It's a Thursday before New Year's Eve, and we're due to start in less than 24 hours. The weather is rather mediocre in most parts of Tyrol, but the snow is everywhere.
So we find a place where the weather should be good for the next four days.
Our choice is Cortina. It is the New Year's weekend so all hotels and pensions are overcrowded and we prepare for four days of winter camping in our isolated but not with parking heater equipped splitboarding van.
We take the standard equipment, an extra down jacket and tracksuit pants in case it gets cold at night. Unfortunately we didn't have time to prepare completely, so we have no real plan what we want to do. Yes, splitboard touring is on the agenda. Where? Hmmm, the conditions are tricky and we don't know the area. So on day one, we'll get a guide.
Meeting point: 9:00 a.m. Misurina at the Spar. In Cortina it is full, and the fur coat density is extremely high. So we are happy to drive to Misurina at the lake on the evening of our arrival.
Shortly before leaving for Misurina, we drift a little and land Prosecco drinking in a multishop, where the new Pride sunglasses collection is presented. Cool nylon glasses - ultra light and comfortable on the nose.
Now, let's get going. We're leaving for Misurina. After about 25 minutes we arrive in a small village directly on the lake. Perfect, here is a large parking lot, directly at the frozen lake, where we can spend the night. Dinner, getting the van ready, sleep. Well, it wasn't that easy sleeping, because it was really cold that night. A permanent chill, no hard cold, but a feeling to be straight out of the comfort range of the sleeping bag, accompanied us the whole night.
OK, 9:00 am we go to the Spar to meet our guide and have a coffee. Simone Corte Pause, is waiting for us. We chat a little and drive to a small ski area nearby.
The tour goes to the Forcella della Neve, nothing spectacular and perfectly feasible without a guide. On the way up we try to get as much information and tour tips as possible for the coming days and Simone shares his knowledge with us.
After the Bamperl tour we have lunch together and then everyone goes their way again. We're going to Cortina to go to the sauna. The sauna is small but fine including whirlpool and we were the only ones today - Top!
After a good hour without success we went back to Misurina to look for a not overcrowded pizzeria in Cortina. Here the pizzeria at the back of the lake was recommended to us.
We had to eat a lot to make it through the next night. Now we had time to plan touring by ourselves. The result was a yoke halfway to Croda Rossa, the Red Mountain. The relatively long ascent on a forest road through the forest is a small drop of bitterness. The imposing rock formations reminiscent of a gigantic amphitheatre, however, quickly make one forget the efforts of the long ascent. The Castel de ra Valbones, a huge dark grey limestone monolith, sits enthroned in the middle of this gigantic crown of dolomite and Jura limestone rocks. In safe conditions a great tour, not only for riding, but also to see the surrounding mountains and to get a good picture of the current conditions.
We took our time and were on the road all day long. Today is New Year's Eve, we try to go to the sauna again, but today it is only open for hotel guests. So we go straight to the pizzeria, where a band is playing tonight. Same Game - Tour planning, New Year's Eve dinner and at about 22:00 o'clock we go to bed. Just in time for the turn of the year we are woken up by the firecrackers and rockets of the surrounding hotels and New Year's Eve friends.
New Year: Today it has snowed and the weather is not so good, so we want to do some treeruns in the ski area 5 Torri. Easily said, but for some reason we had no snow chains in the car. No problem until the five cars in front of us stop to wind up their snow chains. Hmm, stupid what are we doing??? Standing around, thinking, checking again if the chains are there,... After 20 minutes, we said lets go on. Said and against expectation also done. So we came back to Cortina. At the Eni petrol station there are many models of snow chains at horrendous prices. Yes, no, yes, no, no... We thought about it and finally we went to Tofana, a ski area right next to Cortina d`Ampezzo.
As fate sometimes tells us, we meet a freerider and a splitboarder at the gondola. Both from Rome, but they know the area very well. After we are sympathetic, we decide to go riding together. The reward - a good crew and knee-deep, untraced powder directly on the pistes. And no, it wasn't like sometimes on our glaciers. There was nobody there, so we drew our "first lines". About four hours until we arrived back at the car satisfied in the afternoon. An unexpected day!
Today we sit in a bar and do the tour planning for tomorrow. We go directly to the Passo di Giau to be able to start in the morning. No snow chains? Anyway, not many people are on the way and we'll get there. After 30 minutes we reached the starting point of the tour to Monte Mondeval. Arrived here we prepare our night camp again. But what is this? It roars as if we were right next to the race track of a rally. Five cars (without snow chains) race up the pass road at about 23:00 o'clock and enjoy the optimal day for the winter rally. We take another look at tomorrow's tour in the dark and lie down to rest.
This night at about 1900 meters was a little colder again and the next morning our shoes were pure ice blocks. Well, they warm themselves up with our feet. Finally it took us two hours to really get going. Ohhh, look, there was another avalanche last night, better keep to the left to get to the yoke.
The tour was great, a bit windy in the upper area, but we chose the leeward sides of the troughs, in which not prone small-scale drift snow packages lay.
So that was our New Year's Action 2017-18. If you want to do something similar, just write your questions below.
Winter camping at temperatures as low as minus 12° is good, even without a parking heater - however, some creativity is required. Make sure that there is always water, even if it is frozen in your pots or thermos pots. So you can melt more water faster and don't have to convert so much snow. Eat enough for your body to produce heat. Take dehumidification packages with you so that your car does not freeze up so much from the inside and you can still open the doors after three days. Taking a guide on the first day makes sense if you are on the road very spontaneously and have not had the opportunity to plan the tour yourself. The best thing to tell the avoidable guide is that you don't want to do a Bamperl tour, but something cool. Otherwise the guides often make it easy and well, for people who are often on the mountains it may not be the right thing.
Sauna: Benessere Centre, Cortina d'Ampezzo
Pizzeria: Quinz - Locanda Al Lago
GuideOffice: Alpine Guides - Cortina d'Ampezzo and the Dolomites
Corso Italia 69/a
32043 Cortina d'Ampezzo
Map: Cortina D'Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane: Tabacco hiking map. 1:25000