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Dolomites Sella Ronda area - pistes recommendations

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello,

I’m currently in the Dolomites for the first time, in the Sella Ronda region, based in Colfosco.

I already read some old threads and they were very helpful for choosing my base. Now I‘ve got four days of riding left and am figuring out were to go. Maybe you’ve got some quick pistes/area recommendations for me?

1. Today was snowy and cloudy, so there was no view of the scenery. The forecast changes constantly, so not sure how many clear days I will have.
>> What‘s the most scenic area I should definitely do on a sunny day? Marmolada I guess? Or one of the valleys? What’s better for cloudy days?
>> Is the Sella Ronda worth doing on an overcast day?

2. I like long pistes. >> What’s the best area for this? Preferably pistes higher up as the snow is nicer. I know the Marmolada pistes are long, anything else?

3. I plan to do the Sella Ronda once, but on the other days I’d like to pick one of the areas like Val di Fassa, Val Gardena and Arabba and spend the day there exploring the various pistes.
>> Is this feasible time-wise? How much time would I roughly have for exploring before heading back. It’s hard to tell from the maps and the app. I’m not a very fast boarder by the way.

Any advice would be really appreciated. Many thanks!
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Can't suggest which resorts to go to as i only know Alta Badia having stayed in Colfosco in January and San Cassiano a few days ago.

Lots of people like the Lagazuoi 'hidden valley' run down to Armentarola/San Cassiano. Though you might want to check this out as think there are some flats which as a boarder are not ideal.

In Alta Badia runs 9a and 9b and no 11 down to San Cassiano are fairly long cruisy wide runs, which were really nice and offered decent fun to both me (skis) and my cousin (boarder).

Run 8 down to Corvara from Pralongia is a decent run too and red Boa from Col Alto is good fun and a decent length, just don't go late if you don't like moguls!

How the snow has firmed up a bit as i thought i was a bit soft due to the warmer weather compared to when i was there in Jan.
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Meant to say, having spent 8 days in Alta Badia this year i had 1 clear day. The rest was cloudy sadly blocking the stunning scenery.

I spoke to a few who suggested i check Arraba out as a good place to go.
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We were in arabba week before last - we did Sella Ronda pretty much every day and found the loop easy to combine with trips to ortisei and la villa and santa Croce.
We ski pretty fast but recon on doing the loop in 3.5 hours.
Marmolada is great ... Apart from the queues at the bottom. We did 2 loops top to bottom ... Look out for the tunnel on right of glacier piste which takes you back to bottom of third stage cable car ... No queue to get back to top.
Portovescovo runs are long and tough and excellent.
Runs down to la villa are long and excellent as is the long James Bond run to ortisei and the run back from ortisei seceda to Santa Christina.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Riding? If youre a boarder, avoid the Hidden Valley. You'll have a massive walk at the bottom. Also, the gorse drawn drag stops before the end of the season so check its still going
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@Sweedish, @PBJ, @cameronphillips2000,
Thanks a lot for your tips!
I will check them out for sure.

The Hidden Valley sounds and looks nice, but the flat bit and the horse tow is putting me off. I watched a video and I’d be too afraid to fall off and have to walk, surrounded by angry skiers that I took out Wink

At least sun is out today and more in the forecast.
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
Riding? If youre a boarder, avoid the Hidden Valley. You'll have a massive walk at the bottom. Also, the gorse drawn drag stops before the end of the season so check its still going


If the horse tow is not running, and I would guess this would only be if there was not enough snow on the track for the sleigh, then taxis run from the last refugio at the beginning of the flat bit. I think its called Capanna Alpina and the fare to San Cassiano is 6 euros ( that may have been for two but I can't remember precisely ). The taxis drop off right by the Piz Sorega lift.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Simony wrote:

The Hidden Valley sounds and looks nice, but the flat bit and the horse tow is putting me off. I watched a video and I’d be too afraid to fall off and have to walk, surrounded by angry skiers that I took out Wink

At least sun is out today and more in the forecast.


The Hidden Valley is very nice, combine a trip over to the Cinque Torri and back, and it makes it even more scenic and worthwhile. I wouldn't worry about the horse tow as it's pretty gentle, why not position yourself at the back of the rope just in case?

Liking the sound of the sun being out, may it last into next week when we will be there snowHead
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@CP, Thanks for your tips regarding the Hidden Valley! I‘m still not decided yet if I‘ll do it, there is so much to explore here and not enough ski days left!


