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Once again this year, the world’s longest giant slalom, the Südtirol Gardenissima, which takes place on Saturday, April 1, will bring the 2016/17 Val Gardena skiing season to a fitting close. A favourite destination with all snow sports lovers, the famous Italian alpine valley nestles at the foot of the Dolomites and will be guaranteeing that its pistes stay open until early spring.

Mention Val Gardena and winter tourism is the first thing that springs to mind. With a network of over 500 kilometres of pistes, the valley is a real draw for snow and mountain lovers of all kinds. Skiers in particular enjoy beautifully prepared and maintained pistes surrounded by stunning vistas of the majestic Dolomites. The quality of the snow coverage and the variety of runs are such that a strategic decision was also taken to leave the ski stations open until the start of April to provide ski lovers with a very generous extension to their ski holiday opportunities.

As the days get longer and temperatures milder in April, spring will come even to the snowy peaks of the Dolomites. Despite that, however, the Val Gardena’s ski season will still stage a genuinely high-profile event to close the action for the year. Thanks to its six-kilometre run, the Südtirol Gardenissima is the longest giant slalom on the international scene. Aside from the 650 adult skiers expected on the day (entry numbers have been capped), the event will also welcome younger skiers on Sunday, April 2, to tackle the shorter but no less exciting Südtirol Gardenissima Kids route.

“It has been a fantastically rewarding ski season so far,” declared Günther Pitscheider, director of Val Gardena Marketing. “The Südtirol Gardenissima is a real end-of-season classic at this stage. It is a pivotal event in our year because it marks the end of the winter season and the arrival of spring even at these high altitudes, proving that in this particular tourist zone winter does last longer than elsewhere.”