All downhill from here...

Fi­nally gets to ride the glam­orous Val Gar­dena downhill tracks he re­mem­bers from watch­ing Kon­rad Bar­tel­ski on Ski Sun­day

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

WE’VE all en­joyed the re­cent Ed­die The Ea­gle movie, re­mem­ber­ing how an En­glish­man took on the world (sort of ) on skis.

But there is an­other man who lit up Bri­tish snows­port a few years ear­lier and, un­like our love­able Ed­die, has been largely for­got­ten.

It is 35 years ago next month that Bri­tish down­hiller Kon­rad Bar­tel­ski stunned ski­ing by com­ing se­cond in a World Cup race, just a tenth of a se­cond off top spot.

I can still hear David Vine’s ex­citable com­men­tary on Ski Sun­day as Kon­rad al­most slid across the fin­ish line on his back­side af­ter his re­mark­able run.

Fol­low­ing his tri­umph, one shocked French CRYS­TAL Ski Hol­i­days (crys­tal­ski. co.uk; 020 8939 0726) of­fers a week’s half-board at the three-star Ho­tel Alpino Plan in Selva Val Gar­dena in the Ital­ian Dolomites from £523 per per­son (two shar­ing). beau­ti­fully groomed blessed with great, cel­e­bra­tion menu which length. late-sea­son ski­ing and in­cluded con­sommé with

From 2,249m up the there are ef­fec­tive port, spinach dumplings Ci­ampinoi peak down to snow-mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties if with ham in cream sauce, the pretty vil­lage of Santa nec­es­sary. baked neck and ribs of Cristina, it is a headacheMy daugh­ter, Maddy, pork and pan­cake with in­duc­ing, leg-scream­ing and I stayed in a fam­i­ly­cran­berry jam. black run. run ho­tel at the edge of The place has a big,

All right, I went down Selva, Ho­tel Alpino Plan, warm boot room – al­ways its sis­ter red run a few which was vir­tu­ally ski in a bonus as many small times first, but I got to the and out even in March. ho­tels have ones so tiny big one in the end – But you can catch a free you are fall­ing over though I took rather five-minute bus ride into your­self even be­fore longer than Kon­rad’s town if you want to pick hit­ting the slopes. And stun­ning two min­utes and up the ca­ble car be­fore be­cause it is at the head of seven sec­onds. strap­ping on your skis. the val­ley, has great views

The ma­jes­tic run, in the The three-star ho­tel was down into Selva. shadow of the brooding sim­ple but im­mac­u­late, a The town it­self is full of 10,000ft-tall Sas­sol­ungo his­toric build­ing plas­tered posh bou­tiques, pretty moun­tain, is the jewel in with mem­o­ra­bilia by churches, classy Val Gar­dena’s crown, but owner Luis Demetz of his restau­rants and some there are many other many years as a ski lively apres ski bars where smaller gems to en­joy in­struc­tor in the re­sort you can get a warm­ing along the Gar­dena val­ley, and wel­com­ing host to bom­bardino – an which is made up of three both the Bri­tish and US Ital­ian-style, boozy dis­tinct com­mu­ni­ties, ski teams when they come eggnog, with a deca­dent Or­ti­sei (its bowls too low to the val­ley. swirl of cream on top. for de­cent Easter ski­ing), His fam­ily now runs the But the best thing about your stay to get dif­fer­ent found a place at the top of pic­turesque Santa place with good hu­mour Val Gar­dena is that the views and ex­pe­ri­ences. a moun­tain which did Cristina, and lively Selva, and bon­homie but the re­sort is part of the huge The 26-mile tour, which large piz­zas for just four The hol­i­day of­fer sit­ting up the val­ley at best as­pect of our stay was Dolomiti Su­per­ski skipass loops around the Sella euros). in­cludes flights from 1,563m. the ter­rific food. area, with 750 miles of Mas­sif, is easy to fol­low Take ei­ther the green Manch­ester to Verona As with most of my It is amaz­ing how eas­ily slopes to ex­plore in one of and there is great ski­ing route or the higher, more and trans­fers (price ex­pe­ri­ences with Ital­ian you can ski off a four or the world’s most beau­ti­ful to be had, in­clud­ing dif­fi­cult or­ange di­rec­tion, given is for ski­ing, queues on the five-course meal and moun­tain ranges – the var­ied slopes in my but make sure you are de­par­ture in Jan­uary pistes were prac­ti­cally come back hun­gry the stun­ning, jagged favourite re­sorts of back in time for the last 2017). lift.non-ex­is­tent,es­pe­cial­lynextnight.Dolomites,aUNESCOCor­vara,Col­fos­coand mid­week, and there is Our meal was a treat, World Her­itage Site. Arabba. You can round off your ex­cep­tional value for with the wait­ing staff The easi­est way to en­joy One cir­cuit takes about day-long trek, like Maddy money to be found. dressed in typ­i­cal Ladin an eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble part of five hours, de­pend­ing and I did, head­ing down

The snow on the cos­tume (they still speak that pass area is to ski the how many times you are the Sas­long, al­most val­ley’s slopes was their own lan­guage in this cir­cu­lar Sel­laronda route. tempted to stop off at the com­ing a crop­per but ex­cel­lent. This part of Italy part of the Alps) Try both clock­wise and good value restau­rants end­ing with that win­ning – South Ty­rol – is usu­ally pre­sent­ing a five-course anti-clock­wise dur­ing and bars en route (we feel­ing – just like Kon­rad. com­men­ta­tor ex­claimed: “It’s not pos­si­ble, it’s an En­glish­man.”

As a 14-year-old look­ing for­ward to his first school ski trip, Kon­rad was my hero, and the place where he achieved the high­est Bri­tish plac­ing in any World Cup race be­came iconic to me – Val Gar­dena.

Along with the likes of Kitzbuhel, Sch­lad­ming and Val-d’Isere, the name Val Gar­dena is syn­ony­mous with the glam­our, dan­ger and ex­cite­ment of downhill to a gen­er­a­tion of Ski Sun­day fans, and on a hol­i­day with Crys­tal I fi­nally got the chance to fol­low in Kon­rad’s ski tracks.

Even on a late sea­son break, the leg­endary Sas­long World Cup run was open with its full,

Di­rect flights avail­able from all ma­jor UK air­ports.

Maddy Og­den in front of the Sas­sol­ungo moun­tain, Selva, Val Gar­dena, Italy

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