Ski Trek Villabassa 2013: Day 1 – The Eagle has landed

Closed x Skiing________________________________________________

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.STV 2013 - Day-1 graphic

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.

Adler exterior 2  Adler room5

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.


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!

STV arrival 1  STV arrival 2

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.

Dolomites scenice

Taking off | Photo courtesy Adler Hotel  Making the run  | photo courtesy Adler Hotel  Adler snowmen

Skis 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!

TPT Borsalino on Cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


  1. Tom, oh such wonderful memories you evoke with your travels… Val Gardena, Cortina di Ampezzio, Piancavallo… etc.. Ron & I do not ski, but did walk miles in the snow, he participated in the sled race at night, and I got to paint many snow scenes. Mia cuore e’ in Italia! ENJOY this wonderful time – looking forward to the next post.


    1. Sunny – It was a great ski week this time around. Plenty of snow, as the white stuff fell for four straight days giving us plenty of powder to ski on and comfortably fall down on. Glad you enjoyed the post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: