As is traditional, APAZAF organises a friendly snowball fight (Grande Battaglia di Palle di Neve in italian, in short GBPN) at the beginning of the new year.
The fight follows a simple set of rules, in the “capture the flag” style.
Like every year, the fight takes place at the Bivacco Menegazzi, a beautiful bivouac which has the desiderable characteristics of being both easy to reach and positioned at an elevation of 1737 m, where snow is often plentiful.
It’s pretty simple: we go there, we have some fun, we eat a warm lunch, we have some more fun and we go back home, happy and tired.
Where and when do we meet?
Wondering how to get to us? Here are some organisational details to help with planning your trip!
We will meet at Belluno’s sporting centre free parking (46.144970N, 12.213757E) the morning of the 7th of January, 2023, at 07:30. From there on, we will organise transportation by car and separate the participants in groups, in order to minimise the number of vehicles. Of course, if you want to autonomously get to the battle site or meet half way, that is fine too!
How to get to Belluno
Getting to Belluno by car is easy: it is served by the A27 highway, about a 1.5 hour drive from Padova and Venice, 2.5 hours from Trieste, 4 hours from Milan. Every year snowballers from all over the world reach Belluno for the GBPN, so if you want to share the trip let us know: we’ll do our best to get you in touch with those who could be interested! You can also join the Telegram group to coordinate with the other participants. Train lines reach the city from East (Conegliano), North (Cortina) and South (Padova); trains are usually few and far between, so plan your trip in advance.
Is the Alpine start too early for you, or you fear you’ll miss the last train? Fret you not! APAZAF will try to find free accommodation for you in the house of one of the participants from Belluno: fellow snowballers are more than welcome! Just let us know in advance when you register and we’ll try to reserve a bed for you. If you change your mind, just contact us!
If you so wish, you can also sleep at the bivouac, where there are some beds and (maybe) mattresses. In this case you’ll need warm sleeping bags, as night temperatures can easily be as low as -15°C. In the bivouac there is a stove, but it usually doesn’t work very well.
Getting to the battle site
From Belluno to the start of the walk
From Belluno, we’ll head to Faustin, which is above Gosaldo (which is above Agordo), where we will start walking.
Here are Google Map’s directions for getting to the start of the trek; if all goes well, it takes about an hour of driving. Not many cars will be able to park up there, so it is strongly advised to share vehicles!
The exact GPS coordinates of the parking area are 46.217733N, 11.928870E.
Worried you’ll wander forever in the woods above Gosaldo? Worry you not, because here’s our awesome trekking map, courtesy of Komoot! You can even send this to your phone, thanks to the magic of the internet.
You’ll need to walk for about 5km (round trip). There are two possible ways:
- a simple, shorter, steeper path (marked as forward trip in the map below)
- a longer walk on a normal mountain road (return trip in the map below)
We’ll mostly move as a group although of course anybody can decide on his/her own what to do. Depending on the group’s fitness and on the amount of snow, reaching the Bivouac usually takes around 1.5 hours.
Here’s the Bivouac on Google Maps.
What to bring?
Here’s a short list of what you might want to bring along with you to the battle site.
- Warm, waterproof clothing
- Waterproof gloves
- Something to eat for yourself (chocolate!), although lunch will be provided (see below)
- Something to drink, at least 1L is strongly recommended
- Mountain boots or snow boots
- A Headlamp
- Snow gaiters
- A change of clothes for after the battle
- A snow-throwing weapon
- A shield of the specified dimensions.
- Cash donation (5€ suggested) highly appreciated!
Studies carried out on statistically irrelevant groups of snowballers have highlighted how a diet based on rice and legumes provides approximately 99.9% of the energy required for a day of snowballing. The remaining 0.1% is easily provided by chocolate and discount junk food. For this reason, in past editions, APAZAF has provided sufficient (and sometimes ample) quantities of delicious and balanced nutrients: risotto and Mexican beans. In order to meet the different requests from the participants, these take the form of:
- Leek risotto (gluten free, lactose free and vegan)
- Cream and sausage risotto (gluten free and that’s it)
- Mexican beans without bacon (gluten free, lactose free and vegan)
- Mexican beans with bacon (gluten free, lactose free)
Considered the fact that there’s nothing better than a warm meal after a cold and hard battle, said provisions are soaked with plentiful extra virgin olive oil and heated on the stove. In the absence of specific requests, as per the Battle’s millenary tradition, this menu will be offered again.
All participants are of course free to contribute with their own delicious food to the Battle’s lunch, and also to highlight a general loathing for all the aforementioned delicacies.
What happens if it rains?
It does not rain, we have precise agreements with the weatherman. If by some mysterious astral syzygy it happens, then we can have a rainball fight.
It’s free! Nevertheless, a donation of 5€ would help keep things going ;-)
Be careful! This is not a trip to a very touristic hut: getting to the Battle site requires effort and will. It is not an hard trek by any means, but be prepared to be tired, especially if you are not used to this kind of things.
As such, be careful of where you step, listen to your more experienced snow colleagues and trust their judgement.
What to do in Belluno
Belluno and the surrounding towns are a small, little-know gem at the foot of the famous Dolomites, well worth a few days off if you can spare some. Feel free to combine your snowballing fever with some trekking, climbing or skiing in one of the various beautiful locations around the city. Keep in mind that you will likely need a car to be able to enjoy all of the attractions that surround Belluno. Two good sites kept up-to-date with events and info are AdorableBelluno and Infodolomiti. APAZAF would be more than happy to help: just ask!
All locations, times and dates are subject to sudden change without prior notice from APAZAF, should the necessity arise. All information regarding such changes will be published on the GBPN’s website as soon as possible.
By subscribing and/or participating to the GBPN you implicitly accept that your personal data (Name, Surname, phone number, email) is stored by APAZAF with the only purpose of organising future snowball fights.
Additionally, during the GBPN photos and videos will be taken by both APAZAF and third parties. APAZAF may use these photos/videos on their website and in various channels where APAZAF disseminates information about their activities.
If you want at any time to withdraw from this consent, please contact us. Note: this will not apply to material already published. APAZAF cannot control already published material or recall them.
Release of liability
Hiking and snowballing are inherently dangerous activities that may expose to certain risks and dangers, including but not limited to avalanches, animal attacks, natural disaster, falls, accidents and illness. APAZAF has no duty to provide medical assistance or advice to any snowballer. All persons who participate in any event organised by APAZAF accept responsibility for making their own determinations as to the suitability of the activity and for their own safety, conduct and well-being and agree to participate solely at their own risk.
In consideration of the right to participate in any hikes or other activities of APAZAF, the participant assumes the risk associated with these activities and will hold APAZAF and other participants harmless from and defend them against any and all liability, actions, suits, claims and demands which could arise from any of APAZAF’s activities and from any loss or injury which he/she may sustain as a result of his/her participation in any of these activities. This disclaimer shall also serve as a release of liability and assumption of risk by the participant, and is intended to be binding on his/her heirs, administrators, executors and all members of his/her family.