Big bad boulders and Chasing Chamois

It only snowed about 5 – 10 cm last night. Not quite enough to cover previous tracks or bushes and boulders off piste.    Not that we’re complaining…we’ll take anything that the Snow Gods will gift us.

It’s a little foggy today but the visibility is not too bad.  We’re heading into a cirque called Forfesc which can be accessed initially from one of the Arabba runs.  We are using our “Free-riding in the Dolomites” guidebook today and Graeme liked the look of the Forfesc because you could basically lap the lower part without having to skin.

Alas…there really wasn’t enough snow.   There was only the barest base prior to last week’s dump of snow and while she looked white and pretty like a high fashion model…when we delved deeper it was all fluff.   Initially we followed some nearby tracks down through the bushes and boulders without much harm, but without really getting any linked turns in.   So next trip around we pulled out earlier and headed down a steeper section to the side of the cirque.  There looked to be a enough snow!   But as I made my turns down the slope I could hear little “snicks” as I bounced over boulders.   I’m fairly light so no damage done, but with the combination of the telemark turn pressure into the snow and Gra’s weight, he really suffered on the way down.  Here’s the clip.   Fortunately, the lower part of the run was slightly better than the first and there were no rocks.

Gra didn’t want to give up, so for the third and final time, we donned our skins and headed up higher into the bowl.  Definitely a lot more snow and a good pitch but we had to put in a seriously deep skin track to get up to the last bench before the steep rock cliffs where you’d need crampons and ice-axes.  After a few nice turns, we avoided the asteroid field on the lower part of the hill and took a snow-covered access road down to the main road taking off our skis to cross the road and join the main skiing run below.    Gra conceded that maybe we’ll leave another visit to the Forfesc until there’s some more snow…..good idea I reckon!

The big “G” needed a beer at lunch.  He’s just seen the bottom of his skis!   Oh dear!  Fortunately there is a ski service man called Nico in Arabba, so hopefully he’ll be able to perform miracles.

After lunch we did a ski tour that I had my eye on.   From Passo Pordoi, it’s an easy skin on a gently graded summer pathway to a WW1 cemetary  and then a ski down the grassy meadows and through the forest back down to the main road.   There was some nice open meadows and even room enough through the trees as we wound our way down to the stream and road below. Not a single “snick” to be heard …..”just saying….!”

Here’s a little clip...I edited the end, because G was getting cross at me because I didn’t follow his instructions and cross the gut below him.  I just couldn’t get my skis to turn fast enough and I just about lost it.   If anyone knows our favourite saying and hand signal for …”you just don’t !*@$%! listen, you will know why I trimmed the clip!

The forest was alive as we skied through.  A couple of herds of deer took flight and lastly a pair of chamois made a dash for it.  We were quite close to them but not quick enough with the camera.   What a fun ski tour…..we may do this one again tomorrow.  See what else we can scare out of the forest.  So far we’ve seen a fox, deer and chamois.

Suitably exhausted tonight.   To bed early again for another day hiking the hills.  On the hunt for North facing meadows above 2000m.  It will be interesting to see how we go.

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