Ski Trip 2020 – Dolomites & Nozawa Onsen

Day 1 – 6th of January 2020

Barely 3 weeks since returning home from an amazing 4 week trip to South America I’m off again, this time to Italy and Japan on a skiing expedition with my friend Roj. We’ll spend 2 weeks in the northern Italian region of the Dolomites at the Alta Badia resorted followed by a week in Japan at Nazawa Onsen where we’ll be joined by friends.

Our expedition begins at Melbourne Airport, flying Emirates to Venice via Dubai. The onboard service with Emirates was excellent as always and after 21 hours in the air we arrived at our destination. Upon arrival at Marco Polo Airport we picked up a couple of Vodafone tourist SIM cards to keep us connected on the slopes. Vodafone offer the best tourist deal I could find which includes 30gb and 600 minutes for €40 (~$65AUD). With SIM cards sorted we found our driver and were on our way to the Dolomites.

According to Google maps the drive from Marco Polo to Alta Badia takes approximately 3 hours in good conditions (up to 5.5 hours in snowy conditions). But due to a public holiday on the day of our arrival, clear skies, and a driver who aspired to be the next Mario Andretti we were flying down the highway at 150km/hr and arrived in closer to 2 and a half hours. The scenery along the way was breathtaking and I wish I’d taken some photos. Before too long we’d arrived at Chalet Cogolara where we’d be based for the next two weeks and met our friendly host Manuela.

After completing check-in and enjoying an informative chat with Manuela about places to go and things to see in the area we headed to our room to unpack and enjoy a much needed lay down after almost 30 hours in transit.

Not long afterwards hunger kicked in so we went looking for somewhere to eat nearby. As it turns out our accommodation is a quite a walk from the village in Colfosco so we opted for a nearby place called Ristorante Bar Mesoles. To my surprise there were no pizzas and the food didn’t seem all that Italian to me. As it turns out Italian food is not as common in the Dolomites as you might expect, being in Italy. This is because the area is mostly inhabited by the Ladin people who speak their own language and maintain their own unique culture. There is much history to the Dolomites and I won’t go into it here but it makes for some interesting reading should you be inclined to find out more.

After a quick meal and a beer we headed back to our room and turned in for the night like old men at 8pm in anticipation for our first day on the slopes tomorrow.