Euro TR – Cristallo Scharte – Dolomite


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 10, 2011      

Hi folks. I’m currrently in Montebelluna, Italy, after a couple of tough but fun days on Dolomite snow. Montebelluna is where most of the world’s ski boots are made, or at least that’s the word. So over the next few days I hope to do some blogging about boot making.

Backcountry skiing the Dolomites.

The mission for this past Saturday. Find snow, ski it. Preferably in Dolomites as doing so got us to a region with better snowpack, and also got me down south here so I could continue to Montebelluna on Sunday afternoon. This photo is from the Cristallo-Scharte, one of the classics of Dolomite ski touring. Click image to enlarge.

I use the word “tough” because the ski tours we’re doing are not hit by huge numbers this time of year — reason being they get icy, have thin snow that doesn’t smooth terrain features such as rocks and steps, and ingress/egress can sometimes be a bit unpleasant if it involves bushwacking. They’re also tough for your intrepid Euro tourist because I’m feeling a bit worked from all the traveling, different food, and that sort of thing. This is a common syndrome for myself and many other soujourners; when the adrenalin and excitement wear off, you start to notice your stomach.

Loading car for ski mountaineering.

Fritz packs three people's stuff in his tiny Skoda. It wasn't exactly roomy in there. Lots of folks around here use rooftop boxes on their little Euro cars. The Skoda would look so bad with a box, I'm glad it doesn't have perched up there. Indeed, one wonders how they hold up to 110 mph on an autobahn.

At any rate, we left Bad Haering on Friday evening, with Fritz at the wheel of his Skoda, making the incredibly curvy European mountain roads scream in submission. His words: “I’m lucky I was driving, otherwise I would have gotten sick.” Um, thanks Fritz for that observation.

Brenner pass tunnel

For those of you who've driven around here, this is the tunnel getting you out of Innsbruck area and up towards Brenner Pass, where suddenly, you're of course in Italy.

Cristallo Dolomite

Cristallo Dolomite

Guidebook shopping link.

European backcountry skiing.

Crux of the route was this couloir. With more snow it gets filled in and smoothed off. Instead, I thought it was pretty gnarly to get down, after Fritz and Riki sideslipped all the loose snow off and left a nice surface of white ice with friendly bulges of water ice here and there. Kinda wish I'd had my boot crampons.

Fritz and Riki at our highpoint.

Fritz and Riki at our highpoint, about 4,300 vertical feet above our start. No peak as a goal for this tour, just a saddle, but anything around here is spectacular as a destination. Oh, and why not more scenic photos? Heavy clouds and some whiteout all day long.

Strudel

Now, loyal readers, I know we've not been guessing that pastry. Indeed, unless in Vienna or something like that the variety of pastries we've covered over past years pretty much covers most of what I see during our normal ski travels. However, my Italian host has told me that Italy has a much better variety of pastries than even Vienna. I find that hard to believe, but will research over next few days.



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Comments

6 Responses to “Euro TR – Cristallo Scharte – Dolomite”

  1. Lenka K. January 10th, 2011 5:31 am

    Hi Lou,

    Cristallo Scharte is a fun tour, hope you had good snow!

    Next time you’re in the area, ask the guys to take you to Forcella Staunies (you can probably make it out in your guidebook picture, it’s the third gully to the right (W) of Cristallo Scharte, the one with the hut at the top), a good introduction to Dolomites “couloir-skiing” with a 40-45-degree entry followed by fairly mellow & not overly exposed 35-degree skiing. It gets tracked over quickly when the lift on the Cortina side operates, but it’s still worth doing.

    Have fun in Europe and try to do as much skiing in Italy as you can, the situation north of the Alps is not getting any better, quite the opposite!

    Lenka K.

  2. Lou January 10th, 2011 5:44 am

    Hello Lenka, no more skiing for a few days, have to see how boots are made! Soon I’ll be north again, unfortunately where there is less snow, but getting the Dynafit information which will be good.

  3. Brian January 10th, 2011 11:26 am

    Bring on the pastries!

  4. Mark W January 10th, 2011 11:39 am

    All hail, Cap’n Strudel! Man, that guidebook shot got me drooling–and wishing to add it to my bookshelf. Thanks for another cool eurotour report.

  5. Mark W January 10th, 2011 11:41 am

    Lou, if you look around, you’ll likely see certain Skodas that look just like older model Volkswagens. They are rebadged VWs. Volkswagen owns Skoda.

  6. Silas Wild January 10th, 2011 8:55 pm

    Tofane, Cristallo Scharte, good gawd you are one lucky bugger. Better buy a lottery ticket right away!

    Montebelluna, send restaurant recommendations! Waiting patiently for photos of Mr TLT5, how about a ski tour with him?

    At least we are enjoying La Nina on this side of the pond, so a bit less jealous of your Euroventure!

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