When I think of a ski trip I think of lots of snow, roaring fires and being outdoors active. Nothing quite compares to a chalet Holiday and only once you’ve done it will you be hooked! I recently took my adventures to the Italian Dolomites to Alta Badia to discover what else you could do in the mountains other than non stop skiing. Exploring what else you can get involved with were my top priories for this trip, so I went on a Gourmet SkiSafari and found that a ski holiday is as much about the excellent cuisine as it is about the ski…
Lots of people are quite content just zipping around the slopes over the course of their snow holiday week, taking in the panoramic views and indulging in well earned apres-ski, but what do you do when that isn’t quite enough? Ta-da! Introducing the genius invention called Gourmet SkiSafari. An activity designed for holiday makers to visit a number of mountain restaurants and sample the finest wines and excellent foods, all created by top Michelin star chefs.
I had the opportunity to take part in the Alta Badia SkiSafari nuzzled amongst the mountains of the Dolomites. My only hesitation was the idea of skiing once I’d had a drink, it could work two ways, it could potentially be a bonus and I could become that super relaxed ski bunny, or I could don the snowman look by comically snowballing down the piste. Luckily it wasn’t the second option!
A ski holiday is now as much about the cuisine as it is about the ski, and you definitely can’t head to the Dolomites without taking advantage of the Micheln star venues. At only 40 euros you will be taken for gourmet creations with a wine to compliment at a number of restaurants. The whole trip takes place from 11am until around 3.30pm, giving you the chance to have a lazy morning and the rest of the afternoon to simply relax.
I hadn’t taken a ski trip since 2009 when I lived Val d’Isere so I was rather nervous about keeping up with the group. Around Corvara where we kicked off there is a mixture of blue and red runs, but the majority for this ski safari are situated around red runs. With that in mind I’d advise that a ski safari is not right for a newbie you need to be competent skier – you don’t have to be flawless and someone who only does black runs, but confident in your abilities is a must. This is very important, particularly if you want to enjoy the experience as the majority of slopes on this trip were red.
One of the main things I loved about this area for skiing was the big wide runs! I have skied and snowboarded at so many places where you don’t have much room to negotiate yourself down. It made skiing feel effortless as you weren’t causing any disruption to others, plus if you wanted to take it a little slowly on more challenging runs (or after a wine or too!) you had that flexibility.
We were given a map with the points we needed to ski to, each had drawings of the head chefs for that particular restaurant location. It made the adventure feel somehow fun but also quite personal, because when you arrived at the restaurant there was always a noticeboard with the drawing of the chef on with details of the dish to be tasted.
When I took part in the Alta Badia gourmet ski safari, it began at Piz Arlara restaurant situated conveniently at the top of the first blue run back down to Corbara. Elegantly placed providing scenic and crisp morning views of the surrounding mountains. I must admit it was the perfect spot to start the ski safari off at. After doing a couple of warm up runs I went in for the first dish which was barley from the mill in Villabassa with local
suckling pig and marjoram, teamed with a small glass of Frappato – Nero d’Avola to taste. As expected the course was spot on, avoiding the risotto curse of being too bland, and the culinary error of being too rich. Once I’d consumed this dish I knew the rest of the day would be on a par throughout and I couldn’t wait to pick up the next fork… and the next glass!
From there the group skied to a variety of places each venue offering something new in culinary delights for safari-goers to try. Even though dishes and chefs were different, the talented team were always visual for you to meet and serve their creations. Staff were always extremely attentive offering the complimenting wine to the course once you sat down. I’m no connoisseur when it comes to wine and what flavours work with what, but the wine chosen was absolutely spot on in terms of match with the courses.
I sampled a range of food at each ski restaurant but my favourite has to be my most daring at Col Alt. I’ve never had mussels before because I’m not a fan of that type of texture, or so I always thought. It’s not something I’d go out of my way to try but as it was there (and I knew these chefs knew their stuff), I decided to try the linguine with lemon with mussels, botargo and
crunchy Agerola bread.
I think I stunned myself because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Somehow with the flavoursome sauce teamed with the right amount of linguine, the mussels didn’t taste how I expected – they just blended so well together, particularly with a glass of Alto Adige Pinot Bianc. I was so stunned at myself I even called my husband afterwards to tell him about this new food related revelation!
Finally after skiing about from restaurant to restaurant we finished at a place called Las Vegas (where the next day I started at for breakfast), and returned back down the mountain with a big tummy and happy face.
As you can imagine on this sort of food related adventure, everything was in small portions but you could have more if you wanted to. The same applies to wine but I was quite careful with how much I consumed. I just had this fear I’d get carried away and would be the equivalent of Bambi on ice going down the mountain! Obviously some of those joining us were highly skilled and confident enough to really indulge and still make it down in one piece! This is now considered my ultimate skiing goal!
For me I love skiing and snowboarding but sometimes I like having a bit of direction with my holidays, instead of just mile munching ski safari gives you something a little different than just piste bashing. You may give yourself a goal when you ski, but the difference is this ski safari has many goals with amazing food and great wine at the finish line… plus it happens more than once!
I’d love to do a gourmet ski safari again ideally mid season. As you can see from my photos I went to Alta Badia in the Dolomites when it was still waiting a big snow fall – however we still had skiing thanks to their trusty snow machines! As you can imagine when the real snow is there it would be even better.
Want to find out more about Alta Badia and the Dolomites? Check out my VLOG below…