Alpi di Suisi/Seceda, Italy, Jan. 20, 2018

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Alpi di Suisi/Seceda, Italy, Jan. 20, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:14 pm

Over our first weekend in the Alps a substantial storm was predicted, coming from the NW with high winds and variable rain/snow line. So we decided to evade it by going to the Dolomites in the far SE of the Alps. This is about as far from our arrival airport in Geneva as you can get in the Alps, but a manageable drive by North American standards. After skiing Pila Friday we dove 4.5 hours to Bolzano, then an hour Saturday morning to Ortisei, the closest ski lift base in the Dolomites.
In the map above, the bottom is the northwest direction from which we drove in.

There is a parking garage at the base of Ortesei’s gondola up to the Alpi di Suisi area, and we arrived there about 10AM. Alpi di Suisi is an unusual winter recreation area, mostly rolling meadows with a mix of hikers along with alpine and cross country skiers with hotels scattered over most of the area. The scenery at Alpi di Suisi is dominated by Sasso Lungo and Sasso Platto to the east. Alpi di Suisi is the lower right quadrant of the map above.

Within an hour we made it to Puflatch, one of the few terrain pods with a continuous fall line of 1,000+ vertical.

When we got to the top of that loft we decided to have an early lunch as we had skipped breakfast. Lunch was potato soup and osso bucco. We finished with strudel and a Bombardino, which Liz labeled “the energy drink of Italian ski areas.”

At the SW end of Alpi di Suisi is another notable rock landmark, Sciliar.

Here’s a cross country skier taking his kid out for the day.

We skied to lifts 62, 74 and 65 to get the closest to Sasso Platto.

The trees lining this run obscured the view in some places.

The best overall view was probably this one from the top of lift 70.

On the way back to the Ortesei gondola we could see there is a skiable line between the two mountains for more adventurous backcountry skiers.

We rode the #1 gondola down to Ortesei about 2PM as there is no piste through the dense north facing forest there. We walked across the bridge and about ¼ mile though town to an indoor moving sidewalk that takes you to the #2 gondola. This is a 2 stage gondola that rises to 8,200 feet at the top of Seceda. Seceda is the terrain pod at far left of the map. Walking a bit farther into town there is a funicular railway #4 rising to another peak with a piste to the gondola midstation but we did not think we had time for that.

As predicted the morning was sunny with temps in the high teens. The storm that was hitting the Alps from the northwest was supposed to make the afternoon is the Dolomites cloudy. The clouds did arrive around 2PM but they were high and thin. The sun shone through them so the light was adequate to the end of the day. It probably helped that Seceda is south facing. Here’s the view from the top of Seceda at the central Massif of the Sella Ronda.

There are some prominent Dolomite peaks east of Seceda.

And here’s the view the southwest toward Sasso Lungo and Sasso Platto.

As at Saalbach a year ago the weak January sun and mix of natural and manmade snow kept most surfaces pleasant despite the south exposure. The one exception was this black run next to the Col Reiser chair.

This was solid frozen granular, right up there with the Northeast’s finest according to Liz. Before we checked out Col Reiser we skied a 3,000 vertical run to the base of the #14 gondola. From there you can take a funicular through the town of Santa Cristina and join the Sella Ronda areas.

Here we are back at the top of Seceda.

Light is still decent at 4PM.

The run from Seceda back to Ortesei is one of the longest in the Dolomites.

The claim it’s the longest New Year’s torchlight parade run.

The run is mostly southwest facing, but is in the shade from rocks most of the way.


There were a couple of après spots along the way down.

Even on this first day in the Dolomites we noticed an unusually high density of on-hill rest and lunch options, even by European standards. I asked Liz how many vertical feet you could ski without seeing a restaurant. She didn’t know but was sure it was a three digit number.

We skied 9,900 vertical feet in 13 runs wandering around Alpi di Suisi. We skied 10,400 of the more fall line skiing at Seceda in just over two hours.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
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Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Alpi di Suisi/Seceda, Italy, Jan. 20, 2018

Postby Sbooker » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:44 pm

Nice report and photos.
It looks to be very much a ski tourist area as opposed to a ski purist area. Perfect for those 'one week a year' people - great scenery, plenty of lunch break options and lots of blue cruisers.
Should be on every skiers bucket list once their knees are shot. :)
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:29 pm
Location: Brisbane Australia
Location: Brisbane Australia

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