[In the photo: snowshoeing by the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites. Photo credit: James Rushforth.]
A cheaper, easier, slower - and rewarding - alternative to skiing?
Snowshoeing – which is basically hiking in the snow using a pair of racket-like devices attached to the sole of your boots. This allows you to walk on snow-covered ground without sinking.
Now among the fastest growing winter sports, snowshoeing has actually been around for thousands of years as a means of moving around, especially by hunters and farmers who could thus walk amid deep snow.
The great thing about snowshoeing is that anybody can do it (and it’s a great workout too)!
The best place to practice snowshoeing in Italy? The Dolomites, usually associated with skiing in the winter.
But, as all-round mountaineer James Rushforth points out in the newly published Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites (Cicerone Press), “Away from the hustle and bustle of the piste lies an intricate network of peaks, ridges, couloirs, open faces and snow-covered valleys; a veritable winter paradise for those willing to venture off the beaten track and explore the backcountry.”
In the book, Rushforth describes in details the itineraries for 50 ski touring and snowshoeing routes amid the breathtaking landscapes of the ‘Pale Mountains’. Ranging from 5km to 18km and graded for difficulty, the routes all take less than a day to complete and depart from easily accessible areas, such as Cortina, Arabba, Corvara, Canazei, San Martino and San Vigilio. The itineraries section is preceded by an introduction that gives an overview of the history of the area, as well as tips on getting around, what to bring, where to stay, and mountain safety. The size of the guidebook makes it easy to fit in your backpack, or even in a large pocket.
Whether you're new to snowshoeing or you have some experience, you'll find plenty of inspiration inside Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites. We selected five hikes from the guidebook that are great for beginners. For details and more suggestions, buy the book here.
Five Hikes for Beginner Snowshoers in the Dolomites
Latemar Labyrinth, Val di Fassa
This 10-km snowshoeing excursion has an easy ascent and descent of 150m and takes 5 to 6 hours to complete. It traverses under the Latemar peaks and through the ‘Labyrinth,’ a maze of boulders and rock beneath the Latemar range.
Posporcora and Col Rosa Circuit, North of Cortina
A 14-km excursion encircling the remote peak of Col Rosa (2166m) with great views of the Ampezzo basin and the Fiames and Fanis groups.
Rifugio Venezia traverse, Val di Zoldo
Be prepared for amazing views as you traverse under the imposing south and east faces of Monte Pelmo (3168m), with spectacular views of Monte Civetta (3220), Antelao (3264) and Cima dei Preti (2703m).
Pisciadù and the Ciampac Traverse, South Val Badia
A 12-km circular itinerary that combines: varied terrain, from pisted tracks to untouched snow; two walks with great views; a secluded mountain hut; and the beautiful church of Colfosco.
Cinque Torri and Nuvolau, North Val Badia
A snowshoe trip that offers both stunning views of one of the most iconic symbols of the Dolomites, the Cinque Torri (five towers), and the chance to experience some history as the trail touches on trenches and bunkers built during the First World War.
More guidebooks from Cicerone Press are available in our online shop.