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Get a little closer to the gods… For a proper taste of the mountains in winter, nothing beats a visit to one of our high-altitude refuges. More than 50 are open this season in Trentino, and you don’t have to be a skier to reach them.

You can also hike to them on show-shoes, ride a mountain lift – or jump on the back of a snowcat. Some even make the journey bundled up on the back of a horse-drawn sleigh.

It’s the weirdest feeling. In some respects a night in a mountain hut is a cosy as a Mother’s hug. But it’s also an experience that’s completely beyond the run of normal life, and the first time they try it, many people have to keep going outside to remind themselves where they are. Inside, fires are crackling, the food is rich and hearty, and the conversation free-flowing. Out there, lies a snow-drenched wilderness. The rest of humanity is nowhere to be seen.

Trentino has over fifty huts that stay open through winter, and you can book a night in many of them, or simply drop in for lunch or dinner - before heading back down the mountain on skis, snowshoes or the back of a snowcat. Either way, the sense of adventure and privilege will stay with you for days afterwards.

What’s more, with so many high-altitude options, it’s possible to find a hut to suit every kind of snow-lover - from gastronomes and sauna addicts to mad-keen piste skiers and backcountry adventurers. Here are a few of the most obvious categories to consider.

Huts for keen piste skiers

Many huts are right next to the pistes. Spend the night in one, and after a leisurely breakfast, you’ll be skiing when everyone else is still sitting on a lift. That means half an hour of perfectly-groomed corduroy before the pistes start to fill up, and enough room to make the biggest, most joyful turns.

There are many huts in this category to target. Beneath the western face of the Brenta Dolomites you can take your pick from “Albasini” in the Folgarida–Marilleva ski area,  “Giorgio Graffer” and “Viviani-Pradalago” in Madonna di Campiglio and “Dos Sabiòn” in Pinzolo. Meanwhile, on the Presena glacier, above Passo del Tonale, sits the chic new “Capanna Presena” mountain hut at the gondola mid-station, which opened last winter and offers eight rooms.

In Paganella there is “Dosso Larici”, while along the Ski Tour dei Forti route in Folgaria you’ll find “Baita Tonda” and “Stella d’Italia”. In the ski areas of the Dolomite zone - ranging from Val di Fassa to the Pale di San Martino - there are the “Friedrich August”, “Des Alpes”, “Salei”, “Valentini”, and “Ciampolin” mountain huts, and the “Fredarola” in the Passo Sella – Canazei sector. “Ciampàc”, “Tobià del Giagher” and “Buffaure” are dotted along the Ski tour Panorama route, while “Paolina” sits above Passo Costalunga, “Negritella” and “Ciampedie” above Vigo di Fassa, and “Passo Lusia” in Bellamonte. Finally, “Capanna Cervino” has stood at Passo Rolle, beneath the magnificent rocky spire of the Cimòn della Pala, since 1931.

Huts for ski-tourers

For those who like to walk up their mountains, as well as ski down, there’s plenty of choice too. But bear in mind that most huts serving ski tourers don’t open until March, when the snowpack has settled in the spring warmth, and the avalanche risk is reduced. Each morning, an early start from these huts is essential, so you can ski the “firn” is at its best – when the top layer of snow has softened in the morning sunshine, but the base beneath is still firm.

Among the ski-tourers’ favourites are Cevedale’s “Guido Larcher” hut in upper Val di Peio, Stavel’s “Francesco Denza” and Val d’Amola’s “Segantini” at the feet of the Presanella, and Mandròn’s “Città di Trento” and “Ai caduti dell’Adamello” in the Adamello group. From these huts it’s possible to reach peaks such as Cevedale, Palòn de la Mare, Zufall, Presanella, Adamello, Cima Pisgana.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Dolomites you’ll find “Passo Principe” in the heart of the Catinaccio, “Pian dei Fiacconi” on the Marmolada, and Rosetta’s “Giovanni Pedrotti” on the Pale di San Martino plateau.

Huts for snow-shoers

There are an almost infinite number of snow-shoe itineraries in Trentino’s mountains and valleys: but the most rewarding walks are the ones that end with a night at altitude in a hut, with the lights of the nearest village twinkling far below.

Amongst the hikers’ huts to target are “Potzmauer” in the mountains of Valle di Cembra; “Malga Trivena” in the Val Breguzzo; “Sette Selle” in the Val dei Mocheni; “Malga Campo” above Luserna; Alpe Pozza’s “Vincenzo Lancia” in the Gruppo del Pasubio; Altissimo’s “Damiano Chiesa” above Brentonico; Predaia’s “Ai todés-ci” in the Val di Non; “Gardeccia” at the foot of the Catinaccio in the Val di Fassa; and “Lupi di Toscana” on the Boniprati plateau in the Valle del Chiese. Please check first about the opening times before you start to formulate your plans. Several are only open at weekends.

Gourmet venues

Whether you’re stopping off for skier’s lunch or making a special journey for dinner, sitting down to eat in a mountain hut is always memorable. Among the best gourmet huts is “Fuciade” above Passo San Pellegrino, which serves traditional Ladin dishes in majestic surroundings. Meanwhile at the top of the Paganella ski area, with a stunning view of the Brenta Dolomites, the “La Roda” mountain hut offers oyster aperitifs, matched with the best Trentodoc Spumante wines.

“doloMitico” wellness

Some mountain huts have even added spa facilities. For example, “Baita Cuz”, above Pozza di Fassa, has a Finnish outdoor sauna with views of the Fassa Dolomites. At the “Solander” in the Folgarida-Marilleva ski area, guests can enjoy a mini-spa with sauna, jacuzzi and Turkish steam bath, while in the nearby “Orso Bruno” your hot tub comes with sunset views of the Brenta Dolomites. Equally exclusive is the “baitota” at the “Caltena” mountain hut above Valle di Primiero. It features a small relaxation area with sauna, waterfall, tropical shower, Scotch pine mist and chromotherapy.

Breathtaking views and perfect suntans

Sun-worshippers, listen up. There are few better spots to catch some rays than the terrace of a mountain hut, sheltered from the wind and faced by a vast panorama of snowy peaks. Our best suntans come courtesy of the “Terrazza delle Dolomiti” of the “Maria” hut above Canazei; at chalet “Valbona” in Alpe Lusia; at the famous “Baita Segantini” at Passo Rolle; and at the “Rifugio Paiòn” on the summit of Alpe Cermis. Meanwhile, in Madonna di Campiglio you’ll enjoy the terraces of the celebrated “Chalet Fiat” at Spinale and the restaurant “Stoppani” at Grostè. Both can be reached directly by lifts. In Pinzolo, try the “Prà Rodont” restaurant; on Monte Bondone, the “Bondonero”; and in the Paganella ski area, the recently-renovated “Dosson”. Last but not least, in the Skitour dei Forti area, between Lavarone and Passo Vezzena, “Baita Neff” is an essential stop whenever the sun’s out.