Claudia Da Rin

Dolomites tips

Things to do on the snow (other than skiing!)

Snow has come, the long awaited white princess, so we are all getting ready to celebrate the festive season, admiring snow-capped peaks. Everyone is getting excited about their new skiing gear, with swanky, state-of-the-art skis and boots and fashionable jackets. What happens, however, if you do not ski? Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not. There are plenty of things to do if you are not keen on hitting the slopes. Let’s have a look at some of them. 

Nordic walking

Stemming from Scandinavia, in this type of walking poles are used to push, as opposed to merely aiding your walk. We are then talking about a proper exercise, employed by athletes as part of their training. It’s an interesting alternative to cross country skiing or “mere” walks on paths. If you choose a snowy terrain, make sure the snow level is not too high and wear sturdy shoes with a good grip, in case you hit icy sections. Modern winter running shoes are now even equipped with a gaiter, so you’ll be fully protected when you go out and about. Your clothes will be tight fitting and you’ll have to wear them in layers.

Read animal footprints on the snow

A mere outing can be transformed into a pleasant adventure if you try and decipher the animal footprints you’ll encounter. Woods and mountains are populated with several types of animals: they fear humans, so catching one is a rare opportunity. Still, after a snowfall, when silence envelops everything, you may be lucky and get your chance to encounter a mountain goat, an ibex or a weasel. You can detect what animals live around you by examining the footprints in the snow. Information centres organise guided “tours” which will let you discover the natural world in its deepest form, whether you are a young person or an adult.

Dog trekking

Exploring nature and being part of it is highly rewarding, and our four-legged friends can accompany us in our many outings. Unless you enter a National Park area, you will enjoy your day out on the snow: that’s the art of dog trekking. A harness, a leash and some food and water are all you’ll need to enjoy your day out. We are not simply talking about a walk with the dog: here the animals will be able to pull you, as well, mimicking the act of a sled. Many mountain resorts are now equipped with various centres where you can even hire a dog, if you don’t have any. A musher will know his dogs well and will be able to advise you on which animal to take with you.  Combine nature with the love for animals and you’ll be guaranteed an excellent time.

Taking photos of “wild” panoramas

Photo lovers know that the crisp, chill winter days are ideal to take pictures, as the air is cleaner and the colours can be sharper. If you want to venture out on a photo shooting in the mountains, remember that dawn and dusk are ideal moments, when the lights can easily be of a tinted pink or red; the sun sits lower over the horizon in this season, so it’s possible to take good pictures even in the middle of the day. Such oblique lights are the perfect backdrop for excellent photos. If you are after a snow setting, the best moment is right after snow has fallen, when tree branches are still covered in snow. After the first sun rays, snow will melt and the scenery will change. Ice formations are also interesting, so go and look for them and try and capture their astounding colour formations.


If you can walk, you can use snowshoes. They will save you from drowning in deep snow and you’ll explore the enchanting beauty of fresh snow. Unlike what some people may think, however, and unless you simply explore the area close to a house or a village, you will need the full avalanche gear, that is a transceiver, probe and shovel (and know how to use them!). Avalanches cannot know if you are an expert or not, and neither if you are ski touring or simply walk on the snow. So watch out if you are venturing out into an unknown terrain.


Put simply, winter treks. The German name refers to a practice really common in Switzerland and Austria, but also in the Dolomites, where a good pair of walking boots is all you’ll need to have a good time.  You will be able to discover the most romantic side of the Dolomites, enjoying groomed and marked snow paths, through which you will discover marvellous scenery and an astounding setting. Ask the local tourist information for some advice on the best routes you can take, and marvel at the scenery.

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