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2-8 April 2010 Ortler Ski Tour with Lisa Beaudreau and Matthew Hyde

Descent from Mt. Cevedale summit on Day 6. That's the Grand Zebru behind Lisa.

Good thing the Orlter is my favorite ski tour of all time, because I had not quite three days at home before I had to trek back to Sulden, Italy for another one. Sulden is in the Sud Tyrol part of Italy where they speak German and where Reinhold Messner is from. And Sulden has one of the four or so Messner Museums. It’s not one of his two castle museums but it is a cool modern underground building with some of his art collections and of course some climbing stuff.

Lisa and Matt arrived a few days early to cross country ski and get used to Sulden, the altitude, and the european way of life (relaxing). When we met at the hotel Julius Payer (named after an early climber), they were relaxed and definitely excited to embark on the trip they had heard so much about. My friend Dave Haavik from Seattle apparently told them when they mentioned they wanted to ski the Haute Route, “you must ski the Ortler instead and you must go with Michael Silitch”. Thanks Dave, I hope I lived up to their and your expectations. You’ll have to come ski it next year!

Refueling was key after big touring days and luckily we were in Italy!

So, why is the Orlter my all time favorite ski tour? Well, it is a mix between extreme comfort and enjoyment, and incredibly beautiful and demanding ski terrain. While not quite and difficult as the Haute Route, it is 100 times more comfortable and fun. And you get to ski so many cool summits. And at the same time you enjoy the huts, the food, and the people so much, it becomes one of those rare vacations that you come home feeling, rested, reenergized, well fed, intellectually stimulated, at one with the natural mountain environment, and super fit!

Lisa and Matt getting some fine skinning in on our approach to Mt. Cevedale.

As I mentioned in my last Ortler blog, you ski a loop and stay at several of the huts mutliple nights. This allows you to feel much more relaxed and to have time to enjoy a pause in the afternoon, after skinning up a mountain and ripping back down. You get back to the hut, put your ski boots and skins up to dry, then enjoy and nice snack of apple strudel and cappuccino, while discussing your achievements of the day with other enthusiastic skiers. With many peaks around each hut, no itinerary is crowded, and you might even be tempted to come back another year to climb and ski more of the range. You’ll have time to take a shower and maybe a quick, and well earned nap, before dinner. Did I mention the showers, the electricity, the private rooms, the five course meals with an extensive wine cellar. While it’s not a four star hotel, it’s not far off, especially considering where these huts are perched; you are far from the worries of modern day life, high up in the mountains (around 2500 m.). The only thing to do from these huts is ski, enjoy, and ski some more.

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