The Italian ski area of Sulden provides winter sports fans with fantastic snow conditions in a unique mountain landscape. Around the 3,905 m high Ortler Mountain, skiers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers will find a wide range of choices on one of the Eastern Alps’ largest glaciers. The ski region offers attractive pistes at high altitudes between 1,900 m and 3,250 m.
1) General information about the Sulden ski area
- Impressive position in the Stelvio National Park with imposing mountains over 3,000 m high
- 44 km of pistes and 13 lifts
- Snow-sure glacier region with a ski season from November to the beginning of May
- Extremely family-friendly with convenient facilities
- Recognised as the “fourth best ski area in the Alps”
The winter sports location of Sulden am Ortler lies in the upper Vinschgau valley in South Tyrol. The 3,905 m high Ortler Mountain forms the northern part of the Ortler Alps. The whole mountain range with the Sulden valley and the mountain village are in the centre of the Stelvio National Park with its 14 mountains above 3,000 m. This position provides winter holidaymakers with a unique view of the surrounding mountain peaks. Amongst the unspoiled scenery of these mountains there are numerous sport and leisure facilities for winter holidaymakers.
Sulden am Ortler also attracted the mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner. On the high pastures of Sulden, Messner bred yaks and ran the “Yak and Yeti” restaurant. The high Alpine Sulden ski area is located in the Sulden valley, a charming high valley at a snow-sure altitude of 1,900 m to 3,250 m. It is one of the ten highest-located ski regions of Italy. In the glacier ski area, the ski season usually lasts from the beginning of November to the beginning of May. It enjoys an average snow depth of 50 cm to 70 cm on the mountain and a good 30 cm in the valley.
The Sulden ski area has a variety of attractions for winter sports fans and a total of 44 km of pistes. 13 lift systems bring beginners and experts comfortably to the individual descents; of these, 17 km are marked blue, 13 km red and 14 km black. Families with children also love this small but appealing ski region because of its child-friendly facilities and the manageable location. In 2014, the Sulden ski area received recognition as the “fourth best ski region in the Alps”. Apart from the reliability for snow, this ski region scored highly for its sun-drenched position. With on average six to seven sunny hours daily there are ideal conditions on and off the pistes for a successful winter holiday on the glacier.
Our experts were impressed by the “Reliability for snow” and the “Lifts & cable cars” in the Sulden ski area. They awarded five and four stars respectively in these two top rating criteria.
2) Sulden ski area map
3) Skiing in the Sulden ski area
The Sulden ski area has something for everybody. Beginners can start directly from both the practice lifts in the location. They have a large choice of pistes of low and medium difficulty, for example piste 12 at an altitude of 2,450 m is very popular. It runs down into the valley and is also suitable for skiers who want to admire the beautiful landscape in peace. Another interesting piste for beginners is the descent from the Schöntaufspitze piste 1/1a, which starts at 3,324 m. It finishes at the mountain station restaurant, an ideal spot for a break on the sun terrace there.
The Schöntaufspitze is also a great choice for advanced skiers. They absolutely get their money’s worth on pistes 3, 4 and 8. They can also refine their skiing skills at 2,550 m on piste 15 on the Langenstein. Real skiing aces choose descents 1c, 6 and 7 on the black pistes on the Schöntaufspitze. By contrast, the rough pistes 5 and 14 provide a taste of individual deep snow adventure.
In winter 2014/15, the Sulden snow area started operating the new Rosim lift with a modern 10-seater cable car. Skiers can reach the 2,450 m high Kanzel area from the valley station in about four minutes. Panorama lovers can also try out the new Rosim descent, a challenging viewing route from the mountain station of the Rosim cable car down into the valley.
There is even more variety and adventure to experience with the “Skiarena Vinschgau” ski pass. With this winter sports fans also have access to the four ski areas of Schöneben, Haideralm, Watles and Trafoi. This extends the choice of pistes to a total of 133 km.
This broad range of pistes in Sulden am Ortler and its surroundings achieved four stars respectively in the categories “Beginners” and “Experts & freeriders”. There are high-quality facilities for children in the Kinderpark and the Yeti club at the ski school in Sulden. The establishment belongs to the group “Specialist Children’s Ski Schools of the South Tyrol” and regularly receives gold, silver and bronze accreditations for their tuition, the child-friendly attractions and the good childcare. In the morning, the children practise on the pistes and in the afternoon childcare includes playing and handicrafts to ensure that the children are kept entertained and happy. It is useful to note children under 6 ski for free on the slopes in the Sulden ski area. Up to the age of 14, they are included in their parents’ ski pass. Our experts recognise all these child-friendly facilities as being impressive and have awarded four out of five stars for the category “Families & children”.
