Lana: enjoy the magic of winter

Lana: enjoy the magic of winter

Lana and the entire region never get boring – not even in winter. Numerous outdoor activities, culinary delights and Christmas highlights make winter a truly special time of the year, not only for the little ones.

Once it starts snowing, it seems as if time stands still. Life in the villages at the foot of the snow-covered mountains seems to slow down and grow a little quieter than during the other seasons of the year. Especially in winter there are so many fun activities to do outdoors: skiing, tobogganing, snow shoe tours or ice-skating – Lana and the entire region offer great winter hiking trails, toboggan runs and ski slopes to suit all ages and abilities. Every winter, Lana’s romantic Gaul canyon is turned into an ice-skating rink lined by majestic cliffs. The Gaul rink and the Schwarze Lacke (black lake) on the San Vigilio/Vigiljoch mountain are the perfect place to try playing some ice stock, one of the most traditional winter sports in the Alpine region which is somewhat similar to curling. After some outdoor fun, you shouldn’t miss the amazing Christmas markets held in Lana and throughout the region, and make sure to enjoy some hot tea, mulled wine and traditional local culinary delights.
Take a stroll in the snow
Snow shoe tours and winter hiking are the perfect activities to recharge your batteries while spending some great time out in nature. The rustic Ultental valley and Vigiljoch, a car-free hiking zone, are the places to be: Numerous hiking trails cross the countryside and offer a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. A cable car takes you up Lana’s local mountain (1,500 metres / 4,900 ft a.s.l.) within minutes, where you will find a large number of paths and trails out in the spruce forests and along the many clearings. You can rent snow shoes at the valley station.

The Ultental valley has a lot of great tours on offer, too: The area next to the Steinrast mountain hut and the Schwemmalm skiing resort is especially popular. Make sure you don’t miss out on the regular guided tours taking place there. You can rent some snow shoes either at the Steinrast hut or at the San Nicolò/St. Nikolaus ski rental service. Other amazing snow shoe routes to check out can be found at Alta Val di Non, at Palade pass, near the Laugenalm and around the Felixer Weiher pond, which is frozen over in winter and a truly idyllic place to visit.
Sport highlights
Snowshoe Hiking
Snowshoe Hiking
Snowshoeing at all difficulty levels in Lana
Sledding in Lana and Environs
Sledding in Lana and Environs
Breath-taking descents with the family
Skating and Curling in Lana and Environs
Skating and Curling in Lana and Environs
Skating in the heart of Monte San Vigilio
Fun for all – downhill skiing, tobogganing and cross-country skiing
Lana is just a short drive away from five of the most diverse skiing resorts of the Merano region, and is especially close to the nostalgic, car-free Vigiljoch ski resort: a place where winter is at its most original, with fun-filled snowball fights and tobogganing on a two-kilometre run through light larch woods. The small Vigiljoch family ski resort with its gentle slopes and a total of five kilometres of pistes makes for some easy skiing for kids, beginners and leisure skiers. The race slope and toboggan run are open all winter (provided there is enough snow, of course), while the two ski lifts run only on weekends as well as during the Christmas season and the carnival week. Toboggans can be rented from the mountain station.

Make sure to also check out the Merano 2000 family ski resort near Lana. The high plateau located right above the spa town of Merano with some 40 kilometres of easy to medium slopes is perfect for beginners and experienced skiers alike. A cable car takes you up all the way from the town to the resort. The new snow park located at the rear of the resort is a paradise for snowboarders and freestylers to practice their stunning jumps and tricks on a variety of rails, tubes and boxes. There are also some amazing activities for experienced skiers: night-time skiing on floodlit slopes or romantic night-time descents with torches. And there is also plenty to do for the little ones at Merano 2000: experienced instructors teach them how to ski at the Luckis Kinderland kids’ ski school, and they will have great fun racing down the three-kilometre toboggan run, which sometimes opens for night-time sledding. A special highlight with lots of action and fun for the whole family: the roughly one-kilometre-long “Alpin Bob” rail toboggan run, the first of its kind in South Tyrol.

