Ortisei is a ski resort located in the Italian valley of Val Gardena, at an altitude of 1236 meters. This place is also known by the German name St. Ulrich, called so in honor of the patron saint of the town. It is the lowest of the three resorts that make up the Valley Recreation Area, making it a great choice for families and beginners.
How to get there
Ortisei has a regular express bus from the international airports of Bolzano and Verona. Some guests prefer to get to the resort by choosing a different route through the Austrian Innsbruck. Transfers run from more nearby cities during peak season, including Munich.
The resort has two ski areas – Alpe di Siusi and Val Furnes. In total, there are 25 equipped runs, 12 of which are marked in blue, 11 are red and two more are marked in black. The total length of marked slopes reaches 175 km. The slopes are serviced by a system that includes an underground cable car, four gondola lifts, three drag lifts and three chairlifts. Some of the lifts are located right next to the hotels on the outskirts of the settlement.
Most of the slopes in Ortisei are ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers or snowboarders. It is worth mentioning the piste that runs from Paradiso to the Florian ski lift station, as well as the La Longia run in the Secheda area, which is almost 10 km long. The latter starts from the highest point of the resort at an altitude of 2518 meters. There are many interesting slopes in the Col Raiser and Mont de Seura districts.
Skiers with a great experience will be able to demonstrate their skills on the 3 km long black Saslong slope or on the sports track descending from the summit of Ciampioni. Freeriders will love the slopes between Secheda and Cole Raiser, but it is better to explore them after a snowfall, as they are often covered in a dangerous ice crust. Those who don’t have enough of the resort’s slopes can expand the ski area by taking a ski-bass or using lifts to the famous Sella Ronda. However, you can get there only if you have a Dolomiti Superski ski-pass. Snowboarders should check out the snow park equipped with a halfpipe on the way to Sella Ronda, near Laurin Station.
Ortisei has a separate snow park for children called Furdenan and there is also a fun park near the Euro station. There are two ski schools for beginners offering their services. One of them is Ski & Snowboard School and accepts both adults and children starting from the age of four. Professional instructors teach not only the basics of skiing and snowboarding, but also telemark style, freestyle and skiathlon. There are two kindergartens for the youngest guests of the resort.
Ski-passes and equipment
You need to purchase a local Val Gardena / Alpe di Siusi ski-pass or a universal Dolomiti Superski to ski in the resort of Ortisei. The cost of the first one is 62 euros per day for an adult, 43 euros for a child and 56 euros for people over 65 years old. The second ski-pass gives access to all 600 km of slopes in the largest ski region of the Dolomites and costs 67 euros per day for an adult, 47 euros for a child and 60 euros in the case of older skiers. Children at the ages from three to eight receive a free pass, which will be valid for the same period of time as a ski pass purchased by an accompanying adult relative.
The most popular rental shops are Alpine Rental, Sport Gardena and Everestski. The price of skis or snowboards rental starts at 18 euros per day.
Ortisei has a sufficient number of comfortable hotels and apartments. The most prestigious is the five-star Gardena Grödnerhof, which belongs to the international association of Relais & Chateaux. The 4-star Alpenheim boasts two swimming pools and a wellness center, while the Grones is renowned for its service and the best room views. The three-star Garni August is popular among less fashionable places of residence, as well as the Garni Snaltnerhof, which is located near the main ski lift.
Recreation and entertainment
Guests of the resort are invited to spend their free time walking around local attractions. Several old Gothic churches and Baroque buildings have survived on the streets of the city. Moreover, there is a museum of historical heritage. A significant part of the museum’s collection is devoted to the art of woodcarving, which has flourished in this area for centuries, as evidenced by wooden sculptures from the 16th-17th centuries. The archaeological department, which presents artifacts from the Bronze and Stone Age found in Plan de Frea, is exciting too.
Outdoor activities in Ortisei include a skating rink, a paragliding school and one of the largest water sports centers in the Alps. It is worth visiting the Cleopatra Wellness & Spa complex for relaxation.
The cuisine pleases primarily with Italian and Tyrolean dishes. The best reviews were awarded to the Michelin-star Anna Stuben restaurant, Mauritz Keller pizzeria and Val d’Anna café that has an excellent vegetarian menu. The traditional Viel dal Pan restaurant, fashionable Utia Pradat and cozy Fienile Monte are considered as the best in the mountains. In the evening, visitors of the resort usually have fun in the bars such as Fever, Corso or Haiti.
Ortisei is a modern resort which has a good infrastructure and plenty of runs for beginners, without mentioning the opportunity of getting the full advantage of the Dolomiti Superski ski-pass. Guests of the resort note the queues at the ski lifts and the lack of an entertainment program at night, which can be considered as a disadvantage.