Why have we never found any elephant skeletons in the Western Alps?

Why have we never found any elephant skeletons in the Western Alps?


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It is widely assumed that the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca crossed the Western Alps some 2200 Years ago with an army of men, horses and elephants in direction of Italy and the Roman Republic. But sadly, we have not found many evidence of that event and thus don't even know the exact route. What we also know is that Hannibal's elephants died during that route. It was more than 30 elephants and also we know that elephants are not really typical fauna of the Alps. That leads me to the question - how is it possible that we never found any elephant fossils in the Western Alps yet? Is it possible that the story of Hannibal crossing the Alps was made up? Did he just take the shortcut via Massalia and Liguria in the south? Did he use the Carthaginian fleet to invade northern Italy?


The simple answer is because bones are organic, and organic things don't last 2000 years. Even hard organic things like bones, except in very extreme (eg: rare) circumstance. Exposed bone, unless its somewhere with little life, will generally be gone within a year.

Usually when we talk of archeologists finding "bones" what they have really found is fossils of bones. These are not the bones themselves, but rock formed within the bone and replacing the organic matter as it dissipates so that it becomes more and more rock.

In other words, fossils are rocks in the shape of bones, not the bones themselves. However, in order for this to happen, the bone almost always has to get buried somehow.

Now picture an army moving over the alps to invade Rome, when an elephant dies. How likely is it that this army will order a halt so they can take the time and considerable effort to bury an elephant? More likely they'd just scavenge the carcass for all the meat they care to carry, and then march on. The rest of the carcass is of no use to them, so it would just be left there to rot. Within a year, if nothing comes along to bury any of it, it will be gone completely. Bones and all.


The absence of evidence is not proof, particularly when it comes to archeology where there's so much ground to [un]cover and so few people to do it, and in this case the proof is particularly difficult to find.

We don't know Hannibal's route across the Alps. The two Roman historians who are our primary contemporary sources, Polybius and Livy, were short on details and disagree on the route. So we don't know where to look, and the Alps present a lot of very difficult terrain to look through.

Then there's been 2200 years of time to bury or scatter any remains (but not sufficient to form fossils). It's not a matter of simply stumbling on them lying on the ground, this is enough time to bury cities multiple times over. Contemporary searchers have tried, and here's a Guardian article on their efforts. Note at the end how they have to dig 40cm into a bog before they reach the soil layer associated with Hannibal's crossing.

It requires deliberate effort, and a lot of money, to mount a search. Fortunately, modern archeologists don't have to dig to find likely spots, now they have ground penetrating radar, but even this is laborious and expensive. To get an idea of the labor involved, watch any episode of Time Team and see how little ground they can over in 3 days.


Neither Polybius or Livy, the 2 main accounts, mention how many elephants, if any, died during the crossing of the Alps. Appian's account says that Hannibal took 37 but also does not number those lost, if any, crossing the alps. Hannibal certainly had a number of elephants at the Battle of Trebbia, though all but 1 or 7 supposedly died in the cold weather afterwards.

Though elephants do not climb up mountains unnecessarily, they do so when it is part of their migration routes. Elephants can handle colder weather than they are used to, due to their great internal heat. Elephants are also very surefooted.

So it is perfectly possible that there never was even a single elephant bone or skeleton from Hannibal's army in the Alps to be discovered.


This thread in history reddit claims that someone found elephant poop, presumably in the Alps, and hopes to do genetic testing to discover which species of elephant they are from.

https://www.reddit.com/r/history/comments/8cop16/im_dr_eve_macdonald_expert_on_ancient_carthage/1


MAH CHANG: THE GAME AND ITS HISTORY

By J. B. Powell, first published in China Weekly Review, June 30, 1923.

Some three thousand years ago, according to the legend, there was a fisherman named Sze who lived on the shores of the East Chien Lake near Nignpo. There were many fishermen who lived about the shores of East Chien Lake, but Fisherman Sze was more enterprising than the rest, for he decided that more fish could be caught from a boat than by standing on the shore.

Sze’s family had considerable wealth and they backed him in the purchase of several boats. Then he employed a hundred fishermen from other villages and started out to try his luck. All went well until the wind began to blow and then Sze’s troubles began, for all of the fishermen were ‘land’ fishermen and unaccustomed to the rolling seas. They became seasick and had to be taken ashore.

It looked like bad joss to this early Izaak Walton, so a family council was held and it was decided that seasickness was merely a matter of the mind – imagination if you please – therefore the thing to do was to devise some method for getting the men’s minds off their mal de mer. Fisherman Sze and his nine brothers then thought long and seriously, and the result was a game which they called Mah Diau.

