Skiing with Mr. Prickly and with an old friend a.k.a. attempting to put back the “old crew”
This TR is two weeks late, but it took that long to compose.
1st thing 1st, a big Thank You to Mr. Prickly for once again skiing with me and allowing my sorry frame to ski the best places on the mountain...
Now, I closed the previous TR (http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/82490/ski-test-tr-sat-03-14) with a question mark :
So, here lies again the question in front of me, to head there again to test some more, knowing too well that if I'd find the Coomba again I'd ask for those even in un-favourable conditions or head to a bigger mountain and unleash my trusty H.R.s ?
Come Wednesday and the answer to the question was still open. Only sure thing was that, after a quick phone call to my old time ski “pard” (during our university years/first years of our working life, indeed we came to form a “posse” or a “crew” so to speak), we were going to ski. (Aaah, are we maybe on our way to resuscitate our old crew? Will this set things rolling off again?)
Thursday come and a P.M. to Mr. Prickly to check whether he’d been in Made on Saturday got a positive reply…That and his comments about the snow conditions (particularly, one spot) and clear skies, my mind was 97% made up then.
Made was going to be our destination.
Sat morning, the alarm goes off, it’s 06.00 a.m….yawn! Why on earth I still do this kind of things?
I’m too old, I want to sleep some more, but then the thought of the rendez-vous with my old crew mate makes me finally crawl out of the bed.
We meet and the set off toward Made. On the was we pass by the highway exit to the other station
(the one where the ski tests are to be held this week end too)…we give it a quick thought but the idea of Madesimo is too ingrained in our minds to change it.
We finally come to Campodolcino, which is ha village at the foot of the final road climb to Made.
From there an underground funicular quickly takes skiers (and non skiers) to the skiing fields of
Motta, a part of Madesimo ski area. This takes the same amount of time than driving up the mountain with the car but with the advantage that a bigger portion of that time is spent skiing.
Once reached the top station…we go in the open and take the first chairlift…it’s windy and cold
even if sunny. We later discover that the temp that morning (at 08.00 or so) was -18° C…
Anyway ,ski-on-foot we head for our breakfast, planned to be taken mid mountain at a place called “Aquarela”, a couple of runs and a hot cappuccino and a croissant later, we brave the cold temp and set off to ski for good.
We head to the cable car which carries skiers to the top of Pizzo Groppera and give access to Val di Lei and to the Canalone area…
Once insite the station I decide to call our Mr. Prickly and see if he’s around.
Needless to say, he is. In fact he was set to board the calbe car in that instant. While we are lagging behind and posed to take the next one, so we agree to meet at the top.
He’s skiing with a couple ofother mates, all semi-locals who enjoy skiing Made and the Canalone
Searching for pow stashes, and play in-and-out ofthe many mountain’s couloirs
Mr Prickly and my pard inside the bottom tram station queuing to board
The first part of the Canalone becomes very quickly a bump run (see on the right of this picture)
My pard wanted a picture showing the run’s pitch…here it is. Nothing scary, but still considerable
Later on we’re reached by Mrs Prickly and others, so our number increases a bit.
All strong skiers, used to ski down this famous and renown run many times a day…
The “Posse” (21032009009), Mr. Prickly in the back, he’s difficult to catch in a picture, he’s the first to stop to wait for people and the first to start the next chunk, and since I am the last one at both (I’m painfully too slow), I had to ski down with my camera in my hands, ready to “shoot”, I'll save you the comments the "posse" made about it...
Our Mr. Prickly has stainless, spring like, piston pumping legs mucles and the stamina of a 24 Le Mans turbocharged Diesel engine, ours, on the opposite are quite down, my buddy every now and then has to stop and lie down because of quad cramps nevertheless.
Nobody somewhere in the Canalone area in the morning, down, very far, Mr. Prickly waits for us
Mr Prickly entering the second half of the “Streghe” couloir, too fast for us to catch him nearer
So, midday comes with it a bit of relief since the local posse has to go and get their children from ski school. This means that my pard and me are left to catch a bit of breath and eat something at the mid mountain restaurant “Larici”. A task that we gratefully set to.
I can’t help but nudge him a bit “You know why I asked you to come here and ski with Mr. Prickly?” “No” he wonders, “But of course, this way I wouldn’t have been the one in the worse shape” I tell him laughing.
Still, when the evening came and while driving home we counted six laps up and down the mountain (not considering the skiing “commute” to it and the little detours we took, after all it was my pard second time at this hill). I consider six laps down the Canalone a remarkable feat for two out of shape as we are.
My pard waiting for me at the entrance (013), our last “Streghe” for the day…
Once we’ve reached the mid mountain point, MR. Prickly has to go home, it’s nearly 16.30 and we’ve got less that a quarter of an hour to reach the cable car station…
So we say our farewells, promising ourselves there’ll be a next time and go.
I wanted to ski some easy off piste on the way back but lifts were closing behind us so the risk to finding one closed was too high and we did not want to depart from Made on foot ? No other choice but keep to the groomers and speed up.
Well, we made it on time and satisfied, packed our skis and stuff and head to catch the cable car down to the car park (notice the old Epicski sticker on my hard-backpack, there's a bigger one on the back of
At the park a strange guys approaches us “Hello, do you drive home tonight?” “Yes” I reply, still full of good vibes from the day “Would you give me a lift down to the main village” (That’d be Chiavenna) “Yes, I reply, a bit amazed” (but thinking “Hell, why not, a good deed will earn me some karma”).
While we chat he observes my skis and comments “Those are the widest skis I’ve seen around”
I keep my consuel to myself and simply reply “Oh these are only mid fat all mountain skis” but for sure must appear really wide to someone skiing mod to late ‘90s Rossignol SL skis “There are wider skis around. And I was tired of skiing race replica skis”
Driving down the road we chat a bit and our guest is American, a world traveller
Staying at a friend’s house for the week end...Full of pride he informs us that he skied the Canalone
“The best run of the Alps” (His words, not mine) “Saved maybe Verbier” continues “three times today” (To this, my pard and me exchange a knowing look and keep silent, we did not want to demean the guy happiness, and this remembered us, well me at least, that it doesn’t really matter
how much or how many times…it’s the joy you get from the experience of skiing, the “zen” you take home, that matters.
Now, if you haven't forgotten the thread title, you might wonder, why the strange title?
Because of this :
The above picture of me is one of the two I am most proud of, and has been shot by my pard on an un-named couloir on the Sella Massif in Jan 1994.
This one was taken 15 years later, it’s still me and despite the skier and the different camera (the one in 1994 was taken using a Pentax reflex, the one in 2009 using an old point and shoot digital Ixus V2 @ 2.1 Mp) I can’t resist but accomunate the two.
We’re at the bottom of the “Le Streghe” couloir in the Canalone (or better “Camosci”) area.
Come to think of it, I’d rename the place the Groppera area. Since the “runs” do not officially exists, only the Canalone (Camosci exists only on the maps) is barely marked, it’s an open “playground” to explore, which in my mind resembles a side of a pyramid (or half of a cone) having as vertex the cable car top station.
On the other side of the mountain lies our next goal, the “Angeloga” off piste route…