The Val d’Isarco ski area welcomes visitors to one of the most beautiful regions of South Tyrol around the town of Brixen. Wide, sunny pistes provide pure skiing pleasure for beginners and advanced skiers. In the shadow of the Dolomites there are further activities for winter holiday-makers, including the famous snowshoe hike to the Astjoch – an unforgettable experience!
1) General information about the Val d’Isarco ski area
- Great location between 948 m and 2,510 m in the heart of South Tyrol
- Some 95 km of pistes for diverse skiing
- Reliability for snow until mid-April
- Part of the world’s largest ski region “Dolomiti Superski”
The Val d’Isarco ski area consists of the three winter sports centres of Ladurns-Gossenass, Rosskopf and Ratschings-Jaufen in the Italian Alps. The centre of it all is Brixen with its diverse shopping facilities and distinctive après ski.
The ski area stretches from an altitude of 948 m in the valley to the peak of the Gitschberg at 2,510 m. 28 lifts and cable cars ensure trouble-free transportation to the Gitschberg, the 2,100 m high Jochberg and the 2,465 m high Plose. The experts from SnowTrex rated the comprehensive facilities with four out of five possible stars. Beginners can look forward to 37 km of blue pistes throughout the whole ski area. 35 km of red and 23 km of black pistes satisfy the demands of advanced piste cracks. From the peak of the Plose mountain, the 9 km long black Trametsch descent runs into the valley and covers 1,400 metres in altitude. It is regarded as the longest ski piste in South Tyrol. The equally black “Neue Plose” demands the best technique and good physical condition and challenges expert skiers. Beyond the pistes there are fantastic deep snow areas for all those wanting to escape the bustle.
Holidaymakers can use the ski pass for the ski region “Dolomiti Superski”. In the world’s largest ski region there is a total of 12 ski areas joined together in the Italian Dolomites. Besides the Val d’Isarco ski area this includes the World Cup location Cortina d’Ampezzo, Val di Fiemme and Alta Badia.
The average snow depth in the Eisack valley is some 20 cm in the valley (Brixen) and 76 cm on the mountain. In the snow-richest month of March, it can be more. The high position guarantees reliability for snow from the beginning of December to mid-April. Snow can be manufactured for up to 90% of the pistes if necessary. This earns an expert rating of four stars. The region around Brixen is regarded as one of the sunniest areas of South Tyrol and has more than 89 sunny days per season. The outlook for sunny days on the pistes is especially good in January, when on average there are 25 sunny days.
2) Val d’Isarco ski area map
3) Skiing in the Val d’Isarco ski area
The Val d’Isarco ski area stretches over four mountain peaks at Brixen, the biggest town in the Eisack valley. Directly above the town lies the 2,465 m high Hausberg Plose. The cable cars travel even further to the 2,505 m high Telegraph and the 2,507 m high Pfannspitze, which – with the Plose – forms a geographical unit. The starting point for descents from the 2,512 m high Gitschberg is the pleasant winter sports location of Meransen. From Vals, there is the cable car to Jochtal at an altitude of 2,100 m. From the peaks there is a wonderful panoramic view over the Dolomites and – depending on the weather – to the Austrian Alps. The descent from the Gitschberg is also accompanied by splendid views over the valley. On the way pleasant ski huts offer refreshment.
Beginners can practise on the blue pistes above Meransen and Vals. At the ski schools of Brixen, Gitschberg and Vals-Jochtal there are ski courses for every age. The range of facilities for families with children: the child-friendly ski course, practice slopes and supervision provided was awarded the full five stars by the experts at SnowTrex. Four stars were each awarded for the many easy pistes for beginners and for the more challenging pistes for experts and freeriders. Apart from the Trametsch descent, the Mitterling descent from the Gitschberg to Vals provides genuine thrills with up to 38% gradients.
Two fun parks provide the best entertainment for snowboarders and freestylers. On the Hinterberg (Jochtal) the “F-Tech” snow park entertains visitors with rails, kickers, boxes, lines and the child-friendly “Woodyline” boardcross run. Another smaller fun park can be found on the Plose (Schönboden mountain station). The equipment is impressive and receives four stars.
The winter sports facilities are rounded off with a comprehensive network of trails for cross-country skiers and ski tour participants. A real highlight is provided by the high trails in the Rodenecker-Lüsner Alm area at an altitude of 2,000 m where wonderful views over the mountains open up. In Hinterlüsen the 3 km long circular trail of Petscheid is lit up on Wednesdays and extends the sporting fun until late in the evening.
4) Expert rating
The experts from SnowTrex awarded the Val d’Isarco ski area a total rating of four stars out of a possible five. They particularly praised the comprehensive facilities for “Families & children”, but “Beginners”, “Experts & freeriders” and “Cross-country facilities & trails” were also highly rated.
