Italy snow
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MangyMarmot
January 28, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Woke up in Rome yesterday to snow. I guess this means good things for the Dolomites, where I'll be in three days.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a detailed snow report for Val Gardena. The official Web site for the region valgardena.com (or something like that) seems pretty vague.
Can't wait!

BTW the sportube rocks for dragging the skis around Europe. Still kind of a pain in the ass, but much better than taking whole weight in a regular ski bag. Those little wheels make a hug difference.

Gotta go catch a train. I'll post on conditions when I get to the trails Monday or Tuesday.

mm
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 28, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
MM:

Check this this report out:

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Selva-Gardena.0to3mid.shtml#snowreport

Snow-forecast says that the resort has 40 cms on the lower slopes and 90 on the upper slopes--those are decent conditions for the Dolomites.
MangyMarmot
February 1, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Right now, I'm sitting in a little Internet room in the bar at the base of Seceda, which is the more interesting ski area attached to Ortisei.
Apres ski is just kicking in, so swarms of barrell-chested Germans are about to fill the bar to chug Weisse beer while dancing in ski boots to techno music. Quite a scene.
Conditions are pretty good. We arrived yesterday (mon) and mellowed in afternoon in village. Woke up to snow and about 4 inches of freshies
Of course, this being Italy, opening time is relative. 8:30 on the dot, I was among the first waiting for the gondola to Alpe de Siusi (the more beginner area attached to Ortisei. The girlfriend is a snowboard zygote, so don't want to push her.) Gondola opened ten minutes late. Arrived at the top to (the horror of it) see crews frantically grooming away the fresh snow ACK!!!!

Coverage is good and some virgin patches remained. We skied all morning. The layout here is kinda rough for a boarder. There's a lot of traversing to get from one moutain to another. But plenty of nice trails for the beginner-intermediate. Monte Piz is the first ridge you hit after escaping the first bottleneck and trails right by the gondola. From Monte Piz, there's a nice WIDE groomed green-to-blue that stretches down to an uncrowded 2-seater lift. Everyone seems to bypass this trail as they hustle on over to Goldknopf (?? is that gold member). We cruised this one for a while.
I don't have the detailed map with me right now, so I canät remember the names of the other lift-trails we hit. Anyhoo, the girlfriend lasted until about 1pm. Then We split up and I headed over here to Seceda (have to cross the town on foot to get to it... bummer).

But, it's way better than Alpe. U take a gondola halfway up, where I think usually you can jump into a loooong blue-red descent back down to town. I hopped the mongo funicular all the way to the top of Seceda. It's a little more than 2500 meters. I think that's roughly 7600 feet or so.

U get to the top of this hairy looking ridge and the wind was blowing like a b"$ch. Since I had no trail map (was a boy scout dropout and am never prepared) I took the first likely looking path. Kinda sucked cuz I braked too much and had to do a bit of uphill hoofing. But then found nice long runs down to hi speed quads. By afternoon, trails kinda chopped up and some small mogul fields... I guess mebbe the obsessive groomers weren't over here.
I skiied around heading for the town of San Christina, where you can catch the new train transfer to the Sella Ronda. I'll investigate that later this week.

There was a nice long windy, narrow varied run that started out red and turned to blue all the way down to St. Christina, where I caught the gondola up to the top of Col Raiser (another ridge 2100 meters). That gives access to a lift back to the top of Seceda.

since I had no idea of total time for descent, and girlfriend meeting me at crazy apres ski, bar, I decided to call it a day and head down.

Best run of the day. 1300 meter descent. Broken up into narrow cat trails, wider descents, twisty narrows, inculding an area by a frozen waterfall. My legs were burning like crazy. I'd say maybe a quarter of it is narrow ridge runners, that could be scary for people who need more room to slow. But it was awesome, cruising by some higher up village type areas. Aweseome view most of the way down of the 3100 meter Sassolungo mountain.

Anyhoo, I hope the description was enough without being toooo longwinded. I'll file more later, after exploring further. I need that hefe weissen about now. (beers not allowed in Internet room).

mm
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 1, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Thanks for the lunchtime read Mangy. Keep up the good work. Weiss stands for white right? The Miller Lite of Europe? Chao.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
February 1, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

Thanks for the lunchtime read Mangy. Keep up the good work. Weiss stands for white right? The Miller Lite of Europe? Chao.




