Skiing lovers are lucky when they come to Italy. In the Alps and the Dolomites, the winter sports are protagonists. As soon as the cold season begins, I can’t help dreaming of slopes and woods and snow. This passion started many years ago when I first visited South Tyrol, which is definitely my favourite Italian region. I’ve already written about its many beauties and great cuisine, and I will never get tired of spending my holidays there.
Although I’m not a skier, I like to watch skiing races and for sure I like winter sports. I can almost feel the thrill of being on top of a snow-covered mountain. The distinctive smell of ice. A perfectly clean blue sky and the icy wind. The effort that walking uphill requires. Finally, the satisfaction of reaching the top. Breathe in, breathe out. To me, few things are more pleasant than walking in the mountains. And I can only imagine what skiing must feel like.
Many are the places where you can go skiing or snowboarding during the winter in South Tyrol, or Südtirol in the local language. Today we’ll travel to Brixen and take the curvy road that leads to St. Andrä. The view over the surrounding mountains is breathtaking, especially when the sky is painted blue, that topaz blue that can be only seen in the Alps. St. Andrä is a very small village nestled around the church with its pointed bell tower. A gondola lift will take us up to the winter sports resort, at a top elevation of 2.505 m.
Skiing, nature and beauty
Skiing lovers will enjoy the beautiful slopes, whereas those who do not ski can walk in the snow and reach one of the best vantage points ever. It takes only ten minutes or so to get there, but the path goes rather uphill, so it’s a good exercise. The smell of the snow and the pine tree, the utter silence, the majestic mountains – this is nature with its sheer beauty.
A solitary bench in the snow
And then we get to the vantage point, where there are no trees, only snow. On one side, the Dolomites with their uneven peaks, forming a crown against the sky. On the other side, the Alps, imposing and never-changing, the ancient guardians of this world. In the snow there’s a bench, where the lonely traveller can sit and watch the rocky giants. This place is so far from the city and its frenzy pace. Two worlds, two lifestyles. I cannot help thinking that the mountains are real, strong, they cannot be crushed. But cities are frail, artificial, transitory.
Read also: The Beauty of Italian Mountain Lakes
La Finestra, a delicious café on top of the mountain
The winter sports resort includes a restaurant where every skier, trekker and visitor stops before going back down. Not only it has a spectacular view on the mountains, but here you can order the best cakes in the area. Sacher Torte, buckwheat cake, chocolate and zucchini cake, ricotta cheese cake, apple strudel… should I continue? You’ll just want to try everything, I promise.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, then go for canederli, scrambled eggs or soups, but I strongly recommend ordering a slice of cake. Chocolate and zucchini sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it?!
WHERE TO STAY IN BRIXEN
As regards accomodation, I suggest booking a room in one of the many hotels in Brixen, so as not to be isolated. It’s nice to take a walk or go shopping in the lovely historical center and have dinner in a good restaurant like Traubenwirt, which is also a hotel.
I recommend Residence Isarcus, less expensive than a hotel but warm and cozy. It’s like having a second home, and personally I like buying local products and cooking, after a long day outdoor. But there are options for those who want to be closer to the winter sports resort, and you can find a list here. You will be given the so-called Brixen Card, which gives you free access to museum, trains, buses, and cable cars.