After a short three-and-a-half-hour drive from Vicenza, my three-and-a-half-men squad — part of the nearly 50-person “assault team” known as Ski Trek Villabassa (STV) — arrived safe and sound this afternoon at the Hotel Adler in the Val Pusteria of the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy.
The Adler — German for eagle — will be our group’s base of operation for the next eight days. Welcoming guests for more than 400 years from its perch in the southern reaches of the Tirol, this family-run hotel has real staying power.
The “Eagle” is owned and operated by the dynamic duo of Cristian Pircher and Helene Markart — he manages the hotel while she works her magic in the kitchen.
Together, hubby and wife-chef, along with their outstanding hospitality support staff, provide the best possible choice for a settimana bianca (white week) getaway and are the real reasons why the annual STV, now in its 23rd year, is such a great event.
Always immaculate, the four-star rated Hotel Adler has a great alpine ambience and affords its guest with every amenity possible.
From superb room accommodations, to five-star cuisine, to the wellness center, to the always popular gathering room with its inviting fireplace — where spritzers rule and glasses go “chin-chin” — to its convenient location to all of the nearby and challenging ski slopes around the breathtaking Dolomites, it’s easy to understand why STV lays claim to the Hotel Adler annually since 1990.
LUNAR MODULES ARE LANDING
Check-in is a breeze and pretty soon the hotel lobby and gathering room fill up with fellow STVers — Canucks, Italians and Yanks — just arriving from other parts of Italy and from across The Pond. Hand shakes, high-fives, kiss-kiss-hug-hugs — some warm, some manly — quickly transform the scene into a photo op for the paparazzi. It’s one very large homecoming. Man, it’s great to be back!
Now, it’s time to unpack then head straight out with some of my mates to get the skis prepped for tomorrow and pick up our Super Ski Pass Dolomiti, good for the entire week. Best to get all of the admin chores out of the way before the official fun begins: tonight’s gourmet dinner, the first round of many shots of Pere Williams grappa, all the catching up to do, then, hopefully, a good night’s sleep before tomorrow morning’s inaugural “assault” on the Dolomites.
Like U.S. astronaut Neal Armstrong, whose voice, back in 1969, crackled through the speakers at Mission Control down in Houston when he proclaimed, “the Eagle has landed” as the Apollo 11’s lunar module came to rest on the powdery surface of the “big cheese,” we, too, have an Eagle — the Hotel Adler — which has now officially opened its doors on Ski Trek Villabassa 2013.
That’s one nervous snowplow for man, one giant spill for mankind.
See you tomorrow! A domani! Bis Morgen!