But Cortina is so, so much better than that. To be honest, we hardly registered what was going on in town because the skiing is so intense, so involving and so inviting that we were too shattered to notice.
If we said that it’s possible to spend days fooling around off one shortish chair, you might not believe us. And that was two whole weeks after the last snow had fallen... It's the Veneto region's Old Master and no mistake.
There are four ski areas within striking distance of Cortina, and you’ll generally need a local bus to get to the uplifts. The Cinque Torri is the smallest, sitting on the lower hill and offering fine food and shorter runs. Misurina and Cristallo are on the opposite side of the valley to Tofana, which is the highest station. This is where the pitch steepens up, the pistes are merely there to suggest a route down and some of the named runs aren’t groomed as a matter of course.
Because Cortina is such an old ski station, it has developed more organically than the newer resorts. This makes some of the pistes and lifts, er, different, but the quality and quantity of the skiing easily overcomes this. The best beginner area is below Pocol, where you can gaze around at the other areas you'll hopefully be exploring shortly.
It is a real olde worlde ski town, though the atmosphere does get oddly mixed up alongside its ‘posh shopping’ status. This results in more bars, more coffee shops and more to do of an evening than anywhere else in the Dolomites. Above all it feels very Italian: classic architecture, strong coffee and knowing locals who’ve seen it all before, as have their great-grandparents. The museum has loads of info and old clips of the Olympics held there in 1956, which make compelling viewing.