Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What I learned from a skiing weekend in Passo Tonale, Italy

So (another) mini break from the marathon training was inevitable, as Colin had booked  for us ages ago (long before we even knew I would go for the Pisa marathon) a skiing weekend in Italy. A chance to meet up with good friends and have some fun (on the slopes though not without a bit of guilt for leaving my long runs behind). What can you do? Just enjoy!

Passo del Tonale

 We are back in Oxford now and this is what I got back with me from lovely (and very cold!) Passo Tonale in the Dolomites:
1. Skiing is hard work, but not as much as running. Runners are really well, well ummm equipped, to deal with the hardships of skiing - with stronger than average buttocks  quadriceps and knees. No getting stiff from skiing for this runner! 
2. Opt for blues rather than reds or blacks if you are planning to race soon and want to stay injury-free. 
3. Running a 12k on the hotel's treadmill and then hitting the slopes is as good a workout as you can get at 1600m altitude. 
View from the treadmill room
4. A chilly -7oC just outside the Sport Hotel Vittoria, where we stayed, and even less than that up on the mountain is great excuse for a hearty lunch like scallopines with thick mushroom sauce at the rifugio. Delicious!
5. Nothing like a Cafe Marochino (with Baileys, chocolate, coffee and milk) to keep the windchill factor at bay. 
6. Snow tyres are a must for getting there and back, and in terms of equipment, if you go this early in the season, you might just get lucky and manage to rent a brand new pair of ski boots and skis at a very good price.
The slopes
7. Running is so much hassle-free compared to skiing - you do appreciate more being able to just get up and go! Oh, and running shoes are so much more comfortable than ski boots!
8. Should finally try out cross-country and snowshoeing next time we go (in early February, most probably). 
9. I am not a natural born runner (everything I achieve requires very hard work and effort from my part), but even more so I am not a natural born skier! Never mind, though! The joy of being on the mountain is enough to keep me going! 
10. Staying safe on the slope and on the run (especially in conditions of ice and low viz) is absolute must for maximum enjoyment. Mission achieved!

Me, freezing!

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