@PBJ, Which one is the James Bond run you mention? Is it in the Secada area as well? On google it says red run 2, but unfortunately I can’t find it on the piste map as the one I have doesn‘t mention piste numbers but only lifts.



By the way, I did the orange Sellaronda today and I really enjoyed it! Beautiful views, lovely snow, not very busy, more time on the slopes than expected and the few flat parts were really ok for a snowboard.
I especially liked the longer reds in the Arabba area and I think somewhere after Passo Pordoi.

I ended up on the orange Sella Ronda Alternative by mistake and had to do the long black run from lift 22 down to Selva/Wolkenstein - I was worried, but it turned out to be my favourite piste of the day as it had plenty of snow on it, but no moguls and only few people.

For the record, it took me 6 hours (with the orange alternative route), including a detour up to Sass Pordoi by cable car, a lunch break and several photo stops.
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James bond run is the red run from seceda cable car top down to ortisei
Couple of nice bar restaurants on way down ... Particularly one just after the top of gondola/bottom of cable car mid station where the piste narrows
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You get to it from colfosco by skiing to Santa Christina
Take the saslong B I think from top of Val gadena ... Great run ... And ftom santa Christina the funival / gondola / chair combo to the top.
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‘I ended up on the orange Sella Ronda Alternative by mistake’ I did that too!
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@Simony, definitely Marmolada on sunny day and allow at least 10 mins for panoramic viewing platform at top.

Arabba and nearby.

Alta Badia and area around. VG long runs and often quiet.

Cinque Torri area, vg and often quiet. Combine with Hidden Valley.
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@PBJ, Sounds good, many thanks for the directions!

@what...snow, It‘s because after a while I didn‘t cross-check with the piste map, but only followed the orange signs. I didn‘t see the small-print Wink Seems I‘m not the only one. There were also a couple of other people at the top of lift 22 heavily debating about the black run, so I guess they ended up there by mistake too.

Very Happy @PeakyB, Thank you! I‘ll do Marmolada today. Very Happy
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@Simony, that’s what I did. Sella Ronda signs great through Arabba and Val di Fassa, suddenly start giving you an alternative in Val Gardena. As you say it’s some good skiing. Have you been round Badia yet? Can do a nice circuit from Corvara to La Villa, Pedraces, Pralongia, Cherz, Vallon and back to Corvara (either direction).
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Marmolada was absolutely wonderful today, lovely snow and a beautiful view!
I loved the red run (even when it was moguly after lunch) the blue part not so much because it was scraped off and wind blown.

@PeakyB,
Quote:

allow at least 10 mins for panoramic viewing platform at top.

I actually spent quite some time there and only stopped taking pictures because my fingers started to freeze. So amazing there!

@PBJ, Thanks for the tip with the tunnel! I wouldn‘t have considered going there otherwise, as the piste leading there looked as if it was uphill, whereas this is only true for the last bit.
The queues at the bottom gondola you mention were ok in the morning (at around 10.30 wait was around 10 minutes only), but got longer around lunch time (around 11.45 wait was 30 minutes). So I didn‘t want to risk longer queues lateron on another round and did the complete top-bottom only once.

By the way, are the Arei drag lifts from the bottom of the gondola back to direction Arabba ever in use? They were not running and seemed to be hibernating hanging quite high above the ground?
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@what...snow,
I did a bit of Alta Badia including the Cherz area on the first day, but might tour it a bit more. Thanks!
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@Simony, Those draglifts have been out of action for a while and a bus goes up to the chair lift for Arabba.
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@geepee, Thanks! They look really unused and I was wondering how people get back if they don’t want to do the Marmalada runs.
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
Riding? If youre a boarder, avoid the Hidden Valley. You'll have a massive walk at the bottom. Also, the gorse drawn drag stops before the end of the season so check its still going


Not much walking if you carry some speed after the ice waterfall. If the horse tow isn't going there will be taxis. If the horse tow is going boarders get to sit in the sled - in fact it's insisted upon.
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We also went wrong near the end of Sella Ronda Orange...all the way round the signs had been very clear - until (I think) the bottom of Piz Setuer/ Sole chair where the only orange sign we could see was at the bottom of the chair (with "alternative route" in small letters).

We did spy another orange sign in the distance which I assume sends you down Schaippen Sella ? (blue) to Plan De Gralba and then one easy red run back home...but by then we were at the front of the lift queue....

