La Sportiva Part 2 — Ski Tour Dolomite


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 6, 2015      
Sandro De Zolt – La Sportiva tester and ski boots developer, he grew up just across the valley in a house we could see from here.

My guide for the day, Sandro De Zolt – La Sportiva tester and ski boots developer, he grew up just across the valley in a house we could see from here. Beyond that is the Mulaz (to left of big spike, which I think is Pale de San Martino) and other famous peaks. I had a little journey on the Mulaz a few years ago.

Young, enthusiastic, third generation. That describes the team at La Sportiva, thinking up their climbing and ski gear products for the future. They know weight is key, colors should be Italian, and ski tours should be common. That’s why product designer-tester Sandro De Zolt could take the day off and host yours truly on a little jaunt up and down a Dolomite satellite peak — while wearing bright green sunglasses and sporting polka dot ski poles. I’d requested a “moderate tour with a view.” Sandro did not disappoint, and he did bring some test gear (thought I’d add that, to be sure his boss is happy.)

While the usual Euro approach included a flatland trail (I’d also requested NO CABLE), I welcomed the warmup. Trees blocked the view for a while, but we soon broke out into a beautiful vista of the Pale de San Martino, one of the classic Dolomite pinnacle formations you might see on postcards.

Sandro made some ski shots of me actually skiing in the Dolomite.  II did a little Pshop on it so I had a ski partner.

Sandro made some ski shots of me actually skiing in the Dolomite. I did a little Pshop on it so I had a ski partner.

Gear made the approach easier. Per current trends I sported a set of 100% mohair skins (Kohla, branded by La Sportiva) that felt slick and glidy. When you’ve got some flat walking to do, only perfect nordic wax is better than goat fur. (I should mention that these Kohla skins had their regular style ultra-sticky glue rather than the “Vacuum” product we’ve found to be unacceptable at colder temperatures.)

Along the way, we passed a sobering memorial to a group of 17 to 20-year-olds who had died in a tunnel collapse while building the hydro power dam in the valley below. Things can have a cost beyond money. Seeing this sort of stuff on a ski tour need not bring the day down, but it’s sobering. I like to remember guys like that by paying more attention than I perhaps otherwise would. Attention to the glory of the day, and also attention to safety issues.

Sandro skiing, Dolomite.

Sandro skiing, Dolomite, on Mount Colbricom.

The climb was about 3,000 vert. A section of steep endless switchbacks through alders gave honor to you Northwest U.S. skiers, though these were trees you could sort of ski through rather than on top of. The small summit probably doesn’t even register on any core Dolomite ski mountaineers radar, but I found it plenty intimidating when I shook hands with Sandro over an El Capitan scale wall. Steeper skiing off the summit was hacked up by others, with some hard snow and soft chop. So I did some side slipping while Sandro aced it in three turns. Better to be careful then take a tumble. In the Dolomite you never know when a 3,000 foot cliff is just around the corner.

Your friendly blogger giving a nod to my hosts.

Your friendly blogger giving a nod to my hosts. La Sportiva yellow-black color scheme is their trademark. I heard that back in 1949 company founder Narciso Dalladio put a stipulation in his will that there would always be yellow and black at La Sportiva, forever, till the end of time. Go ahead and ask about the ski poles, perhaps an insider preview of the 2017 color story, but where is the yellow?

By early afternoon we were at a table eating an antipasto of local cheese and prosciutto, enhanced by a small bowl of giardiniera (pickled vegetables) and a crisp local lager. I passed on the grappa dispenser, but noticed it was getting well used. This was my fourth time skiing in the Dolomite–I’d like to make it 40 more. Again, quite possibly the most beautiful mountains in the world, and if not number one, for sure the most accessible in the pagent.

I borrowed a pair of fairly short La Sportiva GT 2.0, their new lighter version of the now venerable GT. They felt buttery in the ankle-deep, I was too intimidated while getting off the summit to give them much of a real test on the tiny bit of steeper terrain we had.