For those who love being out in nature, the Schwemmalm at the Ultental valley family ski resort is the place to be. Located 1,200 to 2,600 metres (3,900 to 8,500 ft) above sea level, the resort offers a total of 25 kilometres of pistes on a variety of slopes: wide pistes that are perfect for children, and more challenging courses for experienced skiers. The longest slope runs for five kilometres, covering a total change in elevation of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft), and is great fun for everyone. The “Bärenhöhle” (bear cave) ski kindergarden offers daycare for the little ones, while mum and dad can spend a day out on the slopes on their own. Down in the valley, idyllic trails running lead past rustic farms and all the way up to the mountain huts, inviting winter hikers to go for a tour. The village of Pracupola/Kuppelwies also has an ice rink and one of the most beautiful cross-country tracks in South Tyrol, crossing the entire valley. A cross-country equipment rental service is located right next to the trail in San Nicolò/St. Nikolaus.
Another great and sustainable place for skiing that features both family-friendly and more demanding slopes is the Pfelders resort in Passeiertal valley. The entire village is car-free and especially popular with families, because the little ones can have lots of fun out in the snow without having to watch out for traffic. Spend some cosy nights up in the mountain huts, go for some night-time skiing or a moonshine walk, take a hike on one of the scenic paths
or hire a horse sleigh for a romantic ride through the winter wonderland of the forests surrounding the Alpine village. In the village itself, you can also find a natural ice rink, a 3.5-kilometre-long toboggan run and floodlit paths for cross-country skiing that you can even use at night. And each year, near Corvara, climbers will find a huge ice tower where they can make their way up high into the sky.

The fifth ski area is the Val Senales glacier ski resort, which
features 35 diverse kilometres on the slopes at an altitude of
more than 3,200 metres (10,500 ft) and is guaranteed to have snow. While skiing down the mountain you can enjoy the impressive panorama of the Alps’ majestic peaks. The piste leading from the glacier down into the valley is eight kilometres long, and the modern cable car takes visitors back up to the mountain station in just six minutes. After a great day of skiing, you can have some fun on the toboggan run, which is more than three kilometres long, or on one of the gorgeous high-altitude cross-country trails.

Waiting for Santa – the Sterntaler Christmas market
In Lana, the weeks before Christmas are truly special. On the four weekends before Christmas and on the morning of the 24th of December, 19 nicely decorated Christmas market stalls offer a variety of seasonal products including original crafts and culinary delights, and a festive programme conveys the truly special atmosphere
of the Christmas season.
The air is filled with the flavours of mountain pine and Swiss pine, roasted chestnuts, cinnamon, cloves and oranges. Quiet music plays in the background. Visitors stroll around the market, looking at the stalls, tasting fruit-filled chocolate, savoury mountain cheese or South Tyrolean speck, a bacon variety. And there are plenty of souvenirs and Christmas presents to be found here for family and friends: products made from wool, felt, wax, glass or wood. Some great activities await the little ones, too: pony riding, a family of sheep at the Mair-Rimblhof and some crafts classes in a Christmas workshop.

Every year, the Sterntaler girl sells Sterntaler lottery tickets in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. You should definitely try your luck with some of these. There are great prizes to be won, and the Sterntaler lottery is a charity that donates some of its revenue to the “Stille Hilfe” (silent help) organisation which helps families in need – a great gesture to show support from within the community. The nearby city of Merano is home to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the entire Alpine region. It is held at the Passer Promenade and opens to the public in late November.
Christmas Market
Christmas Market
A fairytale atmosphere
Time to relax in winter – the Thermal Bath at Merano
The Terme Merano thermal bath is located right on Merano’s historic “Kurpromenade” (Spa Promenade). During the Christmas season, the Terme square is home to a small petting zoo for children and features some giant Christmas tree baubles turned into little food stalls. The thermal bath building is a quite extraordinary cube-shaped architectural structure made from glass, steel and sandstone. The thermal baths are open 365 days a year and feature 25 pools as well as an extensive sauna area – a great way to end your day both in summer after a long hike and in winter after some fun-filled activities out in the snow. The “Spa- und Vital-Center” awaits with a wide range of spa treatments to choose from: High-quality extracts of whey, honey, apples, grapes, herbs and wool help restore inner balance and will leave you totally relaxed.
The two large outdoor pools offer a stunning view of the Texel mountain group year round and are especially romantic in winter when the snowflakes start dancing through the night against the backdrop of some quiet Christmas market carols and music.
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