Visibility was worsening , and we had not skied that area before so did not realise where we were - just kept following the "alternative" sign thereafter...

Sent us up and down about another 4 chairs before the final (black run) home.

An hour later we got back !
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@sheffskibod, @Simony, yes, exactly the same reason for doing it too. For the Badia valley (as opposed to plateau) take Col Alt then Brada Fraia, 15 to Bamby, (or better 20 to Pre dai Corf if it’s sunny) red 17 to La Villa (black will mean you need to walk across a car park), 2 v short chairs across village, keep heading left to a flat chair then take 2 chairs up to just below the church. On way back do black 17 if you want. From Piz La Ila take 16a or b to La Fraina then 28 to Biok then 7 will take you back to Corvara (joins 8 at Pralongia 2). If you go up Pralongia 2 there are lots of nice blues and you can ski straight back to Corvara on 8. 34 the Pista del Sole is the famous one but 21 is also nice. I suspect the red 21b is quiet but I never got to it.
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As always hugely impressed (I suppose I am easily impressed) by posts like the above one .... after spending a week skiing the area out of Canazei I only really felt like I knew where I was in the Bellevedere bowl.. Embarassed
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@agw,
Quote:

If the horse tow is going boarders get to sit in the sled - in fact it's insisted upon.

Hehe, preferential treatment for snowboarders! Laughing I‘ll try to find out if it‘s still running.

@sheffskibod,
@what...snow,
I might send an email to the tourist office regarding the signage, not as a complaint but just a polite heads-up. I had to do the black run again today and as much as I loved it two days ago (with more fresh snow) I hated it today. I found it horrible and really wouldn’t want to end up doing it in bad visibility as @sheffskibod or with hard-pack. I wanted to do an alternative red run 4 down to Selva, but didn‘t find it and didn’t have time to go the wrong way. Same as a family I was chatting to who was also unsuccessfully looking for the same run to avoid the black. So it‘s not me being desoriented. but the signage Wink

@what...snow, thank you for the directions! Smile

@Roguevfr, yeah, me too. I just tried to reproduce which lifts and pistes I took today, but some I‘ve already forgotten Razz

@PBJ, the James Bond run is indeed nice and long! I also liked how it‘s winding through the trees.

@All, In case anyone is reading this thread in the future looking for piste information. I went to the Seiser Alm today:
It‘s a really nice and peaceful area and you have a lovely view of the Plattkofel and Schlern! It was a completely different scenery than I had on the other days. It was quiet and there were mainly families or beginner skiers. That’s because the pistes are quite easy and very flat sometimes (at least the pistes I took when approaching from St. Ulrich and making my way to the Goldknopf). Not snowboarder friendly really, I had to scate quite a bit and the skiers use their poles. Not sure why most of the pisted are rated red, I don‘t think they are. But it‘s an alpine pasture so it‘s naturally more flat than steep. The runs around Goldknopf and Florian lifts were quite nice with a decent incline and nice snow!
To get back to the Sella Ronda I took the bus from Saltria to Monte Pana, at this time of the year it goes approx. every 30 minutes. There are two busstops im Saltria, one where the bus is starting (I think it‘s close to the Floralpina lift) and the next stop at the bottom of the Florian lift. Today the bus was crammed, so if you can, take the first bus stop (you can walk over from the second one) because then you have a chance to enjoy a seat while the bus is going down the winding mountain road. The skis get chucked into the boot by the way.
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When I did the horse tow there was an option (before the long flat bit down to the horses) to get a taxi. Thankfully I opted for the horses. Hidden Valley one of the best things I’ve done. Only regret is not staying in the refugio, and/or using the sauna up there
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@Simony, We love Seiser Alm, but usually do the whole Alpe de Susi circuit, after skiing Saslonga, and James Bond run, and then get the gondola down, means we can have a meander through Ortisei, and have a beer, then get the free bus up the valley back to Selva. A great day out.
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Simony wrote:
@agw,

@All,. Not sure why most of the pisted are rated red, I don‘t think they are. But it‘s an alpine pasture so it‘s naturally more flat than steep. The runs around Goldknopf and Florian lifts were quite nice with a decent incline and nice snow!
To get back to the Sella Ronda I took the bus from Saltria to Monte Pana, at this time of the year it goes approx. every 30 minutes. .


