Today’s blog post written by Walker Bean

Roller skiing up the Martell is one of my favorite workouts that we do in Italy. It is very tiring,
extremely pretty and a classic. We got out to the Martell valley by 9 in the morning and it is
about a 3 hour ski up. It was skate this time and now that I am not a J2 I had to start a few
kilometers farther down the road and that made it roughly 32 kilometers to the top. The entrance to the valley is guarded by a small hill with an ancient castle on the top, behind it you can see strawberry fields lining the inside of the valley. 

Elliot taking a break from the climbing.

Walker still feeling good about more uphill skiing. 

The views are great as you wind up into the valley seeing the apple and strawberry farms terraced into the sides and the small towns on the road. We met Andy, an Italian Biathlon coach who lives in the Martell, he drove one of the vans up the valley to keep an eye on us as we roller skied our way up. The air was cool and slightly rainy, the perfect weather for a long uphill ski because it keeps you cool but you don’t ever get cold. We stopped for snacks several times on the way up and we got a great chance to sample some of the apples and strawberries from one of the stores. The fruit was about as fresh as could be asked for and was simply amazing as is most of the food here. 

Forrest working hard. 

Lizzy and Kat skiing together.

Snack break….local strawberries and apples. 

Carl and Tanner after one of the tunnels.

They managed to get dressed in matching clothes and totally denied that it was on purpose. 

The older boys chasing Justin up the final climb. 

Walker pushing through the switchbacks. 

Toward the top of the valley there is a biathlon range and track that are some of the most fun roller skiing trails that I have been on, they are steep with tight corners and a good flow that makes it feel rolling and fast. From the biathlon range we skied up 10 switchbacks to a beautiful glacial lake. The lake has that icy blue color to it and I have always wanted to take a swim but I have never gotten the chance. The road follows the edge of the water around the side of the lake until it reaches another river on the far side from there the road keeps switchbacking up the valley. The road is extremely steep sometimes reaching a 14 percent grade, by that time it felt like whenever you put your ski down and expected it to move it just wouldn’t. At the top of the road Justin, Forrest, Elliot, and myself skied all the way to Rudy’s snack stand at the very top, just across the river from an old abandoned hotel. Even having skied on Stelvio the day before, I don’t think I have felt as tired as I did on top of the Martell in a long time.

The crew posing in front of the snack shack at the top. It was cold up there! 

Andy and Justin sharing a thumbs up!

Once we were all done skiing we loaded up into the van and went down to a restaurant
part way down the Martell, there we got to see a great accordion performer and a great meal.
There was even some dancing from Andy and Kat. They served us pasta and stuffing-like
dumplings followed up by a pasta made from spinach that is a regional delicacy. Our lunch
dessert was a home made apple strudel and some home made ice cream which were amazing but tiny. From there we said goodbye to Andy and went back to the hotel for a much needed nap.

Andy showed us this overlook on the way down to lunch. It was gorgeous despite the rainy, cold weather. 

The lake that’s formed by the hydroelectric dam. That water looks cold! 
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