April skiing in Cervinia

is simply fantastic! No wind, nice temperatures, few people and excellent snow: firn!

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Firn snow makes offpiste skiing incredibly easy: you may go everywhere and traces are almost invisible! The photo above was taken on the left of Fornet chairlift.

 

Powder skiing in Cervinia

Yesterday morning the view from the window was promising: fresh snow all around! We were happy and so were the cinciallegre (Parus Major) having their breakfast!

Cinciallegra at breakfast

The day after (tuesday 26 February) has been a gorgeous day: cold, sunny, without wind and with powder. Finally a good day for Corrado to switch his skis and get my Dynastar Cham 97! We got the Plateau Rosa Cableway quite early and had the satisfaction of first tracks on Teodul couloir. On the second run my husband took this picture of me:

Skiing the Teodul

We then got the cableway again to ski down to Furgsattel Chairlift. The offpiste along the moraines was simply terrific: a few tracks but none around. We did it a few times waiting for lunch time: 1pm is the perfect time to get the Klein Matterhorn cableway without waiting in queue… So we skied down the offpiste on the glacier with perfect snow. Only three tracks before:

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Caution: crevasses!

When back at Plateau Rosa the Ventina piste seemed OK but the spazzatura offpiste was in decent condition so we did it. It was fine but quite tracked… At this point a strudel at Cime Bianche Laghi was really deserved!  A last run to ski down to the car in Cervinia among people and ski classes was the most dangerous part of the day!

Too cold and crowded?

Yes, this season we had some very cold days (-25° at Plateau Rosa) and sometimes (especially on Sundays) we have some crowd on the slopes: it may happen to wait 20 minutes in queue at Trockener Steg to get the cableway to Klein Matterhorn… In January we also had many windy days with the result that the link to Zermatt was often closed. This last week was better than before with sunny days and good conditions and now we expect some snowfalls to refresh the runs and, especially, the glaciers…

Do you want to avoid frigid temperatures and crowds? Come to Cervinia at the beginning or at the end of the season! In November and in December before Christmas you generally find excellent snow (powder!) and pleasant temperatures. And if you like spring snow (firn!) and prefer to ski wearing just a lightweight shell come in April: days are long, very long and offpiste is fantastic! Also consider that both periods are “low season” and therefore much cheaper…

A welcome breakfast

We imagined to arrive in Cervinia on saturday afternoon, tired after a long trip, and being obliged to rush outside to buy some food for the sunday breakfast… Not appealing, indeed…

So we thought that a nice touch was providing our guests with the basic stuff for their first petit dejeuner in Tour de Creton: fresh youghourt, milk and butter (dairy products from Aosta Valley), bread and cookies, jam and fruits, tea and coffee.

Now you may relax, sit down and enjoy the chilled bottle of rosé wine (Tournet from Carema coop winery) which waits for you in the refrigerator!

Have a nice week!

All mountain skis we love

A quick note about the skis we have most enjoyed. Consider that we ski a lot both in piste and off piste and we try to have equipment good for both, i.e. the so called all mountain skis.

A really all mountain ski is Salomon BBR 89: a strange shape of ski with a terrific radius (12 meters in 166 cm). The ski is really quick to turn and floats very well in powder. Corrado (my husband) skied with BBR all the past season and part of the current one, whereas I’ll stick to them for this season as I use them with great satisfaction in all conditions.

He was looking around for a stronger ski to use with hard packed snow. To make a choice we were reading various ski magazines and checking on blogs. The candidate was Salomon Enduro 850: today he got a pair from our friends of NolSki in Cervinia and he fall in love with it. Really stable and quick on groomed snow but also reliable off-piste. The only remark is about the weight: we are accustomed to light skis and this one is a bit heavy. He bought it!

A much lighter ski, perfect for short ski mountaineering trips is Dynastar Cham 97 HM: off-piste is a breeze but remains reliable on compact snow. The skis is mounted with Diamir Freeride Pro: a step-in binding perfect for using climbing skins. If you are not interested in using skins the ski is also available in a less light and more sturdy version: Dynastar Cham 97, perfect for freeride and piste as well.

Dinner with Aosta valley delicacies

Eating at home is anyway a good idea and if you are staying at Tour de Creton you have all you need to arrange a good dinner. And a dinner at home is a good opportunity to taste the Aosta Valley delicacies:

  • cheese: you cannot miss Fontina but ask for “fontina di alpeggio” i.e. the cheese produced during the summer when the cows stay on high elevation pastures. We also like toma di Gressoney from Gressoney valley
  • hams and cured meat: try Motzetta (made from beef or chamois meat, perfect with olive oil and mushrooms) but look also for Jambon de Saint Oyen (prosciutto di Saint Oyen) to enjoy with artichokes in oil. Last but not least, don’t forget Lardo (lardo di Arnad), it’s true cholesterol but delicious with honey and brown bread. If this issue is of some interest to you, read here.
  • cookies: besides the classic Tegole (a very thin cookie perfect to taste with coffee) enjoy Torcetti (the best ones are produced by Pasticceria Benedetto in Saint Vincent)
  • fruit: the Valley produces excellent apples of different varieties. You may also like dry apples: a healty snack albeit a bit fragile if put in your backpack while skiing…
  • honey: Cervinia is a bit too high for bees, but our friends Paolo Artaz & Monica Voncini (Lo Dzet, tel. ) produce an excellent miele in La Magdeleine (where we live). They also offer crema di nocciole (nut cream with honey): you may find all their specialties in the shop of delicacies on main street.
  • wine: why not start with a Muscat di Chambave (white, fruity, from Crotta de Vegneron) perfect also for the dessert, and then switch to a red like Torrette Superiore? With 8-9 € you may get a good bottle and save a lot compared with the price charged in restaurants… Here some information on wines of Aosta Valley.

You may find all these items in supermarket or in the well stocked grocery behind the church or if the lifts are closed why don’t get the chance for a trip to Le Pain de Coucou in Saint Pierre? It’s a big shop where you may buy jams, honey, wines, spirits, cookies, fruits, cured meats and cheeses produced in Aosta Valley.

Theodulgletscher and Furgggletscher off-piste ski

From the arrival of Furggsattel chairlift you may ski down on the piste at your left and leave the piste at the end of the rocky ridge. Note: you are on a glacier with crevasses! At this point you may ski down almost parallel to the piste or going about 200-300 m. to the left and rejoining the piste later (Theodulgletscher). Another possibility is skiing in direction of Matterhorn (Furgggletscher). You arrive at a big rocky spot in the middle of the glacier. If you stay on the right you may rejoin the Panorama piste which descends to Furgg station (gondola). To the left of the rocky spot you enter a wide area which leads to two moraines: isolated and beautiful.

ing towards Furgggletscher

to the left of the first moraine
to the left of the first moraine

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