BskiB08  Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend one week in the Sella Ronda with the Bootski Boys.

Thus 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).

However 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.

Nick, 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 so.

So 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.

Saturday 23rd February

When 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!

The 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.

Still, 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 special clearance!

We 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 House.

Selva in the evening sun

Sunday 24th February

Vertical: 4,650 metres  Pistes: 25 kms

First 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.

We 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 afternoon.

Later 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 friends.

Reaching the boot room back at the hotel, what was waiting to greet me on the bench?  

Yes- the other glove.  

Not quite the miracle as on the Dales Way - I had three quarters expected it to be there.

The rear view from Hotel Piccolo in the evening

That night either Don snored or Philip scored!


Monday 25th February

Vertical: 4,445 metres  Pistes: 26 kms

I woke to find Philip gone.  He had decamped to the Club House.  Allegedly because I had snored.

The 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.

We 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.

A Dolomite panavista

The round involves about 24 Km skiing (we put in some bonus runs) and a lot of horizontal as well as vertical lifts.

Roger excelled as our ski guide and as G&T monitor in the evening.

That night either my cold was developing or Philip was on another promise as he once again decamped to the Club House.


Tuesday 26th March

Vertical: 4,934 metres  Pistes: 29 kms

Today 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.  

View from our coffee stop

We 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!

La Villa

Back in Selva

It 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.

That 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 House!


Wednesday 27th February

Vertical: 5,352 metres  Pistes: 28 kms

Day four and a new area to explore- Seceda.  

First 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.

We 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.

Team at Rifugio Daniel

Click on the picutre to see his function

I 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 dish.

We 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 lips.

Back 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!

After 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.

The band....

..... and the dignatories

The 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.


Thursday 28th February

Vertical: 5,121 metres  Pistes: 29 kms

I 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.

The view from the bedroomt

The view in the bedroom!

More Dolomite peaks!

Nick 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 troubling him.  

I almost felt bad about having laughed.

It was another scorchio day and we did the Sella Ronda the other way round- clockwise. 

Somehow I didnít find it as attractive this time- maybe I was getting blasé about all the spectacular scenery by now.


Friday 29th February

Vertical: 4,453 metres  Pistes: 26 kms

Nick 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.  

Roger, Philip and...

.... Nick in the bubble

It 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

The view from the Dantecepies lift

Post Bombardino Team , some with odd skis!

At 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!

Nick was upset that he hadnít managed to bring me down!

We returned to the hotel for a celebratory drink and final toast to absent friends.

That 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.

co-ordinated mass texting in action

Saturday 1st March

Verona 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.



Vertical: 28,955 metres  Pistes: 163 kms

An 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.


Post Script:  

Ski 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!

Don, 2nd March 2008



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2008 Outings

BB0801 : Avoiding the Graupel;  
16 January

BB0802 : Lyth in the Old Dogs; 22 January

BB0803 : That's Lyth;
27 January

BB0804 : Tony's Memory Lane;
30th January

BB0805 : Fell's Belles!  Thank You Mells?  
6th February

BB0806 : The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
13th February

BB0807a: An Outbreak of Common Sense;
21st February 2008

BB0807b: Askham Fell and  the Lowther Estate;   
13th March 2008

BB0808 : Thanks to the MWIS
19th March 2008

BB0809 :  High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
28th March 2008

BB0810 :  Prelude to Spring
2nd April 2008

BB0811 :  Spring in Lakeland
6th April 2008

BB0812 :  Wet, Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
Thursday 10th April 2008 

BB0813 :  What's It All About, Tony?
Thursday 17th April 2008 

BB0814 :  The Hidden Mountain
Tuesday 22nd April 2008 

BB0815 :  The Bowland CROW
Thursday 1st May 2008

BB0816 :  High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
Wednesday 7th May 2008

BB0817 :  Travelling Light
Wednesday 14th May 2008


BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda  
23rd February - 1st March



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BOOT boys

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!

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