Winter Sports Italy Val Gardena

Winter sports Val Gardena: The Ultimate Guide

Val Gardena Italy view mountains snow winter sports

Val Gardena near Ortisei, for every winter sportsman enough to experience in this beautiful Italian ski resort. Val Gardena is one of the largest ski areas in Italy. Its location in the Italian Dolomites guarantees magnificent views. And the villages of Ortisei, Selva and Santa Cristina are particularly atmospheric. In Val Gardena you can eat delicious food in a cozy mountain restaurant. Also après-ski possibilities are plentiful.

Both children, beginners and advanced skiers are well catered for in the Val Gardena ski area. The area also lends itself very well to other winter sports activities, such as ice climbing, winter hiking, tobogganing and cross-country skiing.

Val Gardena is a wonderful area for various winter sports activities.

1. Val Gardena: characteristics, location, slopes & villages

The Val Gardena ski area is centrally located in South Tyrol in the Italian Dolomites. The name refers to the valley Gröden/Val Gardena where the skiing area is located. It is a popular ski area with many kilometres of pistes and is aimed at children, beginners and advanced skiers alike. There are several modern gondolas, chairlifts and mountain trains in the ski area. The capacity and speed of the lift connections is excellent. The bus connections between the different villages are also excellent. Val Gardena is directly connected to the immense ski area Dolomiti Superski and the corresponding long trip Sella Ronda.

You can choose a Val Gardena ski pass that gives access to all the slopes in the Val Gardena ski area. The Dolomiti Superski ski pass is also an option. You then have 1214 kilometres of pistes at your disposal. The ski areas covered by the Dolomiti Superski include Val Gardena (including Seiser Alm), Alta Badia and Arabba. The ski pass is subject to reduced rates in low season. Children up to about 8 years of age ski for free and seniors get a discount.

In the weekends and holidays it can get quite busy in Val Gardena. Especially at the elevators of the Sella Ronda is often connecting in the queue. However, the lifts are fast and you never have to wait long. Because of the size of the area and the wide descents it feels nowhere uncomfortable pressure on the slopes. The characteristics of the skiing area Val Gardena are listed in the table below. Here you will also find a link to the Val Gardena ski map.

Val Gardena

Val GardenaItaly

Your preferences100%
  52 km   105 km   18 km
Kilometers pistes
175 km
Minuten vanaf vliegveld
Meters laagste punt - Meters hoogste punt
1.236 until 2.518 m
  • Beginners
  • Advanced users
  • Snow security in high season
  • Snow security low season
  • Child-friendliness
  • Après-ski
ski pass 6 days273 €read guide
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Characteristics ski resort Val Gardena near Ortisei

Highest point 2518 metres
Lowest point 1236 metres
Total kilometres of pistes 175
Blue slopes 52 kilometres
Red slopes 105 kilometres
Black slopes 18 kilometres
Pistekilometers Dolomiti Superski 1214 (456 blue, 587 red, 171 black)
Villages Selva (Wolkenstein), Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich),

Santa Cristina (Sankt Christina)

Snow security Moderate
Après-ski possibilities Very good
Child-Friendliness Very good
Oportunities for beginners Very good
advanced options Very good
Post ski pass (6 days) in 2018 € 273
Extra possibilities ski pass Dolomiti Superski
Post Dolomiti Superski (6 days) in 2018 € 273
Ski lesson costs (4 days x 4 hours) € 150 - € 250
Cost lunch on the slopes € 5 - € 20
Best travel period January-February
Travel time from Innsbruck Airport 1 hour and 35 minutes
Distance to Utrecht Only 1020 kilometres
Pistecards Pistecard Val Gardena

2. Selva, Ortisei and Santa Cristina

The villages in the Val Gardena ski area are Selva (Wolkenstein), Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich) and Santa Cristina (Sankt Christina). Many villages in the Italian South Tyrol have both Austrian and German names. The village of Selva is centrally located in the ski area and is charming and cozy. Here you will find authentic buildings, but also modern accommodations for tourists. You can ski to your front door to some accommodation in Selva. Along the main road it is quite busy, but the rest of the village is lovely and quiet. Selva has several cafes, restaurants and shops.

Selva is the highest village at 1563 meters. From Selva you can make trips via the Sella Ronda to other ski resorts, such as Arabba and Alta Badia. There are several lifts to take you to the top. Ortisei is an authentic and lively village. The busy main road runs along the village and the center is car-free. The location between the wooded slopes is beautiful. In Ortisei you will find various accommodations, such as apartments, hotels, guesthouses and chalets. There are also all kinds of nice shops, restaurants and nightlife.

