How did the latest Holimites Trail Running tour come about?

Trail Running Dolomites Traverse by Holimites

Dolomites Trail Running Traverse by Holimites – Foto: ©PatitucciPhoto

With no real intention, we realized Holimites had been offering something new in trail running activities every 3 years.

Our first hut-to-hut trail running tour across the Dolomites was in 2007; this covered the traditional paths of the Alta Via 1. Trail running on the Alta Via 2 followed in 2010. In 2013, we asked clients which were their favorite runs and stops along the AV1 and AV2. What resulted is a tour that has become our absolute bestselling sports package: “The Best of Alta Via 1 and 2” for trail runners. It combines the most stunning locations of the Dolomite’s classic AV1 and 2.

The summer of 2016 will introduce Holimites’ newest trail running bonanza.

To create this latest tour, we took a novel approach by setting ourselves these 3 objectives:

1) It can’t be a carbon copy of one of the classic Dolomite Alta Vias and it has to avoid the same trails we already offer in other programs.
This time around we wanted to spice things up by creating our own, unique signature tour. Thanks to the multitude of trails that connect Dolomite mountain huts, it’s pretty easy to put together a beautiful itinerary like pieces of a big puzzle. Although we weren’t able to totally avoid stretches along trails offered on our other programs, we were able to limit this to just 8 km of the total 106 km…and those 8 are distributed throughout the stages. Not bad!

As we charted the route on paper, in-house we affectionately baptized the new traverse: “The Holimites Alta Via”.

2) It has to give the “Wow” effect.

Trail Running Dolomites Traverse by Holimites


Of course, the Dolomites are famous for flaunting a plethora of breathtaking scenery and trails set amongst spectacular peaks. But, when pressed to choose, which highpoints are really “postcard perfect” and will last significantly in a trail runner’s recollection? Close your eyes and imagine you’re running through the first trail stage at the foot of the 3 Cime di Lavaredo. Your guide stops you and he or she points out the mountains that you will cover on your first 3 stages. The same thing will happen every day: you’ll get a sneak-peak of the next 3 stages in your scenic odyssey. “Wow”!

3) It has to have the best trails suited to running.
The Alta Vias 1 and 2 tours mirror the classic outdoor hiking route that, in certain spots, can be demanding to run on unless you’re a hardened vet like Kilian Jornet or Jenn Shelton (who was our trail running guest a few years ago). That’s why we designed the “Best of Alta Via 1 and 2″ program.

We wanted to push ourselves a little further on our newest tour. Hut-to-hut and stage-to-stage, we chose the trails that are most appropriate to trail running without compromising stunning panoramas of the Dolomite Mountains.  

That’s how the Trail Running Dolomites Traverse was born! (Between you and me, we won’t mind if you call it the Holimites Alta Via.) An extraordinary running adventure through the Dolomites, following dawn to dusk from East to West!

Anxious to know more? Dates and details are available on our website at the following link.

By the way…did you count how many times we repeated the number “three”? That means, if you’ve already strutted your stuff with us on two of our Dolomite trail running programs…as the old saying goes: All good things come in THREES!

Trail Running Dolomites Traverse by Holimites

Trail Running Dolomites Traverse by Holimites

In one day, how many Sellaronda loops are possible?

Pee with view

One thing that we have plenty at Holimites are ideas. We write up every one of them and actually this list is pretty long. But soon or later we may be able to share them with all of you like this one about the Sellaronda.

A common question that we get from guests coming to ski the Dolomites is:

“Is it possible to accomplish the Sellaronda in one day?”

The answer of course is always positive but we have gone beyond that asking ourselves …

“In one day, how many times are we able to ski and complete the Sellaronda?”

Sellaronda Passo PordoiWe investigated among all ski instructors that are every day on the slopes. But no-one ever tried it or knew someone that tried to do this. Someone told that 2 to 3 loops are possible, others, with some strange formulas and cut options on the course answered that 5 loops may be possible. 

