Ortler Ski Tour, Italy • April 3 – 9, 2008

Our Ortler tour this year contained all the mix of weather that has built this year's phenomenal snowpack in the Alps and elsewhere. Normally a "spring tour", this year we were walking in a Winter Wonderland.

Other Recent Trips

Our crew awaits the ski bus outside our hotel in Sülden. Alan and Carol Agle took time away from their own incredible snowpack in the Wasatch, to join us here in the South Tyrol. The rest of the crew had come with us directly from the Stubai: Elizabeth Moceri, Tom Drake, Chris Robinson, Marc Gallie, and Rich Davis.


Later the same morning, a strong cold wind swept the ridgecrest as we left the ski area and started down the Madritschtall. Fortunately the wind speed slacked off immediately as we dropped below the high point of the ridge.


Visibility improving greatly toward the bottom of our descent down the Madritschtal.


The Zufall hut is a great place for a lunch or strudel stop before climbing up again to the Marteller hut.


The morning of our day 2, great views of Cevedale greet us as we head out from the Marteller hut.


Though still far from warm, we have superb visibility as we skin up the Cevedale glacier.


The descent down to the Branca hut was challenging in the sun-affected snow, but gorgeous!


The comfy Branca hut is home for the next three nights, seen here in warm evening sunshine.


Now that we're out of our goretex and goggles, you can see who we are. From left to right: Chris Robinson, (Kathy hiding behind), Carol Agle, Alan Agle, Rich Davis, Elizabeth Moceri, Tom Drake, and Marc Gallie.


Early on our next morning's jaunt, we stop to admire an ice grotto at the toe of the Forni glacier.


We are heading toward the summit of Pizzo Tresero, out of sight on the right in this photo. Visibility conditions changed fairly constantly on this day.


Our Lady smiles down from the top of Pizzo Tresero.


We had a great ski down, in very good snow for the most part, but very poor visibility. Here we return to the safety and comfort of our home away from home, happy to have a hot shower and a capuccino to look forward to.


A joint birthday party for several of our crew, is celebrated with Italian bubbly, and a cake ceremoniously delivered to the sound of a canned birthday song on the P.A. system! These folks have class.


Somebody better cut Mark off!


The food in the huts of the Ortler is reliably fresh and delicious. We appreciate the daily salad greens perhaps most of all.


A very active storm on the following day skuttled our plans for another big ascent, but afternoon clearing allowed us to skin up a moraine above the hut, and have a beautiful powder run back down.


Getting ready for the ski down...


Carol points out our descent route of the previous day.


Back at the hut in time for dinner, you can appreciate its dramatic location.


Oy oy oy! The next day dawns with another amazing blizzard as we prepare to move on to the Pizzini hut. We pose on the terrace, now banked deeply with snow.


Kathy's lovin' the storm!


Heavy trail-breaking but lovely silent snowfall as we make our way to the Pizzini hut, arriving in time for lunch.


After lunch we followed another entreprising party up a very DEEP track they beat through the meter of new snow that had fallen in the previous 24 hours or so. The sun breaks through tantalizingly....


And toward dinner time the clouds cleared out completely. Here, our friends Dan and Janine Patittucci do a photo shoot in the deep, new snow with their friend/model Elinor Fish.


Janine and Elinor at "work".


What an evening! The sunset from the dining-room windows of the Pizzini hut.


The next morning it's back to the fog/wind/snow storms as we boot up the steep upper slopes toward the Casatti hut. We had intended to stay another night at the Pizzini, but the weather forecast was for even worse weather on our last, exit day, so we decided to skoot while we could, get back to Sülden, and then do a day trip for our last day, so as not to find ourselves stuck on the wrong side of the mountains.


Our last day started out looking pretty good, but the views slammed shut shortly after this photo was taken. We had a pretty funny last skin up and ski down on glacier of the Süldenspitze, the peak toward which we are heading in this shot. Zero visibility, really challenging crust, and tired legs all conspired to make for a fairly comical descent. But it was all part of the fun. We'll "see" you again next year, Ortler!