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Ski Your Heart Out Then Hit the Sauna Hard In This Winter Dreamland
Julie Pointer-Adams
byJulie Pointer-Adams

Looking for the perfect blend of slopes and sauna to celebrate your birthday this year? We’ve got you covered. Whether your birthday (and the travel itch) hits you in winter, summertime or somewhere in between, Alta Badia is a knockout destination in any season. Though technically a ski resort, this stunning getaway located in the Dolomites of northern Italy is chock-full of mountain air and chilled out activities that will have you wishing next year’s birthday might come a little sooner.

Discovering The Italian Alps

Perched at the top of Italy in the northernmost province called South Tyrol, Alta Badia gives off more of an Alpine, cabin-like air than, say, the columned, bougainvillea-clad walls of your average Romanesque villa. This valley region surrounded by mountains boasts about 300 days of sun a year, making it the perfect spot for soaking up some year-round vitamin-D. Made up of six small villages, Alta Badia is punctuated with grassy meadows, sheep-dotted pastures, nature reserves and more places to hike, bike or ski than you’ll be able to manage. Expect 360-degree panoramas and jaw-dropping vistas at pretty much every turn.

Photography: Joonas LinkolaDaniel Taipale

Kicking Back

Have you ever heard of a Wellness Farm? Well, neither have we. But plan on spiking your wellbeing big-time while in Alta Badia by soaking up all the spa, sauna and solarium treatments you possibly can (and maybe even booking a session at the Hotel Posta Zirm Wellness Farm). With a vast range of hotels offering daily-open wellness centers—not to mention the occasional sauna tucked into the snow—you’ll hardly be able to pull yourself onto the slopes with all this luxurious lounging so readily available.

Photography: Daniel Taipale | Frauke Hagen

A Place to Lay Your Head

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Alta Badia, with seemingly the perfect spot for every personality-type, preference and pocketbook. Whether you’re keen on something simple and cozy (think homey, wood-clad walls in a family-run bed-and-breakfast) or erring on the side of luxury, you’re certain to find the ideal mountain chalet that floats your boat. Banish any thoughts of resort hotel monstrosities with hundreds of rooms and lackluster customer service—the majority of these mountain hideaways are intimately sized and hospitality centric. For a sneak peek of what you might find throughout the region, check out these two beauties: Alpine Hotel Ciasa Lara and App. Te Plaza.

Photography: evolumina | Daniel Taipale

Hitting the Slopes

Never fear, all you ski bunnies—we haven’t forgotten you. Alta Badia is one of the leading regions for skiing in Italy, let alone for ski holidays in all of the Alps. With 80 miles of slopes, 53 lifts and access to about 300 miles of ski runs in the area, you certainly won’t be bored. Whether you’re charging the slaloms with your sophisticated posse or sticking to the bunny runs with your kiddos (or, let’s be honest, on your own), every stretch of this place is surreal.  Best of all are the picturesque mountain huts dotting the hills where you can stop in for a toasty warm-up and a bit of tasty Tyrolean cuisine.

Photography: enrikui

Plan your next snowy adventure with 36 of the World’s Best Ski Chalets and Lodges to Visit Right Now →

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