Sue, a.k.a. the Skinny Wench of A Word in Your Ear blog, pulled another fun rabbit out of her hat — I mean word out of her large unabridged — for this week’s A-Word-a-Week Photo Challenge. And that word is WEATHER.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2013 graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Fresh off my annual settimana bianca (white week) up in the Italian Dolomites, known as Ski Trek Villabassa (STV), me and my fellow ski and boarder bums AND “SLEDdog Millionaires” had plenty of weather challenges — mainly continuous snowfalls morning, noon and (over)night for the better part of our stay.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2013 - Group shot - Monte Elmo

But, none of those heavy-laden gray skies dampened our spirits or forced us to endure cabin fever. “WEATHER BE DAMNED!” we yelled out every morning and, regardless of the conditions, we went mano-a-mano with Mother Nature and never missed a day of skiing-boarding-sledding nor the après-ski fun that followed (imbibing and casual strolls around the nearby villages).

Baita/ Hütte Rute - Mt. Elmo Pere Williams shots in a row | ©Tom Palladio Images Pere Williams atop Monte Elmo Ice sculpture - San Candido, Italy | ©Tom Palladio Images Sled race - Monte Baranci - San Candido

From days one through four we were met with a continuous barrage of snow, so-so visibility, frigid rides on chairlifts, and blustery winds at the top of the rocky peaks. Despite what some less-daring might call a “white out,” my team of STVers found the conditions ideal as we were treated to the best snow money can buy — POWDER.

Down the slopes in a snowstorm P1070168 P1070169 Empty chairlift through the standing skis

What makes powder snow so enjoyable to romp in is its low-moisture content and structure. Around the Val Pusteria and other parts of the Dolomites — a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by the way — when the snow comes down as light as a feather, you want to be under, around and on top of it.

Chairlift through the snowfall Riding the chair in the snowfall

The low water content during these types of snowfalls allows one flake to settle on top of other flakes and afford the skier or boarder with the lightest blanket to run through. Nothing says great skiing better than a wake of flying powder kicked up by your passing tracks.

Making the run  | photo courtesy Adler Hotel Powder 2

As a skier, you cannot wait around for the skies to clear. Nope, you have to “saddle up” and take what Ma Earth gives you that day and deal with it. And she gave us four days of fresh “powder nirvana” followed by sunshine and breathtaking blue skies the remainder of the week.

Cable car up to Kronplatz End of a run - Monte Elmo - Val Pusteria, Italy Catching some rays/sleep in Val Badia, Italy | photo courtesy ©Stefano Sacchiero

Yep, Mamma Terra threw everything at STV but the kitchen sink. Her ever-changing mood (weather) swings — that made us work hard on each and every run — knocked us down, but not out. Dead tired every night, she could’ve easily sent us all back to the hotel in one very large email attachment. And the subject line? Why, Powder My Derrière and call Me Sally!, of course.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

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 cobblestone streets 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 along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

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