​Chasing the Sun – from Scandinavia to Italy

Posted by Garrott Kuzzy, Lumi Experiences on Jun 20th 2024

​Chasing the Sun – from Scandinavia to Italy

Scandinavians are celebrating a big international holiday this week: the longest day of the year. The long, dark winters up north make this summertime celebration of light a particularly cherished tradition. Depending on the Nordic country, maypole raising and dancing typically kick off the festivities, which continue outside into the evening with big bonfires to keep evil spirits at bay under an essentially never-setting sun, so-called “white nights.” It’s Midsummer: what Europeans in more temperate, northern places like Finland and Norway celebrate in lieu of the Summer Solstice.

Lumi’s Head of Operations Lauren Honican just landed in Denmark in time for their Midsummer celebration, Sankt Hans Aften. I can’t wait to hear more, after just returning from the White Nights in Estonia and Finland – when the sun sets so late and rises so early that it never truly gets dark but stays dusky. It’s no surprise that Scandinavians make the most of the sunshine this time of year too, with many soaking it up outdoors at their rural cottages in the countryside.

However, during the winter, when the daylight hours are at their darkest in December and January, can you guess where Scandinavian sunseekers go to cross-country ski? Seiser Alm, Italy!

Seiser Alm has been one of my favorite places to ski since we brought our first group of Lumi guests there in 2018. It’s one of Jessie’s “favorite places to ski on earth” too, which she has nicknamed Seiser Awesome. And no wonder… Skiing Seiser Alm in winter, especially January, you get to experience the best of this high elevation plateau – known for its skiing (both alpine and cross-country), hiking, biking and climbing – with fewer crowds and still lots of sunshine. The high plateau is accessible primarily by gondola, so when the gondola closes late in the afternoon, the skiers staying in the small ski village at the top of the plateau pretty much have the paradise (and incredible sunset!) to themselves.

Lumi guests on the 2025 Seefeld & Seiser Alm trip will zip up to the Seiser Alm plateau just two weeks after the winter solstice. At this time of year, the sun rises on the plateau around 8:00 am and sets by 5:00 pm. As it turns out, skiing Seiser Alm at sunrise and sunset is one of my all-time favorites. In January, you don’t need to wake up too early to catch the sun’s rays rising over the mountains. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then hit the trails right out your door. You can spend the day on skinny skis exploring the 80+ km of plateau trails, traversing the rolling terrain with panoramic views of the Dolomites until lunch.

Skiers from places like Norway and Sweden flock here during winter because the plateau is known for having sunny skies around 300 days a year. Additionally, at around 6,000 feet of elevation, the snow certainly in Seiser Alm is some of the best in Europe, and the skiing is excellent with daily grooming all the way into April.

For lunch, we like to treat Lumi guests who visit Seiser Alm to a special trailside meal. Since I met Franz’ dad on the gondola three or so years ago, we’ve been taking guests to our favorite hut in Seiser Alm. At lunch, Franz will give you a taste of what Seiser Alm is like during the warmer parts of the year (like around the Solstice) when the ski slopes are no longer covered in snow, but are green and vibrant with wildflowers. A delicious soup served in a freshly baked bread bowl is garnished with edible flowers harvested and preserved from the surrounding summer meadows. The bite-size wedges decorating the cheese board are made with milk from his cows that graze the pastures in summer.

After a late lunch, you will likely catch the sun setting against the surrounding spires as you clip into your skis for the last few kilometers back to your hotel where a relaxing sauna or swim await you before dinner. Already excited to know what tomorrow holds? The hotel’s restaurant looks out over the iconic Schlern Dolomite formation and you can see the lights of the Pisten Bully grooming the trails for perfect tracks tomorrow.

Still, words can’t capture the experience of wintertime sunrise and sunset skiing in Seiser Alm. Photos can help, but the best way to understand is to experience it for yourself.

If these long summer days have you dreaming about snow, we still have a few spaces available on our Seefeld & Seiser Alm group trip. Do you want to soak up some sunshine on skis in Seiser Alm, Italy this winter?

While many Lumi trips include the opportunity to ski a Worldloppet ski marathon, this trip is focused on simply skiing and discovering the local trails and culture with the support of local trip leaders, daily ski waxing, relaxed transportation and excellent lodging. Reach out soon while there is still space available: info@lumiexperiences.com

See you on the trail,

Garrott Kuzzy