Finally on March 28th 2015 the Holimites team gave an answer to this question that followed us already for some years.

In order to have a smooth ski ride we planned it in every detail as follows:

  • Sellaronda clockwise loop, without any doubt the fastest one
  • Spring days in off season, with longer daylight and where lifts are open until 4:45 PM and some important connection lifts until 5:00 PM
  • a Saturday, the day where slopes are half empty because it’s the day where guests depart and until the new ones arrive slopes are all for locals
  • choosing the most direct slope to get to valley. This is important … there is one area where if you follow the signs on the slopes you will take more lifts (skipass needs to be used)  than needed. We took the ‘signed’ slopes on our last Sella Ronda loop as we saw we had some spare time.

What we couldn’t plan was the weather. Mister Winter gifted us with a nice snowfall the days before, and cold temperatures and deep blue sky on the planned day. Skiing conditions where like in January.

But let’s go back to the question:  

“In one day, how many Sella Ronda loops are possible on skis?”

Sellaronda Passo SellaThe final answer is FOUR, and this with a reserve of 15 minutes on the lifts closure. A nice round number as four are also the Dolomites passes around the Sella massif: Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella and Gardena that are famous also for cycling during the summer.

Here some details for the ones that like numbers:


  • Start from: Corvara (Boè gondola)
  • Skis: Völkl RC rented at SkiTop Badia
  • Total lifts used: 40
  • Total length of used lifts: 65 km
  • Total distance on skis: 100,8 km
  • Altitude gain: 16.020 meters
  • Total time: 8h 04′
  • Time in movement: 7h 15′The difference between the total time and the time in movement are for physiological stops and some waiting time at the lifts (Arabba Portavescovo ropeway)
  • Maximal speed: 101,5 km/h
  • Pee stops: 3
  • Sunscreen factor: 30

We did some live tweeting during the day taking pictures and videos that you can scroll through here: 

All tweets of the day are available on this link or searching your timeline the hashtag we created for the day: #sellaronda1day that you may also use when you ski the Sellaronda


We recorded our Sellaronda ski trip on GPS and published it on Strava. Click on the image below to view all the details.

Sellaronda skiing Strava

And if someone of our guests would like to fill our to-do list with some new ideas just write us!

Last but not least … we have a video:

Curiosities: The Sellaronda (also called Sella Ronda) is without any doubt the most recognized ski circuit of the Dolomites. It is possible to ski it clockwise or counter clockwise and it runs around the Sella massif. Even if this symbolic massif of the Dolomites has the same characteristics of all other Dolomite massifs and has the same Dolomite mineral it is not among the mountains labeled by the UNESCO as World Heritage Site. Same fate for the nearby Sassolungo symbol of the Val Gardena / Gröden valley and the Tofana and Cristallo mountain group symbol of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Check out this page on to see on a map which mountains are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where is my pajama?

We are sure this is the first question one of our guests asked when arriving back home. As soon the suitcases after a short trip to the Dolomites where open the surprise! Something is missing.

At Holimites we are collecting every month various stuff from our guests that we need to send back. The most common object are technical things like smartphone chargers followed by point and shoot cameras. We really can’t remember anymore last time we had a piece of clothing.

Dolomites pajama

What about this pink polka dot pajama?

Did the owner just left it back because the suitcases were full of souvenirs and gifts for friends from the Dolomites and no place left for the pajama?

Did the owner just forget to pack it?

Did the pajama hide because he wanted to enjoy some more days in the Dolomites?

We found the pajama in a position that looked like a CSI Dolomites crime scene. We felt so sorry for that we temporarily adopted him and nicknamed the pajama Polky.

Before sending it on the way back home we wanted to make sure he had some more great days in the Dolomites.

