On the southern side of the Alps, embraced by the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites, South Tyrol is a winter paradise that delights every winter sports enthusiast with its diverse ski resorts. SnowTrex explains why the slopes in northern Italy are an unrivalled destination for skiers and all other winter enthusiasts alike, and now presents 10 good reasons for skiing in South Tyrol.
1. Incomparable views and a play of colours
South Tyrol offers skiers and nature lovers unrivalled panoramas. Whether Val Venosta, the Merano region or the Dolomites – each region has its own personal charm. The landscape of South Tyrol is characterised by valleys, which take on a special flair in winter, with frozen mountain lakes and snow-covered forests. Particularly impressive mountain scenery can be found in the Dolomites. The UNESCO World Heritage Site captivates with the special character of the Dolomite rock, surrounded by white snowfields and majestic peaks such as the 3 Peaks, which create a spectacular atmosphere right next to the piste.
This can be seen, for example, on the Sellaronda, one of the world’s most famous ski circuits, which not only offers spectacular views on 120 kilometres of pistes, but also a mixture of beginner pistes and challenging descents.
2. Early start to the season on the glacier
In South Tyrol, the ski season starts early because thanks to the glacier ski areas and the high-altitude pistes, skiing is already possible here from late autumn. The Solda and Schnalstal glacier ski areas, both part of the Ortler Skiarena with a total of 400 km of pistes in 15 ski areas, are ideal destinations for the first descents of the season. The Schnalstal Glacier offers 42 km of perfectly groomed pistes and 13 modern lifts to an altitude of 3,212 m. The Solda glacier ski area is no less impressive, with 44 km of pistes, various descents and one of six Messner Mountain Museums in South Tyrol. Here, at an altitude of 1,900 m, visitors can find fascinating information about glaciers and ice in an artificial cave under the glacier.
Both ski areas are characterised by a high alpine landscape and impressive mountain peaks that offer a breathtaking panorama. These ski resorts are therefore perfect for all skiers and snowboarders who can hardly wait for winter to begin.
3. Culinary delights
Of course, skiing in South Tyrol is also about indulgence. Winter sports enthusiasts can expect not only skiing fun, but also a culinary experience in a class of its own, where Alpine cuisine meets Italian cookery. Many specialities from traditional South Tyrolean and Mediterranean Italian cuisine as well as fine wines can be enjoyed in mountain huts and restaurants. It is therefore a paradise for gourmets who want to indulge in culinary delights in a cosy atmosphere after a long day on the slopes.
The huts in the South Tyrolean ski resorts serve local specialities such as “Schlutzkrapfen”, hearty bacon dumplings served in broth or as a side dish and sweet apple strudel. Gourmets among winter sports enthusiasts will definitely find one or more favourite mountain huts in the Alta Badia ski area. With almost 40 huts, culinary diversity is a top priority here and is further emphasised by events such as “Skiing with pleasure”, where star chefs also cook in the mountain restaurants.
4. Cultural highlights away from the piste
South Tyrol is characterised by a fascinating cultural mix of Alpine tradition and Mediterranean flair. This is not only reflected in the cuisine, but can also be seen in the villages and towns of the region. So if you are seeking a change away from the pistes, you can leave your skis behind for an afternoon and visit one of the charming towns with their medieval town centres.
The towns of Bressanone, Merano, Bruneck and Sterzing in particular, some of which have a direct connection to the ski area, each offer a unique range of cultural highlights and other relaxing activities. Winter guests can stroll through the shops in the picturesque old towns, visit museums, relax in thermal spas or visit historical sights such as Bressanone Cathedral or Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano.
For culture lovers who don’t want to leave the ski area, the Messner Mountain Museums at Plan de Corones, Monte Elmo and Solda offer the perfect opportunity to experience culture directly on or next to the mountain. Here you can gain exciting insights into traditional alpinism (MMM Colones), rock and rock climbing (MMM Roca) and the world of ice and darkness (MMM Ortles).
