Catching up with old friends

Fantastic day today, catching up with Jane Scheer – a friend from university days. When I do the math – that is 32 years ago…..OMG!  I am officially old!

Funny thing about old age!  I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 18 and met Jane during the Monash University Orientation week.  And while I’m sure we have some stiffer joints and a few more wrinkles, I do know that we’re wiser than we were in our late teens! Unsurprisingly, there was no lag in our conversation from the moment of meeting up this morning.  It seems like we just picked up our conversation where we left off when we last saw each other 10 years ago.

Jane still has an oversupply of energy.  She has been in Europe since early February for cross country ski training and competing in a number of Loppet’s  [ marathon 42km XC ski races. ]    She is currently training at Dobbiaco which is about 1.5 hrs drive from Arabba, near Cortina.   Jane is no slouch at her racing.  In her most recent race yesterday, she came 5th in her age group and 14th woman home overall out of a field of over 100 female competitors.   Remembering that this is Europe and the standard of competition is much higher than in Australia or NZ – this result is very impressive.

We organised to meet Jane at Passo Falzarego to do the Lagazuoi run and Horselift.   She was appreciative of a quiet day given her exertion in the race the day before.  And after our fateful “walk in the woods” we were also looking forward to a cruisey day.

The sunny weather is back with very warm temperatures predicted over the coming week.  Unfortunately, all our new snow will rapidly start to fade away.  But it’s hard to be grumpy about gorgeous sunny weather and we enjoyed the stunning views from the top.  Jane was particularly impressed.  This time we took a walk up to the very top of the Lagazuoi above the cable-car and rifugio.  To get to the top, you cross a fairly narrow ridge-line.  And we both commented that in Australia and NZ, there would be guard rails and warning signs everywhere.  Nope, in Italy…there is still no “nanna state”!  It’s so refreshing.  People in Italy take responsibility for their own actions.  It’s a real shame that Australia and NZ seem to keep moving closer and closer to the US and UK blame culture which sees every bit of adventure regulated to such an extent that there ceases to be any adventure left….!   Sorry…a bit of a rant there.

Climbing to the top of the Lagazuoi
Climbing to the top of the Lagazuoi

The Lagazuoi is truly a great day tour and is a “must-do” for anyone skiing in the Dolomiti.  Gra has done it 3 times and me, twice.  But it has been different each time, and the horselift at the end is such a surprise for our guests.

Being “old hands” now, we made sure we had a table booked at Rifugio Scotoni, our favourite place for lunch half way down.  It didn’t disappoint.  Huge tomahawk steaks cooking away on the indoor grill [ which we didn’t order] and lovely home-made pastas and salads [which we did order]!   On our way out, I noticed for the first time that the Rifugio keeps quite a menagerie of animals.  Alpacas and pigs lay about in a fenced farm pen.  I can’t recall them being there the last time I visited.  But it’s much warmer in the valley now with the sun higher in the sky.  Perhaps they only bring them up to the Refuge when the weather is warmer?

And lastly, of course – the horselift.  Jane is a keen horse-woman and has 3 of her own horses at her farm in Jindabyne, Australia and she loved the concept of a horse-powered ski lift.

Jane is “on the couch” tonight with us in Arabba as the other Dolomiti classic tours to “tick off her list” is the Sellaronda and Marmolada.   Both can be done in a day as we know from our trip with H&M but it’s a big day out.  Not to worry! Jane is up to the task!  As well as being a champion XC skier, she’s also a level 3 telemark instructor and a strong alpine skier ….sickeningly overqualified!   Looks like I’ll be dragging the chain at the back again!!

We whiled away the evening with stories about her family, her partner Geoff and eight year old son, Flynn who also love skiing, mountain biking and horse-riding.  Funny about that!?   Geoff and Flynn had to return to Australia at the beginning of February for Flynn to start school, but Jane is staying on for another couple of weeks to compete in a few more races.   I am trying hard to convince her to come and do the Merino Muster at the Snow Farm in Wanaka now it is a qualified Loppet race, but unfortunately it clashes with inter-school racing that Flynn is involved in back Australia.

Tonight, Graeme has found a new friend to watch Biathlon with.  Since our visit to a World Cup biathlon event last month, he’s become obsessed and has subscribed to the Youtube channel to watch all the races.   I left the two of them on the couch, totally absorbed in a Women’s sprint race as I crawled into bed for an early night.   We have to be on the first cable-car out of Arabba in the morning if we want enough time to ski the Marmolada glacier and the Sellaronda. Wish my legs good luck..they’re going to take a hammering tomorrow!





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