Valle Varaita, one of the numerous valleys in the province of Cuneo, was calling our name this Sunday. The weather forecast was promising so we decided to sacrifice our Saturday night to get a good night’s rest for an early Sunday morning wake up. This was my first time going on the “le ciastre or le ciaspole” (snowshoes) as they call it around here. You can easily rent them for about 5€ at the “baitas” (a mountain cabin with restaurant).


Although I appreciated the beauty and exercise that this activity brings…there is just something about me and snow that just don’t mix. First of all, Claudio and I are not properly equipped with snow gear and went in jeans with leggings underneath. I didn’t have ski jacket so I had to use my old school puffy one which was way too hot and I couldn’t even find gloves besides my nice leather ones! My beanie kept sliding above my ears and I forgot my aviators in the car (not good sunglasses for skiing anyway) I felt like a fool before even starting!

Within the first 10 minutes I fell because of my goofy distorted non linear stepping. Then every so often I would be the one who landed on my face because my feet kept slipping out! Claudio fell through the snow unexpectedly and twisted his knee again and consequently decided to drag his snowshoes behind him. Actually just walking with his boots made life a lot easier considering the hard packed icy snow. We were cold from the strong winds and took pics in the sun while our friends carried along.


The best part of a snow day in my opinion, is coming back to the nice warm baita and eating some typical mountain food while drinking a glass of nebbiolo. This valley is famous for the “ravioles della valle varaita”(see blog entry) These are not raviolis but more like gnocchi filled with cheese and butter! These baitas are also known for the polenta of course. Giovanni had the polenta with sausage, Claudio had mixed polenta which included tastes of three types. The sausage one, “spezzatino” meat chunks in tomato sauce, and “capriolo con funghi” venison with mushrooms i believe. After stuffing our faces we played board games by the fire. By far the best part of the day.

All in all snowshoeing is the perfect alternative for those who do not ski to enjoy the mountains in the winter. Anyone can do it, and you will be able to appreciate the panoramic beauty of the white mountains against the clear blue skies. Unfortunately I think my rented snowshoes were not the best, but I am sure I got a good workout from all that fatigue! Have a great winter!

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