After being hidden under the bed quilts for too long it was time to take Polky to the must-see place par excellence of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took the lift from our hometown of Badia up to the La Crusc/Santa Croce Sanctuary. The lift employees didn’t know how to charge the run for Polky so we opted for the classical clandestine solution:

Dolomites pajama

Once at the top Polky was realizing how lucky he was. Instead of being pressed, pushed, tortured in a suitcase, on a 10+ hours trip, encircled by socks and every kind of underwear that didn’t see any water for weeks, he was instead here, in the Dolomites, filling up his lungs with fresh crispy air:
Dolomites pajama

He wanted to try how it feels to be hung on a mountain barn to get dry:
Dolomites pajama

It felt so great, there in the sun, that even Susann from our staff took some time to soak up some afternoon sun:
Dolomites pajama

From the Sas dla Crusc Sanctuary the view on the Dolomites is superb. Lagazuoi peak, Setsass, Marmolada, Piz Boé, Sassongher, Gardenacia, Pütia, Möseler, Löffler …. there are so many mountain peaks you can see from there:

Dolomites pajama

But soon or later it was time to leave and for Polky to get ready for a first class trip back home. A last run on the Sas dla Crusc slope towards valley was on the program:
Dolomites pajama

Leaving for home smelly? No way, Polky did some laundry for real:
Dolomites pajama

Ironing was of course included in our special service for Polky:
Dolomites pajama

And here the picture of the last time we saw Polky! We hope it arrived safe back home and that the owner will never forget such a great pajama around the world … as it is hard to find some people like the Holimites team to take such care ;-)
Dolomites pajama


Fat Bike Dolomites Tour – big is beautiful

150109_fatbike_15The chorus of an old Queen hit says, “Fat bottomed girls, you make the rocking world go round” and we could change it hands down into “Fat wheeled bikes, you make the rocking world go round”.

Pedaling, sliding and skidding on the snow is really not something new in Italy. Back in 2010, the Italian kids’ news forum, GTRagazzi had filmed a TV report on this odd winter sport with precisely one of the Holimites tour operator founders as its “leading star”:

Actually, some of our valley folk started two-wheel descents along snowy slopes to train and improve their riding skills for the summer mountainbike season even earlier – in 2000!

Back then only expert mountainbike riders could meet that kind of challenge but, thanks to the fairly recent arrival of “fatties” on the scene, many more of you can now join in on the fun: these “large frame ladies” simply float over deep snow and make pedaling a pure pleasure.

Our “Holimites boys” – true two-wheeled fanatics – recently took these “big bottomed babes” on a few rides and because they had so much fun – like kids at a playground (see the link at the end of the page to believe it) – they felt they just had to share the experience with others.

Starting this winter, you can sign up for a weekly Fat Bike Ride with Holimites, taking the lifts uphill and riding down beautiful snow-covered trails on a fatty. Outings are organized each Tuesday, but can be arranged on other days upon request.

Download the detailed program from this link.

Also take a look at the pictures and videos taken during our Fat Bike day at the playground … I mean, on the trails in Alta Badia!

Fat Bike Dolomites Fat Bike Dolomites Fat Bike Dolomites

Holimites or Lovemites (Lovomites sounds also fine)

A nice article featuring one of our Holimites Trekking tours on the Dolomites Alta Via #2 came out recently on Backpackers Magazine on and off-line edition.

Love on the Rocks Backpackers Magazine

The writer Brendan Leonard, that is the blogger behind joined us together with photographer and friend Dan Patitucci in 2013 during our classic Alta Via #2.
The goal was to shoot great images for our catalogue and Brendan was one of our models together with Jennifer … a really beautiful girl. We always wonder how Dan is always able to find this ‘pearls’ creating sometimes a lot of trouble among our male guides (right Tata?) during our hikes.

Bottom line … what came out of this 9 days hike is a fantastic story that you can read on Backpackers Magazine on-line edition (if you didn’t get the printed one).

And that’s not the first time that our trekking and trailrunning tours end in some kind of LOVE story. So don’t wonder if like the Loveboat you will read about us like the Lovemites team ;-)