The Best Place to Ski With Kids - Ortisei Sankt Ulrich

I’ll tell you the secret – I love skiing. This is my favorite sport – I love it as much as running. Anyway, we have a family tradition of spending each year, one full week for skiing with kids. That’s why, today I’m going to tell you what is the best place to ski with kids in Europe.

While I’m writing this article, I’m 2 weeks ahead of our ski holidays. This time we are going to visit Val di Zoldo – Mount Civetta region. I will write a full review from this trip just after coming back, but now I’d like to introduce you to the place which we’ve been visiting for the last 4 years. It’s Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich), the Val Gardena ski region in Italy. Looking at the photos from our stay there I’ve decided to write a little bit about this place as, in my opinion, this is the best place to ski with kids in Europe.

Why the Dolomites? Because of the sun. We’ve come for the first time for skiing to Italy in 2015. And that was a discovery. Before we were focused on Austria. It was also ok, but more cloudy and the weather was not so good.

Destination: Ortisei / Sankt Ulrich

How did we get to Ortisei for the first time? Well, In January 2015 we were skiing in Nassfeld where we did not hit the good weather so the stay was just so so. After we came back, our friends noticed that we were not satisfied with the stay in Nassfeld and they proposed us to go together in March to Italy to the place called Ortisei.

Since then, we were there 4 times and we plan to go there again in future.

Ortisei is a small town in Southern Tyrol in Dolomites Mountains. You can get there easily by car through Brenner Pass.

Accomodation

So far we had accommodation in two locations in Ortisei – both worth recommending.

Apartments Thaler

In 2015 and 2016 we were guests of the Family Thaler in Apartments Thaler. It is a really good location, close to the Alpe di Siusi Ski Lift. We were going there on foot as it was just 800m – max 15 minutes of walk:

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Apartments Thaler
The distance from Apartments Thaler to the Alpe di Siusi Ski Lift (source: Google Maps)
Click the picture to enlarge

but if you will get tired of walking, you can use the ski bus to get to the ski lift. The bus stop is 100 meters far from the Apartments.

We booked apartments for 4 persons with kitchen. Rooms were spacious and well equipped. If you are going to pick Apartments Thaler as the accommodation for your stay, then ask for Apartment D – it’s located on top of the building. One of the biggest and with a really positive atmosphere 🙂 We loved this one!

Garni Evelyn

In 2017 and 2018 we spend our winter holidays in Garni Evelyn run by Family Kostner. Really nice, tidy and well-equipped accommodation. The best thing in Garni Evelyn is that it’s really close to the Ski Lifts and you can get there by foot or by ski using the slope:

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Garni Evelyn
The distance from Garni Evelyn to the Alpe di Siusi Ski Lift (source: Google Maps)
Click the picture to enlarge

We stayed first in Apartment Ondina and one year later in Apartment Vivena. Our parents stayed in Apartment Miraval – notice, that this one is not located in the building of Garni Evelyn but 100 meters down in the separate building – the advantage is that it’s closer to the Alpe di Siusi lift and has a lift in the building to the apartment. But if you consider staying with your family in Garni Evelyn, pick Vivena Apartment – it’s awesome 🙂

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Garni Evelyn
View from Apartment Vivena in Garni Evelyn

If you want to know more about other accommodation possibilities, use below link to booking.com to search the best rated accommodation in Ortisei:

The City

As I wrote above, Ortisei is located in Val Gardena in the Dolomites. It has around 4 500 habitats and is a really pretty small town, especially in the evening.

Like all towns in this area, Ortisei has two names in use – Ortisei is Italian name but people use also Sankt Ulrich. This is mainly due to history and close distance of the border with Austria and Germany. You can easily communicate there in German and English. What surprised me is that people I’ve met preferred to communicate in German rather than Italian.

Just to give you an impression of this small town, I’ve collected a few photos taken in different places in the town.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Ortisei (7)
View from the bridge leading to the Alpe di Siusi Ski Lift

During the day:

In the evening you will easily find great places to eat and drink. I can recommend Mauriz Keller – they have great pizza and some good local food. Just after you can take a walk through the town. Ortisei has a beautiful market square and plenty of shops with gifts, souvenirs, and local food – it’s a great place for foodies.

Kids just loved the toy store:

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Ortisei (4)
Kids staring at the toy store exposition

In the Restaurant Rotisserie, we had a really great dinner celebrating a family anniversary:

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Rotisserie
Restaurant Rotisseire

Ski School

Looking at the title of this post you could guess that I will tell you some more about skiing with kids. I consider Ortisei as one of the best places to ski with kids mainly because of Alpe di Siusi. This large plateau is perfect to start the adventure with skis.

The slopes are ideal for the beginners and even advanced skiers will not get bored. This is the place where your kids can start learning how to ski. It can be done with your supervision or you can sign your child to the ski school.

This is how we did with our (at that time) 4 years old daughter. We decided to sign her to Ski School Saslong. The only problem was that, at that time, she was speaking only Polish… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, imagine that it was not a problem. Teachers told us that language is not a limitation. They just asked us a few basic words in Polish like “I want to the bathroom”, “I want to drink”, “I’m tired” and a few more. And you know what? It worked. Only once the teacher couldn’t understand why she is crying so he called us. Our daughter told us that she lost her ski stick, she knows where it is but the teacher does not understand her… then we quickly explained to the teacher what’s going on and she was happy again. Our daughter’s teacher name was Thomas – greetings to you Thomas!

