This might seem like an unusual and even incomprehensible proposal to many, yet it is a real and easily achievable option . On bright, clear days, especially after a couple of windy days when then the tramontana or bora has swept away the clouds, leaving the sky as clean and blue as a Canaletto painting, you can see the mountains lying beyond Venice, looking so close that you could almost touch them.
In fact they are not very far from Marco Polo airport: within an hour and a half you can be in Cortina, the pearl of the Dolomites, and in two and a half hours, you can reach the foot of the massive Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites, awarded World Heritage status for natural beauty.
These two tourist destinations attract many winter sports enthusiasts every year; in addition to its beautiful valley, Cortina is also renowned for its social scene, fashionable boutiques and wide choice of ski runs and ski lifts catering for all abilities, whether for downhill, cross-country skiing or snowboarding.
From the peaks of its mountains, the Tofana, Cristallo and Faloria, visitors can take in breathtaking views, and between one descent and the next, enjoy the local cuisine in the various mountain huts.
The Marmolada can be reached by taking three sections of cableway from the departure station at Malga Ciapela right up to the summit of Punta Rocca at 3265 metres. Here, two panoramic lifts have recently opened, making downhill skiing on the glacier easier and improving access to the ski runs which connect to the biggest ski complex in the world: Dolomiti Superski.
The Marmolada runs also connect with Sellaronda, one of the most beautiful ski routes in the Alps, which can be done in a day, going around Mount Sella through the 4 Dolomite passes of Campolongo, Gardena, Sella and Pordoi. An unforgettable experience, where fantastic skiing is matched by incredible views and panoramas.
Stopping off at the second cableway station of Serauta, you can visit an interesting museum dedicated to the First World War, which severely hit the local population. It is the only museum in Europe found at an altitude of 3000 metres.
Visitors can also stay over in one of the many hotels that can be found just a few yards from the ski lifts in Malga Ciapela or in surrounding villages, including Sottoguda, a well-preserved traditional Alpine village which is recognised among the Borghi più Belli d’ Italia as one of the most beautiful in Italy.
From here, you can enjoy a magical walk in the “Serai” gorge nearby, which is the only canyon in the Dolomites and envelops you in an incredible landscape of ice cascades.
From Venice airport, there are minivan or minibus links to these destinations, so after having the time of your life on the slopes, you can enjoy a relaxing short break in Venice before heading home.