Your Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Selva Val Gardena, Dolomites

Last updated 3 January 2022

Whether you’re an avid skier, or a fresh-faced beginner, Selva Val Gardena in the Dolomites is a ski and snow paradise for all the family.

While many ski enthusiasts flock to the French Alps for their winter sport fix, my absolute top recommendation for anyone looking for some ski and snow fun is without a doubt the picture-perfect Italian ski resort of Selva Val Gardena.

Comfortably tucked away in the majestic Dolomites in north-east Italy, Selva Val Gardena is part of the largest and, if you ask me, the most beautiful, ski area in Europe.

And, with an average of 300 days of sun a year, and more than 500 km of interconnected and perfectly groomed ski slopes with stunning alpine views, this little mountain village is a first-class base for your perfect skiing holiday.

Ultimate guide to skiing Selva Val Gardena in the Dolomites

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Where is Selva Val Gardena, Dolomites?

You’ll find Selva Val Gardena at the heart of the Dolomite mountain ranges in north-east Italy. This stunning alpine village is nestled in at the foot of the impressive plateau shaped UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sella massif.

Selva is possibly the best known of Val Gardena’s cluster of small villages, which also include Santa Cristina and the valley’s main town, Ortisei.

Looking down on Selva Val Gardena Village from piste

Selva Val Gardena was actually part of Austria for many years, as you might realise based on the alpine-like architecture in this area. German is actually more widely spoken than Italian, although you can easily get by with either. Of course, English is also widely used so don’t worry if you’re not comfortable in either of the other two languages.

Something that’s a bit confusing is the fact that Selva’s history means that most places actually have two names!

Selva di Val Gardena is the Italian name. But, the village of Selva is equally known by its German name, Wolkenstein. Selva is the village while Val Gardena is actually the valley which is known as Gröder in German.

Selva Val Gardena ski slope into town


How To Get To Selva Val Gardena, Dolomites

One option, of course, is to drive yourself to Selva. But, alternatively, Selva Val Gardena can be reached easily enough by either plane or train, followed by a transfer to your accommodation in Selva Val Gardena..

The nearest airports to Selva are in Bolzano (Italy – 40km), Innsbruck (Austria – 120km), and Verona (Italy, 190km). Cheap flights are available to all of these airports from all over Europe with Skyscanner (use links above).

Alternatively, you can also travel by train to Innsbruck or Bolzano from many centres across Europe.

Whether you arrive by plane or train, you’ll then need to book a shuttle service from your arrival airport or train station, which will take you directly to your hotel in Selva. 

Skiing Dolomites

The other alternative, which is actually what we did, is to book a package holiday with someone like Crystal Ski. This meant we got flights, accommodation, transfers and the ski pass all in one go, making it a super simple and relaxed holiday option!

Skiing in the Dolomites and Selva Val Gardena

Although the Dolomites is truly a paradise for all, Selva Val Gardena is especially well suited to beginner and intermediate skiers.

It has a fantastic selection of red runs in particular. But, for those looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush, there are a decent number of challenging black slopes too, such as the Sasslong, where the World Cup in Freestyle Skiing is held every year!

My absolute favourite piste in Val Gardena is the long, meandering La Longia run in the Seceda section.

La Longia is a very comfortable 10.5 km long run, taking you all the way down to the village of Ortisei. Since it’s not too challenging, this really is the perfect spot for soaking up the breath-taking mountain views that the Dolomites are so well known for.

From Ortisei it’s a short bus ride back to Selva.

Skiing a red run in Val Gardena


Dolomiti Superski and the Sella Ronda

I highly recommend that you opt for the Dolomiti Superski pass, rather than a ski pass for Val Gardena only. For only a few Euro more, you’ll also get access to the famous Sella Ronda circuit with the Superski pass. This is a fun, circular ski carousel that loops around the beautiful Sella mountain range.

The Sella Ronda loop is a 40 km long trip, of which 26 km are ski pistes (the rest are lifts). This amazing network of lifts and trails around the Sella massif is an incredible way to get to know the area better! It was definitely one of my favourite days in the Dolomites.

You can complete the circuit in either a clockwise (orange) or anti-clockwise (green) direction. Check out a detailed map of these circuits here.

Sella Ronda Dolomites mountains
How incredible are these views in the Dolomites?

The general preference is to go the orange clockwise route as it follows the sun and provides more skiing opportunities. However, it is also the slightly more challenging of the two. Beginners may want to go with the green route.

Due to the length of the circuit, your best bet is to set off early in the day and certainly no later than 10am.

The Sella Ronda circuit is a famous and therefore popular route, meaning the queues for the lifts can get long. Plus, I can guarantee that you’ll want to pause regularly for photo opportunities, a hot drink and some nourishing food! Luckily, there are lots of huts and restaurants where you can stop off and do just that!

Either way, you definitely don’t want to get stuck halfway around the loop when the ski lifts close so make sure you plan ahead.

I would suggest you allow for 5-6 hours for the full circuit including breaks. It is very important to have crossed the last pass by 3:30pm. If not, you will risk missing the last lift back to your starting point!

Reminder: You need a super-ski-pass for the Sella Ronda circuit as you will pass through four different ski areas!

Val Gardena stunning mountain views


The Best Time to Ski Val Gardena

The lifts in Val Gardena, including the Sella Ronda in both directions, usually operate from early December, through early/mid April. 

With 330 snow machines, a lack of snow is never an issue in Val Gardena, even after a period of low snowfall. But, at an altitude of between 1500-2000m, there is usually plenty of natural snow during the colder months too.

