Arabba Opening Day

As you may have guessed from our photos so far, the whole of the Dolomiti region is lacking the real “mccoy”.   All the early natural snow was washed away with some warm rain in the middle of November.  And now we are sitting under a massive high pressure system. Which means of course, bluebird days, but seriously cold nights and early mornings.  A -6C start for Opening Day at Arabba.

But the lack of snow hasn’t deterred those intrepid Italians.   And we thought Coronet Peak (aka “Concrete Peak”) held the patent on the dark art of snow-making.  We have never seen such a network of snow guns in all our lives.  These Dolomiti dudes have managed to get open 223 /460 lifts and 412km of slopes.  Unbelievable.   And the quality of the man-made stuff is surprising –  it’s actually skiable!

However, it was a bit of a slow start to opening day as Graeme had spent the entire night, tossing and turning and fretting over his new ski boots.  Apparently they didn’t fit him.  “They are going to cripple me”…..”I can’t possibly do a turn in these things”….”I can’t believe that Scarpe has changed their design of over 10 years”….”these boots must have a defect”.     Needless to say I shared in the nightmares as he tossed and turned until dawn.

So off early to visit our friend Renato.  Poor Renato, doesn’t really speak English.  So he was naturally terrified to see us arrive at first opening of his store this morning.   Fortunately, his daughter Stephanie was in attendance.  She was able to interpret for us.  As I mentioned, Renato stocks every make and size of Telemark boot.  So Graeme was able to try a 1/2 size bigger and a different model.    After all the stress overnight, somehow this morning, the original boots now fitted.  Graeme thinks his feet were still swollen from the flight.   Really????    It’s moments like this …you need to remember all the wonderful things about your man and let a small “brain-burp” like this “go through to the keeper” [ as us Antipodeans would say ].

So finally we hit the slopes at about 11am.   Rather than drive all the way back to Arabba we stopped at Passo Campolongo which is about halfway between Corvara and Arabba.  I got to try out my new boots too!

Note matching  boot & jacket colour.  Nice eh?

We enjoyed a fabulous day…skiing the strips of man-made snow.   Sure, it’s a little more noisy than powder…but hey….given the choice of hiking or skiing …we’ll take skiing every time.  Here’s some photos from the day.

Tonight we met up with Patsy & Mario for a aperitif at Hotel Malita, a lovely family owned hotel in the centre of town.   Mario is a true local.  Born in the village and one of 12 children – “Delmonego” is a household name in these parts.  Read more about Mario here.   He also spent nearly 10 years working in NZ.   With Patsy his Kiwi wife, there was nothing was lost in translation as we enjoyed the local customary “spritzer“.   We were having such a great time with them, they invited us to their house for dinner.   They live in a separate apartment in a huge farmhouse owned by Mario’s parents who are now in their 80’s.   Mario cooked us up a storm….one of his brothers is the local butcher, another brother is in the Carabinieri (local police), another is a builder….you get the idea.    P & M are excited to have their daughter, Heidi & grandson visiting with them for the next couple of months.    Hopefully we’ll get to meet them too. What a lovely night.   Patsy & Mario have been so welcoming.

Not much rocking required to find sleep tonight…although jetlag still has us awake at 4am for a time.






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