Skiing as sports activity in the Val Gardena is dating back to the end of the 19th century and in 1908 the first Ski Club was founded who became a charter member of the Tyrolean Ski Association. Its name was the Dolomiten Alpen Ski Club Ladinia, soon followed by the Ski Club Sella. Also in 1908 the first documented ski race is being held from the Grödner Joch/Gardena Pass down to Plan, a tiny village nestled at the end of the Valley. More races were following, not only in the Valley but all around the Dolomite Mountains.
In the thirties, races became more professional: In 1932, the Italian Ski Federation nominates the first ski instructors in the valley and the first lifts are being built: A cable car from Ortisei to the Alpe di Siusi in 1935, and two years later two different sledge cable cars of 20 persons each in Selva, one on the Ciampinoi, one on the Costabella. Also in 1937, the national ski school of Val Gardena is founded and the National Ski Championships are being held in the valley. In 1939, everything is being stopped by the eruption of World War II and after 1945 development would be slow due to the huge social and economic difficulties.
In 1948, race activity is being resumed and again National Ski Championships are being organised. Participants were also Zeno Colo, Rolando Zanni, Vittorio Chierroni, Hermann Nogler, Celina Seghi, and other champions who would become famous in the years to come. In the fifties, the economy is improving and so is the interest for tourism and winter sports. Scofone, immigrated into the valley, and Engelbert Senoner of St.Ulrich/Ortisei are again organizing international races and the idea of an Alpine Combine is born, the Coppa dei tre Comuni Ladini. in 1959, this race is classified as FIS B and it is with this award that the Gardena valley takes the road which 11 years later will bring her to the historical World Ski Championships.