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Marmolada ski mountaineering
Difficulty: On the whole, a relatively easy ascent. The final section is extremely steep (40°) and it is therefore necessary to take off your skis and walk up. A rope may be found useful for this short section (100m).
The initial section of the descent is steep and demanding, especially if the snow is hard. Its first few meters are shared with the Via Ferrata; a sling or short rope will be found necessary to downclimb this section before a platform is reached where you can put on your skis and ski into the valley.

Ascent time: Roughly one hour.

Length: 400m ascent and almost 1400m descent (of which 1000m are ideally angled for off-piste skiing).

Best time of year: The best period is from December to Spring. Since the descent is South facing, it is well worth waiting for the Spring snow falls.
Always phone the Bollettino Meteo di Arabba (167/860345-6) for information about the latest snow conditions, or alternatively have a look at their Internet site.

Gear :A short rope would definitely be useful, as would an ice axe for added security.

Getting there: The itinerary starts at the Passo Fedaia and finishes in a village called Penia in the Val di Fassa. Arrive at Passo Fedaia either from the Val di Fassa (Canazei) or from the Val Cordevole (Alleghe). To return to the starting point, either pre-place a car in Penia or use one of the numerous taxis.

Useful telephone numbers:
Fedaia ski lift (0462/602535)
Malga Ciapela cable car (0437/522984)
Mountain Guides (0462/61459)
Taxi (0462/61574-61292)
APT Tourist office(0462/61113-61137)

Take the ski lift and ascend to Pian dei Fiacconi. Put your skis on and go westwards towards Gran Vernel. Care is required when descending a short slope, then traverse below the base of Punta Penia's North Face. Continue westwards towards a rocky buttress and enter the valley which seperates the Marmolada's NE Face from Gran Vernel, and leads to the Forcella Marmolada.

Having put on the climbing skins, ascend up this valley. It is advisable to take your skis off at the steep final section and walk up the gully.

Marmolada Map

South Face of the Marmolada

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Skiing from the Forcella Marmolada
The magical South Face of the Marmolada with the descent route, taken near the Rifugio Contrin.

Leila Guerra and Claudio Zampieri enjoying 1000m of untouched powder!
(all photos F. Piardi)

Abseil down the Via Ferrata (used in summer) with a 30m rope. Put your skis on at the good ledge and ski down into the valley. The slope is steep at first but it soon eases off to a superb angle for off-piste skiing.
As soon as a less steep section is reached move leftwards to then ski down an extremely beautiful slope. This leads rightwards down to the final stretch and the Rifugio Contrin (2016m). Continue by following the summer path heading NE; although the most beautiful part is over, an incredible panorama still remains.

Follow the Val Contrin until the final steep section and a small hut is reached. From here it is possible to descend either by following the main path, or by traversing high westwards along a small path through the forest. Although less clearly marked, this leads quickly to the Ciampac piste.

A final flourish, and you'll arrive all too quickly at the bottom of the Penia Valley. Wanting to start all over again.

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