Jim,

a "Weiss" beer is a wheat beer--one made from wheat as opposed to barley. For more,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_beer


For whatever reason, it's a popular apres ski drink in the Alps. I think this may have to do with it's lighter body. Some Weiss beers also have a lower alcohol content than regular beers, but this is not always the case, especially in Europe. In Europe, a beer's alcohol content must be clearly marked on the bottle.

PS According to Wikipedia (not always a good source of information btw):
Quote:

Not only does drinking wheat beer directly out of the bottle betray an absolutely unacceptable lack of style (and the beer does not taste very good when drunk that way, either), but it is virtually impossible, as wheat beer rapidly produces a thick head of foam that rushes out of the bottle as soon as it is disturbed.

Hefeweizens are frequently served with a slice of lemon.



MangyMarmot
February 2, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Yep, Weiss beer is a wheat beer. Often seem to be unfiltered, so look a little cloudy. The weiss of choice here is Paulaner, it has this awesome pic of a burly monk holding a frothy stein and chortling. Both the bottles and teh glasses have the pic.

Today, wasa mellow day, the legs are still a bitz sore. Tomorrow I strike out and explore the area near the Sella Ronda (higher mountains and more challenging terrain). I may also try to take interconnected lifts to Marmolada (the grandaddy mountain here at about 3200 meters. I can't terll from maps how hard it is to get to Marmolada, so it may be out of range.

Today, I discovered a couple natural half-pipes with a foot to foot and a half of powder (no one seems to like ungroomed areas here, so it appeared to be about a few days old with a bit of crust on top). It was sweet until I did a really ugly wipeout near the lift

I'll write more later.

mm
skier123
February 3, 2005
Member since 01/20/2003
14 posts
My family and I skied this area of Italy a few years ago. At apres, order a "Bombardino". It is a delicious hot toddy made with Whiskey. It cures all sore muscles after a long day of skiing
MangyMarmot
February 3, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
so, I'm back in my little perch in the crazy apres ski bar. It#s only 3p, so no ski-boot dancing to techno versions of Tom Jones "Sex Bomb" yet, but probably soon. There's some Carneval thing tonite, so a bunch of skiers were wearing costumes on the trails today. I saw: a giant bee, two burly monks complete with habit and crucifix, a guy in a HUGE sombrero with Mexican villager garb, an unidentifiable bright red superheros suit with a cape. Should be exciting apres ski tonight.

Now the GOOD stuff.

Took ski bus to base of Ciampinoi today, my mission was to find access to mellow slopes for girlfriend in different area than Alpe di Siusi. (For some reason, layouts here require newbies to negotiate the equivalent of Snowshoe's Widowmaker to get to wide open areas.

I discovered a SUPER-SLOW 2-seat lift circa 1965 that drops off below main crest of Ciampinoi. Requires REAL STEEP descent on crusty ice and then HARD right (going straight means a drop of 100-150 feet). After this hair-raiser (for a newbie) everything mellows out into a big sprawling area of heavenly trails for beginnter-intermediate.

It's like a huge sprawling playground in between the towering behemoths of the Sella group and Sassoluongo. I can't describe the mountains all that well, took a lot of pics, so hope to post some in a few weeks.

Anyhoo, this big area of blues and reds has all kinds of goodies. They love setting up Slalom courses here. I'd never done them in the U-S. Fun, but humbling. Also, there's a terrain park with this cool corkscrew where you ski up and over a tunnel burrowed through a mound of snow, then you zip back around and throught the tunnel. Some jumps too.
If you come here with a beginner or intermediate skier, this area could provide at least a full day of fun. But, I wanted to try some of the harder stuff.

So, I negotiated interconnected lifts to get to the top of Ciampinoi (pronounced chomp-ee-NOY). There's a restaurant at the top of the ridge 2254 meters. Had an awesome HUGE slice of heartburn special pizza (peperoni and peperoncini) and another Weisse beer mmmm. $7

