This award could apply equally well to a number of resorts in the Val Gardena/Sella Ronda areas of the Italian Dolomites. Selva (also known as Wolkenstein) is one of the best known and, along with Santa Cristina and Corvara, about the best placed for access to the area's intermediate piste skiing. Other possibilities are Canazei and Arabba. The Sella Ronda itself is a circular all-day tour of the massive Gruppo Sella, linking about half a dozen modest ski areas. From Santa Cristina you have access to the limitless pastures of Alpe di Siusi and the more testing area of Seceda. From Corvara you can get into the Alta Badia, which is laced with lifts and pistes.

PLUS POINTS Splendid scenery; reliable, Austrian-style accommodation; vast artificial snow installations; good nursery slopes; excellent mountain restaurants; lively apres-ski.

MINUS POINTS Modest altitudes; Selva itself not particularly charming; weather especially unpredictable, with a tendency to fog; long transfers from airports - or long drives from the Channel; busy, car-oriented villages.

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