Ortisei and Alpe di Siusi Skiing
The skiing above Ortisei is made up of two completely different ski areas and, unlike the other two resorts in the valley, they are not really connected to one another. The first, to the south, is the plateau of the Alpe di Siusi, better known in German as the Seiser Alm and an intermediate's paradise of short blue and red runs set in stunning scenery. The second, on the northern side, are the connecting pistes and lifts to the main bowl above Santa Cristina.
Skiing the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)
The slow round Monte Sëuc gondola from the south of the village takes skiers up to a restaurant at the edge of the plateau. From here a short path and blue run leads to the Al Sole and Mezdí chairlifts, where there are easy confidence-building runs for low intermediate skiers.
Those wanting to head further afield will need to head down the red run to the base of the Sanon chairlift, which provides the necessary elevation to tackle the red to the base of the Steger Dellai chairlift. As so often on the Seiser Alm, your destination is in easy view but the route to it goes a little bit around the houses.
Once at the top of the chairlift there are alternatives of heading straight back down under the chair, over the ridge to the base of Bamby chairlift or, as in the case of our route here, over to the settlement which has been in view at Compatsch.
On the same side of the road are the Laurin and Spitzbühl chairlifts, while on the other side of the cluster of buildings are the Euro and Bullacia lifts all of which have nice cruising intermediate runs.
Compatsch is also the destination of the Seiser Alm gondola which rises from the village of Siusi down in the valley.
To head all the way around the Alpe di Siusi it is necessary to gain height again on the southern slopes and to head over to the Panorama chairlift and then a quick run to the Paradiso lift. From here there is a long red all the way down to the base of the Florian chairlift - the furthest in time at least away from where this description started..
There is a bus service from here which connects with the Monte Pana area above Santa Cristina, the next village up the Val Gardena.
From the top of the chairlift, there are alternate equally scenic red trails with some lovely views and a great restaurant stop just past a little chapel (if it is not too crowded).
The return to the Ortisei cable car (the only way down from the Seiser Alm to Ortisei) is via the two Floralpina and Punta D'Oro chairlifts, followed by the short Bamby chairlift. (Be aware that there are few alternate routes and that in peak times in high season all of these chairlifts can be bottlenecks.)
From the top of Bamby a pleasant red down under the Steger Dellai chairlift leads to the base of the Monte Piz chairlift with a subsequent traverse over to the Leo Demetz chairlift to gain enough altitude on the northern side of the valley. Skiing on-piste another chairlift is necessary to get to the essential Al Sole chairlift (the Mezdí) but there is also an off-piste traverse which can be taken in times of bad queues and which cuts under the Mezdí chairlift. The Al Sole then heads up to the top Monte Seuc station.
The Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) is often neglected as a ski area in its own right because of the other connected ski areas in the Val Gardena and the nearby Sella Ronda resorts. In good conditions and non-busy periods, however, it provides beautiful trail and off-piste possibilities in fabulous mountain scenery. It is only in busy periods that the lift capacity and sometimes odd connections in the area lead to big queues.
Skiing the Val Furnes
This is the skiing on the northern side of Ortisei, with the two gondolas eventually leading up to the top of the bowl above Col Raiser, one of the ski areas above Santa Cristina. There is also a very pleasant long and scenic red run down from here back to the start of the gondola and with plenty of possible stops along the way for local cuisine and refreshments.