International (Europe/Japan/NZ/Au) Dolomites Rifuguo-to-Rifugio Gourmet Ski Safari
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This is what I can make of our route. First, the unadulterated Dolomiti Superski Map,
Note the Key at the bottom. I downloaded it from here,
To me, the resolution was insufficient to make out the names of towns and major features, so I kept referencing this map as well, whose Key is not as clear
From the itinerary and these maps, I made this,
Green Dots: Where we overnight.
Pink Strokes: My estimate, from the itinerary as to where we ski
Yellow Strokes: 10, 15, 20 minute land transfers
Blue Stroke: A snowmobile transfer to one of the rifugio's
Gray Circle: Not sure what we are doing in and around the town of Alleghe
We start in Alta Badia, #3 on map's key, get ourselves sorted out, do some skiing.
Next day, we ski towards Val Gardena and Alpe di Siusi, and around some of the Sella, ending and overnighting at Ciampac.
Next morning, we ski at Buffaure ski resort. Later, we have a road transfer from Pozza di Fassa to Alpe di Lusia as ski around there.
End of day, a land transfer to Passo San Pellegrino (that the same as the water?), then a snowmobile to a rifugio.
Next day, we ski back to Passo San Pellegrino and make our way, skiing, to Falcade.
From there, we take another land transfer to the town of Alleghe. It's not clear to me what we do there or where we ski.
End of the day, a land transfer to Passo Giau, for another overnight at a rifugio.
On the final day of skiing, we ski at Cinque Torri and at Cortina d'Ampezzo and we overnight at Cortina.
Now that I have gotten it down on "paper' and in my mind, it sounds like quite a whirlwind tour. Five days of skiing. A lot of territory covered. The itinerary states that, along the way, there will be spectacular views and great dining. Never done this type of thing. Looking forward to it.
@karlo If you can manage it, see if you can do this route while you are there:
Not sure if the guides will allow that deviation. This is near Cinqui Torri (across the street - Laguozi cable car). It takes ~90 min to do at leisure pace (includes cab ride back). There is a 'lift' there that is horse drawn rope tow. It's a neat experience. Pro tip: ski around the horse poop.
Found a much better map here. Still legible after zooming
Here’s a copy I saved. Wondering how legible it is transferring it here
Edit: hmm, not great. Best to view directly on website. But, then, I can’t mark it up.Pat AKA mustski likes this.
So, the first reports are in.
A photo taken from the plane by my wife a few days ago, flying from Brussels to Venice,
No idea where this is, and I’m sure she doesn’t either. Could even be the Austrian alps.
She has now arrived in Cortina, wanting to spend a few days acclimatizing. Cortina is, what, 4000 feet; far lower than Denver, where she has no problem, and where she still suffers altitude sickness when travelling onwards to Aspen or Telluride. So, what am I receiving.
1. Not much snow there. (what can one expect at 4000’, to ski?)
2. Found a great cafe with fresh raspberry tarts.
3. European skiers are very stylish. In that regard, Aspen on steroids.
What the heck is she acclimatizing to? Wait, what did she say she was spending?
The flight to Venice went well. One moment of anxiety occurred at the gate in Brussels, where the gate agent had me gate-check my boot bag, in which I had packed both mine and my wife's boots. But, it turned out well. I think eliminating the risk of loss during transit in Brussels was the main thing.
I am now on the 2 hour ride from Venice airport to Cortina. The son is asleep. He's been asleep the whole time, except to embark, disembark, eat meals, and go to the WC (and that isn't the World Cup viewing). The views from the bus are spectacular, but, from the bus, I can't get a photo that does it justice. Think bridge on concrete stilts. Snow specked peaks that tower over us. Gorges of aquamarine colored streams. Picturesque mountain villages. Tunnels. Anyway, here is what I can share.
The weather forecast is looking excellent. This is the forecast for Alta Badia at snow-forecast.com
Per my wife, dogs are welcome.
So, I checked it out. Quite simple to bring your best friend.
I discovered an app called 3D Superski, also available for Android, and installed it.
Webcam photos that it offers are pretty nice,
Gee, this will save me a lot of time, satisfying those who want photos. (Get the app!) Though I haven't played with the app yet, I like the lift reports, route finding feature, and the tracking (at modest extra cost)
Getting close to Cortina. My wife joins us at the station to pick up the bus to La Villa, in Alta Badia. Actually, I join her, running down to her hotel to pick her up, and to pickup her luggage, literally, and lug it, literally, to the station.