That is a nice area and I agree a lot of the reds could be blues. Some lovely mountain huts there as well and one of the best views you can get. Lovel red run 34 off top of Florian, past Zallinger hut. One of my favourite runs though could pose a problem for boarders as its very flat going past Tirler hotel
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@moseyp, thank you. So that’s another vote for the hidden valley.
It must be nice to stay up in the mountains, still on my bucket list.

@Bartezki, sounds good too. When I walked through Ortisei to get to the gondola, it looked like a nice village.

@jimmybog, unfortunately I only had time left for one run around Florian (to catch the bus), it was nice but I don’t remember if it was the flat one, maybe not then Wink
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FYI, I found an overview of the Hidden Valley run, detailing the distances and approximate timings, taxi and horse tow stops and prices as well as numbers to call.

Nothing new though as most has already been mentioned in the posts above! Smile
But maybe still useful.

https://www.altabadia.org/media/lagazuoi-skitour-2.pdf

https://www.altabadia.org/en/winter-holidays/italian-alps/lagazuoi-circuit.html
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@Simony,
Quote:

To get back to the Sella Ronda I took the bus from Saltria to Monte Pana, at this time of the year it goes approx. every 30 minutes. There are two busstops im Saltria, one where the bus is starting (I think it‘s close to the Floralpina lift) and the next stop at the bottom of the Florian lift. Today the bus was crammed, so if you can, take the first bus stop (you can walk over from the second one) because then you have a chance to enjoy a seat while the bus is going down the winding mountain road. The skis get chucked into the boot by the way.

Many thanks for this. We took the bus yesterday and your advice was excellent, I'd just add that it is €3.50 one way (*from the ticket machine in the bus shelter at the first bus stop, or pay on boarding) as it is not covered by any lift passes or other bus tickets.

*Edited for clarity


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sun 25-03-18 9:30; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@HutToHut, True, forgot to mention it costs extra, good call. Just saw there is a return ticket for 6 EUR too.
On case anyone is interested, here is the timetable: https://www.valgardena.it/dl/stchristina/pdf/Fahrplan_MontePana_Saltria_ab19032018.pdf
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FYI, I had my last day today and decided to give the Hidden Valley a go. It was amazing! I spent the whole morning on the trip, enjoying a coffee and the views at the refugio, taking a million pictures on the way down and watching an ice-climber on the stunning ice waterfall. So thanks a lot for the recommendation! Smile

I personally found it doable for a snowboarder. I only struggled twice, once on the first long flat because I was too slow, and once at the very bottom, but mainly because there were some pedestrians in my path. As I was warned here that the piste is quite flat (thanks again for the advice!) I could watch out for these parts, let the other people pass and then pick up speed. Even though I‘m not a fast snowboarder it was pretty ok. Maybe it‘s different after a fresh dump of snow, but with today‘s snow it was fine. It would have also been worth some walking/skating anyway.

Surprisingly it didn’t take long to get there, as the queues for the taxi from Armentarola to the cable car and the cable car itself were both only a few minutes wait, maybe because it was a Saturday?

I finally decided to get a taxi back and not to try the horse tow. I didn’t get to see the horses unfortunately, but they must still be running as almost all people were heading into this direction. This is also why the taxi back to Armentarola was the only little hold-up, as it wasn’t waiting but we had to call it. If you are less than five people (like today) there is a minimum fee of 10 EUR in total, otherwise 2 EUR per person.
The drag lift back in Armentarola is a very gentle one by the way.
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Also, some people recommended various Alta Badia area valley/village runs. I explored the area today and they were all nice runs, so thanks again! As it was very sunny again today, the lower parts were very slushy/sugary/on a few spots scraped-off/icy this afternoon, so not ideal really, but still fun.

I went up to La Crusc and really loved the view of the sunlit massif. It was a very picturesque chair lift ride looking straight at it and a nice view at the top. I was running very late for the way back, so unfortunately couldn‘t go to the church and the refugio. Has anybody been there? The pistes were also nice (and the 2nd one slushy slush).

On the way back to Colfosco I found some runs in the Corvara area had quite flat parts inbetween and they were holding me up while I was running late anyway, so I only just caught Borest with two minutes to spare. I think it were e.g. runs 18 and 5, but not sure. I‘ll plan more time next time.

