A skiing holiday in the Dolomites offers a whopping 1,200km of piste to each and every guest and year after year people return to fit in as much as possible, perhaps spending a few days in the Alta Badia before heading over to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Surely, you must be asking, there are certain routes and particularly memorable days out that tempt people back for a second (third or fourth) time? Let me introduce the Sella Ronda; claimed to be the most recognised ski route in the Dolomites, the clockwise and counter clockwise loop covers almost 40km and will take you over picturesque passes, through well-known valleys and into three provinces in the South Tyrol – it’s amazing how far you can travel in one day whilst on skis.
Sella Ronda Orange – Clockwise
The orange route winds its way around the Sella Massif in a clockwise direction, covering 25km of piste along the way. Starting the route in Corvara by taking the Boé lift up onto the Sella Massif, a beautiful red run kicks off the day and leads down in to Arabba – a perfect way to warm up your legs for the long day ahead.
Standing at almost 2500m on the Portavescovo Ridge, views across to the Marmolada are breathtaking and the 12km run is a temptation for another day of skiing. As the route reaches the Pordoi pass the protruding mountain known as Sassolungo invites you in its direction, offering a mix of long wide red and blue runs straight to it. The next section drops down into the valley and criss-crosses its way into Selva before heading back up towards the Gardena Pass. From here the last run is long and forgiving as it brings you back to the starting point of the day – if you still have time before the last lift (and have enough energy to spare), why not pop up onto the Pralongia Plateau to end the day with a gluhwein and to watch a dolomiti sunset?
Length of day: With a group of 10 it took 7 hours inc. Coffee stops and a leisurely lunch. If you want to rack up the miles I have known groups of 2/3 to get round 3 times in one day!
Extensions: Option to explore the Belvedere bowl, Canazei, S.Cristina and the Colfosco bowl
Things to look out for: The Dantercepies lift (number 30) from Selva opens its doors halfway up; do not get out at this point like we did or you will end up racing time to get back on before it leaves without you!
Best bit: Every run is new and different to the last. Rifugios are on every corner, take your pick for a delicious Italian/Ladin lunch!
Sella Ronda Green – Anti-clockwise
If you fancy an easier day and want more time to appreciate the surrounding scenery the counter clockwise route, which covers 23km of piste, is for you.
Setting off from Corvara is advised to get the 5 chairlift/gondolas out of the way first thing in the morning. Once you reach the top of the Gardena Pass views open up across to Sassolungo and beyond, exposing beautiful runs (a choice of blue, red and black) down into the pretty village of Selva. Enjoy winding your way through the City of Rocks, a fantastic area for climbing during the summer and note that no slopes match those of the Sella Orange. The two loops do come together at the top of the Pordoi Pass but only so that the Sasbece Rifugio with its panoramic views can be enjoyed. One lovely long blue run brings you to the centre of Arabba, a quaint village that can be explored before heading up to the Campolongo pass and back down in to Corvara.
Length of day: A group of 8 took 6 hours again with a leisurely lunch stop.
Extensions: The same options as the Sellaronda but in reverse – highly recommended to squeeze in some extra slopes as there are a lot more chairlifts this way round.
Things to look out for: Signs into Selva are not very obvious. Stick to the right hand side and follow the narrow track into the town centre.
Best bit: Find the giant cow and ring its bell as you ski underneath!
Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle.