As the season in Cortina d'Ampezzo starts to draw to a spectacular close, there is nowhere better to make the most of the long spring days on the mountain - fresh snowfalls have brought fabulous spring skiing conditions.
Anyone making last minute bookings for the majestic Queen of the Dolomites, Italy's most fashionable resort, will be well rewarded!
There is even a way to stay in Cortina that means never having to leave the slopes even when the lifts close - and that means you get first tracks, as soon after sun-up as you like, without having to catch a lift.
For Cortina boasts the best mountain refuges in the Alps, amazing mountain huts from where you can watch the sun go down, sleep in comfort and be up to enjoy first tracks before most skiers down in the valleys have even had breakfast.
This is the perfect time of the season to spend nights in a refuge in this enchanting area of the Italian Dolomites. Many of the mountain huts here offer accommodation ranging from comfortable to surprisingly luxurious, with excellent cuisine available - and of course set in incomparable locations.
It's possible to spend one night up on the slopes as a special treat, stay several nights at one refuge, or put together a tour of several huts. It is a very special experience to be able to hit the slopes in the early morning sun even before the lifts have opened.
Great mountain huts to stay in for first tracks in the Cinque Torri area include Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Scoiattoli.
Rifugio Averau has rooms with private bathroom and TV and balconies with stupendous views, including those of the Civetta and Marmolada. For larger groups there are dormitories offering six or ten beds, all provided with bedding and towels. Ski rooms have ski-boot warmer - and slippers are provided for guests. There's even a laundry for the use of visitors.
Half board, based on two in a double room, is 115 euros per person.
In Rifugio Scoiattoli, you can enjoy wonderful food, amazing views of the famous Cinque Torri - and the chance to enjoy the sunset while you soak in a hot tub on the deck.
At Rifugio Lagazuoi you can sleep at 2,800-metres and enjoy Europe's highest altitude sauna. The refuge is also at the top of the magical 'Hidden Valley' Armentarola run, passing sheer cliffs and frozen waterfalls and one of the most beautiful in the Alps.