The Forcella Marmolada backcountry ski traverse is one of my favorite itineraries in the Dolomites, when the winter days are getting longer and the temperatures rising up. The “purists” start right from the bottom of the basket lift in Passo Fedaia, ottherwise if you take the cable cars from Malga Ciapela you only need to skin and climb for less than 400 meters. The way up becomes steep and narrow in the last part, most of the times requiring the use of crampons and eventually an ice axe. Once you top out Forcella Marmolada, there is room for just few people, the sun that already warms up the steep slopes down in the Val Contrin has a taste of spring and corn snow.
Better be careful to go down the first part, usually it’s necessary a bit of ropework and a perfect timing if you don’t want to find yourself on the steepest part of the descent with still a bullet proof snowpack. Once you get under the golden rock face of Piccolo Vernel, you are almost blinded by the reflected light, but above all by the beauty of the surrounding environment. The descent is long and very satisfying, once you reach Malga Contrin you keep following a nice mule track that leads directly to steep pitch of the “Ciampac” black piste, one of the most beautiful ski slope in the whole Dolomiti Superski.
I take the chance to share the video of the Forcella Marmolada backcountry ski traverse I did with Lele and Checco Piardi quite a few years ago, with short and narrow skis, but always worth to watch.