Ski Pass for Kids and Teenagers

Children from 3 to 8 years old are considered in the “bambino” category and they get the ski pass for free if an adult relative will buy the regular ski pass. It means that you need to come with kid’s document, they will scan the photo of the kid and you will get a free ski pass for your child.

Next discounted age category is Junior. This is for kids from 8 to 16 years old. The price for 6 days ski pass for Juniors is reduced by 30%.

Alpe di Siusi is a part of Val Gardena ski region. If you buy the Dolomiti Superski ski pass you are entitled to use lifts in other ski locations – for example you can go and try Sella Ronda which is nearby Ortisei.

You can check all the prices for current season under this link.

Alpe di Siusi / Seiser Alm

As I wrote above, Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German) makes Ortisei the best place to ski with kids. This beautiful plateau is located close to the Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto mountains. The views are breathtaking – you can see some on the below photos.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Mont Seuc
The view on the Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto mountains
Best Place to Ski With Kids - Mount Seuc
Just after arrival to Seiser Alm you see this

Alpe di Siusi has 60 kilometers of slopes with 21 lifts. The tracks are mainly for beginners and casual skiers, so perfect for families with kids.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Seiser Alm Ski Map
Ski map for Alpe di Siusi
(click to enlarge)
Best Place to Ski With Kids - Val Gardena Ronda Ski Map
Ski map of Val Gardena Ronda
(click to enlarge)

Some more general ski map you can find under this link. And now I’d like to share with you the beauty of Alpe di Siusi slopes on a few photos which I took during these 4 years of visiting Seiser Alm.

On the Steger Dellai ski lift

As you can see above, the slopes are properly prepared and together with perfect weather the impression is awesome.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Goldknopf
On the way to Goldknopf

Even if there is not a lot of snow fall, slopes are artificially snowed. Below photos were taken in March.

Beautiful view on Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto
Best Place to Ski With Kids - way to Paradiso
Go pinky, go!

I love the weather in Italy – when the sun appears, you can stop, rest, drink a glass of Prosecco, kids can have a hot chocolate. The weather is the reason why I prefer Italy to Austria.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Puflatsch
Sun bathing at the top of Puflatsch

Gostner Schwaige

You will find a lot of great Mountain Huts in Alpe di Siusi, but one is very special – it’s Gostner Schwaige. It’s unique as they serve self-made local dishes with self-picked flowers and herbs. The atmosphere there is perfect. Worm and cozy.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Gostner Schwaige

If you will ever visit Alpe di Siusi, you have to try “Kaiserschmarren” in Gostner Schwaige. It’s the best one I’ve ever had, prepared from high-quality, self-made ingredients. We also had great Ravioli and Bomboloni there (check below).

What is also very special in Gostner Schwaige that you can have evening dinner in this mountain hut. It was incredible experience – we got there by horse with sleighs. Kids were extremely excited. Just imagine – middle of the night, a lot of snow, mountains and horse with sledge bringing us to the mountain hut for a dinner. Just after arrival we were welcome by the campfire and the owner – Mr. Franz Mulser (greets!).

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Gostner Schwaige - night dinner
Campfire at Gostner Schwaige

Sella Ronda

If you will buy the Dolomiti Superski ski pass you can go for the Sella Ronda tour. It’s worth to do it when the weather is good. The tracks are not difficult but we decide not to take kids with us – we left them with our grandparents in Alpe di Siusi. As we later found out, this was a good decision. Sella Ronda was very crowded and as we learned later it’s normal, especially on sunny days in the season.

Sella Ronda is the biggest ski carousel in Europe. It’s the set of ski tracks around The Gruppo del Sella Massif. Sella Ronda enables you to ski through the four most famous Dolomiti passes in one day: Passo Pordoi, Passo Campolongo, Passo Gardena, and Passo Sella.

The total distance of Sella Ronda slopes is 60 kilometers. To go through it you can pick one of the two directions:

  • Orange track – clockwise direction
  • Green track – counter clockwise direction

You should be able to go through each in 2- 2,5 hours easily.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Sella Ronda Ski Map
The ski map of Sella Ronda
(click to enlarge)

It can take longer if you will decide to take the cable car to the Sass Pordoi at 2950m – the highest peak of Sella Gruppo. The return ticket to get there was 19 EUR. Is it worth? Yes, if the weather is good – at least the sky has to be clear. Then you will see the breathtaking views which sample you can see in the pictures below.

Best Place to Ski With Kids - Sella group (10)
The view on Marmolada Mountain from Passo Pordoi

Is Ortisei The Best Place to Ski With Kids?

It’s time to recap. Answering the question in the heading above I must say that for me and my family, Ortisei is the best place to ski with kids. This year we will try to change something – we will try Civetta Mount, so stay tuned – I will write a full review from our stay in Civetta. But next year we will return to Ortisei and Alpe di Siusi.

Let me know your thoughts on this skiing region in comments.

Photos & featured image: Lucas

The Best Place to Ski With Kids - Pintrest
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