Caught by the Carabinieri, Sass Pordoi & getting ready for the Frenchies!

Mon Dieu, there’s much to do!   Ha, ha, I’m a french poet and I didn’t know it.

Much excitement.  We pick up, the frenchies, Hubert & Marie tomorrow from Marco Polo Airport, Venice tomorrow afternoon.  Weather forecast looking great!

But first, a little morning exercise with a few laps of the Portovescovo cable car.  Our “local”.  The guys in the operations room are starting to know us now.  I do my best to give them a blinding smile each morning as I pass through the turnstiles.   And this morning they even held the cable car for us as we scuttled in very late.

On the first cable car we happened to be pressing bodily against a trio of carabinieri officers and we noticed that not only were their uniforms marked with the words “Carabinieri” but their skis, too were branded, “Carabinieri”.  I couldn’t help myself…what the heck?   “So you have your own specially branded skis”,  I asked.  As expected their command of English was excellent.  “Yes, signora, Nordica makes them for us”.  “Cool!”, I say.   Then the embarrassing stuff….”Hey guys, we’re from NZ and we’re wondering if we could get a photo of you all with your specially branded skis?”     “No problemo!” came the reply.   “We meet at the top?”     And guess what?   They met two other officers once we alighted the cable-car.  Awesome! Cinque Carabinieri!     I did a good face check and unfortunately only one of the “dreamboats” was present from our earlier run-in with the law!   He’s the tall one to the far right of the photo.   Girls…do a zoom in and you’ll see what I mean.

Rockin' the Carabinieri!
Rockin’ the Carabinieri!
They even have their own brand of Nordica Ski
They even have their own brand of Nordica Ski

What a great start to the morning!  A couple of laps, then to our usual coffee place.  But this morning we were missing the lovely young man who usually makes us our “duo espresso lungi “.   Hopefully he’s just on a break and not gone for the season.

Following a few 900m x 3 leg warmers we made our way west to the Passo Pordoi and caught the cable car to the top of the Sass Pordoi – 2950m.   This is where, if there was more snow, we’d be doing some beginner ski mountaineering with a guide.  Alas, you know how it goes.  Just dust on crust….but the views!   And wait for it, still further above us is the Refugio Cappanna Fassa at 3152 m!

About to board the Sass Pordoi
About to board the Sass Pordoi. Not sure if G is praying or looking at something he dropped?

Coming from NZ, where mountain huts get hit by avalanches and swept down glaciers (Gardiner Hut) or blown off the side of the mountain (Barron Saddle), Gra & I just can’t get our heads around these high alpine huts at over 2500m!   The highest is at 4,500m at Monte Rosa (Mont Blanc) of course.  In NZ, the weather God, Hughie would see all these structures as a personal challenge!  I can hear Hughie now…..”I wonder how far I can blow these puppies into the Pacific Ocean!”

Oh the touring terrain up here.  We’ve even got the “bible” touring guidebook from Francesco Tremolada who lives just over the hill at Corvara. We’ve pored over the pages…but alas at the moment as the photos will attest, just rock everywhere we look.  Oh well….we’ll just enjoy ourselves with another espresso lungi and the breathtaking view.

Just a quick word about the “espresso lungi” .  We both like a “short black” coffee, but of course this order makes absolutely no sense to an Italian, Fodom (local people) or German! However it appears that many English (probably Americans) have got a bit confused before us and have ordered an espresso when actually they are wanting an american drip filter coffee.   Almost every time we order “Duo espresso lungi” we are double checked by the bartender.   “Americano? ”   “Non Americano” is our reply.  “Espresso lungi -stile Italiano, per favore”

So sipping our duo espresso lungi, we soaked in the 360° view and watched the expert flying skills of the chougha.

Then all too soon, it was back to appartmento Oxley for a tidy up.  Washing of towels (in the new Bosch precision washing machine) & tune of our skis for Graeme.  Kitchen and floor duty for me.   And when I mean floor clean –  I mean hands and knees job!   No such thing as a vacuum or mop in Arabba.  I just had broom & pan and soft cloth & bucket.  Good character building stuff!  Can you hear me beating my chest now?

But mentioning skis…reminds me. Graeme nearly didn’t have any skis today or tomorrow or the next day!.  He forgot to tie them on the roof racks!  Good thing our first turn in the car this morning was a left one, which sent his skis skidding across the top of the roof racks to rest against mine, (that I did remember to tie down).  We knew immediately, because, of course we saw them slide gracefully across the roof bars through the glass roof of our car!  I knew that car feature would come in handy one day!     To be fair, G did get a bit distracted by Gabi. our landlady who came out to greet us with extra linen for Hubert & Marie.  But it was a close thing.  I can’t even begin to imagine the tears if he’d lost the beloved Dynastar Cham’s!!

How did my skis get over there??

Parking in the carpark, my Viber rang.  Chris Riley.  We’ve been having some fun viber conversations back and forth early mornings our time with Chris.   He has his own Viber dialect and it’s often fun if a little tricky to interpret, but today we spoke to the man himself which was lovely.  But the weather has also gone awry in our home town of Wanaka!  It’s easy for us to sit back and have another espresso lungi when the weather is not exactly delivering the results we want.  It’s an altogether different situation when your livelihood is dependent on the weather.  As requested..we had a magnificent first four turns and dedicated them to Chris and Lee this morning and we are looking forward to more than four turns with them at Treble Cone come July this year.