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Know your snow with the Stelvio webcams

by Francesco Tutino last modified 2008-06-20 15:13

Seven high-altitude webcams keep you posted on all the latest from the peaks. So you can suss out the slopes from the comfort and warmth of your own home

Know your snow with the Stelvio webcamsFor all-year snow you can do no better than the Stelvio Pass on the eastern border of the Alps Retiche which separate Lombardy from Trentino-Alto Adige and Switzerland. Famous for its summer skiing it is almost off limits during the winter season. Think we're exaggerating? Seeing is believing - just take a look at the these pages kindly hosted by the Bergamo CAI (Club alpino italiano) and sponsored by the Banca popolare di Sondrio. Thanks to a series of high-altitude webcams you can feast your eyes on a veritable winter wonderland just over 100 kms from Milan.
Indeed the weather conditions can become a problem - just ask the guys who run the site . . . One bitterly cold but very sunny day in February 2000 they were forced to jump from their helicopter onto the pass in order to fix a power failure at the computer centre, which was hidden under some six feet of snow! Indeed the road that runs through the pass - the strada statale 38, is Europe's highest and is usually closed to traffic between October and June.
But worry not as the magnificent webcam team has thought of everything in order to avoid repeating the adventure too often.

However it's not as easy as it may seem to keep the seven webcams up and smoothly running. After all they are installed between 2757 metres at the pass and 3174 m at the overlooking Livrio refuge. The difficulties arise, not as you may think from setting up the computer system but, from weather-proofing it. Take a close look at the computerised station set up to carefully track weather conditions and you'll notice the electrical circuits devised to prevent ice formation on crucial parts of the system's apparatus.

Thanks to the team's untiring efforts over the past four years the site now boasts more than 50,000 hits per day. The most popular pages are those dedicated to the views on Mt. Ortles and the Peak of Spirits at 3,467 metres. Also popular are the views of the snow gathering on the street and the balcony of the Pirovano hotel. Visit the hotel in summer and you'll be able to make use of the same balcony to work on you tan, or sit in the evening sun while digesting a plate of the local speciality pizzocheri. If you're unlucky and hit the site during a particularly bad snowstorm then click the site's archive to get the best possible view.
And last but not least, the team is preparing a short film for the net to give cyber skiers the chance to feel as if they are schussing down the slopes themselves!

The Stelvio Pass webcams
The Stelvio Pass
CAI - - The Italian Climbing Association (in Italian only)

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