Ortisei (St. Ulrich), the jewel in the crown of Val Gardena's resorts, is a hub of activity in both summer and winter; there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and accessible ski slopes.
For centuries Ortisei has also been famous for the expertise of its wood-carvers, and there are still numerous workshops. Apart from making religious sculptures—particularly the wayside calvaries you come upon everywhere in the
Dolomites—Ortisei's carvers were long known for producing wooden dolls, horses, and other toys. As itinerant peddlers, they traveled every spring on foot with their loaded packs as far as Paris, London, and St. Petersburg. Shops in town still sell woodcrafts.
Ortisei has been a mountain-vacation destination since the 1930s. The most famous cable car in the area, the Alpe di Siusi, operates in summer and winter. The largest village in the Val Gardena, Ortisei makes a picturesque and practical base for exploring much of the Heart of the Dolomites.