Ok, we’ve given each other a stern talking to. Apologies to anyone reading this at the completely self indulgent “dummy spit” moments over the last couple of days.
There are 12 “areas” of the Dolomiti, with pistes totalling over 1200kms and 450 lifts. The vastness of the total area is really hard to get your head around. I have started to refer to it as the Dolomiti “Universe” with the various ski areas as “Planets” as we continue our inter-galactic tour of Dolomiti Universe. So far we have sat in , on, or held between our legs, 179 of the 450 lifts, skied 447km of piste for a vertical drop of 84,000m in 19 days. Aaah don’t you just love the stats! I have a the “Dolomiti App” on my phone that, like a “fitbit”, tells me that I am achieving a high “wellness” factor when we ski over 20km. Luckily for us, the app doesn’t balance this against our calorific intake at morning tea, lunch and apres-ski! 😉
We didn’t rush this morning, but made a leisurely start, driving down the valley to yet another area of the Dolomiti called Civetta. To access this area, we catch a gondola from a lovely scenic lake-side town called Alleghe. From the amount of summer detritus left on the shoreline, paddleboards, water-bikes and the like, Alleghe is presumably a busy summer destination too. But at the moment, the entire lake is almost entirely frozen over.
As we’ve found with the other small planets in this universe, Civetta was a little less busy, the lifts older and less schmick…. and the people more friendly. It is also very noticeable that we are on the Italian-side of the Dolomiti. Very few German signs visible and we hardly heard a word of German spoken all day. It is getting very repetitive to say the scenery was spectacular….but well it was. Civetta’s point of difference is that almost all it’s runs are in the forest. Sitting in a true mountain cirque with three 3000+m citadels towering above us, we are predicting that this area could be a really good place to head if visibility is ever an issue in Arabba.
It was really cold by the end of the day and we stopped for a last coffee at a little slope side hut. The converted Suzuki car had caught Gra’s eye on the way up.
As we sipped our warm drinks, a lady on the next table complemented me on my purple ski jacket. “Mi dispiace, posso solo parlare un po ‘italiano” … my standard phrase….and of course she switched to perfect English. Lorenza and Paolo were here for their holidays and had been for a lovely hike today in the sunshine and like us they were just having their last warm drink before heading down to the valley. Lorenza works for a delegation to the EU in Brussels and Paolo lives on the high plains to the east of Milan. Both areas suffer from the heavy winter inversion fogs and pollution, so despite the cold, they were loving the endless sun of the Dolomiti. It was such a shame we didn’t meet this delightful couple at lunch when we would have had more time to talk. But it was getting dark and both of us needed to make sure we didn’t miss our last lifts.
Back down in the valley with ski boots off, we walked along the lake edge, to see some adventurous skiers playing around on the thick ice near the shore. And then off in the distance we saw someone properly ice-skating. I had to go and get my glasses to double check. Sure enough, away off in the distance was a skater zipping along in the middle of the lake right along of the edge of the frozen water? We couldn’t work this out? Surely the ice wasn’t thick enough? There were swans gliding beside him on the open water. This is one mystery we’ll need to solve.