tanding atop the Marmolada at 8.50 am, is a privilege experienced by a few. Most skiers arrive here much later in the day and only to find a well-skied slope.
From this prime 3,265m (10,712 feet ) ASL vantage point, stand on the slope edge and pivot on your heels and absorb the 180 degree panorama before you. This is a real-life, a 3D version of your Dolomites pocket-ski map.
Look down upon the Gruppo del Sella immediately before you, then broaden your gaze to the great expanse of the mighty Dolomite ski area. Cortina, 5 Torri and Lagazuoi to your right, the Val di Fassa and Val Gardena to your left. Kronplatz can be seen to the north.
The views, of course, remain the same throughout the day, only the light changes ... and the ski slope!
OFFICIAL NAME: Marmolada 'Bellunese'
OFFICIAL GRADING: Red.
SKI SLOPE LENGTH APPROX: 7.5 miles / 12 Km
VERTICAL: 5,981ft / 1,823m.
OUR VIEW: Outstanding, World Class Ski Slope, Super Long, constant, good gradient.
BEST TIME OF DAY: First Lift 8:40 AM
Treasure Every Foot of this 7.5 mile Super Ski Slope
At 8.50am you have the mountain to yourself. The pristine 'Bellunese' ski slope, in the crisp early morning light, invites you to drop-in and treasure every meter of this 12 Km (7.5 mile ) ski run and nearly 1,900m ( 6,233ft ) of vertical.
On one occasion, we arrived here on the first box to find an immaculate 5 inch powder blanket to give a once in a lifetime 'Marmolada Morning' ( actually, this happens once a season ), the name we give to this very special Dolomite Ski Safari experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE - La Bellunese ski slope is groomed every night and often again in the morning. But to experience La Bellunese corduroy you need to be early, lets say before 11:00AM
The Marmolada 'Bellunese' ski run delivers world class skiing time after time, but only to those who arrive before the masses.
Arriving here after mid-morning is a very different experience.
Skiing to the Marmolada
Access to the Marmolada from the main Dolomites ski area clearly depends upon your start point.
You need to head to Cesa del Fouch above Arabba. Pick up the two man chair Sass de la Vegla and the Padon 1 chairlifts.
You are skiing towards the village of Malga Ciapella.
From the top of the Passo Padon, down to the Marmolada lift station, is a long ski. Mind the short drops which become moguls quite quickly. Take care on your return journey through Padon chute, as the slope will be well skied, icy and moguls.
Wide, Few Corners and Constant Gradient
The Marmolada 'Bellunese' ski slope is wide with few corners and a constant gradient which invites you to carve turns at your own comfortable frequency.
Typically, on the Dolomites Ski Safari, we stay at one of the local rifugi, just a five minute ski from the lift station and because of this, we typically ski Marmolada twice, by 10.30am! Within a couple of hours our Dolomites Ski Safariers have bagged around 15 miles / 24k skied and nearly 12,139 ft / 3,700 meters vertical.
Location & History
The Marmolada marks the boundary between regions of Veneto and Trentino. On a day with good visibility and standing on the viewing platform on top of the mountain, visitors can see Venice, approximately 100 kilometres /60 miles to the south-east.
The Marmolada was once the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy. During WWI the mountain became the front line between these two powers. While Austro-Hungarian soldiers dug deep tunnels into the north-facing glacier for protection, the Italian soldiers were quartered on the south face. It is said that as many soldiers died from the weather as did from enemy fire.
The area was also the scene for extraordinary mine warfare. This has permanently affected the terrain of the mountains here.
Today the cable car follows the Marmolada ridge which runs more or less west to east. As you ascend the cable car on the third lift, below you is the Marmolada Glacier, Ghiacciaio della Marmolada. North facing and a relatively flat feature - which you ski over - it is the only large glacier in the Dolomite mountains. As glacier has retreated over recent years, soldiers' remains and belongings are occasionally discovered.
When you exit into the cable car station, be sure to observe the sheer cliffs on the south-facing side of the mountain. They are as dramatic a rock formation as you’ll see anywhere and form a rock face several kilometres long.
The Marmolada ridge has a number of obvious summits which the Punta Penia is the highest at 3,343 m/ 10,968 ft. It is from just below this peak that you begin your ski descent.
The first ascent in 1864, used the north route. While the more challenging south face was climbed for the first time in 1901 by Beatrice Tomasson, Michele Bettega and Bartolo Zagonel.