The best and hardest track I've ever done! Finally, I succeeded in the feat of covering the entire Val Fex on cross-country skis, in the Engadine, from Sils Maria to Alp Muot Selvas, and to Plaun Vadret.
Fex Valley, Engadin, 30/12/2023. Amazing!
Fex Valley (Fextal, in german) is beautiful in all seasons. I have explored it and admired its magnificent scenery many times and enjoyed its quiet in summer, autumn and winter. With cross-country skis, I had already climbed up to the first hamlets, but I had never gone all the way to the bottom of the valley, to Plaun Vadret, to the end of the tracks.
The entire route is long, tiring, and technically demanding, and, therefore, I had always stopped before. 300 meters of altitude difference, with cross-country skis, are not trivial. It's almost touring skiing.
On Saturday 30 December, I set myself the goal of covering the entire route and, thanks to my decent training, and with a good dose of determination, the mission was accomplished.
A magnificent sunny day made skiing easier and decidedly enjoyable. The Engadine, in this umpteenth winter characterized so far by few snow south of the Alps, instead presents excellent snow conditions. In Fex Valley, on Saturday 30th, the snow thickness was around 30-80 cm, and the snow was of excellent quality, i.e. not hard or transformed. I parked at the car park at the lower station of the Furtschellas cable car, which, on Saturday, was free of charge. And before going up to Fex Valley, I took a tour of the surrounding plain, to warm up my muscles (see my track below). Then, I took the track that goes up to Val Fex.
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The return, as mentioned, is not easy. The fatigue accumulated up to this point is starting to make itself felt. The route is not all downhill (near Crasta, you still have some significant uphill track stretches), and the downhill sections are often steep and technical, and require a lot of legwork, so as not to go straight, at the curves.... However , depending on your training, many sections are really fun. Those with greater technique can try their do these beautiful turns with parallel skis ...
As mentioned, for the return I took the itinerary that runs further south and arrives near the Alpenrose hotel/restaurant and the village of Sils. It is a route with a lower average gradient (but there are still some steep descents every now and then), which winds through the woods, with many trees at the edges, and which still requires attention and speed control, also due to the presence of pedestrians, or skiers going uphill. Also pay attention that, at the end, just before reaching the plain at the bottom of the Engadine valley, families and children often use the track to go down on bobsleighs or sleds. And perhaps it would be appropriate to put up signs to prohibit this practice, at this point, given that there is a playground with slopes for this purpose, not far away.
Quite tired, but very happy with my day and my undertaking, I took off my skis and walked back to the car. If you still have the strength, you can ski back to the starting point.
Enjoy your skiing. Fabio