Italian ski break with No Boundaries

Monday, September 23, 2019

View of the valley
Skiing is one of my favourite ways to enjoy the winter.  Unfortunately, London doesn't get much snow but mainland Europe does.  If you plan ahead, cheap flights can be obtained for a quick weekend getaway on Easy Jet or Ryan Air.  Of course, you need to factor in the equipment you are taking in terms of luggage but their are ways to make it affordable.  I don't have much time or knowledge of the European resorts aside from Vernier, so when I saw No Boundaries (NB) was planning a short ski weekend in Italy with yoga in February 2019, I booked in right away (#ipaidforit).  I knew it would be an intense weekend with long days and late night dinners with wine but I thought I could make it for three days.  Just.  With some energy drinks.

Hotel lobby
The NB team can book flights for you with hopefully a discount if there are enough people booked in.  I opted for this with a payment of £125 but there were not enough people to get a discount.  NB kindly paid the difference for the ticket though.   The cost of the weekend included accommodation, airport transfer, hotel breakfast, and lift tickets plus several yoga classes (in the morning and afternoon on full days).  NB likes to work with local businesses and guides where possible and booked us at a family-owned hotel that was about 10-20 minute drive from the mountain.  The hotel was a bit dated in its decor but very clean and had a state of the art spa and room for yoga in the disco.  Unfortunately, I was too tired to spend a lot of time in the spa or take photos.  It had a small pool, steam room, cold shower and place to relax.  The annex of the hotel had a boot drying rack with a place to leave skis and snowboards overnight.  This meant everything was dry for the next day and didn't clutter up your room.

Yoga in the former disco in the basement
Yoga was at 7am and about 5pm (depending on when the skiers and ice climbers returned) on the full days.  We also had a session the evening we arrived and the morning we left.  It was beautiful spring spring weather in the Brenta Dolomites (Pinzolo - Madonna di Campiglio -Folgarida/Marilleva Ski Area).  It is a small mountain, perfect for families and beginner to novice skiers.  There was a van that the hotel lent No Boundaries to drive us to the mountain.  We left between 8-8:30am depending on the day and then headed back about 3-4pm.  Some people who lived in Italy had driven to the resort, rather than fly, and drove to the mountain on their own.  I was a little disappointed the first morning as we didn't get on the mountain until after 11am.  This was because we had to wait for people to get fitted for their rental gear and the company rep to obtain the lift passes in a long line.

Small bags and good snacks
With a limited amount of time to ski, I prefer carrying snacks and eating on the chair lift.  This also saved me some money too.  The sunshine was amazing though and many people enjoyed a drinks and some french fries.  The food prices were extremely reasonable for a ski resort but the lines were also long.  We didn't have time to stop at the grocery store for sandwiches either.

There are a few small shops within walking distance of the hotel and a large supermarket on the way to the mountain.  The hotel has a three course dinner available for 15 Euros.  Most of the group met about 7-7:30pm to have dinner together.  We all shared common interests in travel, being outdoors and keeping fit.  It was lovely to meet several other women who were also travelling alone.  Although booking solo holidays isn't always fun, I don't want to wait around for someone else to join me.  It is too hard to find dates off work, a destination, activity, and budget that matches up.  Of course, there was plenty of delicious wine along with dinner to fuel the conversation (you have to pay for it but again, the prices were very affordable).  Our last night, there was a grappa tasting at the hotel put on by a local distillery.  Not sure how often this happens but it was a nice treat. 

All in all, I had an awesome time.  The only problem was the traffic on the way back to the airport (which should have been a three hour drive) meant I missed my flight.  As I had to check in my skis, the airline counter had closed by the time I got there (30 minutes before departure).  My tour guide who didn't have any luggage was able to make the flight and was very helpful getting me in touch with the NB main office who paid for my hotel and new flight hoe the following morning.  I am sure NB took this hiccup on board, as well as my feedback to obtain the lift passes ahead of time so that people who have their own equipment can do so asap.

I once again have extreme travel insurance which covers winter sports, so I am thinking about booking another weekend with NB.  It will have to be after the Tokyo Marathon though so I don't know if there will still be snow on the mountains.  If you want to get away and ski or snowboard for an affordable weekend this winter, check out the ski/snow board page on No Boundaries website and let me know when you are going in case I can join you.

As I said earlier, I paid for 100% of this trip.  No Boundaries is not compensating me in any way for sharing my experience or their links.  I enjoy supporting small businesses that promote leading an active lifestyle and spending time outdoors.

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