Italian Food & Fun 2013

Italian Food & Fun, San Cassiano, March 2013


It's a standing joke on skiing holidays that we always want it to snow heavily overnight, and then blue sky and sun during the day. It's a joke because it never happens. Except for our 2013 "Italian Food & Fun" coaching holiday, where it did more or less just that! Continuing the amazing 2012/13 season, we had brilliant conditions with a lot of fresh snow at the beginning of the week, a couple of top-ups during the week and some really lovely bluebird days in between. It started to snow as we arrived in resort, and continued overnight and through our first day. This was our only time during the week when visibility was a bit poor, but San Cassiano and the Sella Ronda ski circuit are blessed with extensive tree-lined runs, so we had plenty of places to head to when it was very cloudy.

With so much snow on piste on the first day it gave us a great opportunity to introduce or develop our off-piste skills. For some people there was a real breakthrough moment when we looked at how strong, how physical we needed to be in those conditions, to make sure we were the pilot of our skis not just a passenger!

Powder 1 Powder 2

Powder 3 Powder 4

Snow quantities were pretty insane, with the Dolomites having one of their best seasons ever. This photo taken on Day 1 just about sums up how good things were! The piste marker between us is about 2.5m tall.

Piste marker

Day 2 dawned bright and deep! 30cm of fresh, light snow sparkling underneath a blue sky. Difficult to imagine more perfect conditions. Our hotel in San Cassiano is in an unbeatable location, where you step out of the door and clip straight in to your skis. It is at the intersection of a red and a blue piste, just 60m away from the main gondola out of the village.




In general piste preparation in this part of Italy is second to none, and we enjoyed perfect piste conditions all week. The red piste directly above our hotel being particular favourite profiling not only great teaching terrain but an ideal warm-up blast before the day started. We had plenty of opportunity for developing our carving skiing, skills for steep terrain and the fundamental elements of skiing. Each day we used video analysis to examine in more detail what we did, with video review back in the hotel each evening over a glass of cold beer or very reasonably priced prosecco.

One of the reasons we return to the Dolomites year after year is the amazing scenery. It genuinely is jaw-dropping, and for this trip we were blessed with great weather to enjoy each and every view.


Hidden Valley

deckchair drill

Another reason why we return to this part of Italy is the wonderful range of piste-side bars and restaurants. Not for nothing do we call this trip "Italian Food & Fun"! Located near the Austrian border the cuisine is a mix of traditional Italian and German standards, giving something for everyone. The coffee is reasonably priced and elegantly served. The pasta is worth making the journey for, and there is every conceivable mix of meat and dumplings. And the desserts ensure this is not a low-cal holiday! Each day we try to finish the morning's coaching at a different restaurant, sampling all the region has to offer and providing plenty of ballast for that afternoon's free skiing.

Food 1 Food 3 Food 4 (1)

Food 3 (1) Food 1 (1) Food 2 (2)

Food 2 Food 1 (2) Food 2 (1)

Anyway, back to the blog! The week continued with more great weather during the day, and a couple of top-ups of fresh snow overnight. Good progress was made with everyone's skiing. The Improvers Group made their way around the domain on increasingly steep runs with confidence; the Intermediate Group refined their skills, making their first turns in deep snow and smashing the syncro-skiing down the steepest black run in the area; and the Advanced Group looking faster and faster in the variable snow. Video review in the evening was, as ever, a great way to show progress and key points to work on the following day.

Skiing 1 Skiing 2

Skiing 3 Skiing 4

Midweek has a rest day for the hotel staff, so most people took the chance for a piste-basher ride back up the mountain for a pizza or pasta at the Las Vegas restaurant. This is one of our favourites, and is often the location for a sundowner drink at the end of the skiing day. It also is a great venue for dinner once a week, not least because of the fun of riding in a converted piste basher to get there.

Pizza night 1 Pizza night 2

Pizza night 3 Pizza night 4

The great weather and perfect conditions continued until the end of the week, and the smiles just got bigger and bigger. Everyone made exceptional progress with their skiing, and the "Italian Food & Fun" trip has become one of the firm favourites on our coaching holiday calendar. For more photos see the slideshow.