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Slope maintenance

A LIFE ON THE SLOPES

Have you ever wondered who prepares the slopes to make your snow experience in the Ampezzo Dolomites unforgettable? Lifties and snowmakers, groomers and skiers work to provide each skier with the best possible slopes. Quiet jobs that perhaps few people notice, but they are all essential to the functioning of the entire ski area. What do they do? Let’s find out together.

45

Snow cannons

11

Snow cannon poles

4

Snow groomers

45 cm

Snow on the mountain

60 cm

Snow in the valley

3

Pump rooms

13

Water pumps

X ha

With artificial snow

X ha

With natural snow

60 cm

Snow in the valley

THE SNOW GROOMER PILOT

Hanging from that wall on the vertical slopes, he works when everyone goes away and also when others are partying. He leaves comforts at home to immerse himself in snow, fog and wind, but also to be amazed by the starry sky at night and the many little lights of the faraway town, each time as if it were the first time.
It is a silent and meticulous job of love and dedication, even when, hanging from that solitary cable winch, the snow groomer gets submerged by the snow or some hitch happens.
It is thanks to our snow groomer pilots that every morning the slopes are ready to welcome thousands of skiers.
A special thought goes to them when we are able to ski smoothly.
To Roberto, Augusto, Michele, Rodolfo.

roberto-ok

Roberto

The snow groomer pilot

THE SNOWMAKER

For him, making snow is an art.
He waits patiently for the right moment to create the perfect crystal: not too wet, not too light, of hexagonal shape and unique.
He monitors his 45 snow cannons and 11 snow cannon poles day and night, and when it is at least -2 degrees wet, he seizes the moment and begins to create.
The ingredients? Are all essential and all natural: water and air.
With just two elements and thanks to pumps, nucleators, augers, fans and other electronic magics, he creates that small core that, fired and hovered in the air for a few seconds, turns into a crystal.
A few hours of rest and the snow recipe is done!
Inevitably tied to the flow of nature, he can program and operate the snow cannons in cold, dry weather, but often bad weather, wind and snow become his archenemies.
It is a matter of experience and passion, of moments seized at the right time, of carefully mixed ingredients.
The snowmaker’s role at the end of the day resembles his snow: simple and silent, but essential.
Thanks to those who, though unseen, are always there.
To Oscar, Michele, Roberto, Omar.

IMG_0100

Oscar

The snowmaker
omar

Omar

The snowmaker

THE SKIER

Skis on his feet early in the morning. Sun, snow, fog, wind. Whatever the weather, and moved by the Ampezzo motto “mai zede” (never give up), the skier faces the first descents of the day to survey the slopes.
The thrill of being the first to ski them and leave one’s wake on the perfectly groomed slope is always great, especially when the dawn in the distance is glowing red and the lighted peaks seem to slowly come to life.
It is often this that, when it’s hard to leave the warmth of the bed, prompts the skier to snap on his trusted skis and set off down the still pristine slopes, one by one.
Eyes wide open, legs solid and ears stretched out listening to the radio to lend a hand where needed, to those who ask.
Is everything in place on the slope – asks the chief-supervisor – nets, poles, mattresses, signs, branches, rocks, snow? And if everything is safe, it’s ok to open.
He used to be called a slope groomer because, meter by meter, he would smooth the slope only with his skis. In the Aosta Valley he becomes pisteur and he’s also responsible for first aid. In our ski areas he is the skier and he does it not only passion and love for the mountains but because safety comes first.
If the slopes are accessible every morning it is also thanks to them, to those who are always ready to roll up their sleeves, grab their skis and go.
To Matteo, Francesco, Alessio.

sciatore

Matteo

The skier

The Machinist

From the top of the engine room, among buttons, levers, telephones, computers and cameras, the machinist with a watchful eye observes the world suspended on the ropes.
He is the mind that controls the system, the point of reference for the station agent and the right-hand man of the chief supervisor, who trusts him blindly. It takes extreme care, a sense of responsibility and a hint of skepticism to ensure that everything runs safely, doing daily and weekly tests and checks.
He’s hidden behind a glass but he’s essential, always ready to answer the radio when gondolas, cable cars or chairlifts come to a stop.
He knows well that “if something stops, it’s because that’s what’s safe at that moment,” and then, step by step, he supports the chief supervisor with his expertise:
activates back-up motors, unloads the system, decides the speed at which to run it and the energy input needed to continue.
And everything, magically, comes back to life.
It is a job that is built with experience in the field and requires perseverance and meticulousness, because, if a lift runs safely every day, it is also thanks to them.
To Maretto, Alessio, Stefano, Luca, Mike, Dino, Oscar, Augusto.

maretto

Maretto

The machinist
dino

Dino

The machinist
stefano

Stefano

The machinist
mike

Mike

The machinist

THE CHIEF SUPERVISOR

He is always there.
A name, a guarantee, because he is sort of the common thread for everything that happens on the lifts.
He made his first run in manual mode when he was 8 years old with the supervision and example of his late father Emilio, and from there the passion has never faded.
Always living amongst ropes and cars at the top of mountains, he knows the true meaning of the word sacrifice.
3 phones, 1 earpiece, 2 radios. Needless to say, he is the most popular man of Tofana.
Yes, because for him there are no schedules, only a few intense hours of sleep at night. If something has to be done, it has to be done, be it day or night.
A generous man that keeps his word, sometimes impulsive and fiery, but still good-hearted, he will do anything to solve a problem, whether it’s on the rig, in a rifugio, at the ticket counter, or in the parking lot.
Something doesn’t work? Call Omar.
A lift stops and you need to figure out why? Listen to what Omar says.
Is there no water coming to the rifugio? Once again, Omar will find a solution.
Station agents, machinists, skiers, lift operators and the huts workers; they all refer to him for a technical opinion, for an “okay you can open,” for some harsh but constructive warning or to listen to one of his life stories while sitting at the same table with a beer after work.
When it comes risk managment, risks, responsibilities and customer safety he is there. Without all his trusted staff he would have no reason to exist, just as there is no cable car without a chief supervisor.
To Omar and all his previous mentors.

omar

Omar

The chief supervisor

The station agent

From his booth he watches hundreds of skiers whiz by the gates every day.
The first ones are ready early in the morning, and when he raises the shutter and opens the gates, the beeps begin and the engines start.
The gondola, cable car and chairlift come to life and with them the station agent.
He has a spirit of observation and a willingness to get involved with shovel and elbow grease, to shovel or level snow and check for hitches on the boarding and disembarkation floor.
His experience can be seen in the Dolomiti Superski uniform he wears: as vintage as the years he has spent working on the slopes.
He is always ready to help children get on the chairlift by slowing it down or loading their skis, to give skiers directions on which way to go, to let those rushing for urgent rescue through.
A chief supervisor’s right hand, he guards his lift so that everything goes smoothly.
Another important piece without which the wheels would not turn.

To Marco, Mauro, Davide, Fabio, Francesco.

maretto

Marco

The station agent
michele

Mauro

The station agent
stefano

Davide

The station agent
omar

Fabio

The station agent
dino

Francesco

The station agent
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next opening: june 8!

See you in June!

The Tofana Freccia nel Cielo area is temporarily closed.
We look forward to seeing you from June 8, 2024 for another wonderful summer together!

For any information write to tofanacortina@freccianelcielo.com.