When you think ‘European Skiing’, one immediately conjures an image of the Swiss Alps or over-populated towns like St.Moritz and Avoiriaz. Yes, those places are fun but sometimes you want something different, something unique, something less…’brits-abroady’.

Over here at About Time, you know we love an undiscovered gem, which is exactly why The Dolomites in Italy should be your next port of call when planning a weekend of the slopes. Nestled in Northern Italy, The Trentino Dolomites are a true hidden snowy paradise (for Brits at least). A spot where the Italians take vacations, along with travellers from nearby Austria and Liechtenstein, making it the truly ideal spot for a relaxing ski holiday – swapping those aprés-shots for cucumber water and stunning saunas. Flying over for a gorgeous weekend, we headed to the commune of San Martino di Castrozza, just a two-hour drive from Treviso Aiport with daily flights from London Stanstead. During the winter, San Martino provides 37.3 miles of skiable slopes, with enough variety whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total newbie. Changing the parameters of the classic ski break, Trentino is going to be the next must-visit destination, mark our words.

Photo Credit: Alessandro Faedda

Trentino Guide: Where to Stay

For Old School Glamour: Hotel Colbriccon

The Lowdown: Stepping into Hotel Colbriccon feels like you’ve entered into a glorious Italian timewarp. With its exuberant features (think crystal chandeliers and a grand piano in the foyer), this alpine-style lodge is the ideal bolthole for your skiing adventure in the Dolomites. Walls are festooned with wooden panelling, there are patterns aplenty, and this sort of accommodation wouldn’t look out of place in the next series of the White Lotus.

It’s everything you could want from a hotel; walking distance to the ski school, spacious, comfortable and very clean bedrooms, and an on-site spa. Located on the lower floors of the hotel, the spa is just the ticket after a day on the slopes. Featuring a 10-person hot tub, 4 different kinds of saunas (herbal, dry, steamed and traditional), plus a foot spa and a tropical rainfall shower, you can easily spend a few hours here and feel incredible afterwards.

Overlooked by the Pale di San Martino mountains, Hotel Colbriccon also comes in at a wallet-friendly price point, with rooms from just £160 a night.

Where: Via Passo Rolle, 229, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy

Trentino Guide: Where to Eat

For Hearty Fare: Chalet Prà delle Nasse

The Lowdown: With San Martino di Castrozza located not too far from Austria, the food here has a charming Bavarian flair. Flavours are rich, meals are dominated by perfectly-cooked meats, and carb-dense foods reign supreme. In short: it’s heaven post-slopes. Chalet Prà delle Nasse has become an institution with locals and holidaymakers – and it’s not hard to see why.

We visited for lunch and were met with generous serves of Aperol Spritz, Canederli (Italian bread dumplings that were a revelation), and local meats cooked on a BBQ (everything from steak to burgers). There’s a real passion here for utilising local, homegrown ingredients as well as shining a spotlight on Northern Italian cuisine. We – after not a lot of persuasions from the owner – managed to also sink down an apple strudel, which was flakey, nicely spiced, and well, delicious.

Where: Via Cavallazza 24, San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy

For Drinking: El Barisel Apres Ski

The Lowdown: Go to any ski resort, and you’ll always find one pub/bar/place that sells drinks where throngs of tourists descend to post-skiing. In San Martino di Castrozza, El Barisel Apres Ski is that place. The wood-cladden bar knocks out Aperol Spritz at 4 Euros a pop along with pints of beer for less than your local Wetherspoons. The drinks are strong, and the prices are cheap. Food is bar/drinking snacks consisting of toasties sarnies, cheese croquettes and a selection of deep-fried delights.

Where: Via Passo Rolle, 100, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy

For Pizza: Pizzeria La Vecchia Fornace

The Lowdown: Many say that Pizzeria La Vecchia Fornace produces the best pizza in town – and we would have to agree. This pizzeria cum sports bar’s decor can only be described as US gift shop chic (in a good way of course). Massive Route 66 memorabilia adorn the walls, interspersed with movie and sports prints, adding a fun charm amongst all the traditional interiors elsewhere in the village. The menu is comprehensive but we ordered their restaurant’s namesake: its ‘za. The pizza here boasts blistered crusts and a light and fluffy base, liberally topped with your chosen ingredients. Play your cards right and you’ll end up with some complimentary limoncello or grappa at the end of your meal. Even on the greyest of days, the staff always bring the sunshine.

Where: Via Senatore Angelo Mott, 13, 38054 San Martino di Castrozza TN, Italy

Trentino Guide: Where to Do and See

For Skiing: San Martino di Castrozza Ski Resort

The Lowdown: San Martino di Castrozza Ski Resort is what you’d call a low-key ski resort – it’s easy to navigate and not overcrowded (a win/win). Spanning three small ski areas covering 60km of marked slopes and surrounded by incredible Dolomite Scenery, the resort is home to lots of wide and smooth runs that feel quiet enough to get some speed if you’re a pro but also indulge in a lot of open space for the less confident.

The slopes in the town cater to all difficulty levels, and while we were more blue than black runs, there’s plenty of choice for the beginner skiers with wide-open mountaintop pistes and tree-lined trails lower down. Offering different gradients, and lots of variety for fun skiing and snowboarding, it’s a very special winter sports resort that really makes you feel like you own the mountain. Spend a whole day meandering around, and, like we did, stop off at the Italian chalet at the summit for a pitshop of pizza and beer.

For a Quaint Italian Village: Mezzano

The Lowdown: Labelled as one of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’ Mezzano, located 30 minutes drive from San Martino di Castrozza, is where aged-old charm meets Italian simplicity. The village, which is home to under 2,000 inhabitants, is known for its buildings of wood and stone. You don’t need long here, but it’s worth a meander down the narrow cobbled streets, and is perfect for getting those pics of you living your best Italian life.
The Lowdown: If, like us, you have a partner that needs to scout out local beers every holiday, then you’re in luck as The Dolomites is full of great craft options. A true highlight in the region, Birrificio Bionoc was started 10 years ago by Fabio and Nicola, two friends with a passion for great beer. Over the last decade, the duo have built one of the region’s most popular craft breweries, creating a series of unique beers and making their taproom a must-visit destination.
Highlights included the LIPA, a hearty 6% IPA made to pair with rich meats, and their Golden Ale inspired by trips to classic English pubs. Bionoc also craft a lot of seasonal and small-batch beers, meaning you can try something different on each visit. If you’re a beer fan and want to try something delicious, or even just broaden your horizons, definitely add this to your itinerary.
For further information on the Trentino Dolomites, see here