Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWith apologies to Julius Caesar, just a slight word swap on the famous Latin quote attributed to him following his swift and victorious military campaign at the Battle of Zela in 47 BC: Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), and I, too, can sum up my just-concluded, front-line antics at Ski Trek Villabassa (STV) — the annual reunion in the snow up in the Dolomites of northern Italy — in three words: Veni, Vidi, Edi (I came, I saw, I ate).

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio Images
As I stow away my ski gear for a long hibernation, the 24th edition of STV still lingers on my palate.

Along with the other 18 ski bums that made up this year’s trimmed-down avalanche of Canucks, Italians and Yanks, I devoured three squares a day of mouthwatering South Tyrolean slow food dishes, countless aperitivi, and award-winning wines, beers and spirits from around the Alto Adige region of La Penisula.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio ImagesBreakfasts and dinners were taken at our “base camp,” the four-star, family run Hotel Adler in the Val Pusteria.

Here, under the centuries-old roof, guests are treated to gastronomical delights prepped by executive chef Helene Markart and her expert culinary staff from recipes straight out of the pages of her regional cookbook: Cucina Magica delle Dolomiti (Magic of Dolomites Cuisine).

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAnd, hearty lunches were consumed at some great rustic rifugi (chalets) along the ski trails wherever we planted our poles and parked our skis.

Like the 425 or so runs scatted across the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Dolomites, our midday respites were endless —  both in choice and time spent around la tavola.

Hey, we’re in Italy, on vacation; what’s the rush when we’re talking SLOW food.

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio ImagesFrom Hugo (Ugo) to Spritz Aperol aperitivi; red, white and sparkling (think Prosecco) wines; grappa in all kinds of flavors including my fave, Pear Williams; and, outstanding regional dishes like canederli (bread dumplings) in broth or creatively stuffed, spätzle (small egg dumplings), gulasch (thick soup/stew), wurst (sausage) and speck (smoked prosciutto ham).

We gnawed our way through it all, and then some, like a finely-tuned ski team negotiating the slalom gates in preparation for Sochi 2014. Yep, STV was our Winter Olympics, at the table at least, and we all medalled. Here’s a virtual assaggio (taste).

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Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio ImagesIn between all the calorie-laden dishes (who cares!) and topped-off wine goblets, beer steins and shot glasses (why not?), there was “Hockey Night in Cortina” at the rink inside the Olympic Ice Stadium — site of the 1956 Winter Games — a torchlight trek around Lago Dobbiaco (Lake Dobbiaco), strolls down the snow-covered pedestrian-only walkways of Brunico and San Candido, and countless downhill runs over some of the more than 1,200 kilometers of ski slopes that make up Dolomiti Superski.

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Ski Trek XXV logo | ©Tom Palladio ImagesGranted, this was a settimana bianca (white week), the time-honored Italian tradition of enjoying a week out on the slopes on skis, snowboards or sleds, but we did our fair share of “attacking” with knives, forks and spoons, too.

In other words, we came for the snow, but stayed for the food. GREAT food. And, it won’t be any different next year when we celebrate the milestone XXV edition of Ski Trek Villabassa.

I’m already counting down the days toward January 17, 2015 when I can once again boast from the peaks and valleys of the Dolomites: Veni, Vidi, Edi!

Ski Trek Villabassa 2014: Veni, Vidi, Edi | ©Tom Palladio Images

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT Borsalino 2014 Color |©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 Veneto region of northeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him in and out of 49 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 somewhere in the Veneto. You can also follow his dispatches from the cobblestone at TravelingBoy.com and ItalianNotebook.com.

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