Italian Whitewash

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Spring in the Dolomites

 

 Where’s the snow?

 

I’m fortunate these days to live within driving distance of world class skiing.  I can pick and choose when I go to maximize the chance of great snow, and I’ve been blessed with monster powder days over the years because of this.  This however hasn’t always been the case.  Growing up in England skiing was a vacation: a week skiing in a resort planned ahead of time.  The snow conditions were a lottery.

My second such trip was a school trip to Claviere in the Italian alps.  A smaller resort, not well known and on this particular spring ski trip, not much snow either.  In fact it was a stretch to describe the material which graced the mountainside as snow; more like many times re-frozen slush.  As a skier or boarder there isn’t a much worse feeling than looking out from the lift over a mountain largely covered with grass, shrubs and rocks where the runs should be, but this is what we had.

 

The sleepy little resort of Claviere (imagine this with no snow!)

 

This lasted for two days, skiing as best we could from slush patch to slush patch but then on night two a miracle happened.  It started to snow!  And not just snow, but really snow!  By the end of the third day of a six day trip we had 100% coverage and it just got deeper and deeper.  This was really my first experience with deep powder as most resorts in Europe groom as much terrain as possible L  The good news was Claviere only had 2 piste groomers and there was no chance of them keeping up with the snowfall.

I have little recollection of how the bus got us out of there at the end of the week given the snowfall; I was probably too tired and happy from the first real experience of full on powder.