Ski Trek XXV: Traversing the Dolomites with Knife, Fork, Spoon and Shot Glass | ©thepalladiantraveler.comWhen gli italiani load up the car, van or SUV, and store skis, poles, boots and sleds inside the “coffin” up on the roof, it can mean only one thing: Settimana Bianca (white week).

It’s a winter benchmark when Italians head for their beloved Alps, Apennines, Dolomites or Mt. Etna on Sicily for seven days of fun in the snow, under bright blue skies or falling flakes, Mother Nature permitting.

Ski Trek XXV: Traversing the Dolomites with Knife, Fork, Spoon and Shot Glass | ©thepalladiantraveler.comI, too, join the legions of Gor-Tex®-wearin’, white-stuff aficionados each and every year at this time and head for the Val Pusteria in the Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol) region of northern Italy where German is spoken, but Italian understood (Ja, das ist gut!).

But, I don’t go alone. I’ve got an army of buds watching my six and making sure my wine glass, beer stein and short-shot vessel are always filled. Hey, I need a little “courage” to go downhill.

GERONIMOooooooo!

Ski Trek XXV: Traversing the Dolomites with Knife, Fork, Spoon and Shot Glass | ©thepalladiantraveler.comOur annual hoedown in the snow is branded Ski Trek. We’re an avalanche of Italians, Yanks and Canucks, and we act like one, too, as we literally take over Hotel Adler in Villabassa (Niederdorf in German) and ski the Dolomites, ringing up large bar and food tabs along the way whenever we stop to, ahem, re-hydrate.

From Hugos to Spritz Veneziano aperitivi; red, white and sparkling (think Prosecco) wines; grappas in all kinds of aromatic flavors, including my fave, Pear Williams. In short, we down them all.

Not to be overlooked are the outstanding regional slow foods like canederli in broth (bread dumplings), spätzle (small egg noodles), gulasch (thick soup/stew), wurst (sausage) and speck (smoked prosciutto/ham).

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Ski Trek XXV: Traversing the Dolomites with Knife, Fork, Spoon and Shot Glass | ©thepalladiantraveler.comOh, I almost forgot the most important dish of all: chicken wings.

CHICKEN WINGSItalyARE…YOU…NUTS?

No. Well, yes, if you consider the only way to Baite-Hütte Raut, where these finger-licking-good delicacies are prepped, is via a steep pista nera (black run) midway down the slopes of Mt. Elmo that my ski bum brethren have dubbed the “Chicken Wings Run.”

Ski Trek XXV: Traversing the Dolomites with Knife, Fork, Spoon and Shot Glass | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Ski Trek XXV
, 25 years and counting, kicks off Saturday around the fireplace at Hotel Adler.

Once again we’ll prove that the knife, fork, spoon and glass are just as mighty as skis, poles, boots and goggles when traversing the Dolomites.

Be on the lookout for my dispatches and tweets (#SkiTrek2015) from atop AND underneath the snow.

As they say up in the South Tyrol when the lederhosen fit a bit too snugly: Yodel-ay-ee-oooo!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©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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