Belpiano - Schöneben

Belpiano - Schöneben

Overall Rating

Belpiano - Schöneben

Belpiano - Schöneben3.5/51
Belpiano - Schöneben3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Ski Tours in Europe

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     Schöneben Belpiano Ski Trail Map
  • Belpiano - Malga S.Valentino Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,465m - 2,350m (916m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    Unknown
  • Lifts (15)
    5 Gondolas
    4 Chairs

    Two Country Ski Arena - 52 lifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid December to mid-April
    8:30am to 4:15pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 65km
    Longest run - 5km
    Advanced - 10%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Beginner - 45%

    Two Country Ski Arena - 211km
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Adult - €45 to 49
    Child - €28 to 29.50
    Child u/6yr - Free

    All multi-day tickets valid in Nauders, Schöneben-Haideralm (Belpiano), Watles, Trafoi, Sulden (Solda)
     Two Country (Zwei Lander) Ski Arena Map
  • Two Country Skiarena Map
     Ortler Ski Trail Map
  • Ortler Ski Resorts Map

Belpiano - Schöneben - Reviews

Belpiano - Schöneben - Reviews

Gold Plated

16/09/2020

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

Gold Plated

16/09/2020

A ski area of two halves in German speaking South Tyrol in Italy, Belpiano - Malga S.Valentino is better known locally as Schöneben-Haideralm. Belpiano (Schoeneben) is the larger sector & rises above Resia Lake & its famous ice-covered surface pierced by the long-drowned bell tower of Curon.

We had Belpiano on our hit list after a discussion with a Swiss friend whilst reviewing the mega-resort of Laax. He suggested that on its day, Belpiano was a paradise, well-suited to a Powderhound’s proclivities. It took us 3 seasons after that conversation to finally get there. In the meantime, the resort had vastly changed, with the installation of several new lifts, including two new gondolas connecting the previously disparate areas of Belpiano (Schoeneben) & San Valentino (St Valentin).Was it worth the wait? Yes & no.

Starting a mid-week ski day at San Valentino, parked right at the lifts, three things become immediately obvious. On what should have been a powder morning in February, the place was deserted at first lifts. Given the first impression, the second is that the shiny new 10-person gondolas linking to Belpiano seem to be an unnecessary extravagance (or gold-plating when bronze would do!). But perhaps it is all about ‘future proofing’! The third impression is that the ski trail map is hugely out of scale & probably constitutes a gross misrepresentation of the resort. In short, the distance from the gondola base at Malga S.Valentino (Haideralm) to its end point in Belpiano is way longer than the map indicates (albeit in a comfortable cabin with great views of the lake toward Curon). The skiable verticals appear way longer on the map than they are in reality, and the ski trail back to the linking gondola mid-station is longer (& flatter) than the ski trail map might otherwise indicate. Snowboarders need to point it… or a walk may ensue.

Those initial quibbling impressions aside, upon exiting the Hollental gondola we found a resort with a fresh snow surface & zero people (yes, zero). A little while later, aside from sharing the first lift on the Fraitenbahn (a gold-plated 6-seater hooded express chair), with a family group, the morning was spent skiing totally alone. After 10ish, a few people emerged & by lunchtime there was a fair crowd in the mountain restaurants, but still relatively few on the slopes. A noticeably quiet ski resort indeed.

Ski terrain wise, the entire hill is all wide gentle pistes & perfect for strong beginners & all intermediates. The advanced trails are grey or ’light black’ at best. All are easy enough for intermediate skiers & boarders. Some excellent off-piste exists in the alpine heading into trees across a broad zone between the Rojen & Zwölfer chairs, however the skiable vertical is short. There are also opportunities on the skier’s right side of the Hoellental gondola for some longer (but not much!) vertical fun.

The major disappointment in the resort is that skiable verticals on-piste tend to be shortish & generally between 250-400m. The two exceptions are the valley trails to the Schoeneben & Haideralm base areas which are in 7-800m skiable vertical range. It is possible to do a full 850m vertical run from the top of the Rojen chair into the valley station at Belpiano.

Within half a day, & in deteriorating weather, we had exhausted all possibilities in Belpiano (says a bit!), so decided to head across to the Zwei Lander (2-Countries) ski resort of Nauders in Austria. A short drive of 10min from Belpiano, it requires a crossing of the easiest international mountain pass in the Alps – Reschen Pass. More like a gentle rise in a valley rather than a pass, Nauders is quickly reached & car-parking near the gondola is abundant. As we reached the lift gates, I thought (and possibly verbalised), “Well, that sucks” as I was informed my lift ticket wasn’t valid in Nauders, even though they heavily advertise their Zwei Länder SkiArena. Huh? Combining Belpiano (Schöneben) – Malga S.Valentino (Haideralm) with Nauders it seems the devil is always in the detail. With a high wind, snow & poor visibility forecast plus a questionable amount of lifts & terrain to open over the following days, we had purchased just a single day pass looking to recon both areas in preparation for more favourable conditions later in the week. Turns out that despite the Zwei Laender hype, one-day tickets bought in Belpiano are NOT valid in Nauders. Must be a common problem because the lift attendant was right on to it. That sucks… oh well.

For an Italian ski resort with all the hallmarks of an Austrian ski resort, both the mountain huts & après ski are sorely disappointing. In the three restaurants near the top of the Schoeneben gondola, lacklustre food & atmosphere pervaded them all. The interesting looking Rojen ski-hut near the bottom of the Zwolfer chair looked promising, but sadly wasn’t open. The restaurant at the Belpiano base had some great food, but a questionable atmosphere. The après ski at the San Valentin base was largely confined a smoke-choked yurt, and we hate smoke-choked anything! Thankfully, our accommodations at the Sporthotel St Michael in Burgusio made up for it with its wonderful hosts, cheery libations & extravagant half-board meals (for a bargain basement price too!). Other places worth staying in the region are within historic Glorenza (see below), or across the border in Nauders, where the fun is funner, & the town just feels more alive. They have a large M-Preis grocery market & café there too – our favourite food store when travelling the Alps. And no that is not a paid endorsement, its just an endorsement!

Even though gold-plated, Belpiano not a destination ski resort in and of itself, but the region certainly is. The Venosta valley’s gorgeous landscape, many ski areas (including the two glacier-based resorts), frozen lakes & historic villages with castles, towers, walls, abbeys & monuments provide a stellar ski holiday destination. On a down day while the lifts were shut, we wandered from the hotel through cobbled streets to an ancient castle, climbed up to, and explored, a 12th century abbey, then spent the afternoon in amazing Glorenza/Glurns. Driving in to Glorenza through the narrow town gate beneath the battlements for the first time is one of those European ski holiday experiences one is not likely to forget anytime soon. Wandering through the town on foot further reinforces why we love skiing Europe. We suggest you experience it, & a bit of skiing here too. And soon.

You can see our thoughts on the pros & cons on the Belpiano overview page and also see our European ski resort ratings regarding how we score it compared to other skiing areas.