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Backcountry skiing opening season at La Vetricia

the off-piste skiing season starts early this year

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The backcountry, off-piste skiing season started early this year when this Saturday at least 60 – 70 cm of snow fell at the Refuge Giovanni Santi (1345m) in La Vetricia (just above Renaio) and between 1,20 – 1,30 cm on the top of nearby Monte Omo.

The early and heavy snow fall during the previous day have meant that a lot of snow was now on the ground and so without remove the summer dust from our skis, we’ve drove up to Naik and Elisabetta’s refuge to spend the night.

All the night long the snow fall and wind never stopped. In the morning, after a good breakfast, Naik, Oriano and I climbed until to reach the nuda, where the wood ends, along the Lago Santo summer trail.

Going uphill on alpine touring skis requires the use of climbing skins (nylon strips that attach to the base of the skis). There are three types of climbing skins material:

Synthetic (nylon) skins offer the best durability and climbing ability and even have good glide. These are the most popular choice for variable snow conditions and for most backcountry users.

Mohair is a little lighter than nylon, has good durability and climbing ability and offers the best glide. Good in dry, light snow conditions.

Polyurethane is durable, low-maintenance, absorbs no water and has no adhesive to be contaminated by snow or moisture.

Above us the visibility was really bad, impossible to follow.

We took off the skins from our skis and locking the ski boots we skied down on the north face slope towards Capo Corsonna and here it was like a dream: knee deep snow spraying in your face to take your breath away.

The wind had died down and all the beech trees were white, leaving a low light filtering through the trees creating a very particular atmosphere. Was it really the 23rd of November?

At the end of the descent, on the road goes to Passo del Saltello, we put back onto the skins and arrived back to the refuge, very hungry but happy.

Backcountry skiing, also called off-piste skiing, is skiing in the backcountry on ungroomed and unmarked slopes or pistes, including skiing in unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside of a ski resort’s boundaries, sometimes in the woods. Unlike groomed cross-country and alpine skiing, the land and the snow pack are not monitored, patrolled, or maintained.

Article by Stefano Elmi

Sabato 23 novembre con almeno 60/70 cm di neve al rifugio Giovanni Santi (1345m) a La Vetricia e circa 1,20/1,30 cm sulla vetta del Monte Omo, la stagione per gli appassionati di sci alpinismo è iniziata alla grande.

La grande nevicata dei giorni scorsi ha fatto salire rapidamente il manto nevoso in poche ore. Così venerdì sera, senza togliere neanche la polvere dagli sci, gli abbiamo caricati in macchina e ci siamo diretti al rifugio gestito da Naik e Elisabetta, per passare la nottata.

Durante tutta la notte la bufera di neve e vento non ha cessato un minuto. Sabato mattina, dopo esserci svegliati e fatto colazione, Naik, Oriano ed il sottoscritto siamo saliti fin dove finisce il bosco ed inizia la nuda, sul sentiero che porta al Lago Santo. Oltre la visibilità era veramente pessima e senza punti di riferimento. Tolte le pelli e stretti gli scarponi siamo scesi lungo il pendio girato a nord che arriva a Capo Corsonna. E qui veramente sembrava di sognare: neve alle ginocchia e spruzzi in faccia da toglierti il respiro, il vento cessava e i faggi coi loro tronchi bianchissimi, lasciavano filtrare poca luce che creava un atmosfera tutta particolare. Ma davvero è il 23 Novembre?
Arrivati sulla strada che porta al Passo del Saltello abbiamo rimontato le pelli e siamo rientrati al rifugio affamatissimi ma contenti.

Article by Stefano Elmi

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