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23/11/2012: Tofana di Rozes
Photo by Francesco Tremolada
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The first snow in the Dolomites and the start of the winter season

27.11.2012 by Francesco Tremolada

Corvara-based Mountain Guide Francesco Tremolada has sent us this short update about the early start to off-piste skiing, freeride and ski mountaineering in the Dolomites.

The winter has got off to a great start in the Dolomites. During the last month it's always snowed with fairly high temperatures resulting in damp, wet snow and rain even up high. This has created a compact and safe layer which, at least at altitude (2200m +) and above all on north faces is ideal for skiing.

This snowpack has made it easy to move around at altitude, even on foot, in conditions similar to those found in spring and providing the opportunity to explore routes far earlier than usual, which tend to come into condition only at the end of the season.

This has resulted in alpinists checking out the Sella gullies, Piz Boè, Tofana di Rozes, Cernera, Piz Stiga... as well as the classic Marmolada. Obviously more snow is needed at lower altitudes (below 2000/2300m), but the outlook is positive and snow is expected to fall in the near future...

Naturally it's worth remembering that only this very particular situation has enabled some routes to be skied well in advance, but with the return of winter and (we hope) new snow, prudence will be required. With fresh snow all of this will change rapidly and evaluating the prevailing slope conditions will be necessary, as well as watching out for some crevasses which are still open on the Marmolada.

Watching videos and checking out photos online is a great way to get ready for the new season, but then you'll have to select your route carefully and, above all, use your head. Good powder skiing to all!

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