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Cross Country Skiing in Italy Part 1: Trentino / Alto Adige
By:  Linda Payne   (2013/01/18)

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In January 2012 we went on a ski trip to Northern Italy. We skied in Dobbiaco/Toblach for 6 days, dropped into Val di Fassa for the Marcialonga World Loppet, and finally went to Venice to rest up and eat after all that skiing. This is the first in a series, about skiing in Dobbiaco.

Dobbiaco/Toblach is a small town in Northern Italy in the Sud Tyrol, or southern Tyrolean mountains, less than 20 K from the Austrian border. It's double name, Dobbiaco/Toblach is one token of the Italian/German history of the area. Both languages are spoken in the Sud Tyrol and the food is wonderful, there's a choice from a distinctly Tyrolean menu or an Italian (Romantik!) menu in most restaurants. And breakfasts included nice gnarly breads, not just pastries and baguettes. And I still dream of the pizza.

Every year, Dobbiaco hosts World Cup cross country ski racing and Tour de Ski events. We stayed at the Hotel Santer, where I walked from the hotel's wax room into the World Cup stadium in Dobbiaco every day to start a ski that could take me in any direction, on trails of any ability. Some of the trails were named after the daughters of the operators of the hotel, elite skiers who had been on the Italian biathon team, and one of them is married to a Norwegian biathlon hero, Ole Einer Bjoerndalen. Can you guess why we picked the place?

My choice of trails, below included World Cup loops Stephanie, Nathalie, Ole, and Saskia.

We bought a week's Dolomiti Nordic ski pass for 20 Euros and had access to the best groomed trails I've ever seen (outside of Nakkertok). The tracks stayed solid and perfect, day after day, in spite of sunshine that was so warm I could stand around and chat for long periods of time (what a surprise). The snow stayed crisp because of the dry weather and the cold nights. And the sun leaves the steep valleys early every afternoon.

Every ski I always found a place to eat and someone to chat with, even if I just stopped in for a bowl of barley soup at the stadium restaurant.

On one small 10 K loop around a lovely lago (lake), I had my choice of two places for drinks and a meal.

There were some British tourists from West Essex who made the daily slog around the lake every day of their trip for a bit of fresh air between elevenses and luncheon.

Pictured: Luncheon was served with Gluhvein on the sunny patio

I was really interested in the wide assortment of skiers I saw. There were lots of very elderly people in fur hats and coats, all the way to very young people in lycra learning the basics in the stadium.

As a friend of mine is blind and keen to ski, I especially noted the many guides and blind skiers out every day on the tracks. I was able to catch up with these two when they took their skis off to cross a road on one of my regular routes. We chatted and they wanted to know since I was a Canadian did I know Brian McKeever?

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One of the days in Dobbiaco we skied the Cortina to Dobbiaco marathon trail, where Dario Cologna had laid down his majestic gold medal run for the World Cup Tour de Ski only a few weeks earlier. Chris and I and some lovely American tourists that had befriended me took a bus south to Cortina (well, just out side Cortina, as the snow in Cortina was a bit sketchy) and skied back.

This route includes a continuous climb of about 300 metres (and gets many degrees colder) to the site of the old Austrian border where my posse of Americans and I had hot cider. In the former border crossing hut, we met some Australian women who were hopping around Europe doing World Loppets as they went.

One of the days in Dobbiaco we skied the Cortina to Dobbiaco marathon trail, where Dario Cologna had laid down his majestic gold medal run for the World Cup Tour de Ski only a few weeks earlier. Chris and I and some lovely American tourists that had befriended me took a bus south to Cortina (well, just out side Cortina, as the snow in Cortina was a bit sketchy) and skied back.

 

This route includes a continuous climb of about 300 metres (and gets many degrees colder) to the site of the old Austrian border where my posse of Americans and I had hot cider. In the former border crossing hut, we met some Australian women who were hopping around Europe doing World Loppets as they went.

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Along the way the meticulously groomed trail crossed bridges over steep gorges and cut through lit tunnels.

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I crossed this scary bridge without looking down and didn't stop for a long time.



My new American friends, posing for me in front of the Tre Cime had skied the Dolomitenlauf the week before coming down to Alto Adige.

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Again we did not lack for lunch. Eat your heart out Western Cabin!


I am sorry I didn't take a picture of the tracks down the mountainside, absolute perfection, not a wobble anywhere, you could stay in the tracks for miles of downhill. We marvelled as we skied, but really there was no stopping till the bottom.

Another day, Chris and I skied from Dobbiaco to the next town west, Villabassa.


Chris on the way to Villabassa.


On the route to Villabassa I met this lovely German speaking woman who was enjoying the ski as much as I was.

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If we didn't have to return to the real world, we never would have left Dobbiaco.

http://www.hotel-santer.com/de/romantik-hotel-toblach/index.html

http://www.suedtirol.info/en/Destinations--Things-to-do/Winter/Cross-country-skiing/detail/67492276-a364-475f-8040-7feae21f425a/Nordic-Arena-cross-country-skiing-stadium-in-DobbiacoToblach.html

 

 

 


 
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