Skiing the Sella Ronda
If you’re passionate about skiing, then you will have thought about skiing the Sella Ronda area in Italy - a 40km circuit of four different valleys at the heart of the picturesque Dolomite mountain range in South Tyrol. Skiers can go in either direction around the Sella Massif, and with 20+km of varying pistes, the Sella Ronda rounds trip journey is suitable for intermediates as well as advanced skiers. The clockwise route is signposted in orange and the anti-clockwise route is signposted in green. Either offers 23km of downhill skiing and 13.5km spent in lifts. Skiers are advised to set off before 10am to make sure they complete the circuit before the lifts close, as it can take up to six hours to complete depending on the weather and your ability. The Sella Ronda also gives access to a further 500+km of connected skiing with neighbouring resorts, so there is no shortage of runs should you wish to explore.
For expert skiers there is the opportunity to the Sass Pordoi cable car (2,860m) and then ski down the Sella Massif through the spectacular Val MezdÍ. This valley offers panoramic views and was the location of a number of scenes from the movie, Cliffhanger. This route is entirely off piste and requires a one hour trek from the cable car summit to the top of the Val MezdÍ (3,400m) where a 3km technical and steep descent awaits skiers. The route eases out over gentle meadows as you make your way into Colfosco. All skiers wanting to do this must sign in with transceivers at the top and be equipped with all other avalanche gear. The route has an average slope angle of 34% so should only be tackled by expert skiers/boarders.
Skiing the Sella Ronda – Val Gardena
Val Gardena is the most popular ski resort in the Dolomites, and for good reason. The valley has a multitude of slopes of varying difficulty, with mountainside refuges dotted all over the slopes serving traditional Tyrolean food and drink. Beginners can head to Seceda for gentle open slopes with a 10.50km run leading down into Ortisei. At the end of the season, this slope transforms into the world’s longest Giant Slalom, attracting a number of prestigious skiers. If you’re feeling brave, you can tackle the Saslong downhill in Selva which is part of the FIS World Cup circuit, and experience declines of upto 57%! Or why not head to the snowpark and ski cross course and try out some freestyle skiing?
Skiing the Sella Ronda – Alta Badia
Alta Badia is home to the 1.2km Gran Risa piste in La Villa which hosts the Giant Slalom on the FIS World Cup circuit and the night-time Parallel Giant Slalom. The start is at 1,871m and due to the slope being north facing and with declines of 53%, the slope tends to be covered in thick ice. This has led it to becoming one of the trickiest stretches in world cup skiing. Above Colfosco, lies the Edelweiss Valley; perfect for families wanting to take young children or beginners up into the mountains as it has large gentle slopes leading back down to Colfosco. A further 70km of blue runs around Corvara and San Cassiano make the surrounding slopes perfect for new skiers.
Skiing the Sella Ronda – Arraba
Snow is guaranteed here all year round due to the altitude of the slopes at Arabba and it’s the gateway to the Marmolada Glacier at 3,342m, which is home to the highest skiing in the whole Dolomite region. This resort is not suited to beginners, as the surrounding slopes are some of the steepest in the area, with more black runs than blue. The Fodoma black run down from Porta Vescovo is particularly challenging and after 2.7km your legs will definitely be burning. Another highlight of the region is 'La Bellunese' 12km long ski slope which is the longest in the Dolomites. This descends from Punta Rocca (3,270m) to Malaga Ciapela. If the weather is good, the run will offer incredible panoramic views of the Dolomite mountains and their scenic valleys.
Skiing the Sella Ronda – Val di Fassa
The largest of the valleys on the Sella Ronda; Val di Fassa is compromised of 7 small resorts, with the largest being Canazei. Since 2016 Val di Fassa has connected skiers on the Sella Ronda to the Ciampac ski area with the new Alba – Col dei Rossi cable car. This gives skiers access to another 73km of pistes, including the two thrilling black runs of Vulcano and Ciampac, which will put even the most experienced skiers under pressure. 27km of blue runs, 84km of red and 11km of blacks make this region perfect for intermediate skiers, and with a number of snowparks including a large air bag, teenagers and other adventurous jumpers are sure to never get bored on the slopes.
The Sella Ronda – Mountain Restaurants
Great skiing is not always matched with great food but that is simply not the case in the Dolomites. All along the Sella Ronda, mountain huts and refuges provide skiers with incredible Tyrolean cuisine and wine. The mountain food here in the Dolomites is unrivalled anywhere else in the world, as they are home to the highest concentration of Michelin-starred chefs in Italy. The chefs all give one of their dishes to separate refuges for their menu, so the standard of food on the mountain is simply outstanding, whilst remaining very affordable.
Our favourite mountain restaurants in the Sella Ronda
Piz Seteur (Val Gardena): The service here is excellent and the food is no different. An extensive menu is on offer with large plates of Tyrolean food being hugely popular.
Rifugio Comici (Val Gardena): The highest fish restaurant in the Dolomites, serving fresh fish from the Adriatic daily. Enjoy raw tuna, lightly cooked scallops, octopus, and lobster linguine all under the shadow of the striking Sassolungo Massif.
Rifugio Edelweiss (Alta Badia): A warm and intimate atmosphere makes it feel like a true rural mountain home. Traditional food follows suit, allowing skiers to experience the tastes of Tyrol.
Las Vegas Lodge (Alta Badia): Don’t let the name put you off, the food here is highly rated. Avoid the crowds, with many delicious Tyrolean specialties to choose from.
Rifugio Fodom (Arabba): Pizzas and grilled meats are the speciality of the house. All pizzas are traditionally made in their wood fired oven and served with great wine.
Rifugio Salei (Val di Fassa): Excellent pizzas and their Kaiserschmarm (traditional sweet pancake dish) is famous throughout the region. A large sun terrace means skiers can relax in the sun and enjoy the chilled atmosphere.