Delights of the Dolomites
A new lodge links guests to the winter wonders of the Italian Alps.
Somewhere amid Dolomiti Superski’s 745 miles of slopes, I am zigzagging through perfect powder under an equally perfect blue sky. A few yards ahead of me, my guide, Hubi, is leading the way, swishing down a gloriously isolated run flanked by skyscraping mountains. Behind me, the small hilltop restaurant where I filled my belly with a warm bowl of hay soup—a local delicacy—grows smaller and smaller.
Both scenic and satisfying, Italy’s Dolomite range has few peers as a destination for pairing winter adventures and gastronomic wonders, the latter of which range from soups and salamis to strudel and kaiserschmarrn. The region—home to some 90,000 acres of skiing, hiking, and climbing terrain—and its many delicacies are easily explored from the new Adler Mountain Lodge, an upscale alpine retreat that opened last year on a piste in South Tirol.
The spruce-and-larch property, which is as well situated for hiking in the summer as it is for skiing in the winter, is suitably reverent of its surroundings. The main structure resembles a traditional Tirolean chalet and houses 18 suites decorated with checked furnishings and wool throws. Twelve two-story chalets add extra comforts with private saunas, cowhide rugs, and fireplaces. All look out over miles of snow-blanketed terrain to the jagged Sassolungo and Sassopiatto peaks.
Adler also offers a heated swimming pool, a spa, a restaurant serving local cuisine, and a lounge warmed by the dancing flames of a fire pit. But the main attraction is just outside the front doors: Each morning, my fellow guests and I ski directly out from the property to the Dolomiti Superski resort, whizzing down to the Mezdi lift on wide, gentle slopes.
On my second day with Hubi, we once again sow a path of powder with local delicacies, crossing to Sanon and the aptly named Panorama before heading south to wind through a giant-slalom track. Our first stop is the Gostner Schwaige mountain restaurant for a hearty plate of homemade cheese with apple-mint juice. We then continue over the hills toward Goldknopf and on to Zallinger, where we pause for apple strudel and a mug of hot chocolate with awe-inspiring views of the Austrian and Swiss Alps.
By the end of the day, I am tired, sore, and stuffed in equal measure. Back at Adler, Hubi suggests a shot of local grappa to soothe my aching limbs and cleanse my palate before another hearty meal of Tirolean delights, this one featuring oxtail ravioli, mushroom strudel, and a saddle of suckling pig. Sufficiently spoiled, I skip dessert and instead settle into an armchair in the lodge’s lounge to breathe in the crisp alpine air and savor the larger-than-life Dolomites looming just outside.
Adler Mountain Lodge, adler-lodge.com