The Banana Mountain Experience

Trip Start Oct 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 2007

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

After our tour of Padova, Daniele, Vicky, Enrico, Holly, and I dropped Barbara off at the train station.  She headed back to Bologna to continue her chemistry research at the university.  We drove north two and a half hours to the center of the Dolomites for some much less important ski touring.  Enrico stayed with us one day, then he also went back to Bologna to increase the world's knowledge in tagging DNA.
This has been a low snow year for the Alps and we were in the midst of a month long high pressure streak, so our touring choices were limited to northerly facing aspects.  If it were just Holly and I we probably would have given up, lied in the grass, and enjoyed the nice weather.  Luckily Daniele was armed with a library of guide books, knowledge of the area, and occasional phone calls to unnamed sources.  Daniele showed us some amazing places that had some good corn skiing left
The Dolomites are like no mountain range we have seen before.  Maybe Vicky can summarize best how the Dolomites were formed.  Vicky is a geology graduate student in Berlin (Vicky feel free to post).  However the description that works well for a layman's brain like mine, was given by an Italian guide we met later in the trip.  He said, "The Dolomites are a series of large plateaus, cut deep with a knife."  The result are deep long couloirs. 
Like most people in caloric dept, much of our week revolved around food.  After skiing we would come home, eat some pancetta, a low-fat Italian specialty (this means it was only half fat) and cheese, then start cooking.  Daniele provided us with some great Italian staples, Vicky made some great salads, Holly treated us to her bread, curry, chocolate dessert, and I am sure Daniele and Vicky will be talking about my oatmeal and couscous for years.  We were also treated to dinner one night to some local cuisine by our host mother.  I forgot the correct name, but it was like a stuffed potato flatbread with a side of sauerkraut.  Delicious! 
Vicky being a Bulgarian living in Berlin, Daniele being a Italian living in Berlin, and us two wandering Americans, it was fun discussing different aspects of the places we have lived around the dinner table.  Daniele had some great stories of life in what he called "The Banana Republic", his native country.  Definitely one of the highlights of the week was getting to know Daniele better and meeting Vicky.
Summary of the Week's Tours
Sunday - Val  Mesdi up / Val Setus Down in the Sella Massive ski tour
Monday - Tofana Di Rozes ski tour
Tuesday - Pez Puez Est ski tour
Wednesday - Val Culfa ski tour
Thursday - Marmolada (Punta Penia) ski tour
Friday - Struscio (Italian for strutting down Main Street in your best attire) in Cortina
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