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Alpe di Siusi ski resort, in the South Tyrol region of Italy, is Europe's largest skiable high-altitude plateau and is part of the vast Dolomiti Superski area, with direct access to the famous Sella Ronda ski circuit.

Overview

The spectacular panoramic views from the slopes in the heart of this Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site makes skiing on the Alpe di Siusi a special experience, though the slopes themselves are primarily easy to early intermediate. Winter sports enthusiasts have been coming to Alpe di Siusi – or Seiser Alm in German, the second language of the South Tyrol – since 1867 and during the 20th century it built up its reputation as an excellent ski area. After 1920, enterprising farmers converted Alpine refuges into ski lodges; later, these became simple inns. The first lift opened in 1938, and the first ski school was founded in the early 1960s.

Ski area

Today you can reach Europe’s highest skiable plateau from the west via a 15-minute gondola 700m up from Seis/Siusi, from the north via a gondola from Ortisei, and from San Cristina on the north-eastern corner via a rickety two-man chair up to Monte Pana from where you take a bus ride through the forest to Saltria. Alpe di Siusi's sunny, sheltered and not-too demanding slopes also make it the epitome of gentle family tourism, though it does also have direct access, via Monte Pana, to the famous Sella Ronda and the 1,200km of the Dolomiti Superski area. Alpe di Siusi itself offers about 60km of runs, with the longest piste around 4km. There’s little here to worry any competent skier. As well as the Dolomiti Superski pass, you can also buy a local Alpe di Siusi/Val Gardena pass. Experts wanting bigger challenges can try ski-touring - especially the steep descent from the Sasso Piatto (start the upward leg from the Zallinger alpine hut).

For unspoilt beauty, seek out Zallinger, a gem that lies largely undiscovered, even by Alpe di Siusi skiers, at the extreme eastern edge of the plateau. To reach it, you take the Florian chair up from Saltria to Williamshutte. Here, instead of skiing back down to Saltria, you go round the back of the hut, ski down a track...and come upon quiet, plump slopes dotted with trees that look as if each one has been carefully placed there by hand. Topping off the scene is an impossibly cute, tiny, white, steepled chapel.

Off the slopes/apres-ski

Alpe di Siusi has seven toboggan runs, plus 30km of snowshoe walks and hiking trails, sleigh rides, tandem paragliding and ice skating, as well as 80km of cross-country ski trails. There are more than 20 hotels in Alpe di Siusi, ranging from the modest to the 5-star luxury spa hotel, the Alpina. Many visitors will also stay off the plateau, in the surrounding villages, such as Siusi, Kastelruth/Castelrotto, Fie allo Sciliar, Ortisei and San Cristina. The ski area is also dotted with 365 mountain huts, farms and Alpine dairies, many of which serve simple Italian food - the pick of which include the Tuene, and the Zallinger.

Families

Alpe di Siusi is brilliant for families. It's slopes are gentle, it's non-skiing activities are very family-friendly and younger ones can even take a skitour in search of the legendary Witches of the Sciliar mountain. Two ski schools cater for beginners and the unspoilt nature of Alpe di Siusi makes it a firm favourite for families wanting to avoid the hurly burly of bigger resorts.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
6
Families
9
Lift System
8
Off the slopes
8
Off-piste
4
Resort Charm
8
Ski Area
8
Vertical drop
551m
Altitude range
1669-2210m
Ski area
60
Parks
1
Resort height
1669m
Summit
2210m
Airport
Innsbruck, Austria
Train station
Bolzano
beginner
30%
intermediate
65%
expert
5%