The "Val di Mesdì" of Cortina d'Ampezzo - a beautiful descent for experienced skiers.


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The Ra Ola Valley is a classic and beautiful run and it could be considered the "Val di Mesdì" of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Not just an off-piste descent this could be considered a ski touring trip even though there's no ascent to be done.

The long traverse that gives access to the Ra Ola Valley from the top station of Bus de Tofana chairlift, faces east - it is very long and it lies on exposed terrain above rocky cliffs, so check the snow layer first.

Skiing down is really beautiful and there is a wide couloir for about 1000m, but the way out is long and tiring down the dirt road of Val di Fanes.

It is suitable to ski at the beginning of spring season, if you take the first lifts in the morning.

It's usually possible to combine this trip with another descent in the second half of the day (either Bus de Tofana or around the Cristallo). Once you get to the top station of the Bus de Tofana chairlift, turn right (facing the mountain) and start traversing under the steep rock walls of Tofana di Mezzo.

Try to traverse, staying as high as possible, (you will need to sidestep at some stage even if you minimise height loss) and be extremely careful on some of the exposed sections.

When you reach the ruins of a WW1 rocky barrack, the last traverse is on a very exposed slope, which you must take to reach the saddle where the descent starts.

Ski down the couloir to the bottom, where you will find it gets flatter and narrower.

Join the summer trail and cross the Ponte dei Cadres bridge, then follow the Val di Fanes dirt road down the Valley.

Once you get to the cross country skiing slope, follow it (it is tiring and flat, so you will need to have a good skating technique!) Head towards Fiames for few kilometres, all the way to the Hotel Fiames where you can have a refreshing drink while you wait for the bus that will take you back to Cortina.

You could also park a second car at the big turn by Sant'Uberto or at the visitor centre of Fanes Natural Park, which is a couple of kilometres before Fiames. Equipment: Crampons and ropes are not necessary, but skins might be useful when breaking trail.