Ortisei is at an altitude of 1236 slightly lower than Selva and Santa Cristina. From here you have a direct elevator connection to the subarea Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi). In the afternoon you always have to take the elevator back, because there is no descent from the Seiser Alm. On the other side of Ortisei an elevator takes you to the subarea Col Raider-Secada. Through several lifts it is possible to explore the rest of the skiing area Val Gardena. You come back to the village with a 10 km long descent (La Longia)

The descent from the Secada to Ortisei is over 10 kilometres long

Village Height (m) Downhill Lift Snow Price Authentic village Après-ski Kid Achievable
Wolkenstein (Selva) 1563 + + + +/- + + + +/-
Thank Ulrich (Ortisei) 1236 + + + +/- + + ++ +/-
Thanks Christina (Santa Cristina) 1428 + + + +/- + - +/- +/-

3. Winter sports in the Val Gardena ski area

The Val Gardena ski area offers opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts of all levels. From the villages in the valley you can go in different directions. The ski area is also connected to the Dolomiti Superski and the Sella Ronda. The skiing area of Val Gardena is large and extensive and is therefore also very suitable for tours. The Sella Ronda is a popular and fairly simple ski tour through the Sella massif of no less than 40 kilometers. The views are spectacular and along the way you will come across several cozy mountain huts. You can make the trip both left and right.

Sella Ronda

Val Gardena is an excellent ski area for beginners. There are several blue slopes in the whole area which are well prepared. As a beginner you should definitely visit the subarea Seiser Alm. The slopes of the Sella Ronda are also great for beginners. Also for advanced skiers there is a lot to do in Val Gardena. Plenty of red and various black pistes to whizz down. If you are an advanced skier you should really look for the slopes around the Ciampinoi and Secada.

The Ciampinoi Saslong, for example, is a steep black descent. FIS competitions are also held here. And the red descent La Longia from Secada to Ortisei is also recommended. In the ski area you will find some flat stretches. Some slopes of the Sella Ronda are a bit flatter. Also on the Seiseralm you should sometimes clog on skis or walk with your snowboard.

The off-piste possibilities in ski resort Val Gardena are fine. One of the most famous freeride routes is Val Medzi. This is a couloir right through the Sella massif. There are also several other freeride possibilities, both for beginners and advanced. A guide can show you the most beautiful spots in the area. Also freestylers get their money's worth in the ski area. On the Piz Sella you will find a large snow and fun park with kickers, jumps, boxes, rails and boardercross. The fun park can be reached with a chairlift.

Funpark Piz Sella

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, the Val Gardena ski area is also great for cross-country skiing, tobogganing and winter hiking. The uninhabited Langental near Selva is particularly popular with hikers and cross-country skiers. Ice climbing in Val Gardena is also a special experience.

4. Val Gardena: very child friendly

The skiing area Val Gardena is particularly child-friendly. There are several children's areas with practice meadows, simple slopes and modern lifts. The slopes are also well prepared. And children up to 8 years of age ski for free with their parents. Ortisei has two practice slopes on the outskirts of the village. And a direct lift connection takes you directly to the adjoining child-friendly ski area Seiser Alm. The skiing area of the Seiser Alm is situated on a large plateau. There are sloping slopes and wide slopes.

The Seiser Alm ski area is ideal for families with children

In the village of Selva you will find a nice children's land and some nice slopes for children. Just above the village there are simple blue slopes for practice. In the ski area, only the village of Santa Cristina is less suitable for families with children. In the village you will find no facilities for the little ones. There are some practice slopes on the mountain, but with children it is better to stay overnight in Selva or Ortisei.

The skiing area Val Gardena is extensive and has several sub-areas. Older children can therefore not only explore the whole skiing area. Independent adventure in one of the sub-areas, such as the Seiser Alm, is possible.

5. Val Gardena: moderate snow conditions

Val Gardena is located on the south side of the Alps. On this side there is less snow on average than on the north side of the Alps. The snow is therefore moderate. Due to the high altitude, fallen snow usually remains well. And in addition, the many snow cannons help to keep the slopes white. January and February are the most snow-sure months. In case of heavy snowfall you can, however, from mid-December to the end of April in the Val Gardena ski area.

Selva, Ortisei and Santa Cristina are located at considerable altitude in the ski area. You will regularly find snow in the villages during the winter sports season

6. Après-ski in Selva, Ortisei and Santa Cristina

In the Val Gardena ski area you can enjoy cozy après-ski. Both on the slopes and in the villages you will find several nice après-ski opportunities. Especially Selva (Wolkenstein) and Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich) are known for their festive après-ski. The après-ski in Italy is on a lower level than in Austria. So expect hossing crowds and Dutch artists. However, it is certainly fun during the après-ski in Val Gardena. Think of a nice drink and cheerful music. There are also a number of nightclubs, pubs and discotheques where you can party until late at night.

Familiar après-ski occasions are Luislkeller in Selva and Val d'Anna in Ortisei.

In Luislkeller you can do fine après-ski

Santa Cristina (Sankt Christina) is not a real après-ski village. A drink after skiing or boarding is fine. For the real après-ski atmosphere you should really take a ride to Ortisei or Selva.

