Cortina: The Queen of the Dolomites
Visit the Italian ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Queen of the Dolomites, in winter and chances are good you’ll witness the enrosadira. It’s the pale pink hue that washes over these splendid mountains just as the ski day spins into twilight. Skiers descending the slopes of the Dolomiti Superski — one of the world’s largest ski circuits — pause in wonder, gazing at the pink-orange glow of the surrounding sedimentary rock.
There are three main ski areas belonging to Cortina: Tofana, Cortina Cube, and Lagazuoi – Cinque Torri. They are connected by a ski bus and a single ski pass, and offer 115 km of slope. For a century they’ve been the favourites among locals and ski travellers alike, attracting celebrities, monarchs, and everyday folks fascinated by their vistas, their food, and their well-groomed slopes. At the ski community’s heart is the village of Cortina, with its cobbled streets and stucco walls, the Corso Italia (village square) the home of cappuccino bars, five-star hotels, and chic ski boutiques.
It is here, within Italy’s Südtirol region, that Romans settled thousands of years ago, leaving traces of ancient settlements in their wake. The storied Ampezzo area has also born witness to invading Barbarians, pioneering mountaineers, and, during the Great War (WWI), an epic battle between the Italians and the Austrians now known as the Battle of the Caves. In 1956, the Olympic Winter Games were held at Cortina d’Ampezzo, entering sports history books as the first winter Olympics to be broadcast on television.
In those days, Toni Sailer ruled the race course. The “Blitz from Kitz” (Kitzbühel) won three Olympic Gold medals: downhill, slalom, and giant slalom. Today, Cortina’s Olympia delle Tofane course remains the most striking on the women’s World Cup downhill circuit, with an astoundingly steep start and a perilous path that shoots between Labirinti, jagged pillars of Dolomiti rock. On race days (January 26-29, 2017) it is said the best viewing platform is the sunny deck of the Rifugio Duca D’Aosta, a mid-mountain restaurant where the cappuccino is almost as good as the homemade gnocchi.
As with much of Italy, food, as well as skiing, is at the heart of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Pizzerias are proliferate on the cobbled streets. Wine, ambiance, and wood-burning stoves are among the very good things Cortina does best. The region’s signature dish, casunziei all’Ampezzana, consists of soft half-moons of pasta filled with beetroot. On top: butter, poppyseeds, and Parmesan… delizioso!
Is Cortina the Queen of the Dolomites? Yes it is.
Why Nordica Loves Cortina
Nordica’s love for Cortina may be, in part, due to the proximity of the ski brand’s headquarters. Situated in the Italian region of Veneto in a community called Giavera del Montello, Nordica’s central operations and home of R&D is only two hours due south of the iconic ski town. Cortina’s sunny slopes are used as a testing site for prototypes and equipment innovation; test teams are often led by the Dolomites’ Gianpietro Carli (Gianpi) and Davide Viel – experienced Nordica directors who help testers put new products through their paces.
What’s more, Nordica’s Cortina-based flagship store, Olympia Sport, is an important asset for Nordica and Tecnica Group brands. The shop showcases Nordica’s new products within the heart of Italy's most beloved mountain town — a boutique dedicated not only to the latest in ski equipment, but also to emerging ski fashion and unique alpine lifestyle.