Come on, let’s go!
Just let it be winter!
Two skiing mountains in the Ahrntal Valley offer lots of variety and fun on the slopes. The Speikboden (2 km from the hotel) scores points with its sporty slopes and 360-degree all around view at the Sonnklar mountain station. The Klausberg (8 km from the hotel) is great for food and stands out for its numerous routes. In short: you just have to try out both of them! For those who likes it bigger, the nearby Kronplatz in Bruneck is the right place. With 115 kilometres of slopes, it is one of the region’s largest ski resorts, which has also established itself as a centre for culture. The Kronplatz is also home to Reinhold Messner’s mountain museum Corones, about traditional alpinism and, more recently, to the Lumen Museum of Mountain Photography.
Absolutely record-setting: the toboggan run that leads from the Speikboden, the nearby skiing area, to Luttach is ten kilometres long and almost stops right in front of our hotel. Get on the ski bus or service bus, a minute walk from the Alpenblick, take the gondola to the mountain station, polish off a yeast dumpling in the mountain restaurant and then zoom by toboggan (available to hire directly from the mountain station) back down the mountain. The snow crunches and your heart will leap with joy.
Paul Gartner still remembers how he admired the Christmas crib at the Rouda as a little boy. That was at a time when many farms still built elaborate nativity landscapes. It fascinated the trained woodcarver so much that he began to collect the scenes. In 2000 he opened the Maranatha (just by the hotel) which, with 120 exhibits, is one of the largest nativity scene museums in Europe. For the smallest scene (1 cm) you might almost need a magnifying glass, whilst the largest exhibit covers an area of 70 square metres. Carved, with lace, in pot, movable and sprung from the mobile phone age: nativity scenes everywhere. A fantastic afternoon activity, and not just at Christmas.
There is certainly no lack of collector’s passion in the Pustertal Valley. The “Dolomythos” in Innichen focuses on the origins of the Dolomites. At the Mineral Museum in St. Johann there are 1000 individual exhibits, including the largest smoky quartz in South Tyrol. And in the Fire Helmet Museum in Gais you can find over 700 helmets from a wide variety of periods for little fire fighters to see. Visiting these museums is ideal when the weather makes a mess of your holiday planning.
In recent years the sheep has enjoyed a renaissance in South Tyrol. In Villnöss they swear by the tender meat of the spectacled sheep, whereas the wool is no longer just a troublesome by-product. The fact, that it keeps you nice and warm is well known, but anyone who is interested can find out what else can be done with wool in Helene’s Sheepswool Workshop in Kematen. The animal topic continues right across the street: with goat’s milk products at the Goasroscht (you simply have to try the chocolate pudding!).