7. Skiing and snowboarding lessons in Ortisei, Selva or Santa Cristina

Skischool Selva and also Ski and Snowboard School Ortisei. A private lesson is also possible. You pay more for this, but private lessons are usually more effective. Of course you can also hire a private teacher with a group. For a private lesson of 4 hours you will lose around 250 euros. Ski lessons can be arranged on the spot, but often also in advance from the Netherlands.

8. Val Gardena: delicious food

On the slopes of the ski resort Val Gardena you can enjoy delicious food. How could it be otherwise in a country like Italy. There are so many good and cosy restaurants that you can't visit them all in one week. Italian pizza, a good piece of meat, delicious snacks. The menus offer plenty of choice. Real winter sports dishes are also on the menu. Think of goulash soup, Kaiserschmarrn and wienerschnitzel.

Italian pizzas and fish dishes in the restaurant Emilio Comici in Selva are highly recommended. And also in restaurant Val d'Anna in Ortisei you can eat delicious. A restaurant with many good reviews in Santa Cristina is for example Odles Hütte. Here they serve meat from their own cows, homemade cakes and local cheeses. The prices in the restaurants on the slopes are excellent. For about 5 euros you can order a simple dish. For a lunch you'll lose between 10 and 20 euros on average. For a sumptuous meal with a lot of meat and drinks you are of course a bit more expensive.

9. Val Gardena: accommodations and price level

By Italian standards, Val Gardena is a somewhat more expensive ski area. The ski area is therefore larger and more varied than most other winter sports areas in Italy. In short, the price-quality ratio is more than fine. Selva and Ortisei are more expensive than Santa Cristina. Especially accommodations in Val Gardena are a bit more expensive and the ski pass is good value for money. The prices in restaurants, on the other hand, are excellent.

The choice of accommodation is diverse. In both Selva, Ortisei and Santa Cristina you will find apartments, guesthouses, luxury hotels and chalets. Famous apartments in Ortisei are for example Appartementen Tlusel and Appartementen Erika. A luxury four star hotel in Selva is Hotel Passo Sella Dolomiti.

10. Access to the Val Gardena ski area

To reach Val Gardena you drive from the Netherlands over the highway via the Brenner Pass almost to Bolzano. Even before Bolzano you take a shortcut in the direction of Wolkenstein/Ortisei. It is a pleasant climb with some hairpin bends. First you meet Santa Cristina. Soon after Ortisei and last but not least Selva. The road is fine, but can be very busy on changeover days and with heavy snowfall. Make sure you have winter tires under the car. Winter tires are not only safe, but also mandatory in Germany and Austria in winter conditions. A set of snow chains is also a must. It can be quite snowy in the winter.

The skiing area Val Gardena can also be reached by train or plane. Several international trains connect Val Gardena with major cities in northern Italy and Germany. Look for more information on the site of for example Trenitalia. You can fly to Innsbruck for example. From the airport you are about 1.5 hours by bus or taxi to your destination.

11. Points of attention when going on winter sports to Val Gardena

  • Book on time: Be there early with books. Many accommodations in the ski resort Val Gardena are quickly full. Especially during holiday periods.
  • Travel insurance: Winter sports is not entirely without risks. Therefore, arrange a good travel insurance with winter sports coverage. This way you can go on the slopes with peace of mind.
  • Included ski pass: At some travel agencies you book a ski holiday including ski pass. If you still have to buy the ski pass separately, then this is quite an expense. Take this into account when choosing a winter sport to Val Gardena.
  • Accommodation: Think about your accommodation needs. Choose the luxury of a star hotel in Santa Cristina or find a cheap apartment in Ortisei as well. Would you like to be within walking distance of the lift or would you like to travel by ski bus? From Selva you're quickly on the Sella Ronda and Ortisei gives access to the child-friendly ski area Seiser Alm. Make a wish list and keep an eye on your budget.
  • Don't forget the following items: ski suit, ski goggles, gloves, skipulls, thermo underwear, helmet, sunglasses, ski or snowboard socks, skis, ski poles and ski boots or a snowboard and snowboard & sturdy walking shoes or snow shoes.
  • Hire equipment: Skis, poles, ski boots, a helmet, a snowboard and snowboard boots can also be rented on site. The rental price is about 100 to 150 euros per week per person. Keep in mind that for more professional equipment you may need a little more.

12. Book a winter sport to Val Gardena

The Val Gardena ski area has everything you need for a successful winter sport. Many beautiful slopes, opportunities for children, beginners and advanced, delicious food, breathtaking views, charming villages, beautiful accommodations and cozy après-ski! The Italian Dolomites are also beautiful in summer. A summer holiday to Val Gardena is definitely a must!

Val Gardena Italy in the summer mountains with trees


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