Sassolungo Sunset

Sella Ronda

Since seeing the Italian Dolomites on my first trip to Europe in 1979, I have always been captivated by the craggy, rocky peaks of the massifs west of Cortina d’Ampezzo. They are quintessential mountaineering peaks and form landmarks for skiers exploring the 500+ lifts of the Dolomiti Superski.

I had an opportunity to ski the fabled Sella Ronda, a lift-served route encircling the huge Sella Group. Our route took us from Arabba in the morning to Corvara and on to Selva before traversing the snowfields en route to Passo Pordoi and back home. Along much of the route we used the three peaks of the Sassolungo, or Langkofel, as our guide.

After an amazing day skiing some 25-30 lifts, I decided to take one quick detour with the Audi A6 to run the twisty, turny mountain road up to Passo Sello for one final look at the Dolomites. The sky was overcast so photography was unlikely. But as I neared the 2,239 meter pass, the sky began to break. All around me was this stunning landscape suddenly being painted with golden hour light – reflecting off the rocks and the snow. The wind began to howl and it became a very foreboding environment, but the imagery all around me was just too spectacular to leave.

It was virtually impossible to go with a tripod. I threw on my North Face GoreTex gear and stabilized the Nikon D300 as much as I could. This particular image came as the sun was setting over Sassolungo using my Nikkor 10-24 set at 13mm, f10, 1/400th at ISO 200.

This was one of my many favorites out of that truly memorable 30 minutes of photography on Passo Sella.

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