Passo Campolongo: Ridi, ridi!

What’s there to laugh about when you’ve got to sweat it out!

Holimites doesn’t hide its passion for road cycling, an obsession that’s led us to become the official tour operator for the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel for 10 years now. Holimites also just turned 18 on December 21, 2018. Now that we’re free to do almost whatever we want, we were obliged to celebrate this occasion together with our cycling “colleagues”.

To commemorate this event, we designed a cycling cap memento dedicated to the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel climbs – exclusive caps with a different exclamation for each pass.

Passo Campolongo:

Cappellino Passo Campolongo cycling cap
Cappellino Passo Campolongo cycling cap

The first cap had to be dedicated to the Campolongo Pass at 1,875m – the first pass in the Maratona that cyclist climb, feeling fresh and energized…and are still laughing. Right! You won’t be laughing for long because things will change quickly at the second passage to Campolongo!

Our caps are also available for purchase from our online shop

What’s the next cap? Follow us – we’ll be waiting for you on the “Pordoi”!

Cappellino Passo Pordoi cycling cap

Cappellino Passo Pordoi cycling cap

Welcome to Holimites’ short trekking and short trail running tours

“I’ve only got a few days of vacation for a trekking!”

“Unfortunately, I can’t stay away that long!”

“Can I just join half of the trekking holiday?”

Trekking Dolomites

Trekking Dolomiti

These are some of the messages that our booking team often gets during the year. Holimites’ early years seem far away – even if it’s only been 18 years – when most of our clients didn’t have any problems going on a 10-12 day holiday to complete the full course of the Dolomite’s Alta Via.

Of course, there are still those who opt for the 10-12 day full classic experience and then, there are others who can only take off a week to trek routes such as the “Best of Alta Via #1 e #2”, due to a limited vacation leave. The latter package has actually become our bestseller, and it’s offered in a trail running version, too.

That being said, a full week holiday is becoming for many an elusive dream. Many regular Holimites clients are beginning to prefer shorter holidays, but taking more frequent vacations during the season.

At Holimites, we’re trying to meet the demands of our clientele, so for 2019 we’ve thought of 3 new offers, tailored to short holidays:

1. If you love to walk and run, we’ve thought of the Sellaronda, covering the four passes, as a trail meant for you. The Sellaronda has become famous thanks to winter tourism: any skier who comes to the Dolomite valleys must ski the Sella Massif circuit at least one in a lifetime! (By the way, do you know how many times we’ve skied the Sellaronda circuit in one day?
In summer, the four Dolomite passes (Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella and Gardena) welcome thousands of cyclists who, like their skiing counterparts, aim to ride this fantastic circuit at least once in their life. (Psst! Cyclists: do you know that during summer we organize a moonlight road bike ride on the Sellaronda?
So, the next evolutionary step came naturally: after the Sellaronda on skis and on bike, a Sellaronda trekking version and a Sellaronda trail running version just had to be developed. Like our Trekking “Best of Alta Via #1 e #2”, you can choose to be guided by a local expert or do it on your own. Holimites, as always, will take care of logistics and baggage transport from hut to hut.

2. The other short vacation offer is a package that is an ode to the Dolomites’ most beautiful seasons.
Spring: when winter’s last snow covers the Dolomite peaks and the meadows below begin to transform into a colorful bliss. And, autumn: when the larches are adorned in beautiful golden hues. This program is aptly named: The colors of the Dolomites!

3. “Do you only have programs for those who want to sweat and run out of steam?”
Yup, this is also another one of those common questions we receive by e-mail. To tell the truth, up until now, Holimites has always focused on offering vacation packages for active people who possess average-to-great athletic fitness levels. But, for those of you who don’t know, two of Holimites’ founding members are professional chefs who cook in their own hotels! Their passion for the culinary arts has inspired our newest program: DOLOM …EAT…ES!
Yes, that’s right: “eat”! A program where you can learn to cook and then eat, eat, eat. STOP!

Hold on…actually, you’ll be hand picking some of the main ingredients for your meals in the surrounding meadows and woods. Nature will provide the herbs and scents, so there will be a bit of walking to find those “fixings” that our chefs will order. We guarantee that you’ll have an “explosion of flavors”!

