Arabba/Marmolada, Italy, Jan. 23, 2018

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Arabba/Marmolada, Italy, Jan. 23, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:14 pm

On our last day in the Dolomites, we skied the Marmolada Glacier and completed the Sella Ronda/Grand Guerra circuits.

Weather was clear and snow was good all day long. At the end of the day the south facing run dropping into Arabba was softening.

As on then past two days we started up the Arabba tram to Porto Vescova.

As we head south, Liz is in front of a rock outcropping.

In the background is the trail zigzagging down from the Marmolada Glacier.

We skied to Malga Ciapela and rode the three Marmolada trams. We spent about half an hour in the First World War Museum in the second tram station. Portraits of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary and King Victor Emmanuel of Italy:

This Austrian soldier captured in summer 2015 was from Trentino and defected and fought the rest of the war for Italy.

Both armies were generally unprepared for winter in the mountains. Here are an improvised fur coat and straw overboots for foot insulation.

The winter of 1916-17 was exceptionally snowy and 10,000 people died in avalanches in December 2016.

There was video footage of soldiers climbing in the mountains and of artillery barrages. Lagazoui, where we had skied Sunday, was an Austrian fortification which the Italians tunneled under 5x to set off explosives.

Here we are in the top tram looking down at the piste on the Marmolada Glacier.

The Marmolada Glacier at 10,700 feet is the highest lift in the Dolomites by far. From here we have a view of Sasso Platto and Sasso Lungo at left and Gruppo del Sella at right.

View northeast roughly along the World War I front line through Col di Lana.

About 1,000 feet down looking at the second tram station at upper right.

There was some wind up here and the upper 2,000 or so of skiing had lots of soft windsift snow.

The run to chair 13 was 5,000 vertical. We headed back to Arabba but took the gondola to Porto Vescova for a 2,800 vertical fall line run on piste #3.

We thought these runs from Porto Vescova had the best piste skiing in the Dolomites. They are north facing, shaded and with surprisingly little skier traffic on such a nice day.

We used the #8 transport lift across the town of Arabba to head north on the Sella Ronda. From north of Arabba only the tram cable to Porto Vescova is illuminated by the sun.

Marmolada is in the background.

We skied north to Passo Campolongo. View north:

One of Corvara’s mellow pistes is visible at far right.

From Passo Campolongo we rode two more lifts to reach Pralongia, where we had been yesterday afternoon. There’s a small chapel at Pralongia with Dolomite backdrop to the east.

From this area there’s a great view of the east side of Gruppa del Sella.

As we approach Passo Campolongo you can see a piste coming down from 8,200 feet.

This was a detour for which we did not have time as the access is from a gondola out of Corvara.

At last we head back to Arabba on the Sella Ronda/Grand Guerra circuits.

We got on the road at 3PM. We stopped in La Villa for an ATM and an unsuccessful attempt by Liz to get a Euro SIM card for one of her old phones. This was our longest marathon drive. Lunch and dinner were leftover breakfast and supermarket snacks in the car and we arrived at the Ellex hotel in Grosseney at 11PM.

While Fraser recommended Selva in the NW as the popular bed base for the Dolomites, we were pleased with our choice of Arabba in the SE. We had some logistics and navigation issues that prevented us from skiing full circuits on Sunday/Monday, but from Arabba it was easy to finish off the areas we missed.

From Selva it would take a very full day to get to Marmolada and back. The First World War circuit would be nearly impossible though you could ski to San Cassiano and take one bus up to Passo Falzarego. Then you could ski the quiet Cinque Torri/Nuvolao areas and the long Lagazoui run to the horselift to return to San Cassiano.

With the big lodging base in Selva perhaps it is not a coincidence that Arabba at the opposite end of the Sella Ronda has the top reputation for on mountain dining. On our four days covering a lot of ground we didn’t stop for lunch at all on two of them. And on our first two days we didn’t get to our hotel until after 6PM and ate dinner there for convenience. Fortunately the Hotel Evaldo has an excellent dining room and most people there are probably well satisfied with a half board plan.

But on our last night we had dinner out at top rated Miky’s Grill. Liz was especially thrilled there with Culatello, a local prosciutto best she’s ever eaten.

It was served with fresh burrata. My venison chop main course was equally impressive.

Our table had a good view of the cooks and grill. Here a cook is tenderizing some veal.

Miky’s Grill is at the base of lift #5 so I’m sure it does a thriving lunch business too.

For more casual skiers Corvara might make a good base. The local skiing is quite mellow and daytrips to Val Gardena or Arabba are shorter than a Sella Ronda circuit, leaving more time for one of those gourmet lunches.
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
Posts: 10073
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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