We spent the last week in February in Ortisei nordic skiing. I see the last reviews of this location are really old, so I'll record a few thoughts:
We stayed at Hotel Gardena Groednerhof, which is a five star facility. While it was wonderful, there appear to be many nice choices in town - cheaper hotels, and apartments to let for a week at a time. Staying near the center of Ortisei is charming in the evenings. The groceries/delicacies choices are amazing and my wife and I wished we had a kitchen. So we may do it differently next time.
Groednerhof has very limited rental equipment. I'm a big guy (6'3", 200lbs) , and 189 Fischer touring skis, shaped or no, are not optimal. The rental shop next to the municipal pool has a slightly better selection (Salomon), but rental equipment is a bit of an issue throughout. I was surprised at how little local interest/expertise there was in Nordic generally. The Alpine skiing here totally dominates the town and hotel clientele. It is incredibly beautiful but really lame from my point of view. If you are going to "panorama ski", I think XC is the way to do it.
The ski trails in the three locations above are beautifully groomed and have just incredible scenery. I find it difficult to pick a favorite. I'll try to post some of our photos in this email.
If you go up the Gondola to the Alpe, you need to buy a round-trip Gondola AND lift ticket, taking the lift down into the valley. Then you have to pick your way (0.25 miles or so) down to the trails and you are off. Don't miss the red trail heading north up the valley, the views at the far end - a big chunk of the Sella Ronda peaks - are breathtaking. There's a wicked climb as you come back into the main part of the valley. They check your pass near the south end of the valley (where the black trails connect). Cash only, 5 euros per person. I didn't have euros handy that first day, which was awkward.
In the middle of a sunny day, you want to go to Val Lunga/Langental. The peaks are really steep on both sides of this gorgeous up-and-back trail, so it's nice to have the sun on some of the trail. The black trail is very easy - a bit of switchback descent, and it's a steady uphill on the outbound side.
Montepanna is more of a prepared race course built into the side of a hill, alongside an alpine area. It's very well-maintained, and the higher points also have gorgeous views. All the trails are pretty easy - the black has one short extra climb and descent.
In all it was a wonderful trip. Next time I think we will look for an apartment in Ortisei or St. Christina so we can buy and consume all the wonderful meats, cheeses, breads, honeys and jams that we found in town.
Photos he https://picasaweb.google.com/1148441...eat=directlink