Winter sports enthusiasts on holiday in Val Badia or Val Gardena will also discover another cultural highlight: Ladin – a Rhaeto-Romanic language, which is the third official language in South Tyrol alongside Italian and German and is still spoken by the inhabitants of the two valleys. The Ladin Museum in Val Badia or the Gherdëina Museum in Ortisei in Val Gardena offer fascinating insights into the history, language and culture of Ladin. And it is not only the language that is close to the hearts of the inhabitants of the valleys. In Val Gardena, for example, you can look behind the shoulders of numerous artists in their studios as they carve and sculpt wood.
5. Skiing in the sun
South Tyrol is known for its sunny weather conditions, with up to 300 days of sunshine a year, many of which can of course also be enjoyed in winter. The so-called “sun skiing” in the Dolomites is particularly attractive. Mild temperatures, firn snow and numerous huts with sun terraces tempt you to get your skis out again in spring. Whether in Val Gardena or on Plan de Corones – skiing under blue skies is possible here until well into April.
Another reason why South Tyrol is an excellent ski destination is its commitment to sustainability. The region attaches great importance to harmonising with nature. In many businesses – including hotels, flats and restaurants – there are initiatives that combine the South Tyrolean dolce vita with the principle of sustainability. This requires a great deal of ingenuity and innovative spirit. One example of this is the “South Tyrol Sustainability Label”, which is awarded to holiday regions, accommodation, and catering establishments that are specifically committed to economic, ecological, social and cultural sustainability. Level 3 of the label is equivalent to the internationally recognised GSTC certification and is therefore an magnificent way of recognising sustainable businesses and locations.
Winter sports enthusiasts can also experience ski sustainably first hand in Carezza and Obergeggen, for example. Both resorts have been awarded sustainability certificates and are working at every possible point to act responsibly: the snow cannons and snow groomers in Carezza, for example, are equipped with intelligent controls that make it possible to measure temperatures and snow cover so that they are only used at the right time and in the right places to save resources. In Obereggen, the “Eggental Mobil Card” enables visitors to use hiking and ski buses daily to gradually switch to “soft mobility”. District heating systems and hydroelectric power stations also ensure that energy in the valley is generated from earth and water.
7. Diverse ski areas
The South Tyrolean ski landscape is characterised by a remarkable variety, making it an ideal destination for skiers of all abilities. From wide, gently sloping pistes for beginners and families to challenging runs for experts – everyone will find their personal winter paradise in this fantastic ski region. The valleys offer a wide range of ski areas, each with its character and special features, from traditional village villages to extensive ski carousels with modern lifts.
Sesto and San Candido, both part of the 3 Zinnen Dolomites ski area, together offer 116 km of pistes at an altitude of up to 2,200 m, making them an Eldorado for skiers and snowboarders. Sesto impresses with its panoramic views and varied pistes, while San Candido is mainly popular with families with its beginner-friendly slopes and cosy huts. Both ski areas are also known for their excellent infrastructure and guarantee a first-class piste experience in the heart of the Alps.
8. Modern infrastructure
In South Tyrol, great importance is attached to modern infrastructure not only on the slopes, but also when travelling to and from the resort. The region is characterised by exceptional rail connections, which enable a comfortable and environmentally friendly journey by train. Ski buses complement the public transport network and ensure a seamless connection from the railway stations, villages, and accommodation to the ski areas. This well-thought-out transport system enables visitors to explore the various ski areas in the region effortlessly and, above all, without a car.
In the ski areas themselves, guests can expect state-of-the-art lift facilities and perfectly groomed pistes. This combination of advanced infrastructure for travelling to the resort and first-class facilities on the slopes makes South Tyrol an ideal destination for skiers who value quality, comfort, and sustainability.
