Depart from the U.S. and travel to Italy. The particulars of
your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline
Day 2 - Arrive in Venice
You arrive at the airport in Venice, Italy. Once in the
arrival terminal, please locate the water taxi and Information desk. The staff
of ‘Venezia Taxi' – one of the 3 operators there – will assist you, provide you
with a voucher and show you to your water taxi. From the airport pier, you'll
transfer (approximately 35 minutes) to your centrally located Venice hotel. VBT
provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes
information and recommendations on what to see and do in Venice during your
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 3:00 p.m. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ski / Welcome reception
VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Meet your VBT
representative at 8:30 a.m. in the main lobby of our Venice hotel; he or she
will be holding a VBT sign. We will then transfer by water taxi to the airport.
Plan to wear your ski clothes on the transfer or have them packed in a small
day pack that will be easily accessible upon arrival in Kranjska Gora.
VBT No-Air Package guests: The land tour begins at 9:30 a.m.
in Venice. The meeting point is the bar called CAFÉ' MARCO POLO DARSENA on the
docks of VENICE AIRPORT (address: via Luigi Broglio 8, Marco Polo airport).
Easy to find, the bar is very close to the water transport docks of the
airport, where motor taxi's park. You
will be met by our local representative, holding a VBT sign. From there you
will transfer to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, by private motorcoach with our Air
If your arrival at the Marco Polo Darsena bar at 9:30 a.m.
is delayed, please contact our hotel in Kranjska Gora, the Hotel Vitranc, to
advise staff of the delay, and they will pass your message along to your VBT
Trip Leaders. The number to call is: 011 386 4 5809-520.
VBT highly recommends flying to Italy at least one day
before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before
you begin sightseeing and skiing.
From the airport we will transfer by bus to the Ponca Ski
Shop in Kranjska Gora, arriving at approximately 1:30 p.m. Enjoy lunch on your
own en route. Plan to have your ski clothes or have them packed in a small day
pack that will be easily accessible upon arrival at the Ponca Ski Shop.
Shortly after arriving at the ski shop, one VBT Trip Leader
will hold a ski-fitting session, followed by a brief talk about the area trails
and the afternoon schedule. Our other Trip Leader will travel with the bus and
luggage to the Hotel Vitranc.
We then set off for the trails for our afternoon warm-up ski
on the Kranjska Gora Ski Trails (elev. 2,667 feet/813 m). Beginner skiers may
opt for a lesson, accompanied by a VBT Trip Leader or a ski instructor.
Advanced skiers have the option of skiing on their own with trail
recommendations from our Trip Leaders. Our options will lead to our first
hotel, where all guests will arrive by late afternoon. Our luggage will be
waiting for us in our rooms.
The Hotel Vitranc is situated in the quiet hamlet of
Podkoren, just outside Kranjska Gora. Upon arrival, take some time to settle in
and relax, or enjoy the sauna or a stroll before we gather for a welcome
reception and dinner.
The hotel has a long tradition of hospitality. Vitranc was the
name of the beloved stallion of the first owners. The house maintains the
simplicity and charm of a family-run mountain guesthouse, where travelers
immediately feel at home. The Pajzl
area, or pub, has a separate entrance and
is still the preferred place for the locals to stop for a chat and beer after
Day 4 - Morning ski in Valbruna / Lunch and exploration in Tarvisio / Dog sledding
After a hearty breakfast, we meet to review the day's events
and logistics. Then, we'll transfer from our hotel and cross the border to
Valbruna for a morning ski in Italy.
Valbruna is a picturesque village nestled deep in the Canal
Valley surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Julian Alps, which rise more than 4,000 feet from the valley
floor. We set off on the trails from the Saisera Huette, which was built for
the Valbruna Inn by an expert local carpenter, who worked by hand on one
hundred-year-old beams to assemble the entire hut by overlapping the boards in
the traditional local style.
Ski the trails through peaceful woods, alongside small
streams and vast snow-covered mountains, and enjoy a trailside snack or a
cappuccino on your own, stopping perhaps at the Agriturismo Prati Oitzinger to
take in stunning views of Mount Lussari. You might opt to recharge at the Bar
Trattoria Jof di Montasio. Each option offers typical local dishes of Friuli
cuisine. Return to the Saisera Huette after your ski for a bite to eat and to
After lunch, we make our way towards the International Dog
Sledding School run by Ararad Khatchikian, a renowned Iditarod racer. Here,
we'll learn how this important means of alpine transport became a sport before
enjoying a dog sled ride, mushing the dogs ourselves! When it's not your turn
to ride you can ski the trails here or relax in Ararad's house. In the
afternoon we return to our hotel, by way of your skis or by taxi. The rest of
the day is free.
In the evening, we will provide a shuttle option for you to
go into Kranjska Gora for an evening meal or drink.
Day 5 - Ski to Planica Ski Jump / Cooking class and storytelling
Today is a full day, beginning with our morning ski to the
Planica Ski Jump – the world's largest ski flying hill. Continue skiing up the
valley to the iconic Tamar Hut or take your time skiing the flat valley below.
At the Olympic Center, we enjoy a snack and video, as well as the opportunity
to meet 1961 Ski Jump World Record jumper, Joze Slibar. Feel free to ski or
shuttle back to the hotel after our Olympic Center visit. Stop at the Pehte
Trailside Restaurant or another restaurant in town for lunch on your own.
