With 1,200km of piste, the Dolomites is the largest ski area in Europe. In the heart of the ski area is the Sella Ronda, the Dolomites’ ski circuit that loops around the Sella Massif Mountain that can be skied clockwise or anti-clockwise. Kronplatz sits just north east of the Sella Ronda, and as well as being connected to this has its own local ski area that gives great variety skiing.
Kronplatz, or San Vigilio as the village is called, is nestled between Kronplatz’s two ski areas. It boasts 116km of piste and a very modern lift system mainly made up of cable cars and chair lifts – ideal for boarders looking to avoid drag lifts. A cable car also connects the two mountains conveniently going across the village. The main ski area is nicknamed the ‘Panetone’, aptly named for its unusual shape with its flat top. The area is a haven for recent beginners wanting to gain a bit more confidence on the slopes, with a large amount of wide, blue runs and fairly gentle red runs. Ski down further towards the village and you’ll also experience some pretty tree lined runs and small tracks connecting lifts and large open pistes as well as a cruisy home run taking you back into the village, directly opposite the ski bus stop.
For those looking for a challenge, ski down the other side of the ‘Panetone’ from San Vigilio and you’ll find some long black runs, famously used by the Italian world cup team to train.
An unusual feature of the Kronplatz ski area is the Perca-Percha train station that can be reached from the top of the Panetone by a long red run or heated gondola. All accommodations give guests a free regional transport pass, supported by the local tourist board, meaning you can hop on the train for free to visit the nearby ski areas of San Candido and Versciaco – two small quiet ski areas used mainly by locals, which are real hidden gems.
Being so close to the Austrian border, it is little surprise that Kronplatz takes the best of both cultures. As well as having their own language – Ladin – you’ll find the finest Austrian food meeting Italian hospitality. Mountain restaurants serve up large portions of sweet or savoury dumplings, spätzle (a soft egg noodle), schnitzel, plenty of hearty meat dishes as well as pasta dishes. Prices are very reasonable with a standard main dish costing you around €8; however, there are some small fine dining restaurants in the village if you wish to spoil yourself with regional dishes and a good choice of local wines – we love Lagrein, a quality local red wine.
The village is fairly quiet, with a small town centre made up of coffee shops and a few tourist shops and is surrounded by quality accommodations, many offering a large range of spa facilities. As well as the children’s learn to ski area in the town there is also a snow park for kids that is lined by ice sculptures.