The best time to ski in Val Gardena is usually in mid-January through mid-March, when you have the highest chance of fresh snowfall. But, in all honesty, you likely won’t be disappointed no matter when you go throughout the winter season.

Selva Val Gardena scenery


Where to Stay in Selva Val Gardena

In my humble opinion, you won’t go too far wrong no matter where you stay in Selva Val Gardena. Most hotels here are family-owned and have a super cosy, home-like atmosphere.

Think crackling fireplace and mulled wine… 

Insider Tip: A tourist tax of €2 per person per night is payable locally directly to your hotel

During our visit to Selva Val Gardena we stayed at the wonderfully cozy and comfortable Hotel Pralong and we honestly couldn’t have been happier with our choice. 

The staff were extremely friendly and the room was spotlessly clean, warm and cozy. It may not have been the largest room we’ve ever stayed in, but let’s be honest – You’ll spend most of your time out on the slopes anyway, so there’s really no need for anything bigger.

You can leave all your ski gear downstairs in the drying room, so you won’t be cluttering up your room in any way either.

Hotel Pralong Selva Val Gardena Dolomites

The owners of this family run boutique hotel certainly set the bar very high for the rest of our holiday when we didn’t arrive until about 10pm on our first night. Despite the late hour, they were expectantly awaiting us, and had organised a delicious cold meal for our supper. Such a lovely and unexpected surprise to kick-start our Dolomite ski holiday!!

We opted for half board when we booked, meaning breakfast and dinner were included daily. This turned out to be a great choice, and one I would recommend.

The food was always varied and delicious, with a range of options at each meal. The staff were very attentive and, after a couple of days, knew exactly what drinks we preferred for both breakfast and dinner, and would bring it to us without us even having to ask!

First class service right there!

Insider Tip: WiFi was available at the time for €5 for the week.

The location of Hotel Pralong is perfect too. It’s a short 10 minute walk to the centre of town and right across the road from one of the chairlifts, meaning you can get going first thing and ski right back to the hotel should you want to do so.

We really couldn’t fault Hotel Pralong in any way and would highly recommend it to anyone considering a visit to Selva!

Bonus: We each got a complimentary t-shirt with Pralong on it which I still wear to this day! 😊

Stunning mountains around Selva Val Gardena
Views wherever you turn!


What to Pack For Your Skiing Holiday

In case you don’t often opt for a skiing holiday, I’ve compiled a quick list of some key items you’ll definitely want to pack for your skiing trip to Selva Val Gardena!

Don’t worry about the actual skis and boots though. We rented all our equipment in Selva, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Your Absolute Must-Bring Items Include;

  • Sunglasses/ski goggles – I personally prefer goggles. They protect you both from the glare and the wind.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm with at least SPF 30 – The sun is stronger on the mountains!
  • Balaclava/warm hat
  • Gloves or mittens and a warm scarf
  • Thermal base layers (long sleeved top & trousers) – I personally love Icebreaker
  • Fleece top (mid layer) – It’s all about layering when you’re skiing. It’s a constant balance between hot and cold 😅
  • (Marino) Wool socks – Keep those toes warm and cozy!
  • Ski jacket and ski pants/salopettes – These should be wind and water proof
  • Camera!! Or a Go-Pro if you have one. The scenery is mind blowing!
  • Day Pack – for a water bottle, emergency snacks and storing extra clothes when it gets hot
  • A re-usable water bottle – I don’t go anywhere without mine!
  • Also, don’t forget travel insurance, making sure it covers skiing! My go-to is World Nomads.

Skiing Sella Ronda Dolomites


Final Thoughts

Whether you plan to ski from dawn to dusk, or participate in an Après ski or three, the Dolomites and Selva Val Gardena in particular couldn’t offer a more beautiful spot for your winter sport destination.

By the way, speaking of Après ski – do make sure you take plenty of breaks and enjoy the surroundings. We always find we push ourselves far harder, physically, during a skiing holiday than we normally would at home. While skiing is what you’re there for, there’s no shame in taking an afternoon or even a full day off to relax, enjoy some spa treatments or try some other activities.

Also make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, and keep up those calories with some nourishing food.

I’d suggest checking out the Dolomiti Superski website for the most up-to-date information on the area, ski pass prices, maps and skiing conditions.

Most of all, have a blast!

Do you like to go skiing? Where’s your favourite winter sport destination? Let me know in the comments below!


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Selva Val Gardena Dolomites is the Ultimate Skiing Destination

6 thoughts on “Your Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Selva Val Gardena, Dolomites”

  1. We’ve never ever been skiing and now at the ripe old age of 25 and 28 we thought we were too old to hit the nursery slopes but this has inspired us to give it a try!!

    • Honestly, I don’t think you’re ever too old to try! Plenty of people on the nursery slopes are older than you guys, and it’s all just for a bit of fun really, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. It looks so beautiful there! I’ve never been skiing before but I love your tips about what to pack! I have been to Austria and Switzerland before and this remind me of both those places! It rarely snows where I live so it’s nice to see your gorgeous photos of everything looking like a winter wonderland! 🙂 xx

    • Skiing is a fun thing to try, but even just being in the snow is magical! There’s a lot to do in places like this even if you’re not a big skier. It’s perfect for cozy hot drinks and delicious food by the fireplace 🙂

    • Oooh, exciting! Skiing is a lot of fun!! And Selva Val Gardena is definitely the perfect place to have a go – even if you spend most of your time on your bum, you’ll have fantastic views to enjoy 🙂


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