So there you have the origin of ‘Mah Chang,’ ‘Mah Choh,’ ‘Mah Jongg,’ ‘Mah Diao,’ ‘Mah Juck,’ ‘Pe Ling,’ ‘Mah Cheuk,’ or whatever you desire to call this game of the ancient Chinese which has taken America by storm and which is being ‘taken up’ in London, Paris, and other world centres, not to overlook Chicago and Hannibal, Missouri, and other points west. The game of Mah Diau, as originally played by the lowly fishermen in the employ of head-fisherman Sze, consisted of one hundred and eight pieces of cardboard and was played by four persons, and each held thirteen cards even as to-day is the practice in Shanghai, New York, and Washington, D. C. And according to the legend the fishermen became so absorded in the game of Mah Diau that they forgot their seasickness, and as a result Sze and his nine brothers prospered and founded a great family which lives even unto this day.

From this humble beginning the Ingatbola88game ‘caught on’ and next we hear of one Chen Yu-mun, an officer in the imperial Chinese army who was also stationed at Ningpo, the provincial metropolis of Chekiang Province of China.

General Chen’s chief job was that of bandit-catcher and his army was known far and wide because of the white caps which they wore. But General Chen was sorely worried because of the habit of his soldiers of falling asleep during the wee sma’ hours of the night, at which times the bandits would slip through the lines and hold up trains, or whatever the means of conveyance were in those days.

Hearing of the wonderful game of Mah Diau, which was so fascinating that fishermen forgot to get seasick while playing it, he possessed himself of several sets and tried them out on his night guards. It worked moderately well but due probably to the fact that soldiers, even in those days, were more blasé than simple fisherfolk, General Chen still had trouble, for some of his soldiers persisted in falling asleep when they should have been watching for bandits.

After great meditation the General solved the problem by inventing some new cards: chung (red), fah (green), pah (white), and north, south, east, and west. This brought the number of cards up to one hundred and thirty-six, and never again, says the story-teller, did General Chen have trouble with his soldiers falling asleep. They stayed awake all night and he is reported to have had trouble thereafter in pursuading them to go to sleep. They wanted to play the new game all the time.

As time went on, continues the chronicler, certain persons of low repute, gamblers they were called, took up the game and by means of the simple little cards took away the wages of the fishermen and soldiers. But the gamblers also made their contribution to progress, for it is said in the records that a famous exponent of profit by change, one Chang Shiu-Mo by name, also of the village of Ningpo, found that the number of cards was not sufficient. So he added some more: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and Mei (plum blossom), lan (orchid), ruh (chrysanthemum), and chuk (bamboo). This made the game so terribly fascination that it spread to the far boundaries of the Celestial Empire, and has continued to this present day to be the chief method of recreation for officials and persons of the upper classes, and even into the lair of the bandits of Paozuku, who have found their diversion in the click and play of the little ivory and bamboo tiles as they move deftly from hand to hand about the table.

There isn’t much more to the history. Later on some enterprising manufacturer made a set from bamboo, and then his competitor across the street, remembering the white-capped soldiers, of the Ningpo legend, added white-bone or ivory caps to the bamboo and thus we come to the modern days when the dull pages of the Chinese Maritime Customs returns are made more interesting by items telling of unbelievably large cargoes of this interesting Chinese game being exported to foreign countries by fast steamers.

Then the trouble began, – there is always trouble in every story of achievement, – for it developed that it is one thing to start a ‘craze’ and an entirely different matter to supply the wherewithal to supply the craze. Orders began coming to China for sets of this Chinese game, and the Chinese manufacturer looked up from his workbench, where he was turning out ‘characters,’ ‘bamboos,’ and ‘circles,’ all deftly but slowly done by hand in the manner of his fathers, and said, ‘No can do,’ and went back to his work.

Chinese manufacturers had been making this game for centuries, and they saw no reason for changing methods which the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers to the nth generation had found successful. Furthermore, there was a scarcity of labor. Each shop or ‘factory’ contained from a dozen to thirty workers, and each shop did one thing: that is, one shop sawed the bone into squares and another did the engraving, while still another sawed the bamboo, and so on through a maze of operations which through the centuries had slowly produced perfection.

So why change the system just because a lot of crazy foreigners wanted to play a Chinese game? And then there was another problem as expressed by one dealer, ‘No can get plenty bones.’ It seems that the white-bone faces on the tiles can only be made from a small section (about seven inches in length of the shin bone of the cow, and China’s cows, long accustomed to supplying a certain proportion of their framework for this purpose, refused to yield any more. The Chinese dealer had these foreign buccaneers then. ‘No can get plenty bones!’

The case was settled and he went back to his work again.

But at this point American enterprise stepped in. ‘We’ll get the bones for you,’ the buyers shouted and Messrs. Swift, Armour, Cudahy, and Libby in Chicago, Kansas City, and Omaha got urgent cables from China for rush orders of shin bones, and the orders kept up until it is said that the great American beef-barons have neglected their sausages and porterhouse steaks in order to supply Shanghai with shin bones for the manufacture of Mah Chang. Even the elephants down in India and Siam are said to be in a panic due to the threatened raid on their protruding front teeth because of the demand for ivory sets.

But this didn’t help much. A Chinese manufacturer who has always operated a one-room shop, just like his forbears did, is a pretty difficult problem when it comes to persuading him that he should double, quadruple, and octuple his output.

