Any true New Jerseyan has a love/hate relationship with winter. Waking up to fresh powder on Christmas morning: good. Sloshing through I-80 East for two hours during rush hour: not so good. And this year—thanks to the one-two punch of climate change and Punxsutawney Phil—we’re a bit short on snowy mornings. So what’s the cure—Mountain Creek? Aspen?
The question brought me back to my time in Italy last June (read about my trip to Tuscany here). Following my respite in wine country, I drove up the eastern coast to Venice and eventually Northern Italy. Driving through the Italian Alps in 85-degree heat in my buddy’s old Beamer, I couldn’t help imagining what the landscape might look like in the cold months ahead. I pictured a winter wonderland and thought about what I might do there.
In the days that followed, I found myself trekking around Austria (read that story here), and yet, I couldn’t get those images of winter in Northern Italy out of my head—even though I had never experienced it. It very well may have been the Vienna heatwave that prompted these snow-filled thoughts. Still, I started searching for getaways that might live up to that vision.
Recently I came across Northern Italy’s ADLER Lodge RITTEN, a hotel ideal for winter in South Tyrol (or Alto Adige). The property is the latest from the ADLER Hotel Group and brings that vision of the season to life. You know the one—cabins clad in fresh snow, fog beneath the mountain tops, towering evergreens.
The wellness-based resort is located in the charming foothills of the Dolomites, featuring all the transcendent experiences I imagined like Winter Forest Therapy (yes, that’s a real thing). Also known as “Forest Bathing,” Forest Therapy comes from the Japanese art of Shinrin Yoku—which literally means “healing in nature.” These meditative trips in the woods can sometimes last up to two hours, ideal for those looking to reconnect with themselves in addition to adventure-seeking.
Though ADLER Lodge RITTEN is relatively new on the scene, the ADLER Hotel Group is still run by the Sanoner family’s seventh generation—who opened their first inn back in 1810. Their latest hotel not only rings true to my own personal vision of a cold-weather retreat, but winter in South Tyrol is truly an experience unlike any other. If the non-existent Jersey snows have got you down, here are ADLER RITTEN’s latest events for the months ahead. And don’t worry, there’s food and wine, too.
Full-Moon Ski Excursion
The Corno del Renon is a small ski resort with a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. The trails range from beginner to intermediate and are ideal for skiers who love relaxed days on the slopes. Skiers first take a 5 pm shuttle to the cable car station. After riding to the summit and enjoying the incredible panoramas, there is a chance to eat dinner at one of the local mountain huts. The highlight of the experience is the chance to ski back down the mountain in the glow of the moonlight.
Restorative Yoga Retreat (with Anna Lisa Tempestini)
February 16 – 23, 2020
This yoga week, which is appropriate for both beginners and more advanced practitioners, focuses on detoxification and balancing energy within the body. Tempestini, a yoga teacher and cooking instructor from the Montalcino area, will lead twice-daily yoga classes as well as various outdoor activities. A perfect way to unwind during winter in South Tyrol.
Sauna in the Woods
February 2 – February 29, 2020
Guests will experience a special course led by the hotel’s two sauna masters: It’s an unforgettable sensory experience that mixes light, heat, water and music. The instructors will teach guests how to use the sauna properly, share fun myths and rituals and also educate them about the health benefits.
The package includes: 15 percent discount on spa treatments. Daily ventilation, rituals and scrubs in the forest saunas. Meditation, yoga and stretching. Guided ski tours and winter walks (snowshoes optional). Tea tasting. Gift of ADLER essential oil.
Gourmet Weeks at Renon
March 15, 2020 – November 1, 2020
The Renon area offers many culinary delights, and this package allows guests to take full advantage. The offer includes: Visit the Loacker vineyard with wine tasting. Visit the Oberweidacher farm, a producer of Wagyu meat. Tour and honey tasting at the Plattner Bee Museum. Cooking course with hotel pastry chef Elisa Kostner. Presentation of traditional vegetables and their properties by local expert Harald Gasser. Tasting of Kohl apple juices.