Italy Southern Europe

SKI CENTER LATEMAR IN THE DOLOMITES

A view of the Italian Dolomites from Ski Center Latemar in the Val di Fiemme

SKI CENTER LATEMAR

Ski Center Latemar, Predazzo sits right in the heart of the Italian Dolomites.  Although the Dolomite mountain range has been around since the Triassic Period, UNESCO only declared the Dolomites, along with the Latemar Massif; a World Heritage Site back in 2009.  The limestone mountains have been listed as one of the most beautiful mountain regions in the entire world.  It’s very easy to see why! Rising over 3000 metres above sea level and covering over 547 square miles, the distinctive Dolomites is an area of outstanding natural beauty.  Dramatic vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a density of deep and narrow valleys create the Dolomites unique look.

As well as being a haven for wildlife, the Dolomites is a magnificent human playground with a variety of activities on offer.  In Summer Ski Center Latemar is a hikers paradise with long meadow walks.  For those more daring, there is the opportunity to rock climb or mountain bike down steep alpine descents.  Winter time at Ski Center Latemar and the mountains turn white with a deep covering of snow.  Summer green pastures are now completely covered and skiers and snowboarders convene to carve tracks down the piste.  No matter the season…the Dolomites are alive.

DAY TRIP TO SKI CENTER LATEMAR

Ski Center Latemar resort sits in the western tip of the Dolomites and can be accessed from any one of the three local villages; Obereggen, Pampeago and Predazzo.  The latter is where we’d be beginning our trip for the day.  Just a short 20 minute drive from our apartment at Aparthotel des Alpes in Cavalese, it isn’t long before we arrive.  Upon arrival to Ski Center Latemar tickets were purchased which covered us for the cable car and ski lift to the top of the mountain and back down again, a ride on the Alpine Coaster Gardonè, which is the very reason for our visit; and lunch at Rifugio Passo Feudo, the restaurant at the very top of Ski Center Latemar.

 

OLYMPIC SKI SLOPE

Something very notable at Ski Center Latemar is the Giuseppe Dal Ben Ski Jump Arena of Val di Fiemme.  Host to the World Cup competitions of 1990, the venue has since played host to several national and international events.  Including the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined World Championships in 1991, 2003 and 2013.  Usage is permitted only during training and competitions with many foreign and Italian teams taking advantage of the excellent facilities.  Athletes can be seen jumping off the ski jump directly from the lower car park and main road.  The stadium was named after Giuseppe Dal Ben, a local personality who supported and promoted the values of sport to many generations in the valley of Val di Fiemme.  No activity on the jump today!

READ ALL ABOUT OUR HOLIDAY AT ALPE CERMIS IN CAVALESE

DON’T DILLY DALLY ON THE WAY

There’s no time to dilly-dally.  Lunch time is fast approaching and it’s best not to keep our hungry monkeys waiting.  Much like the cable car at Alpe Cermis in Cavalese, the journey to the top of the Ski Center Latemar is through a clearing between a density of pine trees, but it appears to be much steeper.  Slightly worrying was the fact there wasn’t a single patch of snow to be seen!  As the pine trees become fewer and fewer, the slopes open out and the snow makes an appearance.  The cable car continues upwards above the heads of skiers and snowboarders as they carve their way down the slopes.  There are phenomenal 360° views in every direction.  The Dolomites are truly breathtaking.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SNOWMAN AND A SNOWWOMAN?

SNOWBALLS!

At the top of the mountain we stood in wonder and admired the spectacular views that the Dolomites offer in abundance.  Rifugio Passo Feudo is today’s lunch venue, and as it’s lunch time, as you can probably imagine, it’s very busy.  Thankfully we locate a seat in the corner and a waitress approaches almost immediately.  As mentioned previously, the food was included in our ticket price.  Usual grub on offer; traditional breads, pizza, pasta, risotto and a great selection of salads, cold meats and cheeses…tasty!  Lunch over it’s back outside to admire the views of the Pale di San Martino group and the Lagorai chain.   The snow was quite deep so Lily-Belle and Matilda made snow angels and threw lots of snowballs.

DRAKE, BUT NOT THE CANADIAN RAPPER

After lunch we stumbled upon a snowboarder sat in the snow strapping his boots into his bindings.  The Dolomites backdrop was spectacular and the bottom of his board caught my eye…DRAKE…quality snowboards made in Italy.  A quick chat and thankfully the ‘dude’ allowed me to take his photo.  Next for us is a short descent part way down the mountain to ride the Alpine Coaster Gardonè.

