13 March 2024

Zoncolan: code word skiing!

Lezioni sulla neve, pernotti da favola e una baita per hotel

It really must be said. Hot on the heels of the other Carnic stories (if you missed them, here they are: one and two), today I want to take you on Mount Zoncolan, a ski area that nearly reaches 1,970 meters in altitude, counting 23 kilometers of downhill slopes and as many cross-country ones. This is a true paradise for ski lovers and it’s just a stone's throw from Trieste: in fact, it only takes an hour and a half to reach the lifts!Yet, a mountain trip calls for a lodge stay. And there are so many around here! Starting from Tamai, whose food and wine embrace tradition, vegetarian and vegan cuisine, all the way through to Goles (which most will know for its parties with DJ sets and a whole lot of kids dancing like crazy). A good choice would also be Hotel Enzo Moro, where Sunday après-ski always lasts long hours 😉 And so far, we land on our feet, or so to speak.

One lodge that you might miss (and believe me, that would be a real shame) is Rico, which remains right on the plateau just after you pass all the switchbacks to climb Mount Zoncolan. Here, I believe I’ve had the best (fresh) venison tagliatelle I have ever tasted in my life, and you know I never lie! I continued with a taste of sweet and savory cjarsons, then swooped on a soft and succulent beef cheek with Refosco, polenta, and Toç di vore. And what about fruit in spirit? It’s one of their flagships, along with their selection of grappas.

This time, partly to not risk my driving license, but mostly for the convenience of arriving there and forgetting my car, I wanted to experience a stay at Hotel Enzo Moro. It’s very convenient to stay at a hotel that is right on the slopes: it’s a priceless experience for ski lovers like me. How beautiful is it to be able to sleep in until the last minute and come down for breakfast wearing your ski attire? You can also take advantage of the storage room with private locker and electronic card, where you can deposit your heated boots and, you guessed it, your skis! Hop on the first chairlift and that's it.

This facility is owned by the municipality, and it has been under the management of some hospitality entrepreneurs for a few years now. A little tip: all it would take is a few minor touches to turn it into a true Zoncolan gem. It would be quite wonderful to be able to enjoy the private spa after a long day on the snow: as of today, only the sauna is available, while the Turkish bath and whirlpool are under maintenance. A real shame, but I trust in the future!

And now tell me, did you also go to the same school as me? The "when I travel, I always forget something at home" one? Don't worry, Noleggio Zoncolan will know how to put a remedy to practically everything or, more simply, they’ll give you the chance to rent skis for your first trials on the snow (as for ski mountaineering, on the other hand, you better make a reservation!), beanies (wonderful Zoncolan branded ones), gloves, masks and so on. Also, if you like snowshoeing, snowshoe away! Here you’ll also find a bob sled for your children’s happiness.

I close this very short distillation of experiences with the Carnia Zoncolan Ski School, a real treat not only for those who are beginners, but also for those who simply want to improve and refine their technique (like me), or try other disciplines such as snowboarding, telemarking, freeriding, freestyling or ski mountaineering. I spent a few hours with instructor Daniele Rupil. I want to mention him because he was really patient in trying to "correct" the setting of my ever present “x leg” position. Also, I believe him to be a very special teacher as he’s qualified to teach people with disabilities and autism.

The curtain comes down on this tale with one last (and very strong) experience. From Mount Tamai on a clear day you can see the Gulf of Trieste! A three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view among clouds, blue skies, breathtaking sunsets, and the majesty of the Alps. I would say I ended with a bang, didn’t I?

I'll stop the merry-go-round and see you in the next article. Where will I take you? Place your bets.

Ph. Michele Grimaz

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