San Pellegrino…but where’s the water?

Today we circled the Marmolada by car, going to a little valley on it’s southern flanks called Passo San Pellegrino (E pink circle) and Alpe Lusia (SW pink circle).  Road trip in red & Arabba is the red dot.


It took us about an hour.  Partly because we were stuck behind a campervan…same rules apply as in NZ.  Big G performed his first overtaking manoeuvre today!

I was disappointed to learn that this San Pellegrino is not where the famous brand of mineral water is sourced, however we weren’t disappointed with the skiing.  While it’s sunny, the strong and cold north wind is still blowing.  We thought the first cable-car ride  might be a tad exciting as huge gusts of wind hurtled down the mountain.  But they were running the car very slowly and there was not even a bounce.   However we were totally blasted when we got to the top.

Due to the wind, none of the lifts on this side of the valley were open, so there was only one way down.  A new black run they’ve put in this year.  It had very good snow and we enjoyed the first run so much we did it 3 times in total.  Here’s a little clip and our commentary from a couple of the runs.  I think one of the extraordinary things you have to understand ….there’s not a real snowflake to be had in the Dolomiti (except for perhaps at over 3000m on the Marmolada glacier)…. and yet, in a total of 15 days we have skiied !    We also think that during this busy period, finding resorts away from the Sellaronda area (which Arabba is part of) is not a bad idea.  The roads are actually not that busy and today in these small resorts we’ve not had to wait in a queue once.

We then headed over to the sunny side of the valley which was very much a beginner area.  We just ticked of the lift numbers and found a lovely place for lunch.  Alas, despite the healthy options available we succumbed to pizza and hot chips.  Soup & salad for dinner tonight!   Again in contrast to yesterday, while this Refugio was self-service, it was family run and they really had their systems sorted.  You ordered your pizza at corner of the servery and it was cooked fresh for you in a proper wood fired pizza – same even with the chips.  Not a heated glass food cabinet in sight.  The interior was very quaint as well.

Italians are a funny bunch.  They really don’t get uptight about chaos.  Leaving the restaurant after lunch we had pick our way through a complete jumble of skis left at the front door.  We were thankful that we had been diligent and hung ours up in the racks.  There were several people searching for their equipment amongst the huge mess of skis and poles.

Down to the valley again, we jumped in the car and headed further down the road to another resort called San Lusia.  This resort had some seriously steep terrain, but being mainly in the shade, the snow was holding up well even late in the afternoon.   We did choose one bad red run, that had been in the sun and the wind had polished to an ice-skating rink consistency.  I am such a whimp on ice!  I pretty much side-slipped the whole run…a bit embarrassing really.  One day I might bother to learn to use my edges!   Graeme just let his skis run to try & get off the run as quickly as possible.   After that survival ski, we knocked off another 4 runs including the black run back to the car in the valley floor.  I think we’ve finally started to get some ski fitness into the legs.  It was the last run for the day and we weren’t completely wrecked as we were a couple of weeks ago.

Continuing my search of horrendous piste fashion statements, in the shop windows at the Alpe Lusia gondola station were some excellent contenders.  I am seriously looking for a second hand ski clothing store! It’s time to update my TC closing day outfit!


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