Trekking gourmet Dolomites

See you soon in the Dolomites this summer!

How long did it take to make the new website?

I was a bit curious, so I went to check it out. The file with the first draft of the graphic layout done by the no.parking team was dated February 24, 2017. So, counting from this date until the site’s online publication on March 6, 2018, exactly 375 days have gone by!

Then again, about the same amount of time was spent postponing redesigning the new holimites website. When you think about how much work it involves, creating a new site is one of the things you try to delay as much as you can.

If you take a look at the 5 restyling moments of the holimites site, this is what always occurs:

  • euphoria
    creating something new is always gratifying
  • doubts
    As the first layouts roll in, so do the first challenges: “Is this gonna work?”, “Will they find the button with the package information?”, “Should we move this here and put something else there?” and so on. We show the mock-ups to all our friends, asking them the most absurd questions to see how they react to this phase of hybrid navigation.
  • back to the start
    Our challenges multiply when graphic designer meets website designer – in our case, the fabulous team at E-Side. The doubts we had at stage 1 become nightmares and we start tinkering with the graphic elements. Then, once again, we take the proofs back to our friends – our, er…guinea pigs – to test their reaction.
  • from old to new
    “We can still use some of the content from the old website!” …..Yeah, right!!! Of course, some of it can be used again, but most of the content gets re-written, re-touched and double-checked.
  • the first beta is online
    Fantastic! We can see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. First trial, then test. Drat! It doesn’t work the same on mobile devices! It’s not gonna work. Time to change a few things… again.
  • “Well, since we’re already working on this, why not…?”
    This is the phrase that, if overly abused (as we admittedly have done), makes webmasters go bananas (Antonio, please forgive us!). Making the website might have taken half the time it did had it not been for this remark – because as soon as it was said, you bet it meant those sections on the site were going to be done from scratch.
  • “Please, please, no more!” or test, test, test and test again
    This is probably the hardest stage to endure. You can’t stand to see the graphic design you were ecstatic about months ago. There seems to be no logic in the site’s operation and you’re once again tempted to change what you had agreed on months before. In this phase, you begin to accept the fact that you will NEVER resolve all the problems of the early stages and you just hope that once online….someone out on the web will be quick to point out the problems you didn’t catch, so you can promptly fix them.
  • We’re online!
    Refresh the browser and … breathe a sigh of relief!

Here’s the new website!

Thanks to the outstanding graphic designers at no.parking and the web design team at E-Side – both of Vicenza – for their patience and professionalism. We’ve been working with them since 2000…when Holimites was founded.

This how we looked like:

Holimites pre 2018

How we look now:

Holimites new website

What‘s behind the making of a Holimites catalogue?

Did you never think about how much work goes into making a catalogue? Aren’t you a little curious? Keep reading, and I’ll tell you about it!

Catalogo Holimites 2018

Holimites Katalog 2018

It’s early in the 2017 summer season, but at the Holimites office we’re already planning the 2018 season. The catalogue has to be printed before the end of Fall.

There are a lot of things to do: from planning all the excursions and giving them a test run on the trail to calculating the rates. Everything has to be studied down to the last detail.

You may be thinking: “Ok, that’s not so bad…”
Imagine having to solve a puzzle. Starting a puzzle is easy to do, but as you get going, the difficulty increases. Every year we have new ideas and new challenges to solve.

The puzzle is made of 25 guided tours. They need to be carefully woven so that the entire Holimites team is perfectly coordinated during the entire season. The tour arrivals and departures have to coincide with the baggage transfers from hut to hut sot that the van won’t be running around aimlessly, loosing time and money. Our expert guides need to schedule their agendas ahead of time and rooms in Dolomite huts and hotels have to be reserved in advance.

The prices of the packages need to be appealing to our clients, but at the end of the year they have to generate earnings on Holimites’ annual statement. Finally, the text and pictures inside the catalogue need to attract readers browsing through it. Images need to stimulate the imagination, enticing a reader to spend a vacation in the Dolomites.

Ok, we can do it! Or better – every year we give it all we’ve got to improve on last year’s edition.

