10 MUST-DO THINGS IN VAL DI SOLE DURING WINTER
the best experiences for your chalet winter holiday
WHAT IS WINTER IN VAL DI SOLE?
In Val di Sole, as in the rest of Trentino province, seasons are extremely different and each one brings with it its own uniqueness, giving an exclusive charm to the territory of our valley.
Winter in Val di Sole goes beyond what is indicated in the calendar and it is indeed the longest season of the year. For solandri (i.e. the inhabitants of Val di Sole), winter overlaps with the persistence of the snow cover that usually is found in meadows and woods from early December to Easter. Obviously it is not a written rule and each season is characterized by different condition. Anyways, the same period is the one dedicated to alpine skiing with lifts of ski resorts running from the beginning of December to about mid-April. Starting from the 1960s, it was the ski lifts that revolutionized lives of Val di Sole inhabitants in winter. The season was transformed from a hard, cold period of long quietness into months of intense work and lively partying. An epochal change and a new enjoyment of winter season and its snow, which in over half a century has made Val di Sole known to millions of people.
Years after the first winter tourism boom, today the valley offers a myriad of outdoor and indoor activities. Let's find out together the 10 must-do winter experiences in Val di Sole!
WHAT TO DO IN WINTER IN VAL DI SOLE?
SKI FOR EVERYBODY
In Val di Sole there are three different Ski Area, each with its own personality and peculiar characteristics.
Pejo 3000 Ski Area is the smallest and most naturalistic one, immersed in the Stelvio National Park and in the peaceful and immaculate Val di Pejo. The Pejo Ski Area is characterized by the famous Val della Mite slope and it is ideal for those looking for a 360-degree holiday between skiing, nature, spas and relaxation.
On the border between Trentino and Lombardy provinces, Pontedilegno-Tonale Skiarea is certainly the most youthful and entertaining, with many technical slopes and several après-ski for a drink after a day of skiing. The Presena glacier presents itself to skiers with its lunar landscapes and here skiing is possible from approximately November to May.
Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta ski area is the largest one, with over 150 km of slopes between the districts of Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo and Folgarida Marilleva. If Campiglio is the most glamorous part, the Folgarida Marilleva Ski Area is certainly the most suitable for children thanks to a first-rate school camp in Malghet Aut and the presence of many blue ski slopes.
The ski offer is not limited to downhill skiing but also includes two niche disciplines where the crowded ski lifts are replaced by freedom and physical effort: cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering.
Cross-country skiing can be practiced in different centers and the main ones are those of Rabbi, Vermiglio and Campo Carlo Magno at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.
Ski mountaineering is probably the most loved winter sport by locals and manages to convey a feeling of silence and absolute freedom. The effort of the climb is rewarded by the thrill of the descent on the soft snow of the pristine off-piste.
OSSANA, THE 1000 “PRESEPI” VILLAGE
During the Christmas and New Year’s Eve period, Val di Sole dresses up and hosts many suggestive initiatives for the whole family.
The reproduction of nativity scenes during the Christmas period is a very important tradition in Italy and it every year relives in this small town in Val di Sole.
The nativity scenes and Christmas markets of Ossana, a small village in the upper valley, is certainly the most important and fascinating event. Each nativity scene is unique in its kind and amazes with its peculiarities, each of them narrating a story, an idea, an emotion. Thousand does not want to be a hyperbolic exaggeration, in fact the nativity scenes not only reach this extraordinary number, but even exceed it by a few units! In Ossana, however, you won’t find only crèches but dozens of local artisans also participate in the initiative with their exceptional products for sale at the traditional market.
And In the background of all this, the suggestive Castle of San Michele, the most impressive and beautiful c castle in Val di Sole.
In winter, Val di Sole woods are almost always covered with soft natural snow where it is possible to venture wearing snowshoes. In fact, it is (almost) always not recommended to walk on winter trails without snowshoes or crampons, the latter recommended when snow is particularly icy.
Every winter, Val di Sole tourism board prepares some trails for this type of activity, with precise signs and typing entrusted to mountain professionals, the alpine guides. These paths are also reported in a dedicated map.
