For Guy and me the season started six weeks ago. During PA#1 we scored some deep Octoberpow on the glaciers of Austria. Since that moment I've switched to "wintermode", constantly checking the weathermodels, fiddling around with gear and refreshing the Powfinderapp. And it looks like I'm not alone because my Facebook timeline is slowly turning white, and since September I've been looking jealously at the updates from across the pond, my god it looks like America had an awesome season start with consecutive dumps and all resorts already open halfway through November.
When PA#4 hit the Southern Alps we wanted something different than the glaciers, we wanted real winter and treeruns between the beautiful Larch trees! So the quest for open resorts began, and this being 2013 we used modern technology and social media to get the task done. Using Google translate and Facebook we spammed all the resorts we could think of in the Piemonte looking for that early season opening. On Friday we received an awesome message from Prali: Domenica Aperti / Open on Sunday! Riding powder between 2450m and 1400m in November, why not?
We left Amsterdam on Friday night and since Prali would only open on Sunday decided that we would go the Engadin first. All the way up to Chur we were on a record breaking route scenario and we weather looked great too. When we took the exit to Tiefencastel it was nice and cold, around -5C at low altitude. We began climbing the famous Julierstrasse and after passing Savognin drove into a thick fog. Using the CarNav to read the roads we were in for a scary surprise when 20 deer crossed the road just in front of us. A beautiful sight but also pretty scary when you see their eyes lit up in the fog.
On Saturday we play around on the Corvatsch, plenty of snow but a nasty wind made some of the more interesting routes a no go. In the afternoon we decide to drive to Maloja at the end of the Engadin valley to hike to the top of this still closed resort. Our skins and touring gear are still in Amsterdam and the snow is kneedeep, so after one hour up and almost reaching the top of the lift we turn around and enjoy the 3 minute ride down. Maloja has nice terrain and when the one lift wonder is spinning we will surely return on a weekday when there are no crowds.
From Maloja we drove to lake Como and then it's Milan, Turin, Prali! When we arrived at Pensione Miramonte it's still snowing. More than one meter of snow in a week and tomorrow it's opening day, this is gone be a good one!
Easy does it:
Finding your route is easy around Prali. Two small twoseater chairlifts take you from 1470m to the top of the 2450m high Bric Rond. From there there are basically 3 options:
Go down under the chairlift.
Traverse left and pick your bowl.
The second and third option end at a road from where you can hike back to the lift.
Best of the Alps?
Apart from the distance to Amsterdam, for me Prali comes close to the perfect freeride destination:
Schneeloch, it collects a lot of snow with a retour d'est.
Daypass is under 20 euros.
What do you think about Prali, and what's your perfect freeride destination?
Keep sharing the secrets!