Selva is one of Italy's best known resorts is a picturesque but lively village with something for everyone. Lift-linked to the Sella Ronda, the local skiing is some of the most exciting in the region, with famous runs including Ciampinoi, Dantercepies and Piz Sella. Annual World Cup Downhill event recorded Britain's best ever performance - a second for Konrad Bartelski. The neighbouring resorts of Santa Cristina and Ortisei together make up the Val Gardena area. Ortesei is a elatively large and pleasant market town with a double cable-car link to Santa Cristina and Selva and from there onto the Sella Ronda, time and snow permitting. The town has a life beyond skiing, being a regional agricultural and commercial centre. it is therefore a good choice for those who like to escape ski talk in the evenings. Santa Cristina is a spread out but attractive village.
Val Gardena is a great skiing centre with particularly appeal to those who enjoy the sensation of skiing from village to village with the unique Sella Ronda joining Canazei, Campitello, Corvara, Colfosco and Arabba like a giant wheel, with valley 'spokes' coming off linking more resorts in the Fassa Valley, Alta Badia and others. If you travel the other way down Val Gardena you can reach half a dozen other major ski areas within a few minutes drive. Because the terrain is dominated by spectacular pink precipices most of the skiing has to take place either on the gentle lower valley sides or through short sharp descents cut out between the precipices. These tough runs are rather few and far between in the dolomites, on piste at least (It's a mecca for off piste with guiding), but Val Gardena does have more than its fair share of tough skiing, one of the reasons that the World Cup keeps coming back. Beginners can take advantage of Selva's relatively high altitude for a traditional village (1563m/5115 feet) and its extensive local snow making and make their first turns on the gentle meadows along side the village. Intermediates will probably enjoy the whole huge area the most - with 175km (110miles) of lift-linked terrain linking more than a dozen villages in the area, there are few if any pistes runs that a good intermediate can't tackle, even the famous runs including Ciampinoi, Dantercepies and Piz Sella beloved of experts. For the experts, besides the aforementioned runs on the piste and notwithstanding the fact that there is six times as much skiing on your Dolomiti Superski Pass to explore as there is in the already huge lift linked area, it must be pointed out that ski mountaineering in the Dolomites is something very special. The choice of routes is varied, but most offer a combination of unique views, relatively short ascents (sometimes with a little help from a lift), and downhill runs through demanding terrain, with narrow gullies and steep gaps. Itineraries include the ski tour from Forcella del Pordoi - Val Mezdì - Val Lasties: a famous downhill route - and rightly so - but not always easy. The route starts at the top of the Pordoi cableway. Then there's the Marmolada glacier or the high-alpine downhill run from Forcella del Sassolungo (2,686 m) through the Langkofelkar to Monte Pana. Finally the Val Gardena also has plenty to offer cross-country skiers. From Selva Gardena, Vallunga provides a magnificent backcloth for cross-country skiing. A total of 15 km of trails lead from the Carabinieri Sports Centre to the end of the valley. There is a cross-country Ski School and a ski hire at the start of the trail. Nearby Alpe di Siusi is a real paradise for the more ambitious cross-country skier, with over 60 km of prepared trails and superb views at every turn.
Selva Gardena was one of the few Italian resorts to offer day care, accepting kids from age 1 to 4, but that facility has now finished. However the ski schools do attempt to accommodate children as much as poossible, especially at the Ski and Snowboard Factory in Selva. The Dolomiti Ski Pass also has low prices and free lift use for younger children, with spacial offer weeks through the season. Other facilities include the skating and the indoor pool at Ortisei. There's a playpark in the centre of the resort next to the minigolf, behind the Pranives Sports Stadium and in Plan da Tieja at the end of the Promenade. Special offers of free and discounted child holidays at certain establishments during low season, check with the tourist office.
The culinary pleasures of Val Gardena are many and varied. Above all they are as international as the visitors to the valley, combining the finesse of Italian cuisine with traditional fayre and local dishes. Ladin specialities include Crafuncins - a form of ravioli; panicia - a barley soup with pieces of smoked meat; saura - a soup made of tripe and ribl da furmenton is a kind of buckwheat pancake dish. There are around 50 places to eat in Val Gardena, a goodly chunk of them in Selva itself, including Scoiattolo where you'll find many of the afore-mentioned specialities, or Rino's, one of the better places for pizza. At the Europa you can have salmon with your spaghetti, the Dorfer is one of several good choices for fondue and Costabella serves typical Tyrolean dishes including venison goulash.
Selva Gardena is one of the livelier resorts in Europe, with a good choice of bars and night spots. The local facilities are generally doubled, sometimes trebled, by the proximity of more venues in neighbouring Santa Cristina and Ortisei. Selva can also offer many quieter, atmospheric bars where you can relax with s a good glass of beer, or an adventurous cocktail, perhaps the local drink, "Willy", with pear brandy or vodka with figs. The Bar La Stua has live music twice a week. La Bula also has a live music with a DJ straight after the lifts close. The Laurinkeller also has evenings with live music whilst the Luislkeller remains open to 1 am. Other good choices are the Igloo, Kronestube, the Speckkeller, Umbrella, Medél, Scoiattolo and Heustadl - Disco. For dancing to 3am there are three choices in each of Ortisei and Selva, with the latter's Dali-Disco Dance is especially popular.
Selva Gardena is a major 'boarding centre. It has a terrain park and regularly hosts competitions. It is one of still comparatively few Italian centres to take the trouble to build terrain features. Most of the terrain can be accessed by chair lift, gondola or cable car and it's possible to do most of the Sella Ronda circuit avoiding drags, however the terrain is often very gentle so you'll be lucky to avoid flats - seek local advice! The local ski school and rental shops cater for 'boarders although as yet there's no 'boarder only outfits. There's plenty of lively nightlife in Selva too.