San Cassiano, Alta Badia? Huh? Where is it? Buried in the Dolomites, Rome conquered their Rhaetian forebearers 2,000 years ago. That culture is still preserved and today the locals speak ancient Ladin. It was ruled by the Hapsburgs and became part of Italy after WWI. Today San Cassiano is a jewel: romantically Italian, dusted with Austrian efficiency, fine hotels, a butcher, a baker, the grocer, their town church, and the Ladin Museum. No fancy shops here, just an ideally indulgent ski village for families and foodies that won’t empty the bank – perfect!
And the skiing? San Cassiano is one of 12 Dolomite towns totaling 760 trail miles, 149,000 acres of terrain, 450 lifts, 5,800 snow cannons, and 400 restaurants. Big enough, hope so. WWI battles were fought from army tunnels towering above. The battlefields below are today’s pistes. The first chair lift was built in 1947, today all are top of the line. Ski the Sella Ronda over four mountain passes. Dine at a restaurant with fish helicoptered in daily from Venice. Find Hidden Valley’s walls of ice. Too many choices? My friend, Charlie, will guide you till the late day sun turns the mighty Dolomiti vibrant red and if you have an Ikon pass it’ll be good for seven days.