The year for cross-country skiers starts in South Tyrol with the Val Pusteria cross-country skiing marathon in January.
The Val Pusteria cross-country skiing marathon (Pustertaler Ski-Marathon in German, Gran Fondo Val Pusteria in Italian), one of the three big cross-country ski races in the Val Pusteria valley, inaugurates the winter sports year in South Tyrol. It has been taken place at the beginning of January for more than 40 years already and leads to the most beautiful spots of the Upper Val Pusteria. The 62 km Classic race is held between the villages of Sesto and Villabassa (Sesto - Dobbiaco - Three Peaks View - Nordic Arena - Villabassa main square).
Furthermore there’s the 42 km Classic race between Sesto and the Prato Piazza high plateau. This marathon distance overcomes 1,300 m of altitude difference and a 7 km long ascent with an average gradient of 10%. Only a limited number of athletes is allowed. The Val Pusteria cross-country skiing marathon is completed by the “Puschtra Mini” for kids and young people, a night sprint in the Nordic Arena Dobbiaco. Following the cancellation of the event in 2019, it will take place again in 2020, organised by the municipalities of Sesto, San Candido, Dobbiaco and Villabassa (Braies is no longer part).