Civetta is our most easily accessed large resort and its really really good. Before we bought the house I’d never had the opportunity to ski the range so it was with some trepidation that I set off to explore – what would it be like? It looked good but would it match my expectations?
Just for starters you are skiing in the shadow of one of the mightiest faces in the whole of the Alps, the NW face of Civetta – it’s an utterly mind bending wall, bigger than the far more famous El Capitan in the US, with climbing routes of 1400m+ on it. You can’t help staring at it and wondering what it would be like to be stood half way up it surrounded by an ocean of rock, as you gently swing in your cabin on the way up from Alleghe. Luckily though this severity is not transposed to the slopes as the Civetta (or owl) range is a really varied collection of runs with something for everyody. And once you’ve reached the summit you realise that the area above Alleghe is only the start as you can cross over into two completely separate valleys to Selva di Cadore to the north and Zoldo to the east. I’ll describe what you will find on the Alleghe side first as it’s a logical place to start.
Piani di Pezze is where the first lift kicks out and is the central hub for this side of the mountain. All runs end here apart from the return to the valley, so it’s useful as a rendezvous point should anybody get lost or you decide to split up. It’s a pleasant spot to have lunch being in a cosy bowl which catches the sun all day and plays host to there huts to eat at. In addition there are all sorts of family amenities here – you’ll notice as you ski down from the first lift that there is an air bag for practising jumps, a freeride park for boarders and skiers with rails, table tops and all the usual accoutrements and a ski school area for toddlers and youngsters.
From here another long Gondola (down to skiers right) continues to the summit of the hill, Col dei Baldi. The top is special, with views to the south wall of Marmolada, the other world famous precipice in the area, Monte Pelmo and the Sella massif in the distance. There is another restaurant here, a little basic but the tuck is good. Facing the lake in Alleghe there are a number of returns to Piani di Pezze which get harder from left to right. The blue which contours the mountain numbered 15 takes you gently down and away from Alleghe. Indeed this is the key to accessin Val di Zoldo but we will come to that in a minute. After 1km or so it turns right onto no 8 and from here its a pretty steady affair with one steep pitch which can be avoided by a chicken run to the left. It’s a little narrow, but certainly preferable if your kids are new to skiing.
The next blue round, no 14. is at the top of the grade and is continuously steeper than 8. Its a fun run and pretty direct – it rejoins 8 most of the way down it. I’d not advise it for total beginners who will find its continuous nature tough. Then there is a really nice red which starts just over the brow of the hill to the right of the lift station before you reach some blues again which run down to a col called Pra della Costa. From here there are a number of reds and a black back to Piani di Pezze – really good, steep technical runs which require good short turning skills – either that or a strong constitution. But you can also reach Col Fioret which gives a long blue back, mostly easy but which can get some bumps forming by the end of the day. It also gives access down to Selva di Cadore – this area I’ve haven’t yet managed to ski – it will be my first priority this winter!
To Pecol and Zoldo
Back at Col dei Baldi, and you can make your way along the very leisurely run 15 and take this route all the way to Pecol. It’s a good long run and for the most part is extremely easy. However, it must be said there are two sections which are steep, one which makes it tricky for beginners and is the last section of a steep red run. Here your ward will need to do some long zigzags to arrive at the base of the steep pitch. The final steeper section as you roll into Pecol is easier and wider but can get bumpy through the day. It’s a really nice run to do with your kids once they’ve gotten the hang of linking turns. There is a large hut at Pecol which can serve as a pit stop – it does get very busy at lunch though so you might want to get there early or avoid it around that time! There is a button lift to take you back up to repeat the last section or a chair to take you onto the return journey back to Alleghe. This chair also leads to two excellent red runs back to Pecol. Both are at the upper end of the grade which steep skiing and are really rewarding runs which are often empty. Then of course you can ski down to Zoldo – as you descend to Pecol there is a piste off to skiers right. This is a little steep and narrow in places but not hard considering this. In around 1km you reach the village where there is lots more skiing to be had. I’ll cover this in another blog once I get a chance!
Back to Alleghe
Lastly, you have to return to Alleghe – you do this by skiing from the top of the Pecol lift or Col dei Baldi back towards Piani di Pezze. However, before turning off onto the last schuss to this area there is a small piste which leads left. If you miss this, then you can get back to it by taking a short button lift next to the Board park. It must be said that this run back is not for the faint of heart. For a red it is consistently steep and technical. I would certainly not recommend it for small children at the end of the day who are more than likely going to be tired and a little strung out until they are really happy on all reds. It can be icy AND bumpy at the same time – so even as an adult it can be testing. If this is the case, make your way back to the lift from Alleghe at Piani di Pezze and catch the lift back down.
That said, if you catch this run in good condition, either soon after it’s been groomed in the morning, or its been snowing, this is an outstanding run. If you’re happy on the bumps and steeps it’s a thoroughly enjoyable leg burner which will leave you quivering and wanting to go around for more! It brings you straight back to the bottom of the lifts in Alleghe and a short walk back to the car. Alternatively of course, if you know where there is a sneaky cut through at one of the last flat sections on the right before you come into the town where you can schuss down to the apres ski bar the Granda Guerra – well worth a stop!