Alta Badia: snowsure
Alta Badia sits in the heart of the Dolomites and is one of Italy’s longest established ski areas. Fast and comfortable ski lifts and well-groomed, spacious slopes ensure pleasant and safe skiing days, making this a popular choice for families. Then add breathtaking views of the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites, beautiful sunny days, homely mountain huts and some of the best food on the slopes with Michelin star cuisine available in many ski huts. Located right on the famous Sellaronda ski circuit, Alta Badia is made up of six delightfully scenic alpine villages each connected by ski circuits. On the slopes, Alta Badia offers a snow guarantee from as early as November, thanks to its state-of-the-art snow machines. Suitable for skiers of all standards, ski lessons and rentals are easily available whilst experienced skiers can attempt the infamous World Cup black run. Alta Badia is a culturally rich area, too, where the locals take pride in their individuality, evident in their architecture, language and especially their delicious food.
Val Gardena: Brit favourite
Val Gardena/Gröden, more familiar to UK skiers as Selva, is a firm favourite for Brits visiting South Tyrol. It’s actually made up of three idyllic villages – Selva (Wolkenstein), S. Cristina (St Christina) and Ortisei (St Ulrich). Its impressive ski stats include 83 lifts and 175 km of pistes, an astonishing 95% of which benefit from high tech snowmaking facilities. In addition Val Gardena is part of the Dolomiti-Superski, the biggest ski carousel of the Alps with more than 1,200 km of slopes. For the adventurous there are the fast descents on the famous Saslong World Cup piste while those looking for more leisurely skiing should head to the Col Raiser. Skiers from intermediate up will also surely want to try the legendary Sellaronda. And at the end of a wonderful day you can enjoy some South Tyrolean Après ski in one of Val Gardena’s many bars and pubs. Val Gardena embraces its Ladin local heritage and visitors to the area will love the stunning mountain scenery, the wooden chalet-style accommodation, the friendly locals and the relaxed, timeless pace of life. For the winter season 2012/13 the lifts are open from 6 December until 7 April.
Alta Pusteria: fresh tracks
Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal, in the east of South Tyrol, is undiscovered territory for many skiers, and with more than 200 km of cross-country slopes, it is also one of the best places to go cross-country skiing. Known as the land of the Three Peaks (Tre Cime) this snowy wonderland is home to five charming villages and the downhill skiing is fantastic, too, with a total of 54 km of pristine slopes served by 28 lifts. There is something for everyone here, from gentle runs for beginners to testing blacks for adrenalin junkies. Alta Pusteria also boasts six exciting toboggan runs and is the venue for the Snowboard World Championship. Located in beautiful settings, the resorts themselves are worth a visit. Sesto is a natural sundial formed by the surrounding mountains whilst San Candido (Innichen) overlooks alpine wilderness in the centre of the Sesto Dolomiti Natural Park. Famous for clean mountain waters, it is also home to fantastic spa and wellness resorts.
Ortler Skiarena: crowd-free
If you are looking for quiet slopes and no queuing, the Ortler Skiarena in the Western part of South Tyrol offers snowsure skiing far from the madding crowd. Consisting of 15 unconnected resorts all covered by one lift pass, its 300 km of pistes are served by nine cableways and 67 chair and draglifts. Here, you can also try tobogganing, cross-country trails, halfpipes, snowshoeing and go on unique mountain tours for ski touring to over 3,200 metres height amid the unique natural landscape.