Great skiing, food and wine in Val Gardena, Italy

 

One of the many ski resorts located in the majestic Dolomite mountains, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, Val Gardena, Italy is a must-visit during any ski holiday in the region.

Val Gardena is best known in ski racing circles as home to the Saslong Classic, a men’s World Cup downhill race, and long considered one of the five “classic” men’s downhill courses. Skiers can attempt a downhill run, or take a day to traverse the Sella Ronda, the ski circuit around the Sella mountain group. This circuit is a series of ski lifts and downhill runs, all linked together, by which you can circumnavigate the Sella group. You will visit the four Ladin valleys, and set foot in the provinces of South Tyrol, Trentino, and Belluno, and visit the four villages along the route – Val Gardena, Corvara, Canazel, and Arabba. Your traverse will take most of the day, as the length of the circuit is about 65km, but it is accessible to most skiers, as the downhill runs are groomed trails.

Val Gardena is a short drive from Bolzano and Bressanone, two larger towns in Alto Adige that offer a wide variety of apres ski activities and easy access to many ski resorts in the Dolomites, as well as north into Austria. The larger cities offer an abundance of choices in hotels and restaurants, as well as plenty of activities for non-skiers in the group, such as museums and numerous shops featuring everything from local handmade specialties to designer fashion.

For those that prefer to stay at or near the resort itself, a wide range of accommodations are available. At the top end is the Alpenroyal Grand Hotel. Luxurious guest rooms offer a splendid view of the nearby mountains. For those looking for relaxation after a long day on the slopes, the wellness facility includes an outdoors heated pool and whirlpool with yet another beautiful view of the Dolomites, a Finnish sauna in an outdoor hut in the park, a vapor bath, a biosauna and hay baths. Treatments are available as well, including a variety of massages, mud baths and ayurveda.

The Stube dining rooms at the Alpenroyal offer elegant, gourmet meals nightly; their cuisine has been noted in guides such as Michelin and Gambero Rosso. Complemented by an excellent wine cellar, they also feature tastings of locally produced cheeses and a wide selection of grappas. Plenty of other options are in town for the gourmet, including restaurants Anna Stuben, Concordia, and Mauriz Keller.

For those oenophiles interested in exploring the local wines, the nearby Valle Isarco DOC. With terraced vineyards along the banks of the Isarco River, between Bolzano and Bressanone, this region produces both whites such as Sylvaner, Veltiner, and Muller Thurgau and reds such as varietals Schiava and Lagrein, as well as blends such as Klausner Laitacher and Santa Maddalena. Producers to look out for include Abbazia di Novacella, Garlider, Hoandlhof, and Kuenhof – Peter Pliger. A nice rest day excursion would be a visit a few of these wineries along the Isarco River, with a local guide to do the driving for you!

Kathy Bechtel is Owner of Italiaoutdoors.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Stella Lopez says:

    I absolutely love Val Gardena! Skiing in Italy is a fabulous activity as you are not swamped with all the university skiing students! I have only been here once as recommended by my travel agent and I was unsure at first but I will definitely be returning!

  2. Thanks Stella – it is a wonderful ski destination, and a great area to explore year round! Where are you skiing this year?

  3. Mark S says:

    Wonderful article on what a great area for skiing and would love to go someday. One thing I have noticed when looking for information is that many hotels list themselves as a ski resort when in fact they are in town. To me a ski resort is a hotel at the base of the mountain so when looking for hotels do your research and find the location of your hotel before booking it.

  4. Mark,

    Thanks for the comment – and yes, I agree completely! We offer both options – stay ‘on-slope’ or in a city. The first is the best alternative for groups of dedicated skiers who wish to maximize their time on the slopes. Staying in the city can be a better alternative for mixed groups (and can also be less expensive, especially during the peak of the season), where non-skiers will have more options. We take care of the driving to the ski areas, which are all close by. And we do our research, and visit personally the hotels prior to booking.

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