Working in the ski industry we have a lot of chats with people who describe some of the lesser-known resorts as hidden gems or national treasures. Hidden gems is pretty obvious, but what is a national treasure? Stephen Fry? The Beatles? The Crown Jewels? Obviously we looked to Google to translate for us:
Considered by some to be Europe’s best-kept ski secret, the area of Kronplatz (or Plan de Corones in Italian) offers world-class skiing for all abilities, with links to the wider Sella Ronda and Dolomiti Superski areas. It’s made up of small villages and towns that surround the ski area’s ‘panetonne’, shaped exactly as it’s named.
But what makes it a national treasure? Let’s find out.
The history of Kronplatz
Kronplatz has had some official skiing for quite a while. In the 1920s, the first ski school was opened, and the first official ski run was opened in the 1930s. In those days, there weren’t any lifts, so people went up on touring skis for hours, before the quick descent. In 1963, they finally installed ski lifts, and then the resort went from strength to strength.
One key moment in Kronplatz‘s ski history was in 1980. The resort imported a snowmaking system from the United States and became the first resort in Europe to be able to create snow. Not that they really needed it – the snowfall in resort is very decent. This does prove though that the resort is obsessed with giving visitors the best ski holiday they could ever dream of. Our customer satisfaction scores in the Dolomites are always sky high and this is down to the great skiing as well as the locals’ passion for the area.
What makes Kronplatz unique?
The Dolomites is a fascinating area, purely because of the cultural mesh. The area is a melting pot of three cultures, cuisines and languages – German, Italian and Ladin. Ladin is a language and culture left over from the Romanised Alps, which has survived in a very few remote mountain valleys, such as San Vigilio and San Martin. It’s still spoken daily by a lot of the locals, and people regularly converse in all 3 languages, which makes the local phrasebook a bit of a nightmare and heavier than that inevitable copy of the bible you’ll find in your hotel room.
But obviously the most important thing in the world is food. And the food in Kronplatz is something else. Ever fancied chugging an Austrian stein of beer, munching on a gorgeous Italian pizza and then gorging on some strudel with a side serving of gelato? The cultural makeup of the area makes the menus in most restaurants an absolute smorgasbord of the best food central Europe has to offer, and we sometimes can’t even face skiing because we’re too busy trying something else.
So what’s the skiing like?
In a word: superb. The Dolomites is one of our favourite ski areas in the world, due to its huge size, variety and views. The Kronplatz area is as good as the rest, with 116km of great slopes. For the adventurous, there are 5 black runs, known as the Black 5 (very original, we know) – Sylvester, Herrnegg, Pre da Peres, Erta and Piculin. There’s a very modern lift system mainly made up of cable cars and chair lifts – ideal for boarders looking to avoid drag lifts. The area is a haven for recent beginners wanting to gain a bit more confidence on the slopes, with a large amount of wide, blue runs and fairly gentle red runs. Ski down further towards the village and you’ll also experience some pretty tree lined runs and small tracks connecting lifts and large open pistes as well as a cruisy home run taking you back into the village, directly opposite the ski bus stop.
An unusual feature of the Kronplatz ski area is the Perca-Percha train station that can be reached from the top of the Panetone by a long red run or heated gondola. All accommodations give guests a free regional transport pass, supported by the local tourist board, meaning you can hop on the train for free to visit the nearby ski areas of San Candido and Versciaco – two small quiet ski areas used mainly by locals, which are real hidden gems.
What’s a perfect day in Kronplatz?
7am – Eat a hearty European breakfast in your hotel
8am – Get on the first cable car, and take some selfies – most of the longer cable cars have Wifi in them
9am – Make the most of the awesome ski area
12.30pm – Eat some local grub to refuel – like Spaetzle or Grostl
1.30pm – Take a trip to the the MMM Corones, the recently opened Messner Mountain Museum by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner, allowing you to have a look into traditions, history and methods of mountaineering
2.30pm – Burn off that lunch on the mountain
5pm – Take a trip to one of the local saunas to unwind and take care of those tired legs
7pm – Head into town for dinner – take your pick between rustic inns and gourmet restaurants
9pm – Have a drink with some local entertainment
How would you sum up the area in one sentence?
Kronplatz – where the Dolomites meets the Mediterranean lifestyle.