Ski Trek Villabassa 2013: True Grit and Goulash

Ski Trek Villabassa 2013 graphic | ©Tom Palladio ImagesSki Trek Villabassa 2013 (STV), the 23rd edition of the annual gathering in the Dolomites of northern Italy by Yanks, Canucks and Italians, is officially over.

No more canederli.

No more spätzle.

And, no more gulasch soup. I LOVE GULASCH.

Oh sure, I could probably find these Tyrollean dishes down here in the Veneto, but it wouldn’t be the same. I’ll just keep these regional epicurean delights on the back burner until next year.

As they say in Hollyweird, “It’s a wrap!

Hold the AWEs, but this post will be the final dispatch in a series of five articles I’ve written on STV 2013.

If you haven’t seen the previous four posts, feel free to click on the hats and read as many as you’d like. You can also check out the STV Facebook group page for more photos and comments from some of the other STVers.

TPT Borsalino burgundy | ©Tom Palladio Images TPT Borsalino lt blue | ©Tom Palladio Images TPT Borsalino lt green | ©Tom Palladio Images TPT Borsalino lt. purple | ©Tom Palladio Images

Just like at the start of our fun-filled settimana bianca (white week), where we all gathered in the lobby and the adjacent fireplace-room of the Hotel Adler in Villabassa for high-fives and kiss-kiss-hug-hugs, we did the same at the end of our Trek last Saturday; but, there were more misty eyes vice smiling faces all around our group as we bid each other final farewells until this time next year.


Snow falls on San Candido | ©Tom Palladio Images Down the slopes in a snowstorm Sled race - Monte Baranci - San CandidoSki Trek Villabassa 2013 - Group shot - Monte Elmo

During our seven-day “invasion” of the Dolomites, me and my fellow ski and snowboard bums AND “SLEDdog Millionaires” had plenty of weather challenges — mainly continuous snowfalls morning, noon and night for the better part of our stay. But, none of those heavy-laden gray skies dampened our spirits or forced us to endure cabin fever. Nope. We followed Pitbull’s advice and never stopped the PARRRRRRRR-TY.

True Grit scene photo | ©TV GuideJust like U.S. Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn in True Grit, we “saddled up” and took what Madre Terra doled out, day in and day out. We went mano-a-mono with her, and never missed one single day of skiing-boarding-sledding nor all the après fun (imbibing and casual strolls around the nearby villages), and lots — I mean LOTS — of eating.

As the days weathered on (like craggy-faced Rooster over there), Ma Earth ended up blessing us with four days of freshly fallen skier’s gold — POWDER — followed by bright sunshine and breathtaking blue skies the remainder of the week that made it easy to gaze at those unique, panoramic, panettone-like, snow-covered peaks known as the Dolomites.

Atop Mt. Cherz - Corvara | ©Stefano Sacchiero

STV 2013 atop atop Cristallo - Cortina d'Ampezzo | ©Susan Halligan rodgers

Panoramic of Passo Campolongo - Corvara, Italy | ©Stefano Sacchiero


We crowned a new “king” of the downhill, as one of the members from the Italian squad (ITALIA!), affectionately known as Coach, took the slalom trophy, while T from Canada (Oh CA-NA-DA) was the “queen” of the distaff side.

Ski race timer graphic | ©Tom Palladio ImagesIn the sledding competition, G-M of Team USA (USAUSA!) was quickest to the finish line for the guys, and M, also representing Old Glory, had her motor running with the sleekest sled of the gals.

And, the overall men’s and women’s combined slalom-sledding winners both came from the Bel Paese, as Coach and N — sans her spiked heels — brought home the gold for La Squadra Tricolore.

Yours truly finished fifth — FROM THE BOTTOM! Hey, I MEANDER along the cobblestone, not run along it, remember? Anyway, who cares. I came for the food, drink, laughs and camaraderie as much as I did for the skiing; so, it was a win-win for me.  I like to take my time when I eat, savor every morsel and sip; and, I guess I do the same when I’m on those two narrow boards heading downhill.


Grilled sausages & roasted potatoes - Baita/Hutte Raut - Mt. Elmo | ©Tom Palladio Images  Canederli in broth - Baita/Hutte Raut - Mt. Elmo | ©Tom Palladio Images Gulash stew - Baita/Hutte Lorenzihütte - Kronplatz | ©Tom Palladio Images Spätzle with speck - Baita/Hutte Lorenzihütte - Kronplatz | © Tom Palladio Images

We all thoroughly enjoyed sampling the variety of great dishes prepared for us — about 21 per person — during the week.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014 graphic | ©Tom Palladio ImagesMany of us guzzled — Hugos, Aperol Spritzers, Pear Williams grappa shots, beer and wine .

A few of us hardly slept.

Most of us skied/boarded/sledded.

And EVERYONE had a great, great time.

It’s no wonder STV has endured for 23 years and counting. As one member of our group exclaimed, “Hip replacement be DAMNED, I’m going to Villabassa this year.” And, he did. And, he skied. And, just like Rooster Cogburn, he overcame and conquered. Talk about true grit.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2013. A great week for 50 or so really lucky souls. You should’ve been there. Maybe next year, okay? If so, you bring the GRIT, I’ll order the GULASCH.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images




  1. Great job on the expose and video. Many thanks to you for making it a special, fun, and wonderful week.

    1. Jake – Thanks for stopping by and commenting on TG&G. I’m sure you noted the “graphics” I used, acceptable but not in your league. Glad I’m the first to sport your clever WP Post-a-Week badge. I love it. I’ll be sure and mention it in my next WP photo-challenge submission. Deal?

  2. Wow! Lucky bastard! And I LOVE that movie True Grit!! Have you watched Djungo Unchained yet? More of a comedy, but truly delectable… His best work since pulp fiction. I am a huge fan of Christoph Waltz and for once Di Caprio doesn’t look like he’s 12…

    1. Stephane – Actually, I’m an Inglourious Basterd! (keeping with the Quintin T theme). For me, True Grit – the original with The Duke and remake with Bridges – is one of my all-time fave westerns. No, I have not seen Django yet — I’ll have to wait until it becomes available on iTunes as there’s no theatre here in Vicenza screening in VO (the struggles of an expat). Glad you enjoyed the post. Prosit! 🙂

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