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PlanetSKI Takes on The Legendary 8

It’s a new route through the Dolomitisuperski area in Italy in the Val Gardena section. We’ve skied the area’s Sella Ronda many a time, but not the ‘Legendary 8’. Time to put that right and assess its legendary credentials.

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We had an early start as I was told it is entirely possible in a day, but was advised ‘you will have to bring your energy with you James’.

It is basically 8 great on-piste runs, now grouped under a slogan called the ‘Legendary 8’.

The omens were good when I opened the curtains as dawn broke.

Some views from hotel rooms in ski resorts are better than others.

Val Gardena, Dolomites. Image © PlanetSKI

Val Gardena, Dolomites. Image © PlanetSKI

At 8.30AM we headed to the Monte Pana lift.

It was one the first lifts constructed in the valley, and an historic 2-person lift was a great way to start.

I was being shown the route by a local lady, Christina Demetz from the Val Gardena tourist office.

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

First of the so-called ‘Legendary 8’ we hit was Bravo.

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Wow!

The 8 slopes:

1. ‘Saslong’: the legendary slope 
The slope of the yearly FIS Ski World Cup Men’s speed races.

2. ‘Cir’: the women’s slope
The slope was the stage of the 1970 Women’s Downhill race.

3. ‘Ciampinoi no. 3’: the technique slope
One of the most technical slopes of the Dolomites.

4. ‘Bravo’: the romantic slope
The Giant Slalom Reserve slope is located in the Monte Pana skiing area.

5. ’Falk’: the first slope
Falk slope, in the Plan de Gralba skiing area, started attracting skiers at the end of the 1940s.

6. ‘Gardenissima’: the sensational slope
This downhill is the stage of the Gardenissima ski race, the longest Giant Slalom in the world.

7. ‘La Longia’: the longest slope
One of the longest slopes in the Dolomites, that starts ends in the Val d’Anna in Ortisei.

8. ‘La Pilat’: the new slope
The former off-piste downhill stretching across a rocky forest from the Seiser Alm to Ortisei.

Of course you don’t have to do them all in one go – you can spread them over the course of a holiday.

I was only passing through Val Gardena for a day on my way to Obergurgl and other resorts in the Tirol in Austria.

I had little choice as I wanted to see and ski them all.The Legendary 8, Val Gardena.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena.

The route of the ‘Legendary 8’ took us through all manner of fabulous and picturesque villages.

There was a bit of walking to be done, but that was all part of the experience.

And it was great skiing through the villages.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

And the canyons/gorges.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Occasionally we had some mechanical assistance crossing the villages to access the 8 different slopes.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

We ticked a few of the 8 off in double quick time.

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Start: Ortisei-Seiser Alm gondola mountain station (46.557927, 11.664742)
Finish: Ortisei- Seiser Alm gondola valley station (46.572851, 11.670870)
Length 4,703 m, HM 778 m, average/max incline 16/60%

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Start: Dantercepies gondola mountain station (46.553995, 11.799508)
Finish: Val/ Vallunga chairlift valley station (46.561879, 11.770689)
Length: 2,750 m, HM: 675 m, average incline: 27.76%

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Start: Sassolungo cable car mountain station (46.522850, 11.760756)
Finish: Sassolungo cable car valley station/Plan de Gralba (46.532535, 11.771325)
Length 2,050 m, HM 316 m, average incline: 25%

Now, I said earlier in a video: Christina can ski.

For some reason a quote from the late/great drummer of the Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, sprang to mind several times across the day.

“I have spent my entire musical career just seeing the back of Mick gyrating about in front of me.”

I knew what he meant.

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

That’s Christina in the distance with the green fluorescent back to her jacket.

I sometimes got close, but not often.

All I ever saw was her back.

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legandary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

On the lift she bemoaned that her skies had the wrong wax and didn’t run fast enough.

‘Thank the Lord,’ I thought to myself.

“Do you fancy a coffee stop James?” she enquired at one point

Before I had even answered ‘that would be good’,  she had replied.

“Excellent, we need to keep going. Follow me.

Around lunchtime we stopped and I was able to take my helmet off and rest my legs.

It wasn’t for long.

My memory (apart from burning thighs) will be the utterly fabulous scenery we skied through.

Even on a slightly overcast day the Dolomites remains one of the finest places in the mountains.

Feast your eyes on this view.

That’s 1km of vertical rock on the Sassolungo.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

Now if you want to find out more about the ‘Legendary 8’ then check out all the information here.

“We introduced the route three or so years ago to give good skiers a chance to stretch their legs, test their abilities and see more of our slopes here in Val Gardena,” said Christina.

“We want to show them the slopes and sights that are often missed out,” she added.

I could only agree.

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

All too soon (though not for my legs) we had completed the ‘Legendary 8’circuit.

As promised, the details:

The 8 slopes:

1. ‘Saslong’: the legendary slope
The slope of the yearly FIS Ski World Cup Men’s speed races. The sunny starting slope at Ciampinoi stretches across unencumbered land to the west until a small wall, representing the slope’s steepest part. The slope then continues to a large wall and the key point in the Alpine World Cup, the legendary ‘Camel Humps’. The slope then proceeds over the hilly Ciaslat meadows until it reaches its steep, final stretch.

