Ski Touring and Mountaneering
Ski mountaneering is a valid alternative to the busy pists in peak periods and it is also the best manner of discovering high valleys and incredible sceneries with very little crowd or total isolation.
There are day trips for all skills and also the possibility to have exciting multiday trips with the possibility of never touching valley towns, this allowed by spending nights in high alpine huts.
Clearly, ski mountaneering and ski touring are very dependant of climate conditions. The winter in the Dolomites provides usually lots of snow that can result unstable in some periods, with consequent high risk of avalanches. This is not to be underevaluated as the quantity of snow, the steepness of the mountains thus the risk associated is considerabily higher than what is usually present in the UK or other European mountain regions.
Please be aware that avalanche rescue kit (transiever, pole and shovel) are a must and that the new Italian law punishes economically (£5k circa per person) and penally (up to X months reclusion) the causing of avalanches, especially if they can endanger other people or they cause health damage to people not involved in risky sports.
Even without going towards risk and extremism the valley offers plenty of safe trips, some of them doable even without the avalanche kit (I advise having it anyway and anywhere!). It follows a list of day (or half a day) trips that are certainly worth to be explored and are considered 100% safe (mainly in the wood or without high snow accumulation):
- Val S.Nicolo’ up to the Ciampie’ hut or even to the frozen waterfalls
- Val Monzoni up to Malga Monzoni or to Vallaccia hut
- Val Duron, potentially continuing towards Sasso Piatto hut
- Lagusel, crossing val Monzoni and S.Nicolo’
There is a local guidebook in the apartment, written in both Italian and English languages, providing all kind of day trips suitable for different experiences – from begineers skiers at the first trip to expert mountaneers able to climb and descend steep faces (often requiring use of extra climbing gear such as ropes, crampons etc…). The trips are described, pictured, mapped and rated in terms of technical grade for the ascent and descent, power and stamina required, avalanche risk grade etc…
At my current knowledge, there is only one shop renting skimountaneering skis and boots in all sizes: “La Zondra” in Canazei (just passed the main lift “Belvedere” on the left hand side). Another shop in Campitello (going uphill towards Val Duron, keep the river on the left and it is just after the pastisserie “Marlene”on the right) has some equipment for rental but not all the boot sizes.
Competitions are not missing, among which the famous “Ski Marathon” which includes the Sellaronda tour (4 passes and 4 valleys, famous using lifts uphill). This ski mountaneering marathon is usually held at the beginning of March and it is a night race. Best skiers achieve the entire tour in just over 3 hours (4 hours are usually necessary in downhill alpine skiing on a normal day!!).
For more information and pictures on single trips, please browse the website left menu and search in the uploaded articles.