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Venice and Dolomites in January: skiing and sightseeing

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We've flirted with the idea of going to Venice and the Dolomites during the holidays for several years. Started doing it again this year but found flights 3-500 per ticket cheaper in January and with much better connections. Now thinking Jan 10 to 22 or so. So I have some questions again and would like the help of local experts and those who have skiied the area.

Thinking 4 or 5 days in Venice and 6 or 7 on Dolomites. Any arguments for starting vs. ending in Venice? Less likelihood of aqua alta early or later? other things that might influence the choice? Am I right to assume decent ski conditions during the selected time--Jan 10 to 22?

In Dolomites, our son, an expert skiier will want to ski and DH and I will want to sit around charming villages soaking in the charm and some beverages plotting where to dine for the evening. Which villages/areas seem to provide optimum opportunity for all of us? Should we divide the time between two areas? Which? My research shows most favorable comments about Val Gardena area with a base in Orteisi (or Castelrotto?) or Sella in Sella Ronda area, maybe Arraba?. Would it make sense to book 3 nights in each? Any other suggestions for which towns would provide best ski access coupled with opportunities to soak up small town charm and good food?

We would like not to drive if at all possible. How does one get to or from Val Gardena or Sella Ronda areas from Venice? Is there easy transport between them? Could we use public transport for a day trip to Cortina? Other good day trips you recommend? When we were in Chamonix, we engaged a private driver one day for a trip to Megeve. Willing to do something similar in Dolomites. Recommendations appreciated.

I've read probably 50 posts and still can't answer these questions with confidence so any/all info and recs you can provide directly to the questions posed will be most gratefully appreciated. Also would like hotel and restaurant recs, but those are not as important as the where to base and where to travel for day trips issues listed above. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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