Later this afternoon we gather for a cooking class with Chef
Ales, who teaches us how to make struklji, a popular rolled dough pastry that
can be savory or sweet. As we knead and roll we will be entertained by local
storytellers, who share the legend of Kekec, a folk hero from a children's
Tonight for dinner we shuttle to Pri Martinu, a traditional
family run alpine gostilna, inn. The friendly staff dresses in period costume,
and the menu is based on hearty alpine specialties from local farms. Not to
worry about the hefty portions – after dinner we'll walk around town and
perhaps cap off the night with some après ski drinks at a local bar.
Day 6 - Ski in Ramsau / Short hike to dinner
After breakfast, you may take a morning walk or ski before a
breathtaking two-hour drive through the Alps to the Austrian ski village of
Ramsau (112 miles/178 km). We will stop en route for lunch on your own in
Schladming, a small mining town in the Austrian state of Styria, and home of
the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships. After enjoying your lunch in one of
the Old Town's cafes or restaurants, we will continue to a Ramsau ski shop (30
minutes) where our skis await.
Ramsau lies at the foot of Styria's highest mountain, the
Dachstein, and is situated on a comparatively level piece of land. The plateau
is an exceptional geological feature in the rugged terrain of the Alps and is
ideal for cross-country skiing. The holiday resort extends over 10 miles in
length and 2.5 miles in width, and takes the form of a shelf 3,600 feet above
the Ennstal Valley. Several ski jumps were erected in the region in the 20th
century, and the excellence of the Nordic venues of Ramsau am Dachstein was
recognized by FIS when it awarded the region the 1999 FIS Nordic World Ski
After getting outfitted at the ski shop, we will ski
gradually downhill for 2 1/2 miles (4 km) to the Hotel Almfrieden, our
spectacularly-located lodging just off the trail. Choose your ideal pace for
this afternoon, whether it is slow and steady on the flat valley trail or a
vigorous jaunt to a breathtaking vista. Stop in the wellness center at the
Hotel Almfrieden and relax after an afternoon on the trails.
In the evening, we will meet to walk together in the crisp
night air up to the Gruberstube for dinner, perhaps borrowing lanterns from the
Almfrieden to light our way. The hike is about a mile from the hotel, but the
restaurant is well worth the journey. The Gruberstube offers traditional
Austrian fare, including a variety of fondues and a large selection of
excellent wines from the region and beyond. Return to the hotel afterwards for
bed or a nightcap at the inviting bar.
Day 7 - Ski Ramsau / Visit the Lodenwalke factory
In the morning, we enjoy a leisurely ski out the front door
of our hotel to the Ramsau trails. Stop for a snack or a warm drink at one of
the many cafés along the way. Perhaps even enjoy a sunny terrace while drinking
in the spectacular Mountain View and sipping cappuccino.
After lunch on your own, return to the hotel where we will
catch the public bus to the Lodenwalke, a 550-year-old wool manufacturing
factory 15 minutes from town. We will take a factory tour, which provides
fascinating insight into the production of loden with explanations of the
machines and the particular stages of production. After the tour you will have
an opportunity to visit the showroom and shop for many high quality loden
products, then relax and enjoy a beer in the factory's Styrian restaurant and
Following our tour of the factory we will return by ski bus
to the hotel, where the entire afternoon is open for more skiing, enjoying the
spa and sauna or simply relaxing in the comfort of the hotel before dinner on
your own at any one of Ramsau's mountain resorts. Your leaders will be happy to
help you with dinner recommendations.
Day 8 - Explore Schladming / Farewell dinner
Today, we'll experience Austrian mountain life with a stroll
through Schladming (30 minute bus transfer). Originally a small silver and
copper mining town as far back as 1180, Schladming is now a renowned and
popular meeting place for both cultural and sports enthusiasts. Its reputation
as a world famous winter sports resort is based on many major events held at
the Planai (Austria's largest ski area) with its legendary “FIS slope.” In
2013, Schladming hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships. The picturesque
countryside surrounding the traditional town, along with the vibrant energy of
the inhabitants and visitors makes Schladming a charming combination of nature,
culture and outdoor activities.
There are many activities available in Schladming: check out
the Farmer's Market which is open on Friday mornings; between November and
January it becomes a traditional Christmas market with crafts, food, seasonal
entertainment, and more. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the town's many
cafes. After lunch we will transfer back to the hotel to relax and change
This afternoon we return to Ramsau to enjoy its snowy beauty or perhaps take a walk with Rudi, our hotel's naturalist,
and then relax before gathering in the hotel dining room for our farewell dinner of
Day 9 - Transfer to Salzburg / Free time in Salzburg / VBT No-Air package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: your tour ends in Salzburg.
Transfer time from Ramsau is about an hour and thirty minutes to the Hotel
Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, where the trip concludes.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your
Trip Leaders and transfer to Salzburg.
With extra time in Salzburg you will enjoy the rest of this
day to discover the city independently. Visit the Mozarteum, a museum dedicated
to Mozart's life, or several other artistic centers like the Carolino Augusteum
or the Baroque Museum. See the Dom Cathedral or St. Peter's Abbey. Salzburg's
historic Old town (Altstadt) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is easily
walkable, with a number of outdoor cafés and restaurants. Our luxurious
Salzburg hotel is located in the heart of the city, making it easy to explore.
Your senses will come alive here in the magnificent city
whose landscapes were captured in the classic movie, The Sound of Music
birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg has been a cultural center for centuries,
offering a host of museums, concert venues, cathedrals and more to discover at
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
Early this morning*, transfer to the Salzburg Airport for
your flight back to the U.S. VBT recommends that you check the transfer time in
your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is
prearranged and prepaid by VBT**.
*For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.