Where in Italy is easy to reach by plane?

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Cloxxki
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Where in Italy is easy to reach by plane?

Postby Cloxxki » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:10 am

People keep telling me how great Cortina/Dobiacco are. And I've seen the Tour de Ski footage of course.
Now, how do I get myself there? Doesn anyone have th skinny of where to be and where to avoid?
I'm into challenging tracks (vertical meters), through forrests.

Thanks!
J
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Ken Roberts
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Re: Where in Italy is easy to reach by plane?

Postby Ken Roberts » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:54 pm

Cloxxki wrote:Cortina/Dobiacco

Cortina + Dobbiaco (Toblach + Hoch Pustertal) are kind of difficult to get to from anywhere.

airports for Toblach / Dobbiaco:
Innsbruck might be closest to Toblach: If hire a car, key is to get over the Brenner pass.
Munich MUC is also possible. (of course there's lots more German spoken around Toblach than around Cortina)
Advantages of the airports in Italy (? Verona ? Vicenza ? Venezia ?): If hiring a car, don't have to drive over the Brenner Pass in bad weather. Could also ski Monte Bondone along the way up the A22.

airports for Cortina:
Venezia / Venice might be easiest if renting a car. Driving to Cortina is easiest from direction SSE -- I think that's how the trains run too. (Any other direction requires crossing a pass.)
If can get a flight to Vicenza (or Verona) that could work too. Milano / Milan is possible, but it's a very long drive from there to Cortina.

My opinion is that the advantage of Cortina + Toblach is the scenery, not the skiing itself (around Dobbiaco/Toblach/Pustertal, mostly the usual semi-boring European forest-road stuff).
    Except the biathlon course at Antholz / Anterselva is very fun (lat/long =~ N46.883 E12.148) -- if only it were longer (once you get there, can also ski E to the lake, flat but scenic -- or if you need a long serious hill-climb workout, continue E past the lake as far as you can go up toward the Stallersattel).
But around Dobbiaco/Toblach, the views from the XC trails themselves are not necessarily so great - (maybe instead try the downhill ski trails + lifts, or try the Cortina area).
    If you want a dramatic view from a XC trail, be sure to ski S from the Durrensee / Lago di Landro (lat/long = N46.6317 E12.2293) under Cristallo mountain -- and a little ways on the trail N from the Durrensee, there's brief view to the E to the Drei Zinnen (Tres Cimes). Also the Fischleintal trail has a dramatic view, but it's very short (and not interesting skiing). Perhaps the trail along the north side of the Hoch Pustertal valley -- if it's holding decent snow (not while I was there).
For interesting ski trails, drive to Monte Bondone / Viote for a half-day of more (near the A22 exit for Trento: lat/long = N46.0206 E11.042) -- skiing under dramatic mountain peaks.
Or a larger network with some more interesting trails around Campomulo / Gallio / Enego on the Asiago plateau - lat/long =~ N45.941 E11.554

Ken

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Postby Ken Roberts » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:31 am

An area in Italy closer to the A22 motorway which I'd like to try is Seiser Alm (approx lat/long = N46.54 E11.618) and nearby Monte Pana (N46.55 E11.714) and between them Saltern/Saltria.

Anybody know more about that area?

Never skied there, but saw good mountain scenery on a bike ride thru it. Lots of XC ski trails over 1600m altitude, and tending to avoid S-facing. Network of XC trails looks interesting on the trail map, but can't really tell without trying them.

Possible downside is that there's downhill ski lifts near lots of the XC trails (or maybe that's an upside if you want a little "assistance"). Perhaps bigger disadvantage is might need to ride a lift just to reach some or most of the ski trails (since I don't think we could pedal our bike up there in the winter).
Closer driving from many airports (Innsbruck - Verona - Munich - Milano) than Dobbiaco/Tobach or Cortina.

Hoch Pusteral / Dobbiaco is a nice area for XC ski : just not as great for cross-country skiing as I was hoping it would be (based on trips nearby for backcountry skiing and klettersteig / via ferrata climbing).

My experience is that the Dolomites (including Cortina) really deliver contender-for-best-in-the-world quality for road-cycling, via ferrata climbing + mountain walking, scenic on-piste downhill skiing.

But for XC ski, I'm still waiting to find that quality there. Perhaps there's an inherent contradiction in looking for lots of nice gentle-moderate steepness terrain in the midst of a region famous for super-steep + vertical towers.

I'm glad for suggestions -- haven't tried much cross-country around Cortina itself (because of lack of snow one year, unpromising trail networks).