I borrowed a pair of fairly short La Sportiva GT 2.0, their new lighter version of the now venerable GT. They felt buttery in the ankle-deep, I was too intimidated while getting off the summit (not a big deal, just a case of ‘travel legs’) to give them much of a real test on the tiny bit of steeper terrain we had.



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Comments

7 Responses to “La Sportiva Part 2 — Ski Tour Dolomite”

  1. Charlie Hagedorn February 6th, 2015 2:04 pm

    Glad to hear tales of alder-bashing brethren on the other side of the pond!

  2. Scott Nelson February 6th, 2015 7:04 pm

    Snow looks a lot better than here. Nice views.

  3. kyle tyler February 6th, 2015 8:05 pm

    yea—come to vermont—-we got a good winter ! ps– need some one to talk to my wood pile—-I enjoy reading what you folks do while having the AM coffee–

  4. kyle tyler February 6th, 2015 8:28 pm

    just gotta tell you all—how often does a Clipper type Low blow threw New England to only stall and lets that frontal boundry bring several pieces of energy up and over us “” just to the East “” starting Sunday. That is the projected possible forecast–BUT—36″ in last ten days–26″ last four days with temps at High of 5 & Low of – 18. @ 6 to 7 % snow—SO ! -looking for that Clipper to stop over head on Sunday and put down who knows how much till some time late Monday if not even Tuesday. That snow will sit on 7″ plus we will pick up from Sat to Sun AM. I know you folks get the snow but just gotta say we got ourselves a good winter—need some one to have a long talk with my wood pile !

  5. Craig February 9th, 2015 12:44 pm

    I have an older pair of Rottefella hot chili’s. The cables and springs are pretty shot; one side is missing the metal hook that connects it to the toe plate. Any chance of getting replacement cables? The bail for the back of the boot is fine too.

    If not, what is a not too expensive replacement for a pair of scarpa t-2s and atomic beta carve skis, 170 pound intermediate teleskier?

    Thanks

  6. Ryan Bressler February 10th, 2015 11:13 am

    Speaking of la sportiva, any thoughts/experience with the syborg as a general touring boot?

    There isn’t much information on them on the web and curious how fat of a ski they can drive. One review says they are about as stiff as the sideral but there isn’t much info on those out there either.

  7. Al Olby February 18th, 2015 1:25 pm

    Ryan, note sure I can answer your question on how much ski Syborgs can drive, but I’ve been using the boot for a few weeks now and am really impressed. I’ve only used them on Movement Fish X rando race skis, but the lateral stiffness is excellent, lulling me into railing turns which I’d previously washed out on (and putting a huge grin on my face).

    Stiffness-wise I’m comparing them with Dynafit Zzero4, TLT5 and Scarpa Alien 1.0. For lateral stiffness my impression is they’re every bit as good as all these boots, if not better (possibly due to excellent fit for my feet). For forward flex they feel more progressive than the Dynafits (which for me feel more abrupt), and are about the same as the Alien 1.0s.

    You can boost the forward support by adding the supplied power strap, but I find the boot is perfect as is. I’d be perfectly happy using it on my 82mm waist touring skis, and they’d probably be fine with something bigger, particularly in softer snow. Not sure how they’d cope with a 100mm+ ski on refrozen crud – probably be a handful – but in pow they’d most likely be fine.

    Note I’m 154 lbs and 5’11” so am a lightweight compared to some. Stronger, heavier folk may not share my opinion.

    Other impressions: heel hold is outstanding. I barely even need to use the lower buckle. The black rubber on the soles is nice and grippy: I feel more secure on rock/tarmac in the Syborg than in many other boots I’ve had. We’ll see how well it wears, but there’s lots of tread depth. The walk/ski mode buckle works perfectly, and the multiple tabs for attaching the cord to close the boot are ingenious: it’s so easy to adjust the tightness.

    Overall I’m super impressed with the Syborgs: they fit me better than other brands, climb as well as the Alien 1.0 (though are a tad heavier) and rip on the down – at least for my skinny frame (grin).





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