Sep 29, 2008
When I flew in last October, I lugged over my snowboard and boots with every intention of carving up those Italian hills. I never made it.
This year, I am even more determined to go, especially when I remember getting stuck at the exit of the security zone in front of strangers eagerly searching for friends and relatives. All I could do was grin sheepishly as I struggled to maneuver my full cart around a narrow corner, with my board sitting awkwardly on it and jammed in the doorway. So I'm goin'!
The most natural place for me to go is Alagna (Piemonte), which is really just up the road from where I am at Borgosesia. The mountain is HUGE and even if there are a lot of people, there is space for everyone. The season starts December 6, so I have time to get in better shape. (I seem to always need to get into shape for something and to be honest, I very rarely prepare well--except for one time I can think of. It involved the stairs in the hall of the symphony).
Alagna is on the south side of Monte Rosa, which is the second highest mountain in Europe. (I like that bit of trivia). That will be a lovely sight for when I stop for a rest. Chances are I won't see a thing while boarding as my eyes will be glued to the run...if there is a run. There are so many options and "off piste" is one of them. I like that idea too. And if my pocketbook can manage it, there is heliskiing here too. One choice is to go heliskiing at a point that drops you into Zermatt; the lift there takes you up the Matterhorn and then the runs return you back to Alagna. Sounds expensive, but as you can imagine, I want to do it. If you plan to stay in the area, I would recommend Baita Reale , a family run apartment built in Walser style. Lella is sunshine in human form and she and her husband will definitely make sure you feel welcome.
The lifts are also connected with other ski resorts in Gressoney and Champoluc. Who wouldn't like the idea of crossing borders? Makes me think of Tahoe.
I am not one for skating, but there is a rink there (Squaw Valley comes to mind) and of course cross-country skiing. Yep, I can't wait. And if I don't go, I will definitely be homesick with all these reminders of places to which I once went.