Behind the scenes when the snow falls

Chris Clark

January 16, 2017

Last week’s snow in the Alta Badia was, of course, greeted with a mixture of excitement and relief. Cold temperatures and excellent snow making infrastructure had meant the winter so far had run as usual. Pistes open across the Dolomiti Superski area and crisp sunny weather had led to countless enjoyable days on the mountain, but without a real natural snowfall it all seemed a little tenuous, as though a spell of warm weather would bring an end to it all prematurely. Luckily for us, any fears and nerves were put to bed this weekend.

All weather forecasting in a mountainous area like the Dolomites is difficult and unreliable. We watch the various longer range forecasts in hope more than anything, often stopping on the website which offers the most optimistic chance of snow. When the different agencies start to agree, that is when you can begin to expect rather than speculate. Producing the weather reports each day for our chalets in the Dolomites, I am able to watch this process unfold. As the potential snowfall gets closer, the predictions more accurate, the forecasters begin to form a consensus. It’s only then when I become confident in what is to come.

Fresh Snow in the Italian Dolomites

As such it was not a spontaneous excitement when the snow did fall, but excitement nonetheless. In fact you could feel it across the village. Numerous machines from enormous diggers and snow ploughs to more humble hand pushed snow blowers emerge from garages across town. Even more humble the shovel that formed our arsenal of snow clearing equipment at Chalet Verena. Nevertheless, we attacked the newly formed snow drifts with abandon, shovelling piles of snow into the road where they were promptly picked up by the comune vehicles. The way these communities pull together in extreme weather is almost a throwback to an earlier time, when working together meant survival. Nowadays it forms a bond of excitement, the snowfall reinvigorating the resort.

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