Woods in winter are absolutely immaculate and silent, giving to their guests a feeling of peace and relaxation that is difficult to find in other outdoor sports.
And it is not over yet! In Val di Sole guided outings with mountain professionals are organized every day to discover the routes with the greatest landscape and cultural value.
SLEDDING ON THE SNOW
Val di Sole is a family resort par excellence and the little ones never cease to be amazed with the many activities suitable for the whole family that are offered in the area.
In Pellizzano, a beautiful small town with a valuable historic center, there is a farmhouse and riding school where you can enjoy the experience of boarding Santa's magical sleigh pulled by fantastic docile horses. The activity is suitable for everyone and it is particularly popular with families with small children.
But it doesn't stop there! For those looking for a little more adrenaline, the Monte Spinale sled slope in Madonna di Campiglio offers the opportunity to descend aboard a wooden sled on a white slope with a breathtaking view of the Brenta Dolomites.
The track is almost 3 km long and faces a difference in altitude of 340 m with a consequent average gradient of 12.40%. A unique activity of its kind and suitable for (almost) everyone, especially for those who want to pleasantly slide on the snow while not practicing alpine skiing.
Warning: the opening of the slope depends on snow condition, remember to always check the actual opening of the slope here: https://www.campigliodolomiti.it/en/sports-winter/sledding
Snow is not the only natural element to have fun with in Val di Sole in winter. Another wonderful activity and suitable for the whole family is ice skating. In Malè there is a beautiful rink for practicing this sport throughout the winter.
THERMAL SPA CENTER
Val di Sole is not only outdoor and family, but also the place where anyone looking for a well-deserved break from the daily routine can reconnect with himself and his beloved ones.
During winter, In addition to the aforementioned gentle walks in the snow, the Pejo thermal spa center is a fantastic place where to relax. Here thermal treatments meet the dolce vita of the wellness center. Often submerged by a blanket of soft white snow, the Pejo thermal spa is the perfect solution for those who want to alternate an active holiday with moments of pure regeneration of senses.
The icing on the cake of a mountain vacation is observing wildlife. Adults and children always dream to make the long-awaited sightings and the Stelvio National Park, which in Val di Sole develops in Pejo and Rabbi valleys, is the perfect place to try your luck.
Deer and roe deer are the most common animals living in the woods surrounding the valley small towns. Since they are crepuscular animals, they prefer to move around at sunrise and sunset. These are therefore the ideal moments to spot them, especially in winter when the presence of snow pushes them closer to inhabited centers.
In any case, in Val di Pejo there is a beautiful wildlife area, managed directly by the Stelvio National Park, where animals unable to live in captivity are cared for by the park's expert operators. A wonderful experience to bring children into contact with nature in a safe environment with a strong educational value.
FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE
Trentino is characterized by a unique cuisine, which comes from the fusion of the Italian and Tyrolean food and wine culture, unleashing a mix of strong but at the same time delicate flavors.
Among the many food and wine experiences that you can live in Val di Sole, having dinner in an alpine dairy stands out above all. Cold cuts, mountain cheeses, local canederli and goulash with polenta in a magical and exclusive atmosphere. Some alpine dairies also offer the opportunity to reach the location by snowmobile going back to the car after dinner sliding on sleds directly provided by the hotel. Not to be missed!
PARADICE MUSIC FESTIVAL
For some years now, the Pontedilegno-Tonale Ski Area is no longer just skiing and fun. A wonderful initiative has in fact given life to the Paradice Music Festival project. Located in the middle of the snow expanses of the Presena glacier and accessible by the Paradiso cable car, the Ice Dome hosts music played with ice on the ice. Both the “theatre” where the artists perform and the instruments played by them are incredibly made of this substance with a strong symbolic as well as technical value. First-rate artists performed at the Ice Dome and the Festival attracted the attention of national and international press thanks to the originality of the project and its strong message about eco-sustainability and climate change.
COVERED SWIMMING POOL
After having fun with snow and ice, now water element becomes an attraction in its original form.
In Malè, a beautiful small town located in the “lower” part of Val di Sole, there is the only public indoor swimming pool in the area.
At the Acqua Center you will find a semi-olympic swimming pool, a smaller pool with heated water and hydromassage and a small third pool for children.