Then, tackled the bowl below Ciampinoi. It's huge. I can only guess, but I think the drop is about 13-1500 FEET. Facing downslope, the far left had a short (infant) mogul field and then a VERY steep drop down and then over a couple rolling hills. The center was a more gradual drop, but also had a pitch that made you want to drop back left into the steeper area (ok, mebbe that's the speed demon in me). Far right was more rolling - alternating short steeps and flattened out areas. If you want, you can bail out of the bottom area of the bowl and take a chute straight down to the hi-speed 6 person chairlift. I did this bowl about 4 or 5 times, hitting different areas. Then I took a long meandering red down to the base, to transfer back to SECEDA (the place I skiied before).
There's a new funicular (seemed like a metro car to me) that zips under town from the base of one trail right to the gondola up toward Seceda. First time I've ever taken a metro to a ski slope!
I skies the Seceda side about an hour, Lots of long cruisers good for intermediates. One red runs all the way to base of gondola. I hit a small slow 2-chair for a couple runs down the lonely black. A steep straight shot down. Real icy, so not the prettiest descent. But almost no one on it, so could go fast.
Then back to peak of Seceda, where I had an embarrassing run in.
I've noticed the Italians and Germans don't like hopping with strangers on the lift. Routinely, I hop on a four-or even six chiar, and everyone holds back. So, getting on a 6-chiar, I noticed what looked like two singles getting on. So, I rushed to join them. They shifted lane positions as the chair was approaching, so to avoid getting run over by chair I basically dove between them. The woman says, "What the HEll are you doing." Oops. It turned out to be a couple, and I was sitting between them. AAARRRGH. Thought it would be a long ride to the top. But, they turned out to be Americans (the only I've met here so far)
After groveling a while, all was better. They are from Oregon, but live in sicily.

Anyhoo, I finished the day with the long run from Seceda down to village. At the top, it's described as the "Lomgoa" and says it's a 10.5 kilometer run with an vertical of 1288 meters. I don't have a calculator, but my legs tell me it was extremeley long.

------

I'm getting worried about the Sella Ronda. High winds today and yesterday have closed the high passes in the circuit. I have my finger crossed that the winds die and I can do it this trip.

mm
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
February 3, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
MM:

I'm really enjoying your travelogue. Keep posting.
MangyMarmot
February 5, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!!!!!

Completed the Sellaronda today. Took the clockwise route. I NEED a Weisse beer NOW... I hope to file details of day a little later.

Summary: a banner day, though not necessarily due to quality of Sellaronda route.... more later.

mm
MangyMarmot
February 5, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts

1 half-liter of hefe weizen under me belt, feeling much fuzzier and better.

Here's the day:
5 am wake up, look at watch, dammit, 3.5 hours until lift opens.
6 am, look at watch again. uggh.
6:50 alarm goes off, leap out of bed, shower go down and fuel up at brekfast buffet.
8:35 catch ski bus.
8:50 arrive at base of Sellaronda route (in Selva). -12 degrees Centigrade. Dunno what that is in Fahrenhait, but brrrrrr. Chilly.
9am, the skiing begins.
The route I took led me over the Passo Gardena, toward ski area Alta Badia. The gondola headed way up this pass, over what I believe was awomen's GS course for international competition. Looks like a sweet run, but I was heading in the opposite direction.
The first real run of the day was a Loong cruiser down to base of Alt Badia. Mostly blue, a few short steeps, but mainly windy rolling wides. There was a thick cloud cover, which the top of the pass was above, but as descended into the clouds, turned out it was like cloud of tiny ice particles. Was skiing through these sparkling clouds, at first thought I was seeing spots and needed some water or something. But it was really beautiful. The snow conditions were pretty icy, since most of the slopes were just starting to see sun.

At base of Alta Badia, caught a gondola up to another peak, don't have map now and girlfriend getting really bored, so I have to cut this short, I'll add more when next access to Web.

But, the gist of it is, the skiing was mostly intermediate a few long sweet runs. Arabba (whci offers access to MArmolada (highest peak around here) seemed VERY promising, with steeps and more challenging terrain.

Total time on Sellaronda 3 hours 48 minutes. Finished day off with run down Seceda peak to base run (my favorite trail from the week). Legs feel like rubber.

Have reservations for dinner at fantastic restaurant (red deer tenderloin mmmmmmm.)

I'll write later.

mm
MangyMarmot
March 3, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
I hope this works to show some pics... I'm a luddite. mm

Val Gardena pix
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 3, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
If you wanna see some Euro snow, check out these pictures recently taken of the Arlberg back country:

http://tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25947
Missy
March 3, 2005
Member since 02/27/2005
11 posts
MM,
I am new to this message board and am thoroughly enjoying your Italian adventure. I have skied the alps and the dolomites and you are explaining everything really well and I wish that I had planned a trip this year. Thank you so much for sharing this, I am now a really believer in this whole message board experience.
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