These three small ski resorts in South Tyrol are worthwhile
The corona restrictions for winter vacationers are confusing. In the ski resorts, it’s mostly 2G plus. What one must pay attention with a travel resignation insurance, explains the lawyer for travel right, Kay P. Rodegra.
T he most racy slope in Ratschings is uphill – by snowmobile. The host Roland Pixner starts the lift when the guests of the Flecknerhutte have eaten their Kasnocken and Krapfen at the warm tiled stove and rinsed with a glass of elderberry liqueur and want to return to the ski area.
Then Roland Pixner helps his customers with boards and poles onto the snowmobile and chases them up to the slopes over narrow tracks and steep crests in roller coaster curves. "Slowly I went today," he likes to say, arriving at the top, jokingly to guests whose eyes have been watered by the wild tour.
In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, everyone likes to come back – after all, you don’t find such a trip, such a rustic hut and such open-minded hosts every day. The gastronomic competition is great. Who wants to exist there, like the young Pixners, with a hut without elevator and runway connection, must offer something special.
A truism that applies to the whole business of skis and snow. Nowadays, (almost) every ski resort in the Alps has modern lifts, artificial snow and beautiful slopes. Some have so many of them that the average holidaymaker can hardly ski them all in a couple of days.
Ideal for families – the skiing area Ratschings-Jaufen
The South Tyrolean ski resort of Ratschings-Jaufen, ten minutes from the Brenner freeway, can also boast a respectable range of eight cable cars and lifts, which, thanks to intelligent routing, open up around 30 kilometers of varied downhill runs. The lifts are top, the slopes perfectly groomed. No wonder with a ski area right on the doorstep of Leitner, the renowned Sterzing company that is one of the largest lift and snow groomer manufacturers in the world.
This is certainly not to the liking of slope-gobblers who want hundreds of kilometers of downhill skiing in one go, but it is to the liking of pleasure skiers and families who like things to be a little smaller, cozy and clearly laid out. The Ratschingser concentrate on exactly those.
The ski area between Jaufenhaus and Saxnerhutte at an altitude of 2000 meters is ideal for this target group: the wide slopes above invite you to relax and carve. The slopes are mainly in the easy to intermediate range, without being boring. All the way down there are two options. Both lead a little challenging to the valley station of the new Ratschings-Jaufen cable car – the really convenient entry and exit of the Ratschings area.
The longest illuminated toboggan run in Italy
Those who arrive there in the morning can park their car in the large garage and take the escalator to the lift without having to walk long distances. Those leaving can change clothes and even shower in the service center cabins before heading home. A rather unusual offer, but one that will be appreciated by day guests and all those who have to pack their bags at the hotel in the morning, but like to stay on the slopes until the evening.
Ratschings is the undisputed skiing center of the South Tyrolean Wipptal valley. But two other areas in the region are also worth a trip: the tranquil Ladurns, which entices with a crisp black run, but above all is a port of call for skiers who are at the beginning of their career. And of course the Rosskopf, which is known to everyone who drives south over the Brenner Pass – and yet usually rushes past it.
From the center of Sterzing the gondolas of the Rosskopf – or as the Italians say: "Monte Cavallo" – swing directly over the highway. From there, it’s an almost 2,000-meter climb to the wide mountain plateau and four other lifts that open up a good dozen blue and red slopes.
As everywhere in the Wipptal, there are well-organized ski schools on the Rosskopf, which have developed an attractive course and supervision system, especially for children. In addition: many huts, which invite every few hundred meters to the Einkehrschwung, as well as a ten-kilometer-long toboggan run. This makes it the longest illuminated and snow-covered sled run in Italy.
In Sterzing regional cuisine meets star cuisine
The view from the Sterzinger Aussichtsterrasse, as locals call their local mountain, is at least as beautiful as the medieval town in the valley. Through the silver from the Ridnaun mines, it once became rich, could afford magnificent churches and town houses and a mighty town tower – the Zwolferturm, which still dominates the town today.
Strolling through Sterzing’s arcades and shopping in the smart stores is a must for anyone vacationing nearby. Of course, you can also stop off at one of the inns and restaurants, where the cuisine is sometimes sumptuous Tyrolean, sometimes traditional Italian or alternatively fine Mediterranean.
Burkhard Bacher has earned himself one of the coveted Michelin stars in his "Kleine Flamme" with a creative mix of this and some ingredients from Asian cuisine: scallops with strong chili polenta, fried crabs with tea leaves, duck breast and rack of lamb he conjures up in his show kitchen. He grows all the herbs and spices himself in the courtyard of his gourmet temple.
The landlord high up at the Flecknerhutte doesn’t have much in common with Burkhard Bacher’s star cuisine. But the love of regional products is common to both: At Roland Pixner the bacon comes from the local farm. Bread, butter and cheese are of course homemade and the milk is guaranteed fresh from the udder. House guests are even allowed to milk the cow themselves – assuming reasonably steady hands after a fast-paced day of skiing and wild snowmobile rides.
-> Tips and information for South Tyrol
Arrival: By car via the old Brenner road or the (toll) Brenner freeway onto the Italian A22 until the Sterzing exit. From the outskirts of the town, a cable car takes you directly to the Rosskopf ski area. Also from the exit Sterzing the state road 44 leads to Ratschings. The region is also easy to reach by train via Sterzing train station.
Travel season: In the ski area Ladurns the lifts are open from mid-December to mid-April. In the skiing areas Ratschings-Jaufen and Rosskopf the lifts open already earlier. From the beginning of December, ski guests can ski up the mountain here.
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