Chicer than Courchevel, but without the flashy Verbier clichés, Cortina d’ Ampezzo was the best-kept secret of the glam set, from Brigitte Bardot to Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn – think fur-trimmed snowsuits with full-on 60s cat-eyes. Nowadays you’ll still find plenty of superstars on the slopes, but they come for the powder-perfect snow – not the paparazzi. InStyle's Chloe Mac Donnell hopped in the chairlift with Fendi to experience ski chic, just like Audrey.
Channel ‘mountain chic’
Yep, it’s a thing. The easiest way to nail it is by sticking to a colour scheme. Monochrome looks très chic on a red run, or opt for neon brights to make your mark off the slopes.
Breaking news – turns out skiing on a ski holiday is not actually essential. What with all the après-ski action, spa opportunities and selfie-taking spots, no one has time for quizzing you about the best run of the day.
If you still want some snow action sans skis, opt for snowboarding (to be honest we just like how we look carrying the board) or name-drop fat-biking. Basically cycling up and down the peaks. It’s what all the spin addicts do when they can’t get their weekly studio fix.
At dawn and dusk the Dolomites turn the most gorgeous shade of pink. Trust us, this is prime time for a profile pic update. Even more flattering than a LuMee light.
Where to stay?
The Cristallo has something of a reputation for being the original celeb haunt. Blame Frank Sinatra, who in the swinging 60s ordered 200 eggs to his suite for a food fight. And Peter Sellers has a suite named in his honour after he made it his base while filming the original Pink Panther. For a more traditional feel, try Hotel Europa. With only 45 rooms, original wooden beams and staff that have been there for the same amount of time, it feels like stepping into someone’s cosy mountainside living room. Plus, it’s a two-minute walk to the town centre, meaning you won’t waste precious ski time travelling to the hire shops. Ask for a room at the back with a private balcony overlooking the slopes. The perfect place to warm up with a hot chocolate while you watch the last of the hardcore skiers make their way home.
Lunchtime pit stop?
Head to Lago Ghedina. Ask for a table out on the terrace, then sit literally on the edge of the frozen lake. Refuel with pappardelle and lamb ragu then head to the cool couches to peel off a few layers and top up your tan in the sun. A lemon gelato to cool down is practically mandatory.
People-watching prime spot?
Take a cable car for brunch at Col Druscie. Order a bowl of velvety, cheesy polenta (calories don’t count this high above sea level) and play guess the ski tribe.
What to sip?
We discovered an afternoon Aperol spritz tastes better mountainside. Switch to a negroni pre-dinner. And post? It’s all about the black sambuca shots.
Where to go dancing?
Beneath Hotel Europa you’ll find VIP Club. With more of a chalet rather than club feel (think wooden beams, squashy sofas and lots of hidden corners) this is where the real party crowd go to dance. With a live pianist who also doubles as a singer plus killer espresso martinis, you soon won’t notice post-ski leg aches.
Nab an invite to…
Dinner at Baita Fraina. Afterwards, head downstairs to dance off the apple strudel at a secret DJ set. All low ceilings, and even lower lights – just don’t jump too high.
Join the Italian scions and stroll around the town centre, packed full of sleek boutiques and tiny espresso bars. Our must-haves? Fendi bag bugs from Franz Kraler, and Italian chocolates from the Pasticceria Lovat on Corso Italia.
Heal the hangover
Down milk thistle the night before, then hit the slopes asap the next morning and you won’t even notice it kick in. That’s the joy of a blast of mountain air!
High altitude sickness?
Head to Venice, a two-hour drive away. A trip on a gondola and a spritz pre-flight will make the post-mountain-high comedown much easier to handle.
Layer. Although you're surrounded by ice and snow, it can get pretty sweaty on the slopes - even if your chosen activity is just mooching around the hottest apres-ski hangouts. Clever layering (think a thermal, tee and a punchy parka) will keep you cool and looking even cooler.
Skip the pre-ski pedi. Forget slippery snow paths. The uber-glam crowd who descend on Cortina means its pavements are practically lined with a skid-proof topping. Here, wearing heels isn't a prank. Just make sure you can walk briskly to avoid frostbite.
Our dream ski kit...
(All from a selection at Fendi)
Three backpack essentials...
Piz Buin Lip Balm - an oldie but a goldie. Dab generously for flake-free lips.
Tom Ford Winter Sun - the only suncreen to be seen smearing slopeside.
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve - Rub in before donning your gloves to soothe while you ski.