The Sella Ronda ski route sits high in the towering Dolomites, amidst the breathtaking scenery of northeast Italy’s Ladin-speaking valleys. This 26km course is particularly popular among intermediate skiers for its combination of cruising reds and challenging steep slopes. The route also passes by a number of traditional restaurants where you can sample hearty South-Tyrolean cuisine while admiring the unparalleled mountain views. Here are our insider tips on how to get the best out of a day on the circuit.
It’s best to start as early as possible as the Sella Ronda route can take the average skier six to seven hours to complete. If you can, leave before 9:00 – if you aim to reach the final pass by 15:30, you’ll avoid having to take an expensive taxi when the lifts shut between 16:00 and 16:30.
You can begin in any of the four tranquil valleys of Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Val di Fassa or Arabba. The route is flexible: either take the clockwise loop by following the orange signs, or head anti-clockwise by following the green signs.
Plan your trip
Whether you go clockwise or anti-clockwise, the route mainly consists of easy intermediate skiing with some more demanding slopes which make the route unsuitable for beginners. The clockwise route offers more variety in terms of runs, while the anti-clockwise route is longer but less challenging. The anti-clockwise route also tends to be quieter and offers extraordinary mountain panoramas, making it a perfect choice for enjoying the magnificent views at a more leisurely pace.
Make a day of it
The picturesque Ladin villages of the surrounding valleys are home to a number of excellent restaurants. Nestled in the Alta Badia and accessible from both the clockwise and anti-clockwise routes is the charming town of Corvara, where you’ll find the Michelin-starred restaurant La Stüa de Michil. This highly recommended local institution serves dishes inspired by Dolomite cuisine, such as rehl roe deer steak and lou hare ragout.
If you’re taking the anti-clockwise route, you can experience warm South Tyrolean hospitality at Ütia Jimmy on the Grödner Joch. Perched 2,220m above sea level, this cosy alpine-style hut has its own sun terrace with peerless views across the Sella Ronda, Langkofel and Cir peaks. The restaurant’s chefs put a contemporary twist on traditional mountain fare with popular dishes such as caramelised speck Alto Adige PGI – a sweeter take on a renowned local ham.
Tailor your route
One of the great advantages of the Sella Ronda circuit is the option to tailor your route by extending it to other connected or nearby runs. For example, experienced skiers can challenge themselves by tackling the famous Saslong race piste. Famous for being a former World Cup ski-racing location, the Saslong now serves as the venue for the annual Men’s SuperG every December. Starting at the Ciampinoi gondola, the route descends 3.5km of steep downhill runs to the small village of Santa Cristina. The run is suitable for confident intermediate skiers and those attempting it can expect excellent snow quality as the slopes are almost always in shade.
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