Val Gardena – the largest Italian resort
Val Gardena is a valley in the Dolomites, part of the world’s largest ski region Dolomiti Superski. The ski pass of the same name unites 12 large ski areas and gives access to 1,200 km of slopes – but, of course, not all of them are connected directly by lifts. Specifically, from Val Gardena you can ski in three more valleys – Val di Fassa, Alta Badia and Arabba / Marmolada. The famous 40-km route Sella Ronda is used for this, ringing the Sella mountain range. Each valley also has its own ski area. Together, the four of them have 250 lifts and 570 km of slopes.
There are three resorts in Val Gardena – Ortisei, Selva and Santa Cristina. Ortisei of them is the largest, but also the least tourist – it is the administrative center of the valley, and most of the locals live there. Santa Cristina is small and calm, but Selva attracts the maximum attention of the guests of the valley. It is believed that Val Gardena is family oriented, so the emphasis here is not on cheerful après ski, but on special offers for children. Let’s say those who are under 8 years old ride the whole season for free. And in the second half of March, according to the proposal of DolomitiSuperKids, they still live! For those who are from 8 to 12 years old, you will have to pay only half the cost of living.
The main magnet for guests of all four valleys is, of course, Sella Ronda. You can drive along it in both directions – clockwise and against it. Those who like to ride fast will ride Sella Ronda in half a day, but it is much more pleasant to devote it all day – with lunch breaks and a glass of mulled wine somewhere on the highway.
Having performed this traditional ritual, you can proceed to get acquainted with the ski areas adjacent to the valleys. In Val Gardena, it consists of several interconnected areas. In Alpe di Siusi there is a lift from Ortisei. A wide and sunny plateau with an abundance of blue tracks, it is the best suited for beginners and those who are not yet completely confident in their abilities. Ortisei also offers access to the Seceda & Col Raiser area. This is another plateau, where lovers of virgin lands strive after snowfall and roll the entire Seceda slope entirely, while admiring the main peak of the Gardena – Sassolungo. Of all the tracks, it is worth highlighting the 10-kilometer La Longia, descending from Seceda to Ortisei. This is perhaps the best end to an active day of skiing.
From Santa Cristina and Selva, lifts lead to the Ciampinoi area. This is the business card of Val Gardena. Located on the slopes of the peak of the same name, it is similar to an intersection from which red and black tracks diverge in different directions. Two are most famous among them – Saslong (on the black Saslong A, the World Cup stage is held annually at the beginning of the season for the giant slalom and downhill; there is also the red Saslong B) and the black track leading from the top of Ciampinoi to the lower station of the same lift. Only experienced skiers and (especially) snowboarders should climb here.
The Plan de Gralba area, where several lifts from Selva deliver, on the contrary, is unlikely to scare anyone. There is even a large gentle slope for beginners. In addition, through Plan de Gralba there is a path to the neighboring Val di Fassa Valley. And the Dantercepies area, also connected with the Selva ski lifts, is adjacent to the Alta Badia valley. There are few tracks here, but all of them are very long and beautiful. And downstairs on a huge field with special lifts they put on the skis and boards the smallest.
Ceceda is arguably the best ski area in the Italian Val Gardena Valley in the Dolomites. The lifts from Ortisei (two lines) and Santa Cristina lead to it. Wide groomed trails overlooking the main peak of Val Gardena Sassolungo, the “Queen Dolomite” Marmolada and other majestic mountains lie along an endless sunny plateau. In order to appreciate Seceda at its true worth, an average level of skiing is sufficient, although there are also black tracks here. There are 10 tracks in this area, and the red 10-kilometer La Longia, descending directly to Ortisei, should be noted. A rather long (6 km) “blue” Fermeda track leads to Santa Cristina, along which there are many cozy mountain restaurants.
There is no official off-piste skiing in Val Gardena, for this you need to go to the neighboring Val di Fassa. The Sass Pordoi peak located there is suitable for several freeride routes, but this is a risky business, and you need to calculate your strength well before setting off for the mountain.
Apres ski in Val Gardena and generally in Italy and the Dolomites is not the most cult occupation. Unrestrained fun Italians prefer a detailed dinner. Then – an unhurried conversation, for example, playing a game of cards. The “Austrian” version, when you go straight down the hill to the nearest bar and drink there before dinner, or even instead, you can hardly find here. The only option is the Luis Keller bar in Selva. From four o’clock in the afternoon, an audience rushes in for entertainment, and at seven in front of the entrance a rather impressive mountain of boards forms