We’re getting close to the end of January, winter in the Dolomites has only been felt so far, with two weeks of crazy north wind and some pretty cold days.
Groomers don’t have to worry though, as Dolomiti Superski has a phenomenal snow making system and all the pistes have been opened since Christmas time on all the resorts. Skitouring and off piste lovers have suffered, as very few things have been skied on the Sella Massif (just one itinerary from the top of Piz Boé), and couple of chutes around Lagazuoi and Giau Pass. The snowpack is pretty thin and not very stable, due to the cold and warm temperature and the wind we had. You mostly climb and ski on wind blown snow slabs.

Salendo un canale al Lagazuoi, lo spessore di neve non deve trarre in inganno. Si tratta per lo più di accumuli ventati di neve vecchia e poco rassicuranti.

Sci Alpinismo in Val Casies.

On the other hand, if you’re based in Cortina and you are up to drive a good hour or more, there are plenty of skitours that can be done, around Val Pusteria (Val Casies, Aurina, Villgraten) and further north west around Vipiteno (Racines, Ridanna and Fleres).

Sci alpinismo in Val di Fleres.

If you really want to live a full winter landscape, you don’t need to fly to Japan, but just need to go accross the Brenner to enter  on a “separate reality”. For two weeks Voralberg and Salzburgerland had been hammered by constant snow falls. Conditions are excellent all over Austria, even in those areas that were not buried completely.

Two weeks ago, when the red alert was still on mostly all around Austria, I went skiing around Innsbruck, in Tirol, with the Ski Club of Great Britain, they had an off-piste skiing week in the Dolomites but unfortunately we couldn’t do anything interesting around. We were based in Neustift in Stubaital, we skied great powder in the small ski resorts of Schlick 2000 and Axamer Lizum. We spent our last off piste ski day up in the Stubai glacier, but the snowpack had been affected by the strong wind, we found some nice pockets anyway.

Down here you find a picture gallery from those beautiful off piste ski days around Innsbruck, Tirol, and a beautiful day down the Valluga in St Anton, Arlberg. We all hope to get some good snow very soon, as February is around the corner and the high season is about to go. Keep fingers crossed for us!