Enterprising foreigners in Shanghai tried to start factories, but to no avail, for skilled workers refused to be enticed away from the benches of their fathers. The Mah Chang skies remained overcast. If the laborers will not leave their little factories, why not move the whole factory? This was the clever idea possessed by a little group of Americans and Britishers in Shanghai, and a few months ago they did just this. The factory of the Mei Ren Company is now located in Paoshan, just beyond Hongkew Park in Shanghai. This interesting enterprise, which has developed in a few short months to the place where it employs more than four hundred skilled laborers, is really a combination of more than a dozen little Mah Chang factories all gathered together under one roof, and provides an interesting example of what Western ingenuity can accomplish in China when it really tries.

Undoubtedly the most interesting element in this factory, as in all factories, is the labor. Practically all of the four hundred and more workers were brought to Shanghai from Soochow, Wenchow, Hangchow, Yangchow, and Ningpo in small groups, and before they consented to leave their home surroundings it required much persuasion – of the kind common to China. Briefly, it required much silver in the form of Yuan dollars. It was necessary to guarantee each man a certain income (everything is done by piecework), and it was also necessary to provide railroad fare to Shanghai and return if desired and then it was found to be still further necessary to provide both food and lodging in Shanghai at the factory, and then it was found that a ‘bonus’ ranging from $50 to $100 per man was still further necessary in addition.

It should be stated that this is a ‘complete’ factory, for the reason that every operation from the manufacture of the box to the packing of the ‘sets’ is done here, with the single exception of the rectangular pieces of bamboo which form the backs of the tiles, which are purchased outside from a bamboo-dealer who guarantees that his product has been dried and seasoned for at least eighteen months. The first operation which greets the eye of the visitor is that of a primitive saw. The operator takes the pieces of shin bone, which previously have been bleached to a snowy whiteness, and saws them into pieces about 1 1/2 inches in length. Then next to him are a number of other gentlemen with iron chisels in their hands, who deftly split these pieces into two or three sections. The chisel and a block of wood are the only tools used here.

Then another group of artisans take these little sections of bone and shape them roughly into flat pieces. These pieces of bone are then graded as to thickness, for you probably discovered when you purchased your Mah Chang set that the price is determined largely by the thickness of the bone ‘face’ on the tiles. This is due to the fact that the average shin bone only yields one or two ‘thick’ pieces, the remainder being an average of 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, and 1/4 inch in thickness.

The next operation is the difficult one of dovetailing the bone face into the flat side of the bamboo which forms the back of the tile. To see the primitive tools, which consist of a file and a hammer, one would never suspect that such a fine job of joining could be accomplished but with one or two operations, performed so quickly the eye can scarcely follow, the job is finished.

The ‘dovetailing,’ sometimes called ‘tongue-and-grooving,’ is done by filing the ‘tongue’ in the bone and the ‘groove’ in the bamboo. Then the two pieces are forced together so closely that the seam is practically invisible. Another operation then takes these rough pieces of bone and bamboo and smooths down the edges by filing. After this operation the little rectangles, now exactly 1 1/4 inches long and 7/8 of an inch wide, are placed in a frame for polishing.

And the polishing – again primitive methods produce a fine result. With a piece of sandpaper, the first roughness is removed. Then a piece of skin from some sort of fish which has a fine rough surface is used to take off the next coat, and finally a piece of rush or species of marsh-growing plant is used for the finishing operation, which produces the fine polished surface so pleasing to the finger tips of milord or milady Mah Chang player. Here the tiles are again regarded as to thickness.

Now comes the engraving, and with the exception of the making of the ‘circles,’ which is done with a drill or primitive auger, the engraving of the ‘characters,’ ‘bamboos,’ ‘winds,’ and other tiles is done by hand, mostly by boys ranging in age from twelve to eighteen. Each boy does one figure and is known in factory language as a ‘circle-maker,’ ‘bamboo-engraver,’ and so on.

Following this operation comes that of coloring. Native colors – red, purple, and green – are used, and they are applied by roughly daubing the entire face of the tile with the colors desired. Then the face of the tiles is wiped with a cloth and then scraped with a fine chisel. The coloring only penetrates where the bone has been engraved, thus producing the attractive face of the tile. Each set packed by the Mei Ren factory contains one hundred and fifty tiles, the extra ones being blanks for use in case some are lost.

One interesting and amusing phase of the popularity of Mah Chang in the United States came from a rumor which gained wide circulation that each of the various Chinese names employed by various importers referred to a different game, or, in others words, that the Chinese played several kinds of Mah Chang. This dispute waxed hot and furious, and according to gossip frantic appeals were made to the Far Eastern Division of the State Department. The Chinese Legation was also appealed to, and none other than His Excellency, Dr. Sao Ke Alfred Sze, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary from the Republic of China to the United States of America, settled the matter for all time by issuing an unofficial statement to the effect that there is only one Chinese Mah Chang game, call it what you will.

