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Monday, November 7, 2011

Ski Selva: resort guide

• Excellent local slopes, with big verticals by Sella Ronda standards

• Mix of open and wooded slopes

• Excellent nursery slopes

• Attractive but strung-out village in a lovely wooded setting

• Some of the minus points of the Sella Ronda region too, notably: erratic natural snowfall, crowds on the main Sella Ronda circuit

• No easy long runs immediately above Selva – buses or taxis are needed for access to them up at Plan de Gralba

• Busy road through the village

Pity about the traffic

The village has traditional Tirolean-style architecture and an attractive church, but is a sprawling place and suffers from through-traffic (and a lack of parking facilities).

Despite the World Cup fame of Val Gardena, Selva is neither upmarket nor brash. It’s a good-value, civilised, low-key resort – relaxed and family-friendly in many respects, once you get away from the intrusive through-road.

Choose your spot with care

From the village, gondolas rise in two directions. The Ciampinoi gondola goes south from near the centre of the village to start the anticlockwise Sella Ronda route. The Dantercëpies gondola, for the clockwise Sella Ronda route, starts above the village at the top of the nursery slopes (but accessible via a central chairlift and a short run down). The most convenient position to stay is near this chair or one of the gondolas.

There are local buses until early evening – seven euros for a weekly card. In the past they have generated all sorts of complaints from reporters but the flow seems to have dried up. There’s a night bus between Selva and Ortisei. All the 4-star hotels run their own free shuttle-buses.

Ortisei, the main town of Val Gardena, and S Cristina, are described at the end of the chapter. Another possible (cheaper) base is the village of Siusi, down at around 1000m.

Pretty in pink

The village enjoys a lovely setting under the impressive pink-tinged walls of Sassolungo and the Gruppo del Sella – a fortress-like massif 6km across that lies at the hub of the Sella Ronda circuit.


Excellent when it’s cold

The slopes are not high – there are few above 2200m and most are between 1500m and 2000m. Natural snowfalls are erratic, but Selva’s slopes are well covered by snowmaking.

During severe droughts we have enjoyed excellent pistes here, and our reporters are regularly impressed – ‘a revelation’, ‘wonderful’, ‘stunning’, ‘unbelievable coverage and quality’. Problems arise only if it is too warm to make snow.

No worries

Racing star from the 1990s Peter Runggaldier seems to have merged his Ski Academy with the resort’s main Selva Gardena school, which has been recommended by several readers – most recently for children’s classes. Reports on the 2000 school are mixed.

It’s all down to the detail

At first sight, in general, the village does not seem ideal for families. It’s a sprawling place requiring use of not entirely efficient buses, with a busy through-road. But make the right arrangements and pick your location with care, and you can have very successful family holidays here. An obvious first step is to look at UK tour operators with their own nursery facilities, of which Esprit is the clear leader.

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