Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend
one week in the Sella Ronda with the Bootski Boys.
spake Philipís challenge. Sadly Murph would not
be able to join us this year due to the problem with
his hip (which strangely does not affect his golf- with
me it was the other way round).
with Robert and Sam planning to enlist, we had a team.
When Roger discovered where we were going he also
insisted on joining us which was a big boon- he had
been there seven times in as many years, knows the place
inside out and had only just returned from a Kendal
Ski Club visit. However, he needed to find a partner
to share his room.
better known to our children as their former headmaster,
Mr Nick, now free of school commitments, responded positively.
It is Mr Nick that Philip and I have to thank
for getting us skiing in the first place. Had
it not been for the school trip to St Johann im Pongau
in 1990, I doubt if I would ever have put on skis. Paradoxically,
Nick has only skied once in the last dozen years or
it seemed that we would have a group of six. But
then with hours to go first Sam had to drop out with
a bad knee and then Robert due to Dianeís illness and
we were back to four.
your flight is diverted to a different airport because
of fog, you know that what follows is going to be chaos.
The pilot, on landing at Bergamo rather than Verona,
told us, optimistically, that the buses would be with
us in an hour. It proved to be four hours before
we actually heard anything. Buses arrived to take
us, not to the Dolomites, but back to Verona to change
onto another bus for the three hour transfer to Selva
where we arrived in time for dinner some fifteen hours
after leaving home. So much for a 3 a.m. start
and the prospect of an afternoon on the slopes!
Neilson rep admitted that communications had been awful.
The Gatwick flight had actually managed to land
at Verona. Buses that were supposed to have picked
us up from Bergamo (presumably the ones to which our
pilot referred) arrived empty at Verona, picking up
the departing passengers to bring them to the plane
in Bergamo before collecting us.
it was not as bad as the experience of Ian and Cynthia
who, on the same weekend, flew out hoping to go to Cyprus
but the pilot died in flight and the co-pilot had to
divert to Istanbul from whence a flight to Cyprus required
settled in at the Hotel Piccolo on the outskirts of
Selva. We had expected twin bedded rooms but discovered
we had been allocated Austrian Twins- i.e. double beds
with separate duvets! Cosy! Fortunately
were also able to keep the room that had been allocated
to Robert and Sam. We decided to use it as a Club
in the evening sun
4,650 metres Pistes: 25 kms
morning is always a trial. Finding the right things
to put on, getting used to the layout of the hotel,
the boot room, the transfer to the lifts, etc etc. There
was much interest to see if Nick would be wearing his
1980s Kermit coloured ski suit and he did not disappoint.
And then we stepped out of the hotel mini bus
at the Champinoi lift and I discovered I had only one
glove. The minibus driver ignored me as I tried
to flag him down so there was only one thing to do-
a new pair had to be purchased.
spent the first day acclimatising on the local hills.
It hadnít snowed for three weeks but one of the
attractions of the Sella Ronda area is that the snow
management is exceptional so the pistes were still in
good condition. It was a beautiful day, quite
busy and it became somewhat slushy and mogully in the
on, Roger took us to the Panorama Rifugio
and introduced us to Bombardino, a mixture
of coffee, egg nog, brandy and cream. Very
sweet but a fine way to round off a day
in the mountains and to toast oneís absent
the boot room back at the hotel, what was
waiting to greet me on the bench?
the other glove.
quite the miracle as on the Dales
Way - I had three quarters expected
it to be there.
rear view from Hotel Piccolo in the evening
night either Don snored or Philip scored!
4,445 metres Pistes: 26 kms
woke to find Philip gone. He had decamped to the
Club House. Allegedly because I had snored.
boot room provided a pleasant surprise- hot air blowers
about which we had been somewhat dismissive really had
dried and warmed the ski boots- that makes such a difference
in the morning.
decided to the the Sella Ronda (i.e. go on tour through
this vast area around the Sella Mountain). We
did it anti-clockwise. It was busier than expected
and there was one long queue at Canazei. The scenery
is quite spectacular with the dramatic Dolomite peaks
to be seen in all directions.
round involves about 24 Km skiing (we put in some bonus
runs) and a lot of horizontal as well as vertical lifts.
excelled as our ski guide and as G&T monitor in
night either my cold was developing or Philip was on
another promise as he once again decamped to the Club
4,934 metres Pistes: 29 kms
Roger took us to La Villa where the Kendal Ski Club
have their annual outing. It is just off the Sella
Ronda near Corvara. En route we had a diversion
to Vallon where there was a high, excellent and not
too daunting black run. Nick, fed up of having
been the only faller so far, decided to take out Roger
who had a reasonably spectacular tumble then broke his
sunglasses when getting back up.
from our coffee stop
had a splendid lunch at Rogerís hotel in La Villa- Rosti
with Ham with not ein Ei, not zwei Eier but mit drei Eier- a
record for me at least!
was another stunning day with magnificent Dolomite scenery
but I found the journey back hard work. I had
day-three legs which were getting tired on the south
facing, busy slushed-up hills.
night, it was clear that although I had felt much better
through the day, I was going down with a cold so I went
to bed early and Philip did whatever he did in the Club
5,352 metres Pistes: 28 kms
four and a new area to explore- Seceda.
we had a few runs down the bowl above Sochers where
Philip had a spectacular tumble and won the record for
the week for the distance travelled whilst in bodily contact
with snow. He just kept going and going downhill!