And don’t forget that Dr. Sze spells his name S-Z-E – just like the founder of the game back in the old village of Ningpo in the province of Chekiang, and the period of time corresponds to that of King Tut-ankhamen, who doubtless was also familiar with the game.


Two New Species of Ancient, Burrowing Mammal Ancestors Discovered in China

The dioramic landscape illustrates the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota with emphasis on mammaliamorphs. Credit: © Chuang Zhao

120-million-year-old animals evolved ‘scratch digging’ traits independently.

A joint research team led by Dr. Fangyuan Mao and Dr. Chi Zhang from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Prof. Jin Meng from the American Museum of Natural History have discovered two new species of mammal-like, burrowing animals that lived about 120 million years ago in what is now northeastern China.

The new species, described recently in Nature, are distantly related. However, they independently evolved traits to support their digging lifestyle. They represent the first “scratch diggers” discovered in this ecosystem.

“There are many hypotheses about why animals dig into the soil and live underground,” said Prof. Meng, lead author of the study. “For protection against predators, to maintain a temperature that’s relatively constant, or to find food sources like insects and plant roots. These two fossils are a very unusual, deep-time example of animals that are not closely related and yet both evolved the highly specialized characteristics of a digger.”

This portrait shows the tritylodontid Fossiomanus sinensis (upper right) and the eutriconodontan Jueconodon cheni in burrows both lived the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota (about 120 million years ago), northeastern China, and showed convergent skeletal features adapted to fossorial lifestyle. Credit: © Chuang Zhao

The fossil mammaliamorph species — predecessors to mammals — were discovered in the Jehol Biota, which represents the Early Cretaceous epoch, about 145 to 100 million years ago.

One is a mammal-like reptile called a tritylodontid and represents the first of its kind to be identified in this biota. About a foot in length, it was named Fossiomanus sinensis. The other one, Jueconodon cheni, is a eutriconodontan, a distant cousin of modern placental mammals and marsupials, which were common in the biota. It is about seven inches long.

Mammals that are adapted to burrowing have specialized traits for digging. The researchers found some of these hallmark features, including shorter limbs, strong forelimbs with robust hands, and a short tail, in both Fossiomanus and Jueconodon. In particular, these characteristics point to a type of digging behavior known as “scratch digging,” accomplished mainly by the claws of the forelimbs.

Holotype specimens of Fossiomanus senensis and Jueconodon cheni. Credit: Fangyuan Mao

“This is the first convincing evidence for fossorial life in those two groups,” said Dr. Mao. “It also is the first case of scratch diggers we know about in the Jehol Biota, which was home to a great diversity of animals, from dinosaurs and insects to plants.”

The animals also share another unusual feature: an elongated vertebral column. Typically, from the neck to the hip, mammals have 26 vertebrae. However, Fossiomanus had 38 vertebrae — a staggering 12 more than the usual number — while Jueconodon had 28.

To try to determine how these animals got their elongated axial skeleton, the paleontologists turned to recent studies in developmental biology, finding that the variation could be attributed to gene mutations that determine the number and shape of the vertebrae during early embryonic development of these animals. Variation in vertebrae number can be found in modern mammals as well, for example, in elephants, manatees, and hyraxes.

For more on this research, read Paleontologists Discover Two Unusual New Species of Ancient, Burrowing Mammal Ancestors.

Reference: “Fossoriality and evolutionary development in two Cretaceous mammaliamorphs” by Fangyuan Mao, Chi Zhang, Cunyu Liu and Jin Meng, 7 April 2021, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03433-2

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Priority Research Program, the Youth Innovation Promotion Association, and the Kalbfleisch Fellowship of the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Graduate School.


How to bounce back after a mid-life redundancy

For many people, being made redundant doesn’t just mean losing an income. It can lead to a loss of confidence, identity and purpose, making it feel impossible to get back on your feet.

The pandemic has seen many people lose their jobs. Although the majority of those affected have been younger, middle-aged workers have been impacted too. Older workers who lose their jobs are more likely to slip into long-term worklessness, with over 50s who are unemployed twice as likely to be out of work for a year as younger workers.

Losing a job is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when the job market is flooded with people looking for work. So how can you bounce back after being made redundant in mid-life?

“Losing your job at any time is likely to present people with significant internal and external barriers. Confidence being a big one. But there also tends to be an assumption that it might be bad to lose a job at this age,” says Anna Baréz-Brown, co-founder of the organisation Shine for Women.

“The world is changing so much, and the systems and pace are very different to when 40 to 50 year olds were entering the workplace. Advancements, particularly in tech, mean that positions have evolved and now rely heavily on new approaches that you may not be familiar with or have little understanding of.”

Watch: How To Create The Perfect CV

Career coach Judy Bullimore says it can be difficult particularly for people who are used to progressing in their careers internally, or haven’t had to ‘sell’ themselves. “For many, their work has ‘spoken’ for them and they haven’t needed to be prepared for this level of competition and scarcity for similar types of roles,” she explains.

