Finding bliss in Italy: Dolomitisuperski

6 Mar

Twin ribbons of snot fly out my nose, eyes stream tears, fingers and toes are numb. It is after all minus 10 degrees Celsius here at 3343 metres above sea level.

I focus on breathing, exhaling with each turn to find a rhythm. Amazingly it works. I’m sailing down the Marmolada in bright sunshine on perfect snow and it is effortless. No thinking, just feeling. For a precious few seconds I’m the only person on this part of the mountain, Stuart has raced ahead.

Yes, it is the cold is stinging my eyes, but most of the leakage is tears of joy. When I stop to catch my breath I laugh out loud at the sheer beauty of the moment.

This piste has to be one of the best in the world and I am one lucky bastard to be here on a flawless ski day. We ski for 12 kilometres dropping 1800 metres. Incredible!

We’re back in the Dolomites for a week with the express purpose of skiing here in the Marmolada area. Last season we skiied over from Corvara on the Sella Ronda (ski circuit) towards Marmolada but twice crowds at the access points drove us back. This time we’re staying in Sottoguda village just by the Serrai Sottoguda (Sottoguda Gorge) only a ten minute skibus ride below Malga Ciapela where the first of three cable cars lifts us atop the Marmolada.

It’s not for the faint-hearted. The first two stages are the scariest, but so worth it when you step out onto the viewing platform. Standing level with or above most of the peaks of the Dolomites the only other creatures higher are birds.

  
  
In seven days we’ve enjoyed three sunny days interspersed with four days of steady snowfall. No shortage of powder but a high risk of avalanche for those who venture off piste (illegal in Dolomitisuperski area).

  

On whiteout days we walk the narrow Serrai Sottoguda past World War I munitions tunnels to gawk at ice climbers, catch the skibus to pretty Alleghe beside a frozen lake and just chill. 

   

   
As ever Italian hospitality is superb and great value, especially compared with Swiss prices in Zermatt. Our apartment building, Sol & Nef, is run with friendly efficiency by Carlo and his young family. A short walk uphill we have a choice of three restaurants and one minute further on a small supermarket and the local tourist office.

  
View from our apartment.  
We are in Ladino land where local men wear acorn-shaped felt hats and women braid their hair. One of the books I browsed in the Hotel Montanaro bar was dedicated to the local Marmolada folk music and dance group. Many of the photos were taken recently but the costumes were identical to those of the turn of the century. The only difference is that the photos are now in colour and some of the young men sport funky sun glasses and top knots. I’m impressed the cool kids participate in an activity I imagine our sons would have run a mile from.

  
A favourite kitsch mountain restaurant on Arabba side.  
Beetroot Dumplings.

  

Take your pick of homemade fruit grappas to accompany coffee for the last rocket-fuelled run of the day.

We’ve been discussing the proposed Alta Via 1 hike I hoped to do across the Dolomiti in June to mark my 60th. That is now out since the rifugios don’t open until at the third week of June and we need to be back in Australia in early June. September may be possible though so we are steering towards that. 

  
Tomorrow is our last Dolomitisuperski day as we move on to Ischgl, Austria, a ski area on Stuart’s bucket list, to sample their white stuff and hopefully find more joy!  

    

 

6 Responses to “Finding bliss in Italy: Dolomitisuperski”

  1. trevor willis March 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    was that a parachute on your back in the 3rd last picture? Looks fantastic. Keep well. t

    • Sharon Tickle March 7, 2016 at 7:08 am #

      Nope, just a backpack with all the crap necessary for a day’s skiing in changing conditions Trev. Girl guide – be prepared! Sxx

  2. Julie Kempnich March 6, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    Sunny days in the snow. So jealous! More to come for you in Austria hopefully. Fond regards, Julie. XX

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Sharon Tickle March 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

      Why aren’t you here Julie?! Next season? Sxx

  3. Carmel March 7, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    Love love love. This is the area where my sister’s boyfriend comes from. He is a ski instructor (of course). Really love your posts Sharon xo

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