Formed 200 million years ago from primordial seas, today these fascinating mountains rise more than 3,000m tall toward the sky. The Dolomites are named after French geologist Deodat de Dolomieu (1750 – 1801), who first identified the unique composition of the rock. On 26 June 2009 the Dolomites became a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site for their monumental and unique beauty. The majestic Dolomite mountains offer a breathtaking setting for your winter holiday.
The Dolomites offer diverse landscapes and shapes, a fact which the National Parks express in all their splendour. Magic around every corner, emotions everywhere.
As with many sporting firsts the adventurers were not numerous when they took to exploring the mountains on what were little more than flat wooden boards, but the pull of the mountains and the natural formation of the Dolomites snowy slopes was strong.
It took but a few years for the foundation of the first Ski Club in 1903 at Cortina D’Ampezzo and the first ski race followed in 1905 in Alpe de Siusi. So was laid the base for the development of tourism in the Dolomite valleys. And then there was no holding back: the first tour round the Sellaronda massif lasting more than 2 days was completed by the young adventurer from Meran, Peter Böttl, in 1912. Soon to become of an international standing as winter sports destinations were the very elegant Cortina d’Ampezzo, Corvara and Selva Gardena, all achieving a certain acclaim by the thirties. Examples of sporting endeavour and keenness to accept a challenge are commonplace in these Dolomite valleys.
We can go back and cite the legendary Cesco Kostner of Corvara, who already back in 1933 won the “Gigantissimo” on Marmolada and went on to found the first ski school in Corvara in 1934. For we valley folk no mountain is too high and no task too difficult to be accomplished. In 1956 Cortina D’Ampezzo was the natural host to the Olympic Winter Games and, in part thanks to the media exposure, became the exclusive tourist destination that it remains to this day. And as for achievements just think of .the 10 hotels in Selva back in 1900 which catered for English and Austrian guests principally and which went on to develop into important international hotel destinations of choice. When speaking of uphill lift systems we have to think of the first chair-lift built by Erich Kostner, which ran on cables supported by wooden pylons, through to the large scale development in the fifties and sixties.
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