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As an avid hiker and leader of Italian walking tours for many decades, I’ve seen many of Italy’s best mountain vistas many times.

But as a resident of Aspen, Colorado, I clearly also love to ski, and last year I was delighted to experience Italian ski culture head on.

Skiing in Italy is a case of extremes: the slopes are world-class, the food is Michelin-starred gourmet, and the skiers are top European and American celebrities.

Even with all that going for Italy’s ski resorts, they’re remarkably accessible. And with 237 main resorts to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice. In the Alps, in the Alto Adige region that was a part of Austria until 1919, the mountains around the regional capital Bolzano offer a chance to try Austrian-Italian fusion food, great skiing, and stunning scenery, including Seiser Alm, the largest Alpine meadow in Europe and one of my favorite hiking spots in warmer weather.

But though Italy has been blessed with a slice of the Alps, the nearby Dolomite Mountains are home to some of the country’s most prestigious skiing. In the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo, home to the 1956 Winter Olympics and a famous James Bond chase scene, has become a particular favorite among celebrities.

I hit the Dolomiti Superski last year, with 36 lifts and 87 miles of runs and ski-in restaurants where you can really spoil yourself. If you make it up there, head to La Posta Hotel in the center of town for the best apres ski.

And like many things in Italy, one of the best parts of skiing in Italy is the meals!

Though the interiors seem like simple rustic wooden cabins and you’re welcome to wear your ski gear, the servers are all suits and the food is Michelin-starred.

Read more about Italian ski cuisine and ski lodges in January’s Little Black Book.

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