Val Gardena is a valley in the Dolomites, in northern Italy, known as a center for mountain sports. The Sellaronda circuit is a ski route that goes through Selva di Val Gardena. The Alpine meadows and pine forests of Puez-Odle Nature Park shelter eagle owls and rock ptarmigans. In the town of Ortisei, the Museum Gherdëina has fossils illustrating the formation of the surrounding mountains, plus art and wood carvings. Val Gardena (German: Gröden]; Ladin: Gherdëina) is a valley in Northern Italy, in the Dolomites of South Tyrol. It is best known as a skiing, rock climbing, and woodcarving area. The valley's main river is the Rio Gardena. The three municipalities in Val Gardena are Ortisei, Selva, and Santa Cristina. Val Gardena is one of five valleys with a majority of Ladin speakers (two of these valleys are in South Tyrol). The form of the Ladin language spoken in this valley is called Gardenese in Italian, Grödnerisch in German and Gherdëina in Ladin.
Smaller resorts like Val Gardena offer more intimate ski terrain than their larger glamorous neighbor in the Dolomites, Cortina D'Ampezzo. One of the several adjacent valleys between the peaks known as the Gruppo del Sella, Val Gardena's 160 kilometers of trails and lifts connect with the others, forming nearly 400 kilometers of interconnected skiing. From here, you can ski the Marmolada Glacier. Although Val Gardena does have facilities for beginners and intermediate skiers - they won't be bored here - about 65 percent of the terrain reached from here is for advanced and expert skiers, one of the highest in the Dolomites. Skiers don't come to Val Gardena for the evening entertainment or to be seen; they come to ski and relax afterward in the easygoing, friendly atmosphere of the authentic Alpine villages of Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva Val Gardena. Several challenging circuits begin at any of these. One offers the chance to ski four runs used for the men's and women's downhill and giant slalom races in the 1970 World Championship, with average gradients of more than 25 percent. In 2017, Val Gardena installed Italy's first eight-seater chairlift with heated seats, on the Piz Sella, offering a direct connection to the Sellaronda route. Last year a 921-meter, six-person detachable chairlift was installed, bringing the total number of lifts to 81.