Skiers and snowboarders benefit from sustainable transport concepts in South Tyrolean ski resorts such as Dobbiaco, which has a corresponding train connection to Plan de Corones, for example, in the form of the Puster Valley Railway. The valley stations of individual ski resorts are sometimes also served directly via this route, making them easily accessible for winter sports enthusiasts without a car. There are also regular ski buses in South Tyrol that connect the accommodation with the ski areas. The buses are often included in the ski pass and therefore offer a convenient way to reach the slopes without having to worry about parking.
9. More than just skiing
South Tyrol offers far more outdoor activities in winter than just skiing. The region is also a paradise for cross-country skiing enthusiasts, who will find an extensive and varied network of trails here. With Dolomiti Nordicski, Europe’s largest cross-country skiing carousel, guests have over 1,200 km of trails at their disposal, some of which lead through breathtaking mountain landscapes. Another highlight is the Venosta Nordic, a network of 7 cross-country skiing areas around the Ortler King and the Reschen Pass in Val Venosta. With 135 km of classic and skating-style trails, forest loops, panoramic and high-altitude trails and fantastic views of Lake Reschen and mountains, cross-country skiers’ hearts beat faster.
In addition to cross-country skiing, South Tyrol also invites you to enjoy picturesque winter hikes. The hiking trails offer spectacular views of the Dolomites, lead through snow-covered forests and quiet side valleys, where winter guests can enjoy the absolute silence and beauty of nature. Even more tranquillity can only be experienced when snowshoeing away from the groomed hiking trails. Those looking for ultimate relaxation after an active day will find numerous wellness offers in South Tyrol. Many hotels and resorts have high-quality spa areas that invite you to relax with saunas, pools, and various treatments.
10. Fun on the slopes thanks to guaranteed snow
Another convincing reason why South Tyrol is a top destination for skiers in winter is the guaranteed snow, which allows for plenty of fun on the slopes. Thanks to the geographical location and the Alpine altitude of many ski areas, the region generally offers excellent snow conditions from December until well into spring. State-of-the-art snowmaking systems supplement the natural snowfall and ensure a constant and high-quality snow cover on the slopes. Thanks to the use of high-tech snow cannons, over 90 per cent of all slopes in South Tyrol can be covered with snow. Under these conditions, skiers can look forward to optimal conditions throughout winter.
FAQ about skiing in South Tyrol
South Tyrol is unique in its variety of ski resorts, from the early start of the season in Val Senales on the glacier to the impressive landscapes of the Alpe di Siusi. The region offers a mixture of breathtaking Alpine panoramas, state-of-the-art lifts and pistes of all levels of difficulty. Added to this is a rich culinary tradition that makes South Tyrol an exceptional destination for skiers and connoisseurs.
In any case. South Tyrol offers numerous family-friendly ski resorts such as the Alpe di Siusi and San Candido with wide, open pistes for beginners and children. These areas are known for their safe, well-groomed slopes and child-friendly ski schools, making them ideal for families and beginners.
In addition to skiing, South Tyrol offers a rich cultural programme. Historic towns such as Bressanone and Merano offer a mixture of Alpine and Mediterranean culture, picturesque old towns and thermal spas. Some ski resorts also have their own museums, such as Plan de Corones, Solda and Monte Elmo with the Messner Mountain Museums. This diversity makes South Tyrol an ideal destination for skiers who are also looking for culture and relaxation away from the slopes.
South Tyrol stands for a unique blend of Alpine and Mediterranean cuisine. In ski resorts such as Plan de Corones, Alta Badia and Val Gardena/Alpe di Siusi, there are numerous huts offering traditional South Tyrolean dishes and fine wines. This combination of sporting challenge and culinary enjoyment offers an overall experience that cannot be found in many other ski regions in Europe.
Yes, South Tyrol offers a wide range of activities away from the slopes. The region is ideal for winter hikes, cross-country skiing and cultural discoveries. Towns such as Bressanone, Merano, Bruneck and Sterzing offer cultural diversity, while almost all ski resorts boast a lively après-ski programme. This makes South Tyrol a versatile holiday destination that offers more than just skiing.