Getting Vertical With Salewa…..

Our guided Snow-shoe trek in the awe-inspring Italian mountains – The Dolomites.

In October / November last year a sponsored post popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, offering entry into a competition in which the winners would receive an unforgettable mountain experience.. but of course people never actually win those do they! At least never me anyway, but I was feeling lucky and there were Manfrotto Off-Road Tripod’s up for grabs also, which was something I was could definitely use!

So I entered the competition, which entailed a short game where you had to guess the correct items of clothing & equipment needed for your chosen “mountain experience” , in my case this was Snow-Shoe hiking through the Italian Dolomites. Followed by being asked for a few words about why you would wanted to be apart of this incredible opportunity.. Well that bits obvious, who wouldn’t 🙂

That was it.. Done… I entered the competition.. Then completely forgot about it!

Then on December 17th I received an email saying that I had won a place on the Get Vertical Winter Base Camp Experience in Alta Badia.. I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was a joke. People never win these holidays!! At least not me! At the time I was on a Stag Do in North Wales and signal was very poor, so trying to find out the specifics of what I had won was very difficult and involved a bit of a confused, yet cautiously excited phone call to my wife back home to get her to find out just how lucky we had been. I really dread to think how many emails the team at Salewa must’ve had off me in those first days after getting the prize winning notification..

Even as we drove from Venice Airport to the Alta Badia resort, 2 months later, and after a number of communications with the Salewa team, part of us still thought it was all a joke.. This really did all sound too good to be true. I mean it wasn’t just a guided trek in an incredible location, there was also free accommodation in what looked to be out of this world scenes and even free outdoor equipment.. We would never be that lucky, would we?

Then we were shown to our room and found this! We were each given a 35 ltr rucksack, Salewa Polartec Fleece, Salewa Jacket, Manfrotto Trekking Poles and even a neat little BMW bobble hat! Wow!

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Finally, it all became real!! We really were about to go on a real adventure! We met with the rest of the winners and Salewa representatives where we were told about the exciting plans they had for us all over the next few days. Could this get any better!!

Well, yes! The beer was also free 🙂

First stop was a Mountain Refuge in the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park. It was hidden deep in a beautiful alpine bowl, surrounded by stunning snow covered mountains and pine forests. We were speechless and awe-struck!

The plan for the day – An “easy” hike through these mountains.So, off we went for an “Easy” walk in these fabulous mountains..

 Conditions were perfect for the day’s Snow-shoeing, with a light breeze, plenty of blue in the sky and a little sun to warm our faces! Bliss 🙂

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The plan ? To head out in the sublime Val di Fanes and hopefully reach the Col Toron (2459m) before heading back back to the Fanes Refuge.

I think it’s fair to say that about 3 hours in to our activity there were quite a few of us wondering where they got their route grading from! Now I am not as fit as I could be, nor I am a slouch – but 3 hours in these mountains, hiking up to around 2500m and I was a wreck! The going was quite tough and at times also quite steep! The guides were helpful, friendly & patient and it was great to see that I was not alone in finding this a challenging trek!

Inspite of this, it was impossible to wipe the smile off our faces. What a place & what a start to this 2 1/2 day adventure!

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We spent the evening recovering and relaxing in a comfort & quality that would rival any 3* hotel in the UK. As soon as dusk arrived it really became clear just how isolated we were up in these mountains and I just had to spend some time outside appreciating the places peace and tranquility…

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The next day we set off for what was the more challenging of the two walks. Todays plan was to hike up Limojoch (2172m) and then onto Stores (2185m) before our night camping near the Pralongia Refuge. I don’t mind saying that I was little apprehensive about this, as I was still fatigued from the previous days outing. But I am not one to turn down a challenge, especially one in a place like this! The first of the day took us through a stunning valley and close to a famous cave where a bears skeleton was once found. The weather wasn’t as great as the previous day, but offered up some interesting conditions for making photographs!

Nevertheless, it was hard not to be excited and inspired!! Even our seasoned mountain Videographer and former professional snow-boarder Harry Putz found it difficult to contain himself at times 🙂

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About half way we were able to stop for a much needed re-fuelling before taking on the final leg of this day which would see us climb to Pralongia Refuge, ready for our night in a tent at 2155m.To get there, we just had to follow a gradually inclined trail for about 2 hours… That 2 hours felt like 4 to me. Some found it easy and made their way up without any difficulty, but for us stragglers at the back it was so tough! I remeber at one point leaning over and using my the handles of walking poles to rest my head, closing my eyes for a few seconds…I am sure at times I was just taking photographs as excuses to stop…

The top couldn’t come quick enough!!! But we carried on, still smiling and when we finally caught up with everyone else – oh the relief! I am sure a few years ago I would’ve managed this just fine, but between marriage and photography I was no longer used to walking long distances , let alone on consecutive days! It had been such a hard climb for me!

We had plenty of time to rest up, before our night under what I had hoped would be stars, but instead up being thick cloud with an over night forecast of -4°C and around 15-20cm of snow!

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Easy 😉

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 Especially when you have been loaned the sort of equipment that Salewa make. I can honestly say I have never slept so comfortably and been so warm when camping.

The next day it was all hands on deck to get everything packed away, which was quite a task and the snow was coming down thick and fast! But still I smiled 🙂

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Just half a day’s walking back to Corvara and then it was all over! We had been truly spoiled by Salewa, Manfrotto & the Alta Badia Tourist Board. What a place, what an adventure!!! We had an absolutely amazing time!!!

We cannot thank Salewa enough and would urge everyone to keep a close eye out for the start of their next Get Vertical Competition, which apparently begins in just a few weeks!!

35’000 people entered this one and I am so glad I was one of them!!


#salewagetvertical #getvertical #salewa


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