Ortler Ski Tour • April 1 to 7, 2006

The Ortler area ski tour was our first for the season, and, I have to say, set a pretty high standard. We had a great trip, great folks, generally good weather, and some of the best powder snow we have skied in years.

For this 7-day fun-fest we were joined by John Lashbrook, Fred Larke, Susan Lowery and the twins, George and Lew Privon. Also with us were our guide friend and colleague Michael Silitch, and his partner Brad Rassler. Michael and Brad were originally planning on skiing parts of the Haute Route, funky weather in the west compelled them to join us in the Ortler.

As with our last trip, we started in Solden, the little-known, but great ski area in the Italian Sud-Tirol. We visited the Marteller hut, as well as three days at the Branca hut and two days at the Pizzini.

Other Recent Trips

The entire team on our last day as we ski back to Solden. The Gran Zebru is the impressive peak behind.

From left to right we have, John, Brad, Fred, Susan, Michael, Kathy, George and Lew.


This photo was taken on our second day, as we skin up towards Cevedale. The weather started cloudy, but by the time we arrived on the summit of Cevedale, had cleared nicely.


The summit of Cevedale on our second day. Here, we are looking south towards San Mateo and Tresero, both of which we skied up (and down!) in the following days.


The wonderful Branca hut. For those of you who are only familiar with the huts of the western Alps, a visit to the Branca will spoil you forever. Great food, a wonderful well-stocked bar, espresso machine, and showers!

We stayed for 3 nights, and wished for more!


The table setting before dinner of our first night there.


On our second day, the first day of touring from the Branca hut base, we skied up Punta San Mateo. As with all the days of this tour, we had some fantastic snow on the descent.


Michael and Kathy on the summit of San Mateo.


Kathy enjoys the great skiing on the descent.


Toasting a great day skiing....


On our second day touring from the Branca hut (the fourth day of the trip) we skied up Tresero, the peak seen here. The highest point is actually the (seemingly) smaller peak in the center of the photo. Perfect weather all day long!


On the descent we found this fine north-facing shot still untracked.


Day five of the tour aw us moving from the Branca hut to the super-friendly Pizzini hut. Again, great food, a fun ambiance and a private shower in our room!

The weather on the day we moved was decidedly funky. We did a short tour in the afternoon, but spent a good portion of the day eating apple strudel, drinking various and diverse drinks, and resting. It snowed all day long, with almost no wind.

The following day, the day this photo was taken cleared and we set out to find some fun.


Here we are skiing up to the Col Pale Rosso which lies between the Gran Zebru on the right and the peak (who's name I can't recall) on the left.


Continuing up under the Gran Zebru.


A rather shocking self portrait. No the frosted hair is not premature graying, at least I don't think so.


The little peak near the Col Pale Rosso, a fine summit from which to begin the long descent back to the hut.


Back in the hut, Kathy buys a couple bottles of water.


And of course the obligatory cappuccino.


John guards the wine as dinner is served.


On our last day of the tour we climbed up to the pass near the Cassati refuge and, after the required coffee and strudel, continued over to Solden. Here we are booting up the last part of the route to the Cassati.


All the wonderful and oh-so-light snow made for a very memorable descent back to Solden.


Back in Solden, we plan our next trip back to the Ortler.

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