More later as time allows.
It's been a full week since returning from Italy and the self-imposed deadline is upon me. Time to roll the presses.
Sure, folks go to the Dolomites to do some serious skiing, whether that be racing (lot's of athletes training there) or skiing steep and narrow chutes and couloirs. This tour was much easier going, mostly blue and even green terrain (American color coding), but in a most beautiful landscape. It might be described as a tour one does, not to ski, but because one can ski.
Lodging was superb for different reasons, and the food was delicious. Plus, I lost a pound on the trip. How good is that?! I will write about this in another post.
It was spectacular just riding the bus up from Venice Airport. Here’s a photo taken from inside the bus, shortly before arriving Cortina.
Reminds me of clouds in some painting(s). Maybe Dutch Masters? Can anyone put their finger on it?
The Good Wife joined us on the bus from Cortina to La Villa, one of the villages at Alta Badia, where we spend two nights. That night, it snowed, and continued to snow in the morning, leaving about 10” of accumulation. That made for a lovely first day of skiing at the Alta Badia resort.
By mid-day, after lunch, the clouds were dissippating and the sun broke through, the start of what was to become four consecutive days of bluebird days of skiing.
The Good Wife
With her camel.
and the 16 year old Masked Rider
the Masked Rider unveiled and the Frenchman.
Our day at Alta Badia takes us to Corvara where we have, though we didn’t know it at the time, a first inkling of what our tour would be like,
We will return to Corvara for dinner that evening. More on that in another post.
The Dolomites are sedimentary deposits and coral reef from 250 million? years ago. It’s spectacular mountainscape was created by the elements. However, Nature can also wreak havoc.
Just a few of the 14 million trees fallen by 200 km/hr, 125 mph, winds last October.
The next day was the longest, a traverse from Alta Badia to our first rifugio at Buffaure/Ciampac. See the previously posted map for the route I approximated before the tour. We had to keep moving. Unaccustomed to skiing all day, it was somewhat grueling for the Good Wife, who periodically asked how much further we had. But, it wasn’t so rushed that we couldn’t stop for a nice lunch at Passo Sella, where one can soak in both the view and the sun.
After lunch, we ride a chair up with three peaks towering above us,
From the Belvedere resort, we look back at where we came, and come to understand the scale of what we were in the midst of earlier.
The three rock towers, that’s Sassolungo, the backdrop for the World Cup course named Saslong! The mountainscape continues to impress,
Hmm, I guess it wasn’t four consecutive bluebird days; these two photos were taken a minute apart. Oh well, in my mind, it was a bluebird day; that’s enough for me.
Our traverse finally takes us to Rifugio Ciampac at the Buffaure/Ciampac resort, to the Good Wife’s relief. Here’s the view from our room,
We are at the top of the resort, which will be great in the morning, when we can have the resort to ourselves before others upload from below. After checking in, we have time to do a bit more skiing at the resort, so we take the poma lift to the top of the saddle and ski the otherside. As we are towed by the poma lift, something has caught our attention,
The next morning, the Good Wife is not feeling so well. However, it’s easier. After lunch, she can get earlier transport to the next rifugio. Skiing is up and over that saddle again and along gentle pistes. A short taxi ride takes us to the resorts at San Pellegrino. No, it’s not where San Pellegrino water comes from. Carlo tells us that everyone asks. Now you can surprise him and not ask. We have pizza for lunch, in a setting with another spectacular view,
More about the pizza in another post. After an easy run, we send the Good Wife off to our next rifugio, on what was suppose to be a skidoo (snowmobile). But, since there was insufficient snow along the road/trail, she (and the rest of us later) was transported in what looked, to me, like a troop carrier,
The Masked Rider, his camel, and the Frenchman continue skiing and are given a Grand Tour of the Passo San Pellegrino/Falcade ski resort, taking in the views
We even get a glimpse of our rifugio.
