Dolomites February 2022

February 25, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Pictures from my ex-tempore ski trip to the Dolomites from 12th to 19th February 2022. After 2 years not being able to travel to Alps I grabbed this opportunity to travel. Fabulous 7 days of skiing. I stayed at Hotel Solaia in the village of Wolkenstein in Selva di Val Gardena valley.

Direct access from hotel to Sella Ronda.

All of the photos were taken with Samsung Galaxy S21 5G cell phone. The phone has 3 types of rear cameras and front camera for selfies. In my opinion the photos are pretty good.

Here is link to all of the photos, or you can read this post and see them in slideshows day by day.

I tracked my skiing with Sports Tracker app.

 

2022-02-12 1st Dolomiti ski day

The flight from Helsinki to Innsbruck was brutally early, and the bus trip from the airport was just 2 hours. We got our hotel rooms immediately, so I was able to go skiing for the afternoon. Already at noon I was on skis and heading up to the peaks.  I decided to try if I could make the Sella Ronda Green direction (counter-clockwise) during the afternoon, and did succeed. I did 65 km around the Sella group peaks, out of which 34 km downhill. As Saturday is the “switch day” most people leaving and arriving, there were very few people and almost no queues.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/6207eb43793989488c5276df

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1aeVjr6l8GXemjTIpVETp2YXafaLok8Pu&usp=sharing

2022-02-13 2nd Dolomiti ski day

The 2nd day was as sunny as the first, so decided to leave early and make the Sella Ronda Orange direction (clockwise). But I had made a serious error by registering my Green (Covid) Pass to the wrong ski pass. This was not possible to fix in the Dolomiti Superski App, so I had to queue to a Ski Pass counter to sort it out. Wasted one hour in the queue, but it only took a minute to fix the problem. So it was 10:30 when I finally got started. As it was such a gorgeous day, decided to make a small detour from the Ronda to the Marmolada, the highest peak in the area at 3232 meters. The view from the top was amazing. From there a decent 1558 meters vertical 6 km continuous run, a rare treat. Because I had wasted so much time in the morning, only managed to do one hour more skiing than 1st day.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/62091d3857920a10128f07cc

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1pRznQNXQQ5-agDoh-eeU_8CATyj0mWmw&usp=sharing

2022-02-14 3rd Dolomiti ski day

I left my skis to full service the previous day after returning from the round, and the skis were going to be ready next morning at 8 AM. So woke up early to pick the skis up. There were in dire need of service. Now they felt like new again, edges super sharp and gliding like a dream.

On 3rd day no longer ski pass problems either, so I got a really early start. The day was going to be mostly sunny and some clouds arriving later in afternoon. Decided to do Sella Ronda Orange once again, but this time a detour to the Alta Badia area, which was really sunny. On the black run 17 down to La Villa, I managed to 115 km/h from the skis. In the afternoon the clouds started to roll in from west and next day heavy snowfall was predicted.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620a7de6ce382e69b6234108

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=14N4Dn5gKPrZsVbfyC7s01Mi2SJIUTKtn&usp=sharing

2022-02-15 4th Dolomiti ski day

Woke up early to get most of the snowfall day. I had to buy ne goggles on the way down, as my old goggles were really ancient, like 20 years old, and now decided it was a good time get proper new ones. It was snowing hard all day and visibility was poor. So decided to stay below tree line as much as possible. Now headed to the other side of the Val Gardena to St. Christina and then up to Seceda, and the 12 km long run down to Ortisei. There were hardly any people out on the slopes, so could enjoys skiing knee deep fresh powder all by myself. Managed to cover over 100 km of total distance, 55 km downhill and 11332 meters vertical decent on this day. It was really great to ski Alpine deep powder again. 4600 kCal burned, so I was pretty hungry after this.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620bd4a2f2680924bf8e922a

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1x1giD26N84bWtEwGWE-5TxtleMTiOKxe&usp=sharing

2022-02-16 5th Dolomiti ski day

I found out that my ex sister in law Tarja was also in the valley with her family. They have been living in Luxembourg for many years, so we haven’t seen for long time. We agreed to meet up at Seceda, ski and have lunch together. Had lunch at Daniel’s restaurant on a sunny terrace. Then some of their friends joined and soon we were a big group. Skiing with a group was nice change after having skied alone for 3 days. But skiing with a big group it was a lot slower too, so I only did 40 km of downhill on this day. It was a sunny day again, and fresh snow everywhere. You could still find deep powder at many places.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620d1e47dcf303601a473d66

 GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1-agz6lorKmuVUZwRyLy-6R16OW7YD-8m&usp=sharing

2022-02-17 6th Dolomiti ski day

The penultimate day. I decided to try to do Sella Ronda Green with some touring at Arabba maybe. On the way I skied down to Canazei just to see what it was like. The village was pretty, but the run down there was not so nice and access to ski lifts and Sella Ronda not so good. I would not recommend staying in Canazei.