Start: mountain station of the Sochers-Ciampinoi chairlift (46.543113, 11.741165)
Finish: Ruacia (46.556999, 11.730368)
Length: 3,750 m, HM: 830 m, average incline: 24.95% (the steepest gradient is 56.9%)

2. ‘Cir’: the women’s slope
The slope was the stage of the 1970 Women’s Downhill race. It starts directly below the needle-sharp towers of the Gruppo Cir and boasts a unique, scenic view. It boasts a quick succession of incline changes until the finish line in the distance all set against the breathtaking and unspoilt natural backdrop of the Vallunga.

Start: Dantercepies gondola mountain station (46.553995, 11.799508)
Finish: Val/ Vallunga chairlift valley station (46.561879, 11.770689)
Length: 2,750 m, HM: 675 m, average incline: 27.76%

3. ‘Ciampinoi no. 3’: the technique slope
The slope of the 1970 Men and Women’s Giant Slalom and one of the most technical slopes of the Dolomites. It starts at the Ciampinoi gondola mountain station on the sunny starting slope of the Saslong and continues eastwards across numerous, steep inclines through the forest to Selva Val Gardena.

Start: Ciampinoi gondola mountain station (46.538658, 11.753133)
Finish: Frëina dome Selva Val Gardena (46.552070, 11.761627)
Length: 2,380 m, HM: 677 m, average incline: 29.67%

4. ‘Bravo’: the romantic slope
The Giant Slalom Reserve slope Bravo on Mont de Sëura is located in the Monte Pana skiing area in S. Cristina. The slope winds its way over mountains and forests with constant changes in gradient, allowing it to shine for its beauty, surrounded by a unique natural scenery at the foot of the Sassolungo. A slope for nostalgic memories and incurable romantics.

Start: Mont de Sëura chairlift mountain station (46.538933, 11.726632)
Finish: Mont de Sëura chairlift valley station (46.550821, 11.715738)
Length 2.200 m, HM 400 m, average incline: 24%

5. ’Falk’: the first slope
Falk slope, in the Plan de Gralba skiing area, started attracting skiers at the end of the 1940s. It starts in Piz Seteur and wends its way across a pleasant forest stretch to Plan de Gralba with harmonious bends and turns and boasts gentle inclines, manageable for skiers of every level. Developing against a picturesque backdrop, this slope embodies freedom, fun and serenity: a great way to live that quintessential mountain experience.

Start: Sassolungo cable car mountain station (46.522850, 11.760756)
Finish: Sassolungo cable car valley station/Plan de Gralba (46.532535, 11.771325)
Length 2,050 m, HM 316 m, average incline: 25%

6. ‘Gardenissima’: the sensational slope
This downhill is the stage of the Gardenissima ski race, the longest Giant Slalom in the world, which takes place at the end of the winter season. The unique view makes it one of the most beautiful slopes in the Alps. From the spacious, sunny slopes on Seceda, it proceeds for 6 km across many small huts across the forest until the final slopes at the Col Raiser.

Start: Fermeda/Seceda chairlift mountain station (46.600527, 11.727089)
Finish: Col Raiser gondola valley station (46.565359, 11.736626)
Length 6,000 m, HM 1,033 m, average incline: 19%

7. ‘La Longia’: the longest slope
One of the longest slopes in the Dolomites, the “La Longia” starts on the spacious hills of the Sella Cuca on Seceda, coasts by rocks with an interesting geological history with wide, long bends across the forest, proceeds across a natural canyon and ends in the Val d’Anna in Ortisei.

Start: Seceda cable car mountain station (46.597817, 11.724531)
Finish: Seceda cable car valley station (46.576538, 11.675083)
Length 10,000 m, HM 1,273 m, average incline:  18%

8. ‘La Pilat’: the new slope
The former off-piste downhill stretching across a rocky forest from the Seiser Alm to Ortisei was carefully prepared and developed to become a spectacular downhill slope cutting through a forest, featuring plenty of bends and turns with unique views over the entirety of Val Gardena.

Start: Ortisei-Seiser Alm gondola mountain station (46.557927, 11.664742)
Finish: Ortisei- Seiser Alm gondola valley station (46.572851, 11.670870)
Length 4,703 m, HM 778 m, average/max incline 16/60%

Update: Reaction from PlanetSKI Facebook page:

Alison Hodge: Well done. In all my years of going to the Dolomiti superski area I’ve never heard of the ‘Legendary 8’ although it would appear I know 7 of the runs! I’ll investigate next year.
The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

The Legendary 8, Val Gardena. Image © PlanetSKI

What you need to know:

The main UK operators that offer ski holidays to Val Gardena are Crystal Ski Holidays and Inghams.

The Dolomitisuperski area is also on the IKON Resorts Pass.

It joined the lift pass group, along with Kitzbuhel, for this winter as we reported on PlanetSKI as the announcement was made:

More information about Val Gardena can be found here.

While here is the link to the full information about the Legendary 8.

© PlanetSKI

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