Brixen, Maransen, Vals: The Dolomites Await

Brixen, a bit on the quiet side, is ideal for beginners and intermediates, though advanced skiers will find off-piste fun and a few black runs within the boundaries. There are 10 lifts and 35 slopes in the Plose region above the town, reached via a six-passenger gondola.

You'll find Brixen in the Val d'Isarco in the Alto Adige region of Italy, just south of Austria. Some think the relatively quiet atmosphere is what makes the 1,000-year-old village charming.

The resort itself is a mixture of Italy and Austria, but the majority of the locals speak German. That's despite the fact the village has been part of Italy since the end of WWI. Nightlife is fairly limited with just a few bars, but you'll find a number of good restaurants even if you probably won't dance the night away here.

Meransen is livelier with a typical South Tyrolean feel. Skiing on the bald Gitsch mountain with long, wide, obstacle free runs, is perfect for fast arcing turns. There are 10 lifts and the longest run is 10 km

Vals is welcoming for families and to those who take their eating as seriously as their skiing. South Tyrolean gourmet dishes are the lure. Vals is an independent ski resort, and is not on the Dolomiti Superski Pass.

Beginning snowboarders will progress quickly, as there is learning terrain and an excellent snowboarding school here. Natural hits form at the edge of the trails for those more advanced boarders looking for excitement. There are eight lifts and the longest run is just over six km

Check out the multi-area Dolomiti Ski Pass for saving some dollars and be sure and take in Val Gardena, too.

The closest international air service is in Innsbruck, about 80 km away.

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