Dolomites Cross Country Ski Trip, 2024

by Linda Graupner

We were very lucky with the weather. Day after day of sunny blue skies. Temperatures would drop at night, keeping the snow in good shape and then we had clear sunshine until mid-afternoon when shade would cause the the temperature to drop like a stone. Everything was well groomed and well signed.

Every hotel had a spa. Some had a pool. The rooms were comfortable. Breakfasts and dinners were sumptuous. It was hard to lose weight on this trip! Everywhere there were rustic and very busy mountain refuges where we could get coffee or lunch to keep us going. Also everywhere were hardpacked winter hiking trails over the snow, usually following the line of the ski trails, so when we stopped at the refuges, there would be children and dogs and strollers and older hikers. Kappa commented that “It’s great to see so many kids and families out here. They are all so fit. And every hotel is somewhere I’d like to stay. I love this place. I want to come back in the summer. And do some hiking.”

We saw horse-drawn sleighs and hot-air balloons. There were snow sculptures in San Candido (Innichen). A lot of people stopped in on their way to Sesto (Sexten). One glorious day we hiked up to an incredible mountain lookout where we looked out over a wide semi-circle of Alpen peaks. Incredible! Sanborn did a sled run from the high alpine meadow where we were for a couple days Prato Piazza (Plaetz Wiese), which was very cautious but fun!

We each had a week-long ski pass, which monitors checked most days. We discovered we had to fill them out, which we hadn’t done. We also had bus passes, but they weren’t used much. Mostly we skied from town to town on a great network of trails. Sanborn had driven up from her house in Tuscany, so she sometimes did a variation on the day’s plans.

We absolutely had an A-Group: Marg, Ann, Lori, Corinne, Kappa, and sometimes Linda, and sometimes Jacquie. They always did extra kilometers, even on the last day when the trail to Cortina D’Ampezzo was closed due to lack of snow (see below)! They would do 30-40 km without noticing how many klicks had passed them by. Marg commented that “The trails weren’t hard, but the views more than made up for it. ”

We certainly had some adventures. Tim was briefly locked out on patio. Agnes had her skis stolen… but only briefly and, as it turned out, by her husband. 🙂 On day 4 or 5, Steve skied the longest he’s skied in years. A personal record! One day Linda’s klister just would not cooperate and she had an extra challenge where a ski would catch and abruptly stop her in her tracks. One evening in Sesto, somebody bought some giant capers as a snack. They were an awesome treat!


“Just gorgeous scenery, the ski was fantastic in the morning. There was the sun and we had to stop so many times… And then we went hiking and the view of the peaks was amazing. I just love high mountains! The blue sky!”

“The people really make a difference. There were four of us skiing, and we’d stop sometimes. It was so Wow that Linda and I … it is just such a sweet memory. ”

“The scenery on the whole trip has been just fantastic but to me (Linda) the scenery on the hiking in the high plateau was the most amazing. Among the five most beautiful places I’ve ever been.”

“It’s great to do a winter trip.”

“I love the group. The group makes it fun. The activity level is quite high.”

“I’m struck by how well everyone is doing, especially Jackie who hasn’t skied in ages. She was keeping up in the black trails perfectly.”

Irene commented that “Today’s additional loop was quite magical. The little black circle. Little used. Maybe a dozen tracks. Good snow. There’s a little monument to WWI, with barbed wire around a cross. Maybe about prisoners of war. It wasn’t hard. I don’t know why it was black.”

For Steve “The highlight was doing the really long trail. It’s the longest I’ve done for two years, so it was a really big deal.” He was so pleased!

Ah yes, the trail down to Cortina… That was the A-Group in perfect action!

According to Corinne “We went over the top of the hill and when we got to a sign that the trail was closed because it was far from the road and no bus stop there anyhow, we took the closed trail. It wasn’t groomed. Then it became very icy and some sections without snow at all. There were two tunnels, complete with stalagtites. We had to take our skis off and carried on down. Later, when it was pure ice and bare patches, it seemed safer to go with skis not on foot. Then there were 2.5km without snow, so we walked that. We passed an area where there had been a rockfall. It was sheer cliffs. It was very beautiful.”

Kappa, Jackie, Steve who went to Cortina early instead of skiing, according to Kappa, “We took the bus at 9:05 and got the Cortina an hour later. We checked in and wandered the stores, finding the amazing Coopertiva department store. Then we went on a hike. 7.5miles…! And as we are walking down the icy trail, Tim caught up with us. He had skied all the way. We were very impressive by his solo adventure! And Jacquie and I got to catch up finally! We live very close to each other but we don’t have the chance to chat often enough. Then I had my massage…and Jackie climbed into her jet tub that didn’t work. And Jacquie got to hear the Eddie story. ”

The Eddie story, as told by Sanborn: “We were in Dobbiaco (Toblach) on the last morning after the first group had already left. The woman catches me with her phone. Someone on the phone! I took the call. It was Eddie, looking for Jackie, who had just gone. He said he had called just hoping to hear her voice. I laughed ‘and you only got me!’ He laughed too. Such a nice voice! I was happy to pass the message on to Jackie later in the day.”

Again and again people said “The key was great leadership!!”

Thanks for a terrific vacation!