LIFE IS FULL OF UPS AND DOWNS

The Alpine Coaster Gardonè nestles inconspicuously into the Latemar mountainside at an altitude of 1650 metres.  The toboggan takes you on a speedy and thrilling descent through the natural beauty of unspoilt meadows and woodlands of the Feudo Woods.  The ride itself is amazing, and fast…well, as fast as you dare to go!  Seating within the toboggan is a little snug and after a short journey upwards, the ride suddenly bursts into life.  120 seconds to get to the top…

…and 90 seconds to get down.  Thankfully you are in complete control of the hair-raising descent with the use of a hand-operated brake.  Pull gently on the brake and take in the beautiful views at your own leisurely pace or ease off and glide effortlessly around the twisty track at speeds of up to 25mph.  Either way, the ride is thrilling for both children and adults alike.  Lily-Belle and I (Daddy) enjoyed the ride so much, we rode it 3 times.  Poor Matilda wasn’t tall enough so she had to sit this one out.  The Alpine Coaster Gardonè ride is exhilarating and well worth the trip up the Ski Center Latemar mountain.

SNOW AND SUNLOUNGERS

Back home in Northern Ireland Lily-Belle and Matilda like to visit the play park after school.  Unfortunately the weather rarely allows their request.  Beside the Baita Gardonè restaurant there is a small play area with plastic tunnels, huts and colourful climbing trains.  Matilda missed out on the Alpine Coaster Gardonè therefore she took full advantage of the play area, as did Lily-Belle.  The play area is situated next to a large decked area with outdoor seating and benches…and sunloungers.  Temperature at Ski Center Latemar isn’t much above minus but that doesn’t stop visitors to the mountain from catching a few rays.  Mummy and Daddy are content to sit on a bench and enjoy a tipple.  Cheers!

LOO, LOO, SLIDE TO THE LOO

Before we leave Ski Center Latemar there is the usual battle of wills to get our girls to visit the loo.  On this occasion though it was an absolute must as we had one last surprise for Lily-Belle and Matilda.  An indoor slide!  Our girls were astonished to see an indoor slide which took you down to the lower level toilets.  Absolutely no problem getting them to visit the loo once they saw the slide.  However, one go on the slide wasn’t enough and it took us ages to drag them away.  Nightmare!  For those not brave enough to use the slide, fear not, there’s also steps.  What a way to end our day trip to Ski Center Latemar.  Time to nip back to our apartment at Aparthotel des Alpes and get ready for an evening out at Tito il Maso dello Speck.  A great day thus far…loads of fun!

READ ALL ABOUT TITO IL MASO DELLO SPECK IN OUR ALPE CERMIS BLOG

WOULD WE VISIT AGAIN?

In a nutshell, yes.  Ski Center Latemar has a lot to offer no matter what the season.  The facilities are excellent and the highlight for us was the ride on the Alpine Coaster Gardonè.  Such a thrill!  The views of the Dolomites are astonishing and the natural beauty takes your breath away in every direction.  Stunning!

LILY-BELLE (age 9) SAYS 
I know I should say I liked the Alpine Coaster Gardonè best but I really enjoyed the indoor slide going to the toilets.  The slide was so much fun but yes, I did enjoy the Alpine Coaster Gardonè as well.  Snow was much deeper at Ski Center Latemar than at Alpe Cermis so it was great fun making snow angel’s and throwing snowballs.

MATILDA (age 3) SAYS
It wasn’t fair because I was too little to go on the ride.  Me and Mummy had fun at the playpark.  The slide was inside…seriously!

Ski Center Latemar and Alpine Coaster Gardonè

Date of trip:  24th March 2018
Website:  click to visit the Ski Center Latemar website
Website:  click to visit the Alpine Coaster Gardonè website
Special Passo Feudo:  return cable car ticket + return chair lift ticket + 1 run alpine coaster gardonè + 1 lunch at Rifugio Passo Feudo

  • Adult:  €31.00
  • Children:  €23.00

note: children under 8 receive a free lift pass, food is purchased separately

Alpine Coaster Gardonè – pricing

  • Adult:  €5.00 (single run), €19.00 (five runs) and €34.00 (ten runs)
  • Children:  €3.50 (single run), €14.00 (five runs) and €24.00 (ten runs)

note: children must be a minimum height of 105cm to ride the Alpine Coaster Gardonè – visit website for further info

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Information, currency and prices are correct at the time of publishing.
Views, opinions and experiences are that of The Callaghan Posse and are correct at the time of publication.
Photos, unless credited, are taken by The Callaghan Posse for use and distribution by Around The World In 18 Years.

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