Hello GMVSxc families and friends,
This blog entry will cover two days as we were away from internet last night….read on to find out why!
Yesterday (Tuesday) morning we had an easy morning off from training and took a tour of a WWII bunker with two local tour guides.
One of our guides laying out some background history that helped us understand why the bunkers were built but also the impact that both WWI and WWII had on this area.
Looking down on Mals (in the foreground) from atop the bunker.
Our guide pointing out some other defensive structures that still exist in and across the valley from Mals.
The side of the bunker where the entrance/exit is.
Just inside the entrance. Here our guide is explaining (through Jere’s translations) some details before we head further town the tunnel.
Down on the bottom floor of the bunker. The photos on the wall show how it would have been set up during WWII.
Emily and Ursula sitting in a storage space in the bottom floor. Without headlamps, phones and camera flashes it’s completely dark in the interior parts of the bunker.
In the afternoon we drove up to the Reschen See where Colin and the athletes put on rollerski gear to ski up the Langtaufers Valley. It didn’t take much elevation gain before the low clouds started to drop snow on our skiers.
Olivia smiling despite the chilly precipitation.
Emily striding toward the finish point.
Matt looking relaxed while climbing.
Nick leads Greg, Tanner and Colin early in the ski.
The crew skied to the top of the valley where the road ends before retreating down to the parking lot of the Maseben Hütte. From there we stashed the rollerski gear in the vans and picked up packs with dry clothes and supplies for an overnight at the hut and began to hike. The walk up followed a forest road and took about 45 minutes. The hut sits just above tree line and is beautiful inside.
The Maseben Hütte
We had a bit of free time to relax by the wood stove in the dining room before dinner….
Dinner was an amazing ordeal from start to finish. This dish (above) is actually dessert: a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a berry sauce. It was delicious.
The main course: ribs and potato wedges.
The vegetarian option: cooked vegetables topped with gourmet cheese and made to look like a complete work of art! Emily said it was delicious! Our hosts did a great job catering to the various dietary needs of our athletes and everyone went to bed with a full stomach.
The first dish: a pasta dish served right in small frying pans.
Tanner and Brian trying to stretch out their stomachs before dessert!
After dinner the crew went back to playing games. It was great to see them interacting without the use of devices for such a long period of time!
This morning we had breakfast at Maseben before gearing up for a hike further into the mountains behind the hut. The ground was snow covered with temperatures below freezing so everyone had extra layers, hats and gloves along. We headed for a Planoil Scharte Pass, which was just under 3000m. Nine of our crew made it to the pass while the rest of us turned around a bit earlier due to cold toes.
Leaving the hut this morning.
Heading north before we turned uphill.
The trails are marked with red and white paint that looks like an Austrian flag. Some of the markings were easy to spot, especially early in the hike when there wasn’t much snow. When we started to gain elevation and the snow got deeper it got more difficult to follow the trail in places.
Our line of hikers.
Emily and Kat happy to be heading down.
Grace taking a break to get her feet out of the snow.
Jere on the descent.
We made it back to the hut to gather overnight items we’d left behind and have some food before heading back to the vans at the valley floor. This afternoon, after a short rest back in Mals we went out for an easy classic rollerski on the bike paths. Most of the team skied for about an hour before getting cleaned up for dinner.
Tomorrow we have our last day here in Italy and will head east to the Schnalstal Glacier again, this time to classic ski. Stay tuned for a short update on that adventure before we make the trek home on Friday.
Thanks for reading,