Are the Dolomites at saturation point?
There is a version of winter in the Dolomites that graces the pages of Vogue. Cortina d’Ampezzo – a town where you can buy a down jacket from Moncler, a shirt from Gucci or a Louis Vuitton holdall simply by strolling down its central Corso Italia – is an epicentre of downhill skiing and has won multiple bids to host the Winter Olympics. It’s a busy upmarket area and this has come with a price.
Bad news hit downhill skiers in the Dolomites in early 2023. About 90 percent
of the ski slopes were using artificial snow, annually consuming approximately the same amount of water as a city of one million people – twice the population of the entire South Tyrol region. At the start of 2023, Italy was using more artificial snow than anywhere else in Europe – which exacerbates water shortages in the summer.
Dolomiti Superski has 12 resorts and over 1,200km of slopes. Further expansion is planned for the 2026 Winter Olympics, when Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites is co-hosting alongside Milan.
The effects of climate change are visible at altitude: Marmolada, the biggest glacier, on the region’s biggest mountain, has shrunk by 80 percent
in the last few decades. There are 14 fewer glaciers in the area than there were in 1900.
Winter holidays in the Dolomites must diversify to cope with a changing climate. And you can help, by finding a holiday that doesn’t need to be snow-sure to be splendid.