If your group are most concerned with the après side of things, you’ll find Selva and Ortisei are larger and livelier than St Cristina. If you all prefer to settle down in a corner and have a rather more tranquil drink, St Cristina is the place for you (you’ll ski past Baita Daniel and Baita Cuca if you’re on the Seceda side though and these make a livelier chill-out at zone). Things can get a bit raucous over at Hotel Piz Seteur near Selva, with music and the famous GoGo girls. For a more sophisticated post-run-of-the-day drink there’s Yello’s Music Lounge Bar. It is not unusual to see a group or two taking the party to the early hours of the morning, Piz 5 in St Cristina, Dali-Disco Dance and the Heustadl in Selva and Igloo or Vinoteque La Cercia in Ortisei should be more than welcoming.
Ski routes can be planned in accordance with group ability. For beginners, the nursery slopes are quite well-placed in St Cristina and Selva so more advanced members can continue up the mountain after the morning drop-off. For a real day trip, the Sella Ronda takes an average of 6 hours to complete. Lots of people tend to hare round and miss out on the more idyllic divergences such as the Edelweiss valley or the Hidden Valley at Lagazuoi – well worth stopping off to explore.
Non-skiers have lots of options waiting to fill the day. With the shopping in Ortisei, culture in St Cristina and liveliness of Selva you’ll probably want to explore all three and the bus system will easily sort you out for this. Ortisei’s Museum de Gherdëina has exhibited some amazing gothic artwork in the past whilst St Cristina showcases the traditional wood carving trade rather well. It also has a sweet little church or two and the option to walk up to the Castel Gardena. You can mooch along the old railway line from the village; it’s signposted with descriptions down its route. For a more active day, there’s ice skating in the sports centres, horse-riding at Monte Pana, snowshoeing excursions and an indoor tennis centre.
Whether it’s the cheap and cheerful or a lot of luxury that you’re after, there are some superb hotels and chalets across the Val Gardena valley. Getting a chalet for sole occupancy means you can all have the property to yourselves, making the whole week a lot more relaxing. Hotels are great for the use of the facilities – swimming pools are perfect for keeping kids happy in the evenings and while one adult draws the short straw to supervise, the others can head off to the wellness facilities. In both accommodation types, you can all sit together at mealtimes, have a good old chat and enjoy the ambience of the food and service.