Also glad to hear more ideas further south toward Verona + Venezia.

Ken

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Postby Cloxxki » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Thanks for your experiences Ken!
I'm more a train connect guy than a car renter. Purely a budget consideration.

Now that I've come back super fit from my 2 recent snow weeks, I'm getting the idea I am actually a very good responder to altitude training. Davos is calling my name again (so much for skiing on a budget, especially with tehe currency exchange rates). When I was there last, I was too busy wetting my pants in stead of getting the most from the trails there.
The standard European fire road may well by what I love most about skiing. Sure, scenic routes can be nice, but I enjoy the silence of the forest. The echo of my skis and poles.

Could someone perhaps list a few high altitude centers that can be reached by train or bus from an airport, anywhere in the general Alp region?
Thanks!
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Postby goff » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:16 pm

Hi Cloxxki as Ken said in other post Bessans looks a good choice
at 1740 mtrs 54 cm snow cover at moment 133 piste, we might decamp their for a week if the Jura does not improve, just checked TGV to Mondane then Alti bus to Bessans 15 euro for bus return very reasonable.
Goff

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Postby Cloxxki » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:38 pm

goff wrote:Hi Cloxxki as Ken said in other post Bessans looks a good choice
at 1740 mtrs 54 cm snow cover at moment 133 piste, we might decamp their for a week if the Jura does not improve, just checked TGV to Mondane then Alti bus to Bessans 15 euro for bus return very reasonable.
Goff

Sounds great for sure. High and relatively many trails.
From Holland still a day's travel even by TGV.

Not easy to get good skiing near an airport. Around Innsbruck I've not been impressed with the snow this year. Maybe I should explore Salzurg.
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Postby Ken Roberts » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:52 am

goff wrote:Bessans looks a good choice at 1740 mtrs 54 cm snow cover at moment 133 piste

Bear in mind that (I strongly suspect) that the published "133 km" trail total includes significant double-counting. I think it's the total of all the named loops. But many of the different loops share sections (esp close in to the departure points), so the total distance of unique sections is I suspect closer to 80 km.

I strongly suspect similar double-counting with the Feclaz / Revard and with les Saisies trail-distance totals). Last year Les Saisies tried reporting a total under 70 km, but then none of their major competitors followed that practice - (I suspect La Feclaz / Le Revard has less than 80km of unique trail segments which they normally attempt to groom). So I guess this year the Saisies marketing department felt they had to revert to the likely inflated totals for reasons of competition.

I don't know how the totals are done in the Jura (or in other European countries), so it's hard to compare.

In USA I remember a notorious case or double-counting out West, but I'd guess the majority of xcski centers report the total of their unique trail segments.

Ken

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Postby Ken Roberts » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:18 am

Cloxxki wrote:Could someone perhaps list a few high altitude centers that can be reached by train or bus from an airport, anywhere in the general Alp region?

The other way to get snow security is to go further north. What's wrong with the Oslo Nordmarka? Seems very accessable from the airport - (and metro trains from downtown Oslo). Supposed to have like 1000 km of interconnected trails. Mostly not very interesting to my tastes, like most trail networks in Europe, so should fit the style you're well-accustomed to.

Sjusjoen (near Lillehammer) also should be straightforward from the Oslo airport (which lies between Oslo + Lillehammer).

I think in Europe there's a fundamental contradiction: high altitude versus large trail networks versus near airports. Because the Alps (and other European mountain) are young "jagged" peaks -- so there just isn't much space for gentle trails between the steep ridges. Bessans in France is pretty unique in having a wide plain up at such high altitude. (There are also some large gentle glaciers, but those have other problems: crevasse danger and difficult expensive access). Airports tend to be in low valleys, because that's where lots of people live - (and perhaps stable flying weather is more predictable).

? Salzburg ? has some promising trail networks around St Johann im Tirol. But it doesn't offer much to address the high-altitude question.

Ramsau-im-Dachstein is the traditional racers high-altitude center, but it's not so close to Salzburg -- and most of the trails are lower than Seefeld (by my memory) - except for this little loop up on the glacier.

Obertilliach was supposed to be favored by Bjorndalen for higher altitude -- not far from Toblach/Dobbiaco -- and a long way from any substantial airport. And not much of a trail network when I visited: but has the basics which racers need.

Passo Lavaze near Val di Fiemme has high-altitude (and the usual non-interesting Euro-style trails) but not close to an airport (try Verona?)

Alpe d'Huez has a small non-interesting high-altitude trail network -- probably easy to get transfers from Grenoble (or Lyon or Geneva) airports.

Ken


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