NIGHT skiing in the Italian Alps deserves quiet – and fortunately the floodlit mountain offered beautiful serenity as I hurtled down it.
It was my first time skiing at night, and it was comfortably the most fun I’ve had on the slopes.
The Paganella ski resort in Trentino allows keen skiers to practise under floodlights twice a week[/caption]
The Paganella ski resort in Trentino allows keen skiers to practise under floodlights twice a week — and the fun doesn’t end on the mountain.
After skiing through the towering trees and chilling air, we stopped to refuel at the Rifugio Dosson, a restaurant serving the unique cuisine the area is famed for. Traditional strangolapreti — spinach and bread dumplings — were washed down with a glass of the local Teroldego wine.
The Italian region of Trentino in the shadows of the Dolomites, a Unesco heritage site, is perfect for those wanting to combine the thrill of skiing with the culture and foodie pleasures of a city break.
It’s ideal for an early spring getaway where down in the valleys, the city of Trento lies among glorious green vineyards and evergreen trees, while the mountains boast brilliant white, with the peaks remaining satisfyingly covered in snow even halfway into March.
Trento, the capital of the region of Trentino, is a vibrant, bustling city with oodles of Renaissance charm and plenty to shout about[/caption]
The skiing itself is perfect for all abilities — the Fai side of the mountain contains mainly intermediate red runs, but are more than comfortable for those with just a few weeks’ skiing experience.
The wide pistes are common across the resort, meaning even at busier times there is plenty of room to ensure safety and space to express yourself.
Rising through the low mist and on to the summit of Cima Paganella, I basked in the glory of it all.
Peering across endless blue skies, it was just possible to spot Lake Garda poking through the gap between the jagged mountain sides.
Trentino certainly delivers on its promise with a winning combination of historic city, rural vineyards and skiing excitement[/caption]
In a full day of skiing I was able to take in both the Fai side of the mountain and the Andalo area, with the latter offering a greater variety of slopes, and the heavenly night skiing area. There is even a library halfway up the mountain. The Unesco-funded “Biblioigloo” is an igloo-shaped classroom where kids get stuck into culture, art and nature workshops from eight euros each.
Our base in the mountains was the Hotel Al Sole, a spacious hotel in the village of Fai.
It is the ideal venue to relax in after a hard day on the slopes, but became even more satisfying as I entered its wellness and spa area.
A short swim and massage was all I needed to recharge my batteries for more skiing the following morning, with the pistes well treated after a light dusting of overnight snow.
I rounded off the ski venture with a traditional Bombardino, an Italian winter cocktail fusing advocaat, brandy and cream. It was a heart-warming farewell to the slopes as I then made my way down the valley and into the city.
Trento, the capital of the region of Trentino, is a vibrant, bustling city with oodles of Renaissance charm and plenty to shout about.
A stunning dinner at Scrigno del Duomo restaurant encapsulates the unique cuisine of the region — Italian but with Austrian influences.
A tagliolini pasta with porcini mushrooms and crunchy local speck ham was followed by a hearty pork cheek with roasted veg then a terrific tiramisu, the restaurant’s signature dish and a snip at just six euros. The homely Hotel America was ideal for a quick city stay and after two days’ skiing and a heavy meal, my bed was calling and I dropped off to the sound of distant church bells.
GETTING THERE: BA flies daily to Verona with fares from £108pp one way including luggage. See ba.com.
FlySkiShuttle.com has transfers to Fai della Paganella from £35pp. Private transfers available with ingoviaggi.com from £50pp.
STAYING THERE: Rooms at the Hotel Al Sole, Fai della Paganella, are from £113 per night. Rooms at the Hotel America in Trento from £87 per night. See visittrentino.info/en.
OUT & ABOUT: A six-day low-season lift pass is from £162 adult, £113 junior and £81 child. Children under eight get a free lift pass for every adult who buys one. Night skiing from £15pp. For more, see visitdolomitipaganella.it/en.
By morning, the whole town had been transformed into a cacophony of market stalls, al fresco dining and lazy Sunday wanderers.
A walking tour of Trento took me a little over two hours — enough to take in the wonderful cathedral, the 13th century Buonconsiglio Castle and the impressive science museum, designed by Renzo Piano, the architect of London’s Shard.
Don’t miss the Casa del Caffè for great espresso and freshly-ground coffee and the Casa del Cioccolato for chocolate and cakes.
Just a little further out of town in San Michele all’Adige, the Endrizzi winery is a family enterprise dating back to 1885.
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The wine, untainted due to the strict environmental policy on non-chemically fertilised vineyards, is the perfect introduction to the Trentino region.
A must try is the Trentodoc, a sparkling wine variety specific to the region that will rival any prosecco or champagne.
Trentino certainly delivers on its promise with a winning combination of historic city, rural vineyards and skiing excitement.
From the might of the mountains to the city, be sure to turn the Dolomites into a Dolo-must.