At the end of the summer season, after proofreading it for the umpteenth time, we can proudly hold, our NEW CATALOGUE.

There you have it – our creation for 2018! Browse it online on and let us know if you’d rather receive a paper copy at home.


PS: I’m sure that now, after reading my short article, you will appreciate each page even more.

Crazy until you don’t do it

How many times in your life have you given up that amazing idea of yours?
Your dream was doing that certain thing – in a way it felt bold and powerful, but also crazy and hard to achieve. Doubts started creeping in and that huge ‘flame’ became a tiny ‘spark’.
Then, you built up some courage and decided to talk about it with those close to you –
mom, dad, wife … friends, etc. How many times did those exact same people extinguish the last
little spark in your ‘amazing’ idea?

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut or – better yet – talk with people who have no idea of what you’re up to!

Just think how much progress would never have been achieved if the inventor would’ve listened to the voices around him or her.

I saw many flames die out and bubbles of ideas burst in thin air – but, that’s not how I react: I do just the opposite. The more people tell me something can’t be done or that my idea is too crazy, the more stubborn I get and the more I’ll stick to my idea until it’s done. Ok, let’s face it … many of those ideas will never have a sequel, but it’s from those failures that you learn to take better aim at your target when you get that next crazy idea.

It took me 3 years in order for the Mür dl Giat climb to be listed in the course of the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel. Yes! That was MY idea  ;-). The first time I proposed it at a meeting, 14 votes out of 15 were “NO” votes…followed by laughs.
But, hey, to my satisfaction … even the pro peloton of the Giro d’Italia rode it on the finishing stage in Corvara in 2016. 

Then there was this other idea launched by pro photographer Jered Gruber and published on his Instagram feed and in the issue 62 of Peloton magazine:

While riding with @igortavella on the steep little farm roads that wind their way along the flanks of the Dolomites, I wondered if it would be possible to do 5000 meters (or more) of climbing on all the little roads in less than 100k. Igor laughed – of course! In that moment, an idea hit. We should do a ride later this year: invite anyone who wants to join us to get a big flavor of Igor’s backyard, his secrets – paved and dirt – but all doable on a road bike, so long as the rider is ok with gradients that are always north of 10% and isn’t scared of some dirt roads and a bit of amazing singletrack (meaning this won’t be everyone’s cup of hot chocolate). It will be on a Saturday or Sunday or both – everything will of course be based out of the Tavella hotel: the @UstariaPosta in Badia. We are thinking early to middle September. It will be the #YOLOMITES 5000 brought to you by @holimites and Igor. If the rider has had their fill at any point, they can cut it short whenever they want – we will never be more than 20k from the start at the Ustaria Posta. #yolomites5000 #conquereveryroad

Un post condiviso da Jered Gruber (@jeredgruber) in data:

This idea became the #YOLOmites5000

Imagine: all the locals here ride road bikes, but NO-ONE took part except me. Even so, people from Japan, Malaysia and USA flew to the Dolomites just to take part in this ‘crazy’ event.

Lastly – but it will not be my last idea for sure – I had this idea in mind: What would it be like to ride one of the most famous road bike loops in the Dolomites, the Sellaronda, … at Moonlight? I started to think about this even before the #YOLOmites5000. But, true to my nature, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so I started to talk about it. Yet, instead of a flame turning into a tiny spark, the idea kept burning, growing bigger inside of me until one evening, at the end of July 2017, I typed in the Strava event planner:

1st Holimites Moonlight ride

At the time I thought that I would be alone on the ride and, honestly, I didn’t pay any more attention to it until enthusiastic questions from possible participants started coming in. Two, five, eight people were signing up to take part in the event considered by many a “crazy” ride. The result was a group ride with 14 great friends:

Looking back, it’s rather funny that I typed in “1st” when I wrote the title. Maybe it’s the optimist in me that expects that there will be more Moonlight Rides. If you don’t want to miss the next Ride – or my next crazy idea – make sure you join the Holimites cycling club on Strava.

The bottom line:
If you have an idea … go for it, don’t be influenced by others!

Owner and founder of this other crazy idea called Holimites :-D