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3 Secret Alps Ski Destinations

Skiing in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria.

Photo: James Schriebl

The Resort: Val Gardena

At the heart of the Val Gardena valley in the Dolomites is a massive, 360-degree expanse of interconnected slopes and ski resorts known as the Sella Ronda, or carousel, referring to the merry-go-round skiing of sophisticated Italian families who flock here each winter.

Getting There: Airports in Verona, Italy, and Innsbruck, Austria, are about two to three hours away. Buses run to the valley regularly (39-0471/777-777; flytovalgardena.com).

Stay: In Selva, the highest of Val Gardena’s three villages, the minimal Hotel Alpino Plan (doubles from $180) is beloved by members of the U.S. ski team for its four-course dinners and attentive staff. Or splurge on the Alpenroyal Grand Hotel Gourmet & Spa (doubles from $487). The property has a heated outdoor pool, a two-story spa, and its own ski school.

Eat: Just below the jagged, 10,000-foot-high Sassolungo peak sits the popular lunchtime spot Rifugio Emilio Comici (lunch for two $103), which offers grilled fish and generously portioned tiramisu. At night, head to Ristorante Nives (dinner for two $131) for northern Italian cuisine made with regional ingredients such as tortelloni stuffed with chamois and wild-berry butter. Or hunker down at Ristorante Concordia (dinner for two $105), in the neighboring village of Ortisei, where south Tyrolean specialties are served in a wood-paneled stube.

Do: Ortisei is also the best place to explore Val Gardena’s famous wood-carving tradition, which dates back to the 17th century. You’ll find contemporary artisans’ work at Galaria Unika. Back in Selva, Hotel Nives’s modern wine bar welcomes stylish patrons, who cap the day with Prosecco and tales from the slopes.


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