Heated seats and Yaks!

Today was a foggy one in Arabba.  Not a touring day on our side of the hill unfortunately. We absolutely need to see where we are going as there are still many “snow-snakes” lurking under the thin snowpack, not to mention a few pesky 50m cliff bands that are best avoided!

It’s hard to imagine, but we still have new lifts and runs to tick off our list even in our own little neighbourhood more than 70 days after getting here.  Today we did a run down to the village of Canazai in the Val di Fassa. There’s some “fine print” on this run to the valley floor that we obviously missed….the run ends a long way short of the gondola going back up the mountain.  This must be a major concern to our Italian friends, who after purchasing a lift ticket…do not walk…under any circumstances…ever!!

What?  We won't walk will we?
What? We won’t walk will we?

Surprisingly, this side of the Sellaronda was bathed in sunshine this morning, although it’s cold at the top …-8C.   Whilst sipping on our espresso lungi’s down in the valley, a shark came to the counter….well a strange fellow wearing a shark costume.  Huh???   I surreptitiously snapped off a photo, while trying to figure out why you would be skiing in a shark costume???   It’s not closing day in the Dolomiti??   After finishing our coffee we went outside to find a table of gentlemen dressed in full neoprene wetsuits with snorkels and masks fraternising with shark man!   Okay…way too much for my curiosity.  I asked for a photo and found out that this group were from Manchester, England.   I asked them why they were all dressed in wetsuits and sea costumes?  And..their answer?   “Because it’s Thursday!”   Of course!  How silly of me not to know that Thursday is officially “dress up as a marine creature day??”   WT….??     I tried to get a little more information from these guys but they weren’t that forthcoming…I think I needed to be younger, blonder and be wearing a tighter ski-suit to have gained their full attention!

Back up again from Canazai, we have been on the hunt this morning for good off-piste, lift accessed runs.  We’ve got a couple of runs lined up in Arabba for the next snow-fall, but we thought we also might look a little further afield.  But as you all know, research is hungry work and we headed to Refugio Federico Augusto for lunch.    This is the place with the big wooden cow sculpture out the front.  We’ve been by this Rifugio twice now, but today we learnt that the steer is not a cattle beast at all but rather it’s a Yak.   The restaurant has several live yaks living in their backyard.

We were treated to our best meal on the mountain to date.  This restaurant is absolutely charming and deservedly very busy.  Graeme was enthusiastic about the sled in their yard and wanted to get a photo in it.  He had to scare away several children who were playing on the sled with his best creepy Uncle Fester laugh so I could get a photo of him!

Graeme and his sled
Graeme and his sled

After lunch, more new runs and lifts!  And as rated by Graeme, the best thing today was a ride on the newest chairlift on the Sellaronda – an 8 seater with heated leather seats and tinted bubble hood.  I’ll let Graeme explain.

8 heated seats!
8 heated seats!

Apparently this chairlift is even better than the Sponge Bob Square Pants snow sculpture!

Home to Arabba and up to the Refugio Plan Boe to catch up with John.  He will be leaving Arabba on Saturday and we can’t thank him enough for recommending such a great place to spend the winter.  He seriously is the hardest core skier we know.  I think he has skied every day for 2 months.   He puts the Oxley “latte skiers” to shame.   Patsy, Heidi and Austin were there too and it was lovely to have a quick catch up with them too.

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