The prediction was for strong winds at mountain peaks and that turned out to be true. At Sass Bece I found out that Sella Ronda had been closed. There were fences announcing that return lifts from Arabba were not operating, if you continued there was no coming back. The lift status tables were showing that the final pass back to Wolkenstein over Dantercepies at the remote end were still running, but I could not take the risk of getting stuck on wrong side. So decided to abort the Ronda and head back. But a lot of other people were doing the same so, huge queue at Pradel-Rodella gondola, took almost and hour the get back to Sella Pass area. Had lunch on sunny terrace and then went to see Monte Pana black run in sunshine. Getting back from there was a problem as the only returning chairlift Tramans had closed due to wind. Fortunately found an off-piste trail to St.Christina. Then remains of the day at Piz Sella, Ciampinoi and Dantercepies. Ity turned out to be a nice day despite the wind.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620e7aaa6697f817ed7b2695

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=13p5HZDIWgJGAxeB6z9sKNigs42aScLid&usp=sharing

 

2022-02-18 7th Dolomiti ski day

The very last day of the week. The weather was for no winds, temperatures above freezing and sunny. Decided that I want to see the view from top of Marmolada one more time, as that is a view to die for. And I would attempt the Sella Ronda Orange route this time, trying to get to Marmolada as fast as I could. Also decided to ski a bit slower for the last day. I managed to get at bottom station of the Marmolada cable cars in less that 2 hours. On the way the runs were still freshly groomed with tough power snow. Then there was 20 mi queue as many other people had the same idea as me. There is a sequence of 3 cable cars taking you from 1440 m up to 3230 m. And then you need to climb long stairs in thin air with mask on to the panorama terrace at very top. From there you get 360 degree view of the Dolomites and can see mountain peaks 100 km away. The run down from there is almost 7 km long and you descend 1500 vertical meters. This time I skied slow, stopped a few times to take photos and it took 19 minutes. Then a nice lunch at the sunny terrace of Rifugio Padon. Then back to my own valley. Stopped for beer at Rifugio Salei and bumper to Tarja’s group. From there we continued together all the way to down to St.Christina for drinks at Ruacia Apreski Snowbar. Then back towards my hotel for the last runs, first down from Ciampioi and one last time up to Dantercepies. It was a really good week of skiing in sunshine and some new powder snow.  

Total one week downhill distance skied 324 km, and 64 km of vertical decent, 166 downhill runs.

Sports Tracker data:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620fc43763002a4555094e02

GPX route on Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1M_Io7CZt-VdDEVMxD70TjLnEtm52j3dV&usp=sharing

Hotel Solaia

I stayed at Hotel Solaia in the village of Wolkenstein in Selva di Val Gardena valley. The hotel has a perfect location with ski in/out access. From the ski storage room you could walk to the blue run coming down from Dantercepies and going to village centre. From village you can walk either to the Ciampioni gondola lift station to go Sella Ronda counter-clockwise or towards St.Christina, or you can take the Costabella chair to access Dantercepies gondola to go Sella Ronda clockwise or the areas of Alta Badia.

Breakfast served at hotel was included as well as 3 course dinner server in Hotel Olympia next door. In the hotel there was an excellent span with proper Finnish Sauna, and a swimming pool with amazing view towards Sassolungo peak.

The hotel was impeccably maintained, charmingly decorated in local style and super clean.  The owner was very friendly, helpful and could speak many languages. In this village people speak their own Ladin language, and of course local Italian and German. Almost everyone can speak English too.

Probably there would have been nice after ski bars nearby, but I was so tiered after hard days of skiing, that I had to go sleeping straight from dinner. And wanted to avoid covid infection so stayed away from any crowds.