@All,
Thanks again for all your advice, it was very helpful! Very Happy Unfortunately I‘ll go home tomorrow, even though there is so much more to explore. To all who are there now, enjoy your holidays!
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Very Happy Cool Glad you liked it, I thought it was a great area too!
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Is it just me but I find the use of numbers to describe pistes a bit difficult to follow. I find it easier to picture a run when it has a name rather than a number.

It reminds me of the joke about a man caught out in a storm in the mountains one winter who finds refuge in a remote monestry. during the dinner he hears one monk say 27 and all the other monks gently laugh. Another say 125 and a muffled titter runs around the room. A third says 86 and all the monks smile and gently laugh.

After a while the man ask the monk next to him why the monks laugh when someone says a number. The monk explains that since they have all been in the monestry for years and all like telling jokes they have given every joke a number to make the telling of them quicker and the enjoyment more intense. This makes the man think and after a while says 269. The whole room erupts in laughter. Monks are seen in tears with laughter. Monks are rolling on the floor clutching their sides. One monk even wets himself.

After a full 5 minutes when order has restored the man asks his friendly monk what was so good about the joke.

The monk replies "they haven't heard that one before."

Sorry about that old joke but having just got back from the Dolomites after a fantastic week of skiing on billard table smooth pistes I cannot actually remember a single one. They all seemed just about the same to me - cruising on wide easy pistes in fantastic scenery.
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Wasn't that impressed with the rifugio near the La crusc church, thought the one's half way down were far better. Though it's still worth a visit to the church and maybe a drink at the rifugio, just for the spectacular setting.

Blue 18 down from Piz la Illa, I cant think of any flat part on this run? Unless maybe the very initial part from the top maybe, before the turn off for the Bamby red run 16A?

Run 5 is a red and blue down from Arlara. Again maybe the initial section from below Arlara restaurant is perhaps quite flat. Cant think any part of the remaining run is flat anywhere? Being a skier, i don't tend to appreciate the difficulty boarders have on some slopes. Blue run 6 in this area would be a killer for a boarder. It's bad on skis with too much poling involved. A boarder would really struggle.

As for run names rather than numbers. Would be difficult in Alta badia as I dont think the run name is listed on the piste map. Only shows the numbers I believe?

And thanks for your reports everyone.
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@johnE, I didn‘t know the monk joke yet Very Happy

Regarding the pistes being numbered, I also find it easier to remember names instead of numbers. Or at least I would recognize the name when I read it.
Although I only remember the names when I either really loved the piste or really hated it. Wink Otherwise I’ll just remember that the pistes in a certain area were nice, but not the details.


@jimmybog, thanks, next time I’ll head over to the church at least.

Run 18 I meant the part at the beginning. And maybe it wasn’t run 5 then, but run 6, hmm? Not good at remembering Wink
Whatever piste number, as a boarder I’d just plan a little bit more time for the way back just in case.

I found the piste maps a bit confusing sometimes. The Alta Badia map has piste numbers on it, so that was ok. But the Val Gardena map doesn’t even state piste numbers, just lift names, so I found it difficult to navigate.
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Simony wrote:


@jimmybog, thanks, next time I’ll head over to the church at least.

I found the piste maps a bit confusing sometimes. The Alta Badia map has piste numbers on it, so that was ok. But the Val Gardena map doesn’t even state piste numbers, just lift names, so I found it difficult to navigate.


Agree about the confusion on piste maps. RE the Alta badia one, I initially found confusing as to what the map showed in relation to the pistes, lifts and rifugos. The area around L'Tabla and La brancia rifugios is a bit confusing as the map doesn't make it obvious that you can access some of the slopes from the top of Roby and La Brancia lifts. It almost looks like you cant access slopes 6 and 20 from here. Also on the map, its not initially obvious which way the blue slope goes between top of Pralongia chair and botom of incisa drag. I find the 3D map of this area far better to see exact locations of rifugios and where the lifts are located in relation to the slopes.
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@jimmybog, Now that you mention it, I also once didn‘t find a lift, as I thought the piste would go the other way round. Can‘t remember which one though.

Indeed, the 3D map and the app is a nice idea. For exploring the different Sellaronda areas the routing function was quite useful to get an idea which lifts to take and how much time to plan for the lift rides. But I only used it for a rough planning, on the slopes only when I was really lost. I‘d be afraid to use up my battery and still prefer old school paper maps.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
If you are planning to return or visit regularly , I can highly recommend one of these...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/8883150953/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1&tag=amz07b-21
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