Arabba and the Marmolada
One of the most popular ski excursions on the whole of the Sella Ronda is the trip from Arabba through to the Marmolada and the experience of skiing at nearly 3300m.
This ski trip starts from the complex of lifts on the "shady" side of the village. Those wanting to head over to the Marmolada cable cars need to take the Europa I gondola up to the mid-station. Exiting the mid-station leads down to the small Sass de la Vegla chair, which can be extremely crowded at busy times (mid-morning through to lunchtime).
A blue run from the top of this chairlift leads down to the short and steep Padon I chairlift which rises to the Passo Padon. The run follows a valley past a long chairlift (which will be used on the return) and then past some beginner draglifts until it finally reaches the Malga Blanc cable car at Malga Ciapela. Again, this can be crowded but the lift carries 70 passengers and reassuring signs in the queue give an idea of how long the waiting time is likely to be at various points.
The spectacular cable car ride up the mountain leads to a first ridge, where all passengers move onto the Banc Serauta cable car. The top station of this has superb views across lonely snow fields and rock. There is a panoramic restaurant here and the chance to take a red run down to join onto the main Sass de Mul descent.
Most skiers will prefer to take the third cable car up to 3269m and the Punta Rocca. Again the views from this point over the Dolomites are fabulous and, at this altitude, quite literally breathtaking. Anyone who has been silently congratulating themselves on how fit they are feeling after the walk down the steps onto the piste may have their opinion changed by the relatively easy but sustained red run down between rock bands to Passo Fedaia at 2057m.
From here the route back to Arabba involves skiing part of the way back down the valley which leads to the cable car. The goal is the base of the Padon II chairlift - skiers should be careful to go to the left of the draglift to be able to reach the bottom of the chair without a walk through snow (this is adequately signposted).
The Padon II chairlift heads back up to the Passo Padon and a short red run to the scenic Medola chairlift. From here it is possible to take the Europa I gondola to the village or to ski the choice of red or black runs under the cable car.