As well as the exciting descents, there are also cross-country ski trails to explore in the Sulden ski area. In particular, the high trail at 1,900 m provides a wonderful 7 km tour around the peaks of Ortler, Zebrù and Königsspitze. There is another exciting scenic tour in neighbouring Trafoi. This 6 km long trail goes at 1,640 m from the village to the pilgrimage location “Zu den heiligen drei Brunnen”. Nearby, the Nordic ski centre Schlinig and the Martell Biathlon Centre have some beautiful competitive trails for training. In the Sulden ski area, freestyle fans are drawn to the snow park below the Madritsch chairlift with different boxes, rails and kickers. On the glacier below the Madritsch huts there is also an attractive boardercross run.
4) Expert rating
The Sulden ski area gained points with its “Reliability for snow” until April and the well-considered facilities for beginners and families. Overall in the expert ratings the winter sports area achieved a total of 3.7 stars. The score for the Sulden ski area is based on the top rating criteria, as well as those for special interests and additional criteria. These three sub-areas are included in the overall rating with their respective weighting.
5) Activities besides skiing
The après ski provision in the Sulden ski area is almost as varied as the winter sports facilities. The “Ski Alm” at the valley station or the “Après Club” disco in Sulden, for example, are popular haunts for drinks and partying for younger winter sports fans.
Restaurants such as “Hartmann’s Weinstube” and “Bärenhöhle” take care of physical well-being with Vinschgau specialities, and the “Bambi’s Pub” bar is worth a visit. Just off the piste and trails, there is also a 2 km long toboggan run. Three times a week there is also night tobogganing when the run is open and lit from 6 pm in the evening until 10.30 pm.
Winter hiking is also extremely popular in the Sulden ski area. A 12 km circular route is ideal for a day’s tour in the surroundings. There are also facilities for ice climbing, skating and curling. For anyone who fancies something more relaxing, there is the “Sport Well” spa centre near Mals for some pampering. An outing with a horse-drawn sleigh to Melager Alm is popular with young and old alike.
6) Locations in the Sulden ski area
The mountain village of Sulden has retained its original charm to the present day. The tranquil location has three interesting museums. Firstly, there is Reinhold Messner’s “Messner Mountain Museum Ortles”, which is an underground museum all about ice. The small exhibition “Alpine Curiosa” in the “Flohhäusl” recounts the astounding and funny events of Alpinism. In addition, a comprehensive homeland museum showcases life and work in the South Tyrol mountain valley. The sections “Tourism in the region”, “Mountain war” and a mineral collection complete the historical programme.
In the ski resort of Prad am Stilfser Joch, some 17 km away, lovers of art and culture will find many attractions. There is, for example, the parish church of Maria Königin, with its splendid wall paintings and glass windows. Then there are the Lichtenberg castle ruins in the district of the same name and a small aquarium “Aqua Prad” with an exhibition of local flora and fauna.
A good 24 km from Sulden lies the community of Schluderns, which is chiefly known for its 13th century medieval castle (Churburg). Here there is also an elegant parish church to admire. Nearby the “Vinschger Museum” with exhibits around “South Tyrol customs” is a favourite destination.
7) Arrival in the Sulden ski area
Winter visitors are advised to travel to the Sulden ski area by road via Munich and the pass at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The route continues via the Inn Valley motorway towards the Reschen Pass, Sponding and Sulden. The journey by rail is also to be recommended. From Germany there are good connections to Munich and Innsbruck via Brenner to Bolzano. From there, winter sports fans can travel to Sulden by regional train.
Arriving by air, the airport at Bolzano is some 90 km away. Holiday visitors can either continue their journey via Meran and Schlanders to Sulden by hire care or by taxi. Alternatively, there are the airports at Samedan and Innsbruck in neighbouring Austria.
8) Weather, snow depths and webcams of Sulden am Ortler
Want to check and see if the sun is shining in the ski area? SnowTrex provides information about the weather and snow depths, and also gives you the chance to view webcams images.