Italian food

Generally, when in the Alps you find the best food and wines from Italy – and prices are reasonable even in very high end places. The food was simply delicious. I had my lunches in the mountain restaurants on their sunny terraces with amazing views, except on the snowfall day had to eat inside. Included in my package was a 3 course dinner served in Hotel Olympia next door. Or should I say 4 courses, as there was an excellent salad buffet to start with. Then a 1st main course usually a pasta with sauce, then 2nd main course of fish or meat. And finally, a dessert. You could choose your main courses a day before from 2 choices, where the 2nd choice apparently was always vegetarian.

fly home

Brutally early return flight. Wake up at 4 AM, and the bus picked us 4:30 from the hotel. Then 2 hour bus ride to Innsbruck airport. From Innsbruck a Finnair flight back home. I was back home by noon. In Finland it was totally cloudy and grey. I had pre-ordered a 10 € “breakfast combo”, that contained in paper bag a bread, apple, and yogurt. Instant coffee would cost an extra 3 € so I just had cold water that was free. I remember the days when on these flights you got a proper warm meal with all and any drinks, there was proper brewed coffee and that was all included to the fare.


2022-02-18 7th Dolomiti ski day

February 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

The very last day of the week. The weather was for no winds, temperatures above freezing and sunny. Decided that I want to see the view from top of Marmolada one more time, as that is a view to die for. And I would attempt the Sella Ronda Orange route this time, trying to get to Marmolada as fast as I could. Also decided to ski a bit slower for the last day. I managed to get at bottom station of the Marmolada cable cars in less that 2 hours. On the way the runs were still freshly groomed with tough power snow. Then there was 20 mi queue as many other people had the same idea as me. There is a sequence of 3 cable cars taking you from 1440 m up to 3230 m. And then you need to climb long stairs in thin air with mask on to the panorama terrace at very top. From there you get 360 degree view of the Dolomites and can see mountain peaks 100 km away. The run down from there is almost 7 km long and you descend 1500 vertical meters. This time I skied slow, stopped a few times to take photos and it took 19 minutes. Then a nice lunch at the sunny terrace of Rifugio Padon. Then back to my own valley. Stopped for beer at Rifugio Salei and bumper to Tarja’s group. From there we continued together all the way to down to St.Christina for drinks at Ruacia Apreski Snowbar. Then back towards my hotel for the last runs, first down from Ciampioi and one last time up to Dantercepies. It was a really good week of skiing in sunshine and some new powder snow.  

Statistics

duration distance avg. speed downhill count descent max. Speed downhill time downhill distance avg. Downhill speed energy lowest point highest point
8:24 97,32 11,6 22 10254 84 2:09 53,07 24,6 4391 1416 3239

 

Here is the route:

Photos of the day:

Sports Tracker:

https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/ianleiman/620fc43763002a4555094e02
 


2019 Maldives liveaboard on M/V Emperor Voyager

December 20, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I was on a liveaboard scuba diving trip at Maldives from 6th to 15th December 2019 on M/V Emperor Voyager. I had self-organized this trip just for myself to get away from the cold and dark winter of Finland for a week. There were some unused vacation days to be spent - moreover I had not been diving in the warm tropical waters for quite some time, so now was the perfect time to do it. On a newsletter from Emperor Divers I got in October 2019, they were advertising discounted cruises, and the “Best of Maldives” cruise on M/V Emperor Voyager starting 7th December 2019 was going for only 1200 Euros. Normal price was 400€ more. Then I checked how much were the flights and found suitable Qatar Airlines flights from Helsinki to Male for 525 Euros. So, then I decided to go ahead with this.

I had been on two Maldives liveaboards before: central atolls 2009 and southern atolls 2016. I also had been on many Emperor Divers liveaboards before, so I knew what to expect.

Of course, I also planned to take a camera with me under water, but unfortunately, I had flooded my trusty Canon 7D DSLR camera earlier this year. I did have an Olympus TG-5 in PT-058 housing that I had used first time on my 2017/18 trip to Philippines. That camera was actually pretty good, but I missed the wide-angle that I could get using a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye on DSLR. Also more light was needed. After flooding the 7D, I started looking into improving the TG-5.  I first bought a wide-angle wet lens AOI UWL-04, that attaches directly to the 52 mm filter thread on the Olympus PT-058 housing. With this lens you get 160 degree field of view underwater, which is pretty good. Then, instead of big and bulky strobes, I decided to go with video lights instead. I bought a pair of NaNight 4000 lumen video lights, and this proved to be a very good decision. These lights produce almost as much light as strobes, but now you see what you get, and in the dark waters of Finland the lights are much better than strobes. And you can shoot pretty good video too.

