Its been dry in the Nothern Alps, really dry. It has not snowed since early December! Its been slim pickings, the snow pack is rotten, its dangerous so we decided to go to the Dolomites in search of good snow, pizza and wine.
Waking up early in Innsbruck we all loaded into the car and headed towards Italy. Up and over the Brenner Pass talking of snow and stoke. One thing that you really only realise when there is no snow on the ground is how dark winter really is. Slowly it started to get lighter, we were still surrounded by fog so we only got small quick snapshots of the impressive cliff faces that can be found in the Dolomites. After some early confusion trying to figure out which lift to take, the sense of adventure started off right off the bat. Rupi saying he did the research is not really what it sounds like its more of a, „Yea so I read this one Article about this one lift but I don’t know where it is!“
Finally giving up we chose the gondola that looked the best for out needs. We got lucky at the ticket desk and met a fellow student from Innsbruck who throughout the whole day gave us tips and info on where and what to ski to have to most fun. Talk about real hospitality!
After a quick warm up lap we talked to two tourers and tried to get some info on a couloir that we saw a skintrack going up. According to them we could drop down the back into the Val Mezdi. It was a fun climb but the sun was hot and the snow was going to shit so there was a time limit on when it was safe to turn around. I love skinning up couloirs, they are special places and being on a little strip of snow between two huge cliff faces makes for some great viewing.
Scrambling up through a small crux and boot packing up the final section of the couloir I was third going up and could see on Paavo’s and Johanna’s faces that the couloir down the back was going to be a no go. It is one of the scarier things I have ever looked down into skiing. A blind 10-12m drop breaking to the right so there was no indication of how wide or steep the couloir actually was. At this point we realised even though we had all the gear with us, harnesses, rope etc… it was just not a good idea to drop into this thing blind. So we put out tails between out legs put crampons on and started to down climb. Getting out of the couloir and manked out snow was not that fun but we made it out all safe and sound.
The day was saved by a stroke of luck. It is impolite to follow guides in my opinion but we were heading in the same direction and were just looking for an entrance that he and his group showed us nicely. After that we did a couple of nice laps in week old settled POW discovering a tree zone we all agreed would become EPIC with 30cm of fresh and that is what we are hoping for this weekend.
One thing that did get to us was that after a had day of skiing, we were hungry, really hungry. The problem is that no restaurants are open after 2pm in Italy and don’t open again till 6pm. All we wanted was some pizza and good wine. That is what people go to Italy for, but after stopping at 5 different Pizzerias we had to drive back to Innsbruck and eat pizza here in Austria. Now we know that if we ski bell to bell we have to be prepared to not eat till 6pm. Hopefully we can fix that this weekend. Cause Rupi is heading off to Vietnam in two weeks and if we don’t get him is pizza and whine this weekend we will have an oversized infant on our hands.
May the POW be with you, in these dry times, break open those bank accounts and get after it the Dolomites are on right now.
Rupi and Bernie