SELLA – ANTONIA’S DIARY
TWO PARTNERS WHO ARE OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Skiing for the first time in the Dolomites with two partners of the calibre of Simon Gietl and Aaron Durogati was intense. A dream for someone like me, looking for far away lines, off the beaten track. Simon is a well-known climber, but I was really surprised when I saw him skiing. I have a lot of respect for him and the projects he has achieved. He is an amazing skier, an incredible human being: kind, accommodating, brotherly, even with a beginner like me. He helped me feel safe, even in amongst the rocks of Antelao, and if that weren’t enough he bakes an excellent strudel.
Aaron’s fame as an excellent skier and as a ski instructor precedes him. I was very curious to see his skiing ability, and I even felt a little intimidated. Would I be able to keep up with him? Aaron passed with flying colours. Even if Aaron is extreme in many ways, he is friendly and helpful, and just like Simon, very caring towards me. Thanks to his advice and secret tricks, my alpine projects will become considerable simpler and safer.
Steep and deep couloirs are brand new to me. This is why it is nice to be on the slopes with expert alpinists. I have a lot to learn. The first couloir was very steep; I never thought that it would be so difficult to climb. The deep snow made it tricky to use our ski poles properly. But the descent was definitely worth it. Probably not the best snow conditions I have ever found, but good enough to enjoy myself.
The second couloir was a lot more technical than the first one, the snow’s bad conditions made it extremely difficult. But who has ever found a perfect itinerary? Nothing makes me feel more connected to nature than skiing. I realise this every single time. Skiing is an opportunity, to give myself energy, to balance my mind, to express myself. But also to explore nature, opening my eyes to new things and broadening my horizons.
When I came skiing for the first time in the Dolomites , I wondered if it was possible to actually ski through these rocks. During winter time the Dolomites offer an impressive view. Rough. Massive. Almost hostile. Not even the vast amounts of snow can hide this.
But often first impressions can be deceiving and looking carefully at that labyrinth of rock you can catch a glimpse of new possible lines, lines which get your heart racing. All you have to do is look, hone your vision mediating with the surrounding context.
I love being on top of a mountain and looking around, exploring any new destinations. When I saw Antelao: I said to myself: Yes, I want to go up there.
We prepared our gear and set off. The tour seemed tailor-made for me: steep passages and interesting slopes for exciting descents. The ridge running up to the summit pushed me to my psychological limit. Simon and Aaron have no problem with exposure. It was different for me. The exposure, the void…I love steep skiing, but the exposed passages are a bit hard to chew. A challenge. But overcoming one’s limits has its own special taste, which is always unique.
The conditions were ideal for the ascent, but not for the descent. Especially when the visibility was poor, we did the only thing that made sense: we swiftly skied off without a set route. I was happy not to be alone.
In the mountains the clouds move quickly, even during winter, and the last metres were pure passion beneath a clear sky. It doesn’t matter how different mountains can be one from another, they all have one thing in common. They make me feel at home.
During the evening the snow conditions were not very promising. But then the snow turned out to be perfect powder. “Perfect” meaning the powder you only dream of. The Holzer couloir. The name didn’t say much. But the more photos I saw of it, the more I looked at the map and heard about it, my expectations increased. Descents like Holzer Rinne are unexplored territory for me, a chance to learn as much as possible.
The conditions were good, just as we had planned. It is a crazy line, but I felt at ease, safe, even when we abseiled down, something I had never done before with skis on. I went down without any problems. I was happy. And proud.
Apple strudel by Simon Gietl. The whole evening spent sitting together felt welcoming and warm. Big plans for the near future. The icing on the cake after a perfect day.
Skiing far from home is a step into the unknown. Skiing this way is truly gratifying. I have achieved something I have never done before: I expanded my personal comfort zone.
Home is where your heart feels at home. Where you can express yourself. Where you can do what you love doing, no matter the distance. Home can be anywhere, and anywhere can be home.
Sometimes the most beautiful challenges lie right on your front doorstep. We want to help your dream mountain adventure come true. Be part of the #salewahome campaign.
MY NAME IS ANTONIA
My name is Antonia Stöger, I am a passionate ski-mountaineer. I grew up in Berchtesgaden in a sporty family, especially on my mother’s side. As a kid though I wasn’t really into the mountains, which kind of let her down a bit. It was with time that my personal motivation grew, and lit the fire of my passion. Ski-mountaineering is an opportunity: a way of exploring the mountains I belong to, on my terms. It doesn’t matter how fast you ski, what counts is finding the first line, define it and follow it. The line is everything, it is unique and personal. In fact, an expression of one’s personality.