I first tried to hack up a tray and arms system for the lights by adapting the parts from my Canon 7D system, but that was quite heavy. From googling I found out that you could get nice looking light-weight parts from China using the AliExpress web shop. So then I ended up ordering tray and arm parts form “BGNing” web store. Some parts arrived in good time before my trip, so I could test them in Finland. But then we had a long strike of the Finnish Postal Service, and some remaining parts, the floating arms, that I needed got stuck into transit, and in fact I did not get them before the trip to Maldives started. The only option was to build the floats myself. But I did manage to get a complete system together just before the trip, and practice with that in the pool.

As a final touch, I upgraded the camera from TG-5 to the brand-new TG-6, that had just become available. TG-6 fits into the PT-058 housing, so happy days. Things that had improved in the new model included: higher resolution display, many improvements in firmware which make underwater photography and especially video much better and easier.

I took 1600 pictures underwater, and this time quite a lot of video too.

All of the videos and photos from the trip will be uploaded here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives. While I am still working with the videos, all of the underwater diving photos are now available here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives-all-dives

List of all dives:

- dive 1 ,2019-12-08 07:14, Lankan manta point
- dive 2 ,2019-12-08 12:37, Kuramathi kandu
- dive 3 ,2019-12-08 15:52, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 4 ,2019-12-09 06:17, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 5 ,2019-12-09 10:28, Bathala thila
- dive 6 ,2019-12-09 14:30, Maaya Thila
- dive 7 ,2019-12-09 18:47, Maaya Lagoon mantas
- dive 8 ,2019-12-10 07:13, Fish Head (Mushimasmingili)
- dive 9 ,2019-12-10 10:19, Moofushi Kandu
- dive 10 ,2019-12-10 14:39, Kuda Rah Thila
- dive 11 ,2019-12-11 06:48, Seventh Heaven
- dive 12 ,2019-12-11 10:33, Lux Beuru
- dive 13 ,2019-12-11 15:40, Kunavashi Kandu
- surface 2019-12-11 20:32 Whale shark
- dive 14 ,2019-12-12 06:58, Rakeedhoo
- dive 15 ,2019-12-12 11:56, Fotteyo, Hurahu kandu
- dive 16 ,2019-12-12 16:26, Alimathaa circus
- dive 17 ,2019-12-13 08:40, Vilivaru Giri
 


2016 Summer trip to Italy

August 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Me and my wife Minna did our summer trip of 2016 to Northern Italy.

We flew to Milan, and for there traveled by train to Monterosso (Cinque Terre region), Florence, Venice and back to Milan, and then flew back home. We staye 2 nights at each place and traveled 10 days in total. I took 2000 pictures, and have placed them online into this gallery, organized into sub-galleries by each day:

http://photos.leiman.fi/italia2016

From Milano we continued to Monterosso by train and stopped at Genova.  

http://photos.leiman.fi/p989675853

At Monterosso we stayed 2 nights. On Sunday we hiked part on the blue trail over the mountains to the next village. Then we went by train to all the other 5 Terre villages.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p545414680

Then on Monday we continued to Firenze, and stopped at La Spezia and Pisa.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p576716790

On Tuesday we took two guided tours and saw all the most famous places of Firenze.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p873466911

Then on Wednesday we took the fast train to Venezia.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p980311365

On Thursday we toured the main island and also visited Murano.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p772517354

On Friday we took the fast train back to Milano.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p994347705

On Saturday we went to see the Milano cathedral, and museums.

http://photos.leiman.fi/p897787927

On Sunday we flew back home.


Photos from Maldives scuba diving safari 2016

February 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I just returned from Maldives where I spent 2 weeks on  scuba diving safari. The trip started 8th Feb  2016 and ended Feb 21st.

We did it on Werner Lau company's MY Sheena as a live-aboard type of excursion. The cruise started from the Meemu Atoll at Medhufushi island, and from there we sailed south all the way to Gaafu atoll near equator though the Thaa and Laamu atolls. We did on average 3 dives per day and in total 35 dives. Most of these where channel or "kandu" dives in rough currents and the objective was to see sharks, rays and other big fish. On the trip I had a Canon 7D camera for stills photography and a Gopro Hero 4 Silver for shooting HD videos.

The "official" trip log by our dive guides Alec & Tore can be found from here: http://www.wernerlau.com/sheena/logbook.html,  by selecting our trip date 07.02.2016 - 27.02.2016

The pictures and videos will gradually appear into this gallery: 

http://photos.leiman.fi/2016-maldives

The scuba dive technical logs can be found from here:

https://en.divelogs.de/cal/ianleiman/2016/2

The gallery slide show below shows a first collection of pictures from the trip:

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