5) Activities besides skiing
All over the Val d’Isarco ski area there are pleasant ski huts and mountain restaurants serving up tasty South Tyrolean specialities. It is especially nice to have a meal in the “Nesselhütte” on the Gitschberg and in the “Plosehütte CAI” with incomparable panoramic views over the Dolomites. The “Anratterhütte” on the Jochtal (Steinermandl valley station) has been voted several times by the readers of the regional newspaper as the most beautiful alp of the year. 15 different sorts of fabulous dumpling are on the menu. In the evening hours there is excellent dining in Brixen, for example, at the “Traubenwirt”, in the “Künstlerstübele Finsterwirt” or in the very traditional hotel restaurant “Elephant”. This enthused our experts too, who awarded the gastronomic facilities in the Val d’Isarco ski area five stars.
There is three stars for the not very comprehensive après ski offer. In Meransen, party fans meet in the “Igloo” at the valley station. In Sterzing, it is in “Derby’s live Stodl”. Once a week, the mountain restaurant on Jochtal invites guests to the “Tanz der Vampire” until 23.00. Local party-goers and holidaymakers meet in the night clubs of Brixen, for example, in the trendy “Club Max” or in the “Time Out Nightclub”.
In Brixen, ski-free days can be well spent in the Acquarena indoor swimming pool, which has several bathing pools, whirlpools and a sauna complex with several saunas, steam bath and salionarium. Massages and other spa treatments can be booked here. For families with children, it is worth making the longer journey to the “Acquafun” Alpine experience baths in Innichen which have a large flume, a flow channel and waterfall. This outing can be combined with a visit to the Dolomite museum “DoloMythos”.
Fun for the whole family is provided by the numerous toboggan runs in the Val d’Isarco ski area. The toboggan run “RudiRun” on the Plose and the Rosskopf toboggan run at Sterzing are – at more than 10 km each – the longest toboggan runs in the whole of Italy. The latter is even illuminated, so that nothing gets in the way of tobogganing in the evenings. Shorter toboggan runs can be found at Lüsner Almweg, on the Villanderer Alm and on the Fanealm.
Perfect peace is promised by a guided snowshoe walk through the Val d’Isarco ski area. The best-known tour goes from the Lüsner Alm for more than 17 km to the summit of the 2,195 m high Astjoch and includes fantastic views. Further beautiful tours go up the Königsanger, the Gabler and the Plose. If one prefers to walk without snow-shoes, there is an extensive network of maintained winter hiking paths through the deep snow-covered landscape of South Tyrol.
6) Locations in the Val d’Isarco ski area
Brixen (known in Italian as Bressanone) is the biggest town in the Val d’Isarco ski area. Admittedly the ski runs end a few kilometres above the town at St. Andra, but many holidaymakers prefer accommodation in Brixen. The third largest city in South Tyrol provides a wide range of shopping opportunities, a comprehensive food and drink options and an attractive old town. Highlights include the Brixen cathedral, the Diocesan Museum in the Hofburg and the Pharmacy Museum.
Visitors who prefer the quiet life, can opt for the idyllic winter sports resort Meransen at the foot of the Gitschberg, which is particularly popular with families. From here one can access the pistes on the Gitschberg, rapid toboggan runs and a tubing run. The nearby Mühlbach in the Puster valley has a historic customs fortress and is the ideal destination for a winter walk. Meransen can then be accessed comfortably by cable car.
There are many attractions nearby. In the town of Bolzano, it is possible to meet the most famous Tyrolean of all time, “Ötzi”, the iceman retrieved from a glacier, who is exhibited in the South Tyrol archaeology museum.
In Feldthurns, visitors will find the castle of Velthurns, the summer residence of the bishop of the Brixen bishopric, which has been opened to the public as a museum. The castle is often used for concerts and theatre performances. In Villanders, the mining history of South Tyrol can be discovered. Guided tours through the Schauberg mine provides visitors with an insight into a 40 km long network of former mines.
7) Arrival in the Val d’Isarco ski area
Those wanting to travel by road from Germany into the Val d’Isarco ski area should follow the Inn valley motorway A12 to Innsbruck on reaching Austria, and then the Brenner motorway (A13 in Austria, later A22 in Italy) across the Brenner to the exit at Brixen-Pustertal. From the south-west of Germany there is an alternative route over the Reschen Pass in Vinschgau (SS40), Meran and Bolzano.
Getting there by rail is easy. Many international EuroCity trains from Munich stop at Brenner and in Brixen. A shuttle can be arranged to take visitors from Brixen station to their accommodation.
For those travelling by air, the nearest airport is Innsbruck, just 85 km away, and from there onward travel is by shuttle.
8) Weather, snow depths and webcams of Val d’Isarco
Want to check to 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 webcam images.