The month of January we’ve just left behind will be remembered for the significant inconvenience caused by snowstorms and for the fear of new tremors. Crisis situations that have taken a toll on both the population and the whole emergency network, starting with local authorities. When an apparent calm returned, everyone was trying to get back to their normal everyday routine consisting of work and passions.
Several years ago, Nicola Pezzotta and Stefano Properzi found a home for their unconditional love for the mountains. A blog, actually – coninfacciaunpodisole.it – through which they try to describe Le Marche while snowshoeing, with the help of some friends. It’s been a little more than two years since they started to organize trips even during wintertime, because the Sibillini area, so severley tested, is able to offer indelible experiences thanks to a ever changing landscape of snow.
At first, Nicola used to opt for a well-deserved period of “hibernation” before resuming his outdoor activity in March. But if you carry the mountains inside of you, you start missing them. So, with the right equipment he slowly came to realize that certain views were priceless. “The snow, it muffles and changes everything”, he tells us. “It softens and transforms the landscape. Snowshoeing in the woods, where the snow is always fresh, is exciting to say the least. And when you reach ice-covered spots, you discover some beautiful, unique views that really change your perspective”.
The snowshoes on your feet provide almost a sense of freedom, despite the fact that the amount of effort required is twice that of the amount required under snow-free conditions. As for clothing and equipment, he always recommends wearing waterproof boots and gaiters over your trousers to avoid getting wet up to the knees. It is better to dress in layers on top, with a winter jacket or a windbreaker, preferably waterproof, because the apparent temperature decreases even further with the rigid temperatures of high altitudes and the wind. And you should never forget gloves, hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the very bright light. Nicola can’t forget a trip to Castelluccio in early 2016, when the temperature reached minus 20 degrees, while in the Plains, where the weather conditions are usually different than at higher altitudes, it reached a historical record of minus 35.
As for beverages, “always bring something warm, like a thermos bottle full of hot coffee to help you recover”. This is the kind of advice he gives weekly to the dozens of people who take part in trips that he and Stafano organize. Except for food (“I’m not the right person to be getting advice from, because I’m too affectionate to my panini”), thoroughness is one of his most striking traits. This also includes monitoring seismically active areas after new tremors. “In the aftermath of a seismic event, Stefano and I go through it and try to figure out where is safe to go and where is not. Gorges are out of the question, since avalanche danger increases in winter, so we go looking for areas with little or no slope and no movements of snow. In addition to this, we always check which roads are open and which ones are closed. Just think of the closed road that links Visso to Ussita: there are quiet areas at the top, but there’s no way to get there, so we give up and choose different paths instead”.
He says it is always better to listen to you inner voice that tells you whether the time is right or wrong, and yet be aware that people want and need to go there, to have fun but also to meet those affected by the earthquake. Nicola’s recent history teaches us that snowshoeing can change you and make you look at things in a different, more real way. No-holds-barred. Just leave it to your snowshoes.
NEXT TRIPS IN LE MARCHE
– Saturday February 4: Sibillini at sunset, snowshoeing trip to Piani di Ragnolo
– Sunday February 12: Sibillini, snowshoeing trip to Santuario di Macereto