Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like winter!

We are starting to have a real bona fide winter here in Val Chisone. The prediction by my father in law that the natural indicators, such as an abundance of walnuts and other folksy type of farmer's almanac wisdom seems to be on the money. Since I have lived here, which is only the last 6 years, we have had early winter dumps of snow, but they usually melted right off as it was too warm to sustain the snow. This year all the conditions are right for this to stick around for the winter. To be honest I don't mind, having come from Colorado high country and use to a long winter season, it's always been some what of a winter tease here at our house. I enjoy winter activities if I can make sure to get out and enjoy them, as opposed to just the never ending prospect of shoveling as a winter discipline. I much prefer, Alpine and Nordic skiing as well as snow shoeing and ice skating, although it's been quite a long time since I slid around on that slippery unforgiving surface. Naturally, further up the road at the ski areas, Prali, Pragelato, and Sestriere, they usually have enough white stuff to keep everybody happy. In fact Prali opened 2 weekends ago and
Sestriere of the Via Lattea, opened this weekend.
Both areas are fun and varied and I do love the buzz that a ski resort has first thing in the morning when the anticipation for powder or simply sliding down the white stuff again is palpable.
Believe me when I say that Prali, is a well kept secret.
Especially when the name of the ski area is Nuova 13 Laghi

This small ski area is everything I like about small areas. Usually, not too crowded, high above tree line with spectacular views of pristine alps, most of them are in protected parks and enough varied skiing to keep me happy. The top to bottom run is a long thigh burner. Have a look at the runs here on their map. I do love this area summer and winter, especially when the price is so right! Winter lift tickets will run you 15€ mid week, when they open full time closer to Christmas and 20€ weekends and holidays, with a 12€ late risers rate that starts at 12:30pm. Summertime they have the main lift open in July -August and weekends in September, for a mere 8€ to get you up and back if you like, with ease to enjoy that high country "Heidi" feel without so much effort. Save it for getting up to where the Genepy grow.
Of course, if you need a break or if not of the ski inclination, there is a mid mountain house that you can get to with a single lift ticket up and down, that affords you a fabulous panoramic view. Enjoy with Italian style hot chocolate so thick you need a spoon to shovel it in or a vin brulé and enjoy catching up on your knitting or favorite book. You can of course wander around in the small village of Ghigo, at the bottom that has a few shops and several bars and plenty of dry walk ways, roads or set Nordic tracks to keep you from sampling too many vin brulé.

Oh well, I need to baking the bread that is about to overflow the bowl that it is rising in and think about strapping my rock skis on a it bit later on. Maybe I'll add some cookies to the game plan as well.
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