I am a skier and my son – a teen ager and snowboarder – swears I never become a boarder, not only because I am too old, but because it is a way of life that I don’t even get a hint of.
“Mother, you don’t know what it means to chill out”
After last day I can probably understand a little bit better what he means: skiing and snowboarding are two different sports and there is a sort of impossibility to have them in the same pot – not to tell of the same slope!
let’s start at the beginning:
I was supposed to guide 4 boarders for a pist tour of the Monterosa ski area. I took my snowboarding kids with me to be sure my guests from Germany could do with their boards what I was going to take them to.
So long no problems. We went from Fraschey in the Ayas Valley with the lift system up to Passo Salati through the Valley of Gressoney.
First stop at Rifugio Guglielmina for a strong “espresso”. I love this place and I have such a good feeling coming to this enchanted place with the incredible view of all the Italian Alp chain to the east. The peaks around Guglielmina sound as a deep Tibetan choir when you stand on the edge of the rifugio’s terrace.
My snowboarding kids have always told me that it is a problem for a boarder to perform a longer traverse, because it is like standing on your toe tips or heels and it gets exhausting very soon. But the most beautiful, and best among the easier off pists in Monterosa is the Olen and it is really funny to make long traverses necessary to come in line for the long steep slopes of the sides of the valley.
I had fun anyway, but I realized that some of my German guests were not as happy for this slope as I was.
“Hurry up a little bit, it’s cold to sit down and wait!”
I really know little about snowboarders!
The real challenge is the other big and easy off pist of Monterosa, Punta Indren. The highest lift of the ski system takes you to 3275 meters on the glaciers. there is no pist here but a traced trail that you must follow if you are not together with a mountain guide or a skier very experienced of this place. The starting point is beautiful and from here you have a long run of about 1000 fall meters with narrow coloirs and – yes – long traverses and small forcing passages.
Because it is exposed to the sun on the south the snow on the slope of Punta Indren can be packed and sometimes icy, if it has not snowed in a while. It is always different from day to day, depending on the temperature, the wind and the weather conditions.
This is high mountain and it is important to be sure you are able to ski on all kinds of ground. Security is not an option and I recommend all who want to go through this experience to have a check at the suggestions of the ones who know: ask a guide for advice and check the web.
There is a very beautiful rifugio and restaurant in the middle of the slope at around 2600 meters, Oreste’s Hütte - dedicated to one of the mitical guides of Gressoney - and we stopped for a good lunch on their big and sunny terrace. Organic drinks and biological food are part of the philosophy of the place.
BUT the last part of the slope IS better for people with poles and free feet, NOT for the ones who have to push themselves on the small traces of the skiers to reach the pist down to Stafal in Gressoney. My guests were completely exhausted at the end of this adventure!
Final results of this tour if you are a snowboarder:
prepare yourself to a strength test
have poles with you
check the security material
with a mountain guide you can go down to Stafal without doing the last traverse – more difficult and challenging.