I was some way behind, skied down to pick
up his ski that had come off and he was still moving!
Fortunately he was unhurt.
crossed over to Seceda where there were some nice runs
and an interesting old restaurant, Daniel, for a coffee
break. Check out the wooden face below.
at Rifugio Daniel
on the picutre to see his function
had not been going too well early on- my head was bunged
up so I thought I should take an early bath. Roger
took us down to Ortisei for lunch but I found that the
lower we went the more bunged up I became so we went
back the Daniel for an excellent spicey veggie spaghetti
made our way back to Sochers where on the lip of the
slope Nick tried to take out Philip, failed and moved
on to a ski bunny who was stood next in line. They
had a coming together at about 0.1 mph and he tried
to take her down the slope with him. Somehow, she
escaped from his embrace and Nick went tumbling down
the slope to roars of laughter from all stood on the
at Champinoi, Roger and I took the gondola to Selva,
fearing the slopes would be to cruddy in the afternoon
sun, whilst Philip and Nick skied down. They said
that they had a stop and agreed how much we would have
enjoyed the slope, then went round a corner and discovered
just what we had anticipated!
dinner (I should record the fact that the food in the
hotel was very good), for the first time we felt like
having a walk out into the town. We came across
a procession of horse drawn carts, the first carrying
an oompah band, the others fetching people dressed up
in black old time costumes with big hats and long jackets
or dresses. Lots of folk were following the procession
so we did likewise. They stopped at a piazza where
glühwein was being served to all comers. Notice
how Italian and German effortlessly intermingle here!
Everything is dual languaged.
and the dignatories
band played a few tunes whilst the dignitaries (which
we assumed the dressed up people to be) stood in line
watching. Two older dignatories had a bit of a
dance and then they all attacked the glühwein with
gusto. We never found out what it was all about.
5,121 metres Pistes: 29 kms
had had a bad nightís sleep. I had taken the LemSippio
I had bought at the local pharmacy but not the Rhinosniffazina.
Mistake. I was full of cold. Philip returned,
as he did each morning, to do his strange exercises.
view from the bedroomt
view in the bedroom!
announced that he was not skiing. He
had pulled a muscle in his groin when he
tangled with the ski bunny and it was really
almost felt bad about having laughed.
was another scorchio day and we did the
Sella Ronda the other way round- clockwise.
I didnít find it as attractive this time-
maybe I was getting blasé about all
the spectacular scenery by now.
4,453 metres Pistes: 26 kms
took us by surprise and declared himself fit to ski.
And ski well he did. Even a soft fall late
on didnít trouble him. We had a more leisurely
day around to Belvedere and back to Selva by a much
better route that we had discovered yesterday.
Nick in the bubble
was too early to knock off so we went up the Dantecepies
lift on the other side and stopped at the panorama bar
again for a final Bombardino and team photo before the
last run. For the first time in the week it was
starting to cloud over
view from the Dantecepies lift
Bombardino Team , some with odd skis!
the bottom, Philip asked me if I had been skiing on
one of his skies. He had thought he had a problem
with his boot, but discovered that he had one ski 10
cm longer than the other. As mine are identical to
his except in length it seemed a reasonable assumption.
He was right. I hadnít realised there was
a problem- I just thought I was turning better one way
than the other but that often is the case!
was upset that he hadnít managed to bring me down!
returned to the hotel for a celebratory drink and final
toast to absent friends.
evening at dinner, we tried to embarrass the ladies
who had gone to see French & Saunders in Blackpool
by the co-ordinated mass sending of texts during the
show but, being wiser than us, they had taken the precaution
of switching off their phones.
mass texting in action
airport is best avoided. It was overwhelmed by
the two flights going out. It took an hour to
check in and then the best part of an hour to clear
through security. The plane missed its slot as
a result but fortunately was not long delayed. Perhaps
it was partly our fault as we did go for a coffee after
check-in but, in our defence, the rep had advised us
not to go through to air side until three quarters of
an hour before the flight as there was nothing there.
28,955 metres Pistes: 163 kms
excellent weekís skiing and fellowship with particular
thanks to Philip for organising it and to Roger for
transporting us in the UK and being our ski-guide in
Italy. His impressive knowledge of the area greatly
added to our holiday- without him we would no doubt
have got about but not so far and not so confidently.
Sella Ronda lived up to our expectations and I
would happily return there.
pass technology has really come on. Credit card
sized cards carried in the pocket are read through your
clothing. That is not particularly new but what
is really impressive is that your journey is logged
and can be read on the Dolomite Superski website with
details of lifts used, height gained and estimated distance
skied. See it for yourself at Dolomite
Superski . Enter card number 203 35853
and follow my trail!
2nd March 2008
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Avoiding the Graupel;
Lyth in the Old Dogs; 22 January
: That's Lyth;
: Tony's Memory Lane;
: Fell's Belles! Thank You Mells?
: The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Askham Fell and the Lowther Estate;
: Thanks to the MWIS
19th March 2008
: High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
: Prelude to Spring
2nd April 2008
: Spring in Lakeland
6th April 2008
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
10th April 2008
: What's It All About, Tony?
17th April 2008
: The Hidden Mountain
22nd April 2008
: The Bowland CROW
1st May 2008
: High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
7th May 2008
: Travelling Light
14th May 2008
BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on