toponeige) grading, range from 5km to 18km, taking between 2 and 7 hours to complete. The routes are based in and around areas such as Canazei, Arabba, Corvara and San Martino, taking in stunning scenery, quaint villages and enchanting mountain vistas.

Clear route descriptions are accompanied by 1:50K mapping and photo topos, together with information such as total ascent and descent (as well as aspect), expected duration of route and equipment required. Also provided is invaluable practical advice on things such as mountain safety and navigation, equipment, transport options to, from and around the Dolomites, ski passes, accommodation and more.

Regarded as one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, the Dolomites offer endless winter escapades. Those who venture off the beaten track and into the backcountry (whether by ski or by shoe) will discover a veritable winter wonderland.

  • Activities
    Snowshoeing and ski touring
  • Seasons
    Winter - during the lift season (from early December until mid April) as this is when the majority of the public services and hotels are open.
  • Centres
    San Martino, Badia, San Vigilio, Corvara, Colfosco, Selva di Val Gardena, Santa Cristina, Ortisei, La Villa, San Cassiano, Cortina, Misurina, Selva di Cadore, Canazei, Arabba, Campitello, Pozza, Vigo di Fassa.
  • Difficulty
    Good navigational and mountain skills are essential for all routes as the summer tracks are covered in snow. The ski tours require backcountry / mountaineering experience, particularly for assessing the avalanche risk. These will be graded using the 'Volo' or 'Toponeige' scale.
  • Must See
    One of the most beautiful and accessible mountains ranges in the world. The Sella Ronda circuit is a must for piste skiers, while towns such as Cortina d'Ampezzo offer a unique blend of Italian and Tyrolean culture, architecture, history and food. Explore backcountry with views of the Tre Cime (one of the 6 great Alpine North Faces), the Marmolada (the highest peak in the Dolomites), the spires of Sassolungo.

Sept 2017

Apologies but we are unable to supply GPX files  for this guide .


Language and culture
Getting there
Getting around
When to go
Food and drink
Travel and health insurance
Mountain safety
Guiding services
Using this guide
1 Canazei – Val di Fassa
1 Latemar Labyrinth
2 Val San Nicolò
3 Forcia Neigra
4 Val Duron
5 Forcella Sassolungo Nord
2 Canazei and Arabba – Sella Group
6 Val Mesdì
7 Canale del Ghiacciaio
8 Canale Col Anton into Val Lasties
9 Val Setus
3 Ortisei and Selva – Val Gardena
10 Compaccio
11 Alpe di Siusi traverse
12 Chiesetta di San Giacomo and Monte Pic
13 Forcella di Mesdì
14 Forcella della Roa
4 Corvara – South Badia
15 Val de Chedul and Col Toronn
16 Forcella de Ciampei
17 Pisciadù and the Ciampac traverse
18 Santa Croce and Ranch da Andrè
19 Lech dla Lunch to Lech da Sompont
5 San Martino in Badia – North Badia and Fanis
20 Monte Muro
21 Crep dales Dodesc
22 Munt da Medalges
23 Malga Vaciara
24 Utia Lavarella circuit
25 Col Becchei Dessora
26 Monte Castello
6 Arabba – Marmolada and Livinallongo
27 Punta Penia
28 Forcella Marmolada
29 Monte Sief
7 San Cassiano – Passo Falzarego
30 Settsass
31 Forcella Grande
32 Cadin di Fanis
33 Canale della Nonna
34 Col dei Bos
35 Cinque Torri and Nuvolau
36 Tofana di Rozes
8 Selva di Cadore – Passo Giau
37 Monte Pore
38 Monte Mondeval
39 Lastoni di Formin
40 Croda da Lago
9 Pecol – Val di Zoldo
41 Col de la Puina
42 Città di Fiume
43 Rifugio Venezia traverse
44 Spiz de Zuel
10 Cortina and Misurina – Passo Tre Croci and Tre Cime
45 Malga Ra Stua
46 Posporcora and Col Rosa circuit
47 Forcella Faloria traverse
48 Passo del Cristallo
49 Giro delle Tre Cime
50 Sasso di Sesto
Appendix A Glossary of mountains, towns and passes
Appendix B Glossary of mountain terms
Appendix C Useful transport and tourist information contacts
Appendix D Ski schools, mountain guide offices and sports shops
Appendix E Further reading


The dramatic spires of the Dolomites, famously described by Reinhold Messner as ‘the most beautiful mountain range in the world’, are exceptionally popular during the winter months and are home to one of the largest pisted ski areas in the world. The ‘Sella Ronda’, a circular network of lifts and pistes that can be completed in either direction around the Sella Massif, is particularly popular and draws thousands of visitors every year.

Yet away from the hustle and bustle of the piste lies an intricate network of peaks, ridges, couloirs, open faces and snow-covered valleys; a veritable winter paradise for those willing to venture off the beaten track and explore the backcountry.

The practice of skiing and snowshoeing has had a rather mercurial past. While using skis and snowshoes as a means of transportation over snow is well documented, with snowshoes in particular dating back over 4000 years, their popularity as winter pursuits is only comparatively recent. In the 19th century, as the need to venture into the snowy landscapes for hunting purposes declined, both skis and snowshoes began to be used for enjoyment, particularly in North America and Europe. Then, nearly 100 years later, in 1936 the first chairlift was installed in Idaho, marking a move away from backcountry touring and the beginning of the Alpine ski culture. Recently, as equipment and technologies improve both ski touring and snowshoeing have seen a marked resurgence, and the joy of venturing onto virgin snow is steadily being rediscovered.

From this perspective the Dolomites are the ideal location for a winter holiday as, thanks to the area’s popularity as a piste destination, the extensive lift system and excellent road infrastructure provide easy access to some of the most dramatic and inspiring winter locations in the world. The landscape is so unique, the possibilities for exploration so endless and the cultural heritage so diverse that no matter how many times you visit, the Dolomites always have something new to offer: an alternative couloir to ski, a hidden valley to explore, a different dialect to overhear. Those looking to be challenged will rejoice in the steep snowfilled gullies while snowshoers wishing to break fresh trails across deep, untracked snow can delight in the open valleys and hillsides. And, although interest in the backcountry is most certainly on the rise, the wealth of opportunities in the Dolomites combined with the relative unwillingness of many skiers and walkers to venture off the pisted routes means first tracks and untouched expanses of fresh snow can often be found.

The Dolomites are an ideal location for a winter holiday

Whatever your winter passion, be it technical ski mountaineering, steep couloirs or simply a relaxing snowshoe up a remote snow-covered valley, the Dolomites never fail to delight. This guidebook covers 50 snowshoe and ski touring routes, selected for their beauty, accessibility and the likelihood of favourable winter conditions. As well as some of the classics, included are a few hidden gems that enable you to explore the untouched corners of this magical area, each route focusing on the ‘journey’ and placing a balanced emphasis on a spectacular and scenically stunning ascent as well as a dramatic and thrilling descent.

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