As we’ve seen in previous accounts from Sten Smola’s Spatial Experience Project, it has been an up-and-down year for alpine snowfall in Europe, so Smola was hesitant to follow a tip and head to Northern Italy. But upon arrival Smola and photographer Raffi Schmid found powder, and good Italian eats to be in abundance. In his own words:
“This season I’ve heard some rumours about massive snowfalls in the northern part of Italy compared to the rest of the Alps. So far, I did not really trust these reports and that’s why I’ve resisted traveling to Italy. After all, I couldn’t picture deep winter only a few kilometres away from the French Côte d’Azur. But then, the short comeback of this year’s winter in the Swiss Alps has rapidly changed to bathing suit weather at the beginning of March. So something was obvious for me and I thought: Let’s give it a try! I started to call some friends and I managed to persuade Raffi Schmid to join me with this trip to the south. I still assume that the culinary specialities of Italy convinced him more than the promising snow forecast…but this wouldn’t make any difference.
The next day, we started our trip over the Simplon mountain pass and narrow mountain roads at the French-Italian boarder. When we reached our lovely hostel, it already began to darken and we couldn’t trust our own eyes: Big fat flakes were falling constantly from the sky and the whole landscape has already been covered by a meter high white snow layer. Our initial doubts were completely unjustified. Welcome to winter wonderland! Not enough, we’ve been pampered by the Signora of our hostel with a delicious 5-course-dinner. Everything was too good to be true. The Italians simply know how to live and how to enjoy life! Antipasti, again Antipasti, primo piatto Pasta, secondo piatto bisteca di manzo with polenta and in addition a fancy chocolate cake!
We’ve spent the following days burning our meals turn after turn and hike after hike. In view of the epic circumstances that we’ve met in Italy, this wasn’t all too hard for us. Without a doubt the best days of our season so far. La vita e bella in Italia!”