Yoyo’ing the Marmolada

Well what do you do when you’ve just had new snow and it’s dawned fairly clear and sunny?

Arabba as it should be.
Arabba as it should be.

In Wanaka you ski “the Saddle”at Treble Cone!   Our equivalent in Arabba is the Marmolada glacier at over 3269m metres.

Another freezing day  -9C with windchill again. But we’re pretty sorted with the clothing now and apart from a few cold toes at one point we remained at a perfect temperature all day.   To get to the glacier, we have to ride the cable car out of Arabba, then catch two chairlifts across the high plateau and then down through a steep sided valley to join the three cable car network to the top.   A lovely surprise this morning was being greeted by a fox who decided to try and cross the slope just as we were skiing down. He charged across the slope at lightening speed…only to see Graeme.  Literally skidding to a halt on the snow, he did an emergency “U” turn and headed back in the direction he’d come.  Shame I didn’t have the camera running.

Once at the top and out skiing on the glacier, the wind was blowing the snow so strongly that it was like skiing on shifting desert sand.  You couldn’t seek your skis below you, but just felt your skis sink into the dry chalky snow.  We were one of the first people on the glacier this morning and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.   I didn’t take many photos of skiing today, firstly because I was enjoying the skiing too much, and secondly it was really cold and I didn’t want to remove my mittens.  But I did take a photo of the Lake Fedaia (the Italian Job lake) from a similar spot to a photo I’d taken on 20 December.  It certainly looks a lot more wintery today!

Back down to the bottom of the valley, the crowds have arrived and like sardines we were pushed & prodded into the cable car. It seems that the cars do not leave the valley unless they are at maximum capacity …80 persons.   If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a sardine, or you want to practice for a Tokyo subway experience then this is the ride for you!  Mind you, compared to the rugby scrum approach of the French that we experienced on the Grand Montet cable car… it’s a fairly polite style of pushing with little aggression and a lot of “scusi’s!”

We have figured out a good technique now for this cable car system.  To get to the top of the Marmolada you have to take 3 cable cars one after the other.  So what you do is make sure that you are last in before the doors close on the first car, then you will be first in on the second car, which means that you’ll be again last in on the final car but first out when the doors open.  Got all that?

We lapped the Marmolada three times, which is a very long 3 runs and after lunch we just headed back to the apartment which is a journey in itself.   We were going to stop for a “bombadino” on the way back, but our legs were already “jellied” enough.   We’re actually pretty shattered tonight.  A check of our stats show that we have done three of our biggest days in succession – 7464m on Thursday, 7,494m on Friday and 7,516m today.

Gra was doing his yoga tonight, but well, his eye-lids got a bit heavy at one point….!

I'm just going to do some yoga...
I’m just going to do some yoga…
But I might just have a nap first!!
But I might just have a little nap first!!
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