The 26km Sella Ronda circuit around the Sella Massif ski area in the Italian Dolomites ski area is incredibly scenic. Suitable for intermediates, the Sella Ronda ski route can be skied clockwise or anti-clockwise in a day, allowing time for espresso stops in the surrounding villages that have a blend of Austrian heritage and Italian elegance. Read our guide to find out all about Sella Ronda skiing and the best Sella Ronda ski resorts.
Well-known by ski racing fans for hosting the annual FIS World Cup’s Super G and the Men’s Downhill, the valley is also famed for its wood carvings by Ladin craftsmen. Selva, also called Wokenstein, was part of Austria for many years and retains its Tirolean charm. From the village there are two gondolas: the Ciampinoi gondola heads south for the anti-clockwise Sella Ronda ski route and the Dantercëpies gondola for the clockwise route.
Skiing through Corvara into the Alta Badia ski area, San Cassiano is certainly worth a detour from the Sella Ronda circuit. Set in a tree-lined valley, the village’s surrounding blue runs are great when there’s poor visibility. Built in 1850, the Rosa Alpina hotel was a small rural inn. Since 1939 it has been passed down through three generations of the Pizzinini family. Now a five-star hotel with two highly acclaimed restaurants, the three- Michelin-star St. Hubertus is run by the former downhill ski racer Norbert Niederkofler.
At the foot of Sassongher mountain, this family-friendly village is in a wide valley surrounded by forest and the Dolomites. Corvara is well located for skiing the Sella Ronda and the Alta Badia area. Take the Col Alto gondola for plenty of leisurely blues in the Alta Badia ski area. Pause at the cosy Col Alto refugio for a lunch of hearty local cuisine. Alternatively, Piz Boé Alpine Lounge’s restaurant demonstrates an innovative twist on both local Tirolean and Italian dishes. On a clear day, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer superb views of the Dolomites.
With the steepest ski runs in the Dolomites and spectacular off-piste, Arabba is the best ski resort in the Sella Ronda for experienced skiers. The gondola gives quick access to 3,269-metre-high Punta Rocca at the top of the Marmolada glacier. Due to its height, it has the best snow in the area. Ski down La Bellunese, an impressive 12km red run that drops 1,000m, ending in Malga Ciapela. From the piste, you can often make out Cortina and Val Gardena. We recommend skiing La Bellunese in the morning as it can become icy and mogully later in the day.
The Sella Ronda ski route sits high in the towering Dolomites, amidst the breath-taking 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 a number of traditional restaurants where you can sample hearty South-Tyrolean cuisine. Here are our insider tips on how to get the best out of a day on the Sella Ronda loop.
It’s best to start as early as possible as the Sella Ronda loop 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 a 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.
Whether you go clockwise or anti-clockwise, the Sella Ronda loop 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.
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 comes highly recommended and serves 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. You’ll enjoy views across the Sella Ronda, Langkofel and Cir peaks. The restaurant’s chefs put a contemporary twist on traditional mountain fare. Popular dishes include caramelised speck Alto Adige PGI – a sweeter take on a renowned local ham.
One of the advantages of the Sella Ronda loop is you can tailor your route and connect to other runs. For example, experienced skiers can tackle 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.
Ski Solutions can organise your next Sella Ronda skiing trip and recommend the best Sella Ronda ski resorts. Click to make an enquiry or speak to one of our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.
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