At the end of the day, we do a short traverse off-resort to where the troop carrier picks us up. It is so loud that I have abandoned any thoughts of cat-skiing. Here’s the view from our room,
We also learn that quieter transport might have been available,
That night, we had a wine tasting and an amazing dinner; again, again, more in another post. Suffice to say that, despite the remoteness of this rifugio, folks come to spend the day, hanging out on their deck, or they come just for dinner. Here are folks departing after dinner,
We awake to another bluebird day... and learn that there is yet another way to travel to and from here,
We are now on the south side of the Marmolada. Resorts are less connected here, so after descending in the troop carrier, we transfer by taxi to the nearby Civetta resort. Unfortunately, the Good Wife’s condition had taken a turn for the worse and she had to drop out of the tour . After dropping us off, the taxi continues on, to drop our bags off at our next rifugio, then to transport her back to Cortina, an hour's ride further. She will rest at the hotel and possibly seek a doctor’s attention; quite disheartening, since this tour was an attempt at mellow skiing in lower altitudes, after years of her accommodating me and the rest of the family, skiing in Colorado. Anyway, we make the best of it and the rest of us continue on.
Some folks decided to take some easy pick’ns,
At the end of the day, we arrive at our last rifugio, at Passo Giau. It’s a bit disappointing, not at all like the previous night. Desolate is the word. Nice views, but not many people; why are we here? As it turns out, this is why,
At sunset, looking east, red and orange mountainscape. Looking west, Marmolada and adjacent features are silhouetted against the embers of the day. Then, at dinner, just as we are about to decide on dessert, the waitress tells us what’s about to happen. We lack a tripod. A snow bank will have to do,
I don’t know how to Photoshop. But, if I did, there’d be a wolf on the edge of the plateau.
So, are you now wondering the same thing I was wondering? Yup, I set the alarm for 5:15. Not a cloud in the sky
BTW, it so happens that I brought my recently acquired Sony RX100 VI, and it so happens that Carlo uses an RX100 V. Not having used an SLR-type camera in perhaps 15 years, having used early digital cameras and smartphones instead, he filled me in on my camera’s capabilities and how to use them. Had it not been for him, these photos at Passo Giau would not have been possible, or not nearly as vibrant; and I’m just learning. So give credit to where credit is due; thank you Carlo.
The next day, we are headed to Cortina, with a morning traverse that takes us through Cinque Torri, atop Lagazuoi, to lunch and afternoon skiing at the Cortina resort. The traverse was by far the most spectacular we had done, with long mellow pistes winding though beautiful mountainscape. Imagine hiking up there in the summer, to your hut, to take in the views. Now, instead, lifts carry you up and you glide effortlessly on well groomed pistes,
Here it is marked up, to better discern the piste.
And, in the distance,
and, again, marked up.
This is what one skis, and skis amongst. Descending from Lagazuoi is equally spectacular,
Above two photos by Carlo Cosi.
Upon arriving at Cortina, we have lunch, with a perfect view of a new course planned for the World Championships that will be held here in 2021.
Since the morning, the Masked Rider hasn’t been feeling in top form. After lunch, he decides he can go on, but will take it easy.
Where is the lift taking us? Right up to the rock wall. We are surrounded on three sides by towering rock. Someone decided to climb higher and make a few turns in untracked powder. Did you notice the tracked powder on either side of the groomed piste. Well, it was too enticing and the Masked Rider enters. It’s quite cut up, so it’s not as easy as it looks. After, I ask him what happened about taking it easy? “Oh, I forgot” He was willing to continue, but I could see he was fatigued. So, what’s the point, doing more of the same?
After having been skiing fairly mellow runs, we suddenly come to Piste 51, apparently one of the steepest pitches in Cortina. But, the Masked Rider doesn’t forget this time. He does a very fine job skiing down a steep trail slowly. Wish I had a video of it. Anyway, we part ways with Carlo and the Frenchman, who will do a few more runs before heading down.
The run down to Cortina, below tree line, is through a pine forest. The smell of pine permeates the air. Unfortunate I can’t record that; you’ll have to go there and smell for yourself . The trail ends at a foot bridge, which we cross to arrive at the base of the tram. From there, a ski shop shopkeeper kindly assists in calling a taxi. Once aboard, we are at our hotel in just a few minutes.
The ski tour was spectacular and I will for-sure return. So much more to see and do; ski the offpiste; ski the Sellaronda, rounding the Sella Massif; skiing the Marmolada Glacier; skiing the Sella’s couloirs; ice climbing. In fact, the Good Wife is lobbying me to take our daughter next year, she who wants to return to Telluride, to ice climbing and skiing. Now, it will be me lobbying my daughter to go to the Dolomites instead. This might help,
Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with memories from this tour.
https://youtu.be/bqK08Bg8w9ALast edited: Mar 30, 2019
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