Joe and I just returned to Sulden last night with our crew of seven (Dave, Scotty, Dianne, Melissa, Mike, Don, and Jim) from Eastern Washington.
We spent seven days out skiing powder, and six nights sleeping in fairly posh Italian huts. Showers at each hut helped us stay fresh and relatively BO-free.
In a season where the alps have only had about three powder dumps since New Years, we managed fresh tracks every day. The Ortler ski terrain is vast, but in traditional eastern-alps fashion, most skiers wiggle down existing tracks, rather than making their own, thus leaving hectares of un-tracked snow on the margines, in the couloirs, and generally off the beaten path.
We did our best to poach the best lines, but there's still a lot of ski terrain out there that we didn't ski, and a lot of summits to ski from. I'll be back.
On Day 1, we skied from the Sulden lift systems, over the Passo dei Madriccio, and down the Zufalhütte for Cappuccinos. Then we toured up to the Martellerhütte for two nights.
On Day 2 we toured up to the Cime Marmotta (3330m) and the Cime di Venezia (3356m). Occasional fog banks made the light flat, and the skiing interesting.
On Day 3 we toured to the summit of the Cevedale (3757m) only a couple hundred meters shy of 4000m. We skied down to the Branca hut, for infinite vino Rosso and pasta.
On Day 4, we toured from the Branca, and hardly crossed a set of ski tracks. Most of the local traffic were intent on skiing the crust on Cerro Tresero and San Mateo.
On Day 5, we moved to the opposite (north) side of Monte Pasquale (3553m), and skied an excellent couloir straight to pizza and beer at the Pizzini hut. I had noticed the couloir leading down off of Pasquale's western shoulder several days before. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable descents all week. 40° powder shots in a wide, untracked couloir. It made the beer taste great.
Day 6: One day of semi-restful spring skiing on the North Facing slopes of Cima Dei Forni. Then a corn run return back to the Pizzini!
Day 7 - on our final day we skied to the Casati hut for obligatory cappuccino and strudel, before re-entering the german-speaking Sud-Tirol side of the range for one more steep ski descent into Sulden.