“In middle age, many workers will have demonstrable skills and experience. However, the difficulty lies in the way this is presented to employers. Many struggle with the concept that having skills and experience isn’t enough to have a competitive edge or stand out right now, the most important thing will be to present their unique ‘core’ offer. This is made up of more than skills and experience, but passion, personality and added value.”

Another major difficulty is the level of confidence and resilience the person may or may not have. Job loss or redundancy is known to have a devastating impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, affecting their self-esteem, self-worth and confidence.

“Employers, recruiters and interviewers seek out confidence in candidates because they want to feel secure that they can trust that their role will be invested in the candidate that can deliver,” says Bullimore. “However it might only take one rejection at application or interview to knock an individual’s confidence, so it requires great inner confidence and resilience on the part of the jobseeker to bounce back.”

Ageism is another problem facing more mature workers. Although the 2010 Equality Act defines it as discrimination, the problem is that there is a marked difference between active age discrimination and implicit bias in the recruitment process. Often, decisions are made on first impressions, so if the recruiter already has a certain person in mind for the job, this bias may mean others lose out.

“I totally believe that discrimination is rife within the employment sector, but masked in glossy statements, job descriptions and equality and diversity policies,” says Bullimore. “The very nature of the job application process is biased to the employer getting to decide on who they believe is the ‘right fit’ for their organisation.”

That being said, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of getting back into the workforce.

Learn to think like an employer

“Researching the employer is surface level,” says Bullimore. “The secret to career success is to understand the hidden assumptions, biases, expectations and problems the employer really wants solving. The art of a strong application and interview is to speak to what they aren’t saying as well as what they have stated they require.”

The key is to know the employer and what makes them tick. You can do this by scouring their websites, social media, speaking to people in the sector or looking at reviews of the company on Glassdoor.

Remember your worth

“This age group is often undervalued but they can bring a huge amount to an organisation, so it is important not to lose sight of that,” says Baréz-Brown. “Be confident and see it as an advantage, because it is! If you have children they’re likely to be older so you’re not sleep deprived and you’re being a role model to them.

“You will have far more refined skills, particularly in people management and nurturing the team that younger candidates will still be developing. It is these attributes that make a team successful and thrive.”

Watch: What To Ask In A Job Interview

Turn experience into compelling impressive stories

The process of reflecting on employment history can be an empowering process and great for building confidence.

“It’s essential to do this before updating a CV, writing an application or interviewing because experience is the passport to a job offer,” says Bullimore. You know you can do the job, but presenting this effectively to an employer is essential.

“Knowing how to impressively present it at the very beginning will make the way the candidate writes or speaks about their experience more engaging and memorable,” she adds. To do so, gather your strongest, tangible examples. This might be a project which achieved an amazing result, or led to a quantifiable increase in sales.

It’s tempting to try and ‘fit in’ to a company to improve your chances of landing a job interview or an offer, but being authentic is important. If you’re a mature worker, showcase the experience you can bring to a company and why this will benefit the employer.

Work on your confidence

It’s easier said than done to simply ‘be more confident’ but learning to recognise your own abilities, skills and achievements will help you succeed. Writing down your accomplishments can help you put this into perspective, particularly if your confidence has been knocked.

You don’t have to go it alone, either. Counselling can help you understand the way you think and work through any problems you may be experiencing. A career coach who specialises in CV writing and good interview practice can help you feel more positive about job applications too.

“So be confident, find the right recruiter for you, one who understands your core values, and what you want out of a job,” says Baréz-Brown. “You should consider investing in your personal development, whatever your age, and don’t be shy to use your network and reach out and connect with people. This will help remind you that you are relevant and have a place in the world, and that’s incredibly validating.”


Campania is Italy’s finest gastronomic centres, renowned for its pizza, buffalo mozzarella, ham, truffles, oil, mountain cheeses and more. If you were to choose one place in southern Italy, for a gastronomic trip, this would be it, and if you can come during the town’s major fairs (spring, summer), so much the better.

The Alpin Hotel Masl in the Puster Valley is the perfect setting for lasting memories. A South Tyrol holiday in our Alpin Hotel Masl in the Puster Valley proves that historic charm and stylish comfort are not mutually exclusive.

With genuine South Tyrolean tradition now combined with the modern comfort of four-star superior hospitality, our house has been welcoming guests into its family atmosphere since 1680.

Situated 1,300 m above the Puster Valley and nestling in the beautiful, typical South Tyrolean countryside, the Hotel Masl is the perfect place for your next journey into nature.

Whether you are looking for wellness, hiking and skiing in the ski and hiking region Gitschberg Jochtal or a relaxing family holiday – the Alpin Hotel Masl gives you everything you need for a well-deserved holiday.

The ancient walls built in 1680 contrast with the state-of-the-art architecture. It is the extraordinary, soft harmonious blend of the modern and traditional that makes our Alpin Hotel Masl in Valles in the Puster Valley so special.

Opposites that attract. At an altitude of 1,300 m, our family-run hotel is now in its fourth generation and has centuries of experience in making our guests feel welcome.

Evolving over the years into a four-star Superior hotel, the former South Tyrolean farm and inn is now a place in which you can enjoy a luxurious holiday within its exclusive, traditional rooms.

Our top hotel in the mountains, located right on the slopes of the Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort, with pool, half-board and huge children’s world, is the perfect holiday destination for couples as well as for families with children.

A look back
The Masl has been around since 1680. So, it’s high time we told it’s eventful history. Once a farm and an inn, the Masl has evolved over the centuries into a 4-star Superior hotel.

The one thing that has remained a constant since the distant year of 1680, has been the hospitality of its owners. Today as in the past, we cater for our guests with a lot of love and enthusiasm.

The centuries-old history of our house creates a special atmosphere intermingled with a harmonious combination of traditional structures and modern-day holiday luxury.

We have a high regard for quality in all services, a sentiment just as important as the personal, low-key and friendly care we provide our guests at Alpin Hotel Masl. The Alpin Hotel Masl in Valles has been the family home of the Messner family for four generations.

Every corner of our house is filled with a tangible feeling of calm, an Alpine awareness, an originality and an authenticity. The sense of family pervades the atmosphere and will strike a chord as soon as you walk through the door. You will instantly feel right at home in this ambience.

The Messner family
We like nothing more than caring for our guests. It is why we are your hosts.We, the Messner family, have been managing the Hotel Masl in Valles for four generations now.

Exactly as the parents and grandparents did and still do, it is now son Thomas with his parents Marianne and Alois who now runs the house in keeping with family tradition. Being hosts is our passion and nothing makes us happier than seeing the a satisfied smile of our guests.

We pay homage to our homeland and the nature around us as we go about our daily work in the Hotel Masl We therefore pay homage to our homeland and the nature around us as we go about our daily work in the Hotel Masl by being respectful in our use of natural materials.

Heating comes from the woodchip plant in Valles and we use local alpine herbs and essences in our range of beauty treatments. Sustainability is just as important to us as the desire to offer our guests an unforgettable stay.

Everything at a glance
There is much to discover and experience in Masl. Join us on a tour. Hospitality has a long tradition in the Alpin Hotel Masl. It starts with a friendly welcome and continues from morning to night as our staff make sure you are well cared for. Hospitality can be seen in every small detail of our hotel and makes sure your holiday is an unforgettable experience from start to finish

Simply stepping over the threshold of your room will bring a smile to your lips. Our rooms and suites are your own personal haven, inviting you to linger and dream. We have devoted a large part of our house to relaxation.

Unwind in the 2,000 m² wellness and beauty area with pools, saunas, large park and many other highlights which are designed for relaxation. Our kitchen team busy away at creating a selection of South Tyrolean culinary delights spiced with Mediterranean playfulness.

The Alpin Hotel Masl is made for families, our house offers numerous amenities especially for parents and their children. What could be more exciting than a visit to our own farm where little ones can sample farm life at first hand and make friends with many animals.

Our own Alpine hut on the Malga Fane is definitely worth a visit. We take you there every week and invite you to try a traditional Brettljause snack. We are also very proud of the amazing natural landscape that surrounds us and count it as one of our very best features.

Villages to fall in love with
You will never forget a holiday in idyllic Valles in the Puster Valley. A side valley in the Pustertal valley, Valles is the perfect place for all those who love nature and being active outdoors.

The Valles high valley is 1,300 m above sea level with a view of the Dolomites and offers hikers and bikers fantastic opportunities in the summer. In winter, it attracts plenty of ski fans with its welcoming ski resort and perfectly groomed slopes.

But Valles and the surrounding area are not just for the more active amongst you. The Puster Valley holds many cultural treasures, such as the picturesque town of Brunico with the Messner Mountain Museum, which can be reached in about half an hour from Valles.

The city of Bressanone with the renowned Bishops Cathedral and the Novacella Monastery (15 minutes away), and Vipiteno (20 minutes away) are definitely worth a visit.

These cities are full of cultural sites and a trip to the numerous museums, castles and churches is certainly worthwhile. Shopping is also a great way to spend a day out. Stylish boutiques, fascinating specialty shops and delightful souvenir shops are ensconced along the romantic arcades.

A mountain hut jamboree
Setting off to our own mountain hut on the Malga Fane is a wonderful adventure. Known far and wide: the Malga Fane. At an altitude of 1,740 m, 35 traditional huts and hay sheds form the most beautiful village of mountain huts in South Tyrol at the valley head of Valles.

The idyllic scene that greets you here could not be more beautiful. No cars disturb this peaceful image, just traditional Alpine huts and untouched nature as far as the eye can see.

A show cheese-making dairy, play and refreshment facilities plus the chance to go on numerous mountain and refuge hut tours make the Malga Fane a rewarding and enjoyable destination.

One of the protected Alpine huts, originating from the Middle Ages, belongs to our Hotel Masl.One of the protected Alpine huts, originating from the Middle Ages, belongs to our Hotel Masl. A guided hike to our Masl hut is offered once a week.

The easy tour starts at 9:00 a.m. from the hotel and takes about 2 hours (outward journey). If you don’t manage the hike, you can be driven to the Masl hut on Malga Fane for free.

Once you have arrived at the alpine pasture, we will give you a brief tour of the hut and tell you everything you need to know about it. We will of course be happy to answer any questions you may have.

If the weather is good, we will have a snack outside, in cooler temperatures in the hut. There is now plenty of time to listen to the sounds of nature, to enjoy the delicious Brettljause and the wonderful view.

After everyone has had enough fresh mountain air, we will return to the Alpin Hotel Masl around 1:30 p.m. Again, if you like walking, you hike, while the others use the free shuttle service back to the hotel.

Where sustainability is a tradition in life
Sustainability has always played an important role at the Alpin Hotel Masl, just as it does today. The small grain mill on the Rio di Valles was part of the Masl farm and owned by the Messner family as far back as 1941.

Electricity was not widely available in those days, so the mill was repurposed to use the energy from the ever-turning waterwheel to produce electricity. At the time, it gave enough power to supply half of all the households in Valles and was considered a valuable source of energy for the picturesque valley.

Josef Messner (senior) modernised the hydropower plant in the grain mill in 1981. Today, exactly 80 years after it was founded, the power plant has yet again been adapted to keep pace with the state of the art.

It now generates Co2-free electricity for the Alpin Hotel Masl – clean and ecological. The Alpin Hotel Masl also has other areas where sustainability is practised in addition to the hydropower plant.

Dating back to 1997, the rooms of the Alpin Hotel Masl have been heated by the ‘Valles district heating plant’, one of the first district heating plants in South Tyrol. The energy supplied is obtained from wood, a natural raw material that comes from the region.

Local wood was also one of the materials that was used during the various renovations and upgrades at the 4-star superior hotel. Fine timbers skilfully fashioned by South Tyrolean craftsmen who epitomise the highest standards of quality.

Fresh, crystal-clear mountain spring water flows from every tap in the hotel. This precious natural resource comes from our own spring. All guests of the Alpin Hotel Masl can drink the pure Valles spring water free of charge at the dining table (service charge), as well as in the rooms and the wellness area.

Once a week, we invite you to join us on ‘Masl’s journey through time’. Your hosts, the Messner family, take you on a tour of their farm, to the old grain mill and the hydropower plant.

Space for personal moments
Wake up, continue to dream and feel at home in our rooms and suites. Our historic house has slowly grown over the centuries and seen many changes during this time. Rooms and suites have emerged – all with their own unique character and charm.

Furnished using local woods, they exude the romance of an a traditional hotel that goes hand-in-glove with a classic, modern holiday atmosphere. The exclusive suites and spacious family rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi – find your own personal haven here.

Suite Paradiso with sauna
Luxurious modern suite on two floors with separate entrance: exclusive bedroom with cosy corner lounge furnished in local arolla pine, natural wood floor, desk, walk-in wardrobe, flat screen TV with selection of satellite channels, telephone, free Wi-Fi, safe, minibar, large balcony 25 m² looking southward with private sauna and relax lounge chairs.

Bathroom with window, walk-in rain shower and tub, make-up mirror, hairdryer. Separate WC with bidet and washbasin.On upper floor separate room (20m²) with double bed and corner lounge, carpet, balcony looking westward, flat screen TV with selection of satellite channels. Bathroom with window, WC, shower and washbasin. Reserved preassigned indoor parking.

Culinary delights
Let us spoil you on your holiday in South Tyrol. Our chefs love their work, which you can tell from the very first bite. In selecting their ingredients, they focus on healthy local produce. This creates a culinary experience that you are not likely to forget in a hurry.

Even the most discerning palates will be impressed by the traditional delights and specialities of the South Tyrolean cuisine and the light Italian dishes conjured up from morning to night.

A fine wine to accompany your meal from the well-stocked wine cellar is the perfect complement to your culinary enjoyment in this welcoming South Tyrolean atmosphere.

The new front-cooking station, where various theme evenings are celebrated every day, is a particular highlight. You can watch how your culinary delights are freshly prepared.

From morning to night
With Masl’s Half-Board Plus, your holiday will also be a culinary highlight. Your holiday at the Alpin Hotel Masl offers an enjoyable break. Because our kitchen and cellar know exactly how to give you what you want – all day long.

Every morning, our vitality breakfast buffet has everything your heart desires and will keep you going for an active day outdoors. We offer delicious à la carte dishes (for a fee) In the afternoon, you can look forward to sampling wonderful South Tyrolean apple strudel as well as oven-fresh cakes.

In the evening, enjoy a 5-course gourmet menu, consisting of dishes prepared by our kitchen team using locally or regionally sourced ingredients. We also offer daily theme evenings with highlights at our front cooking station.

Watch our kitchen team at work during the Italian evening, the Tyrolean evening or the dessert and cheese buffet. Gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance are also no problem for our chefs. Simply let us know when you make your booking.

The culinary delights of home
The variety of the South Tyrolean cuisine appeals to every palate. You’ll be amazed. South Tyrol’s culinary delights are known beyond the borders. The chefs in the Alpine Hotel Masl offer exceptional food with specialities from our homeland, such as ravioli, ‘Knödel’ dumplings or ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ pancakes.

What makes ‘Masl’s Kuchl’ so special is the combination of traditional South Tyrolean cuisine with the light Mediterranean. Fine Italian antipasti, various pasta dishes and delightful desserts get connoisseurs’ hearts racing.

We focus on using regional quality produce. The dishes they conjure up are the traditional fayre of the Valles farms, skilfully prepared with the lightness of Italian cuisine.

The daily theme evenings at our front cooking station are considered a special highlight in Masl’s kitchen concept. During the Italian Evening, the Pizza Evening, the Tyrolean Evening or the Dessert and Cheese Buffet you can watch the kitchen team at work.

Of course, our kitchen team takes any gluten or lactose intolerances into account. Please inform us of any food allergies at the time of booking. Look forward to an enjoyable holiday at the Alpin Hotel Masl.

Feel-good rooms made for enjoyment
The most beautiful setting to enjoy South Tyrolean and Mediterranean delicacies. Light pours through the large window fronts in the new restaurant, affording an unobstructed view of the impressive mountain world.

Enjoy breakfast and the 5-course gourmet menu in the evening in the pleasant and elegant atmosphere. The restaurant is divided into several niches and lovingly furnished with local wood and a great deal of attention to detail. As a result, the delicious delicacies from ‘Masl’s Kuchl’ are even more of a treat to enjoy.

One special feature in the restaurant area is the large front cooking station, offering a daily culinary highlight. Order your freshly prepared egg dishes here in the morning and a meal from the menu will be prepared there in the evening according to the respective theme evening.

Whether different pasta dishes, pizza or a South Tyrolean classic at the South Tyrolean evening – watch our hard-working chefs at their creative work.

Cosiness and stylish elegance
Would you like a glass of wine? Or perhaps a cocktail? Would you like an aperitif before dinner or a nightcap to round off a wonderful holiday? If so, then you should contact our barista and benefit from his unparalleled expertise.

Our stylish lounge bar is the ideal place to enjoy a drink or two and relax. Soft music and a calming flickering in the fireplaces await you. The large window fronts reflect the elegant grand piano and the centrally-located hand-carved dream tree. In this way the loving details can be enjoyed from all angles.

In the centre of the bar lobby, a circular buffet table captivates, from the centre of which the dream tree stretches to the sky through the round opening in the ceiling. This tree sculpture is a work of the Gröden artist Markus Delago. His concept: “Hang your dreams on the tree and the tree will bring them to heaven”.

Hungry on the Alpine pasture?
You definitely deserve a hearty snack on our own Alpine hut. In summer, we take our guests up to our own Alpine hut on the Malga Fane once a week. A highlight not to be missed, this is where you can experience a piece of genuine South Tyrolean tradition.

After a leisurely hike, we invite you to try our original South Tyrolean marende. We serve up bacon, ‘Schüttelbrot’ bread, Alpine cheese, pickled side dishes and, of course, a glass of wine or two.

And let’s not forget a shot of South Tyrolean Schnapps afterwards – after all, this is all part and parcel of a summer’s hike in our beautiful homeland!

Simply delicious!
Prepare the Masl meals in the comfort of your own home. Everyone has fond memories of the delicious food they ate on holiday.

Now you can cook some of the wonderful meals you enjoyed at the Hotel Masl and recreate delicious memories time and again. We have compiled a few of our recipes for you, so now you can get a little of that holiday feeling back at home.

Alpine wellness over 2.000 m²
Relax with the Alps in the Alps – in your 4-star Superior wellness hotel in South Tyrol. In the Masl wellness area of your 4-star Superior wellness hotel in South Tyrol, we harness the vitality of the local mountains.

The scent of local mountain herbs and hay from the Alpine pastures relaxes your senses, crystal-clear Valles spring water refreshes body and mind.

Whether in the romantic beauty and wellness roof lounge “Masl Alpin” on the upper floor or in the “Masl Acqua” Pool Wellness with private green, you will never have experienced such a relaxing wellness holiday as at the Masl in South Tyrol.

Relax with a variety of beauty treatments, in our log cabin Alpine sauna, in the “Stille Alm”, in the swimming pool and jacuzzi. Enjoy life and give yourself a break.

Relaxation beneath the skies
Enjoy the amazing view from the “Masl Alpin” Panorama Wellness roof lounge on the top floor. “Alpine Wellness” is to be understood literally in our Alpin Hotel Masl. Enjoy a relaxing stay enveloped by the spirit of the local mountains and countryside in the middle of the Alps.

The romantic, peaceful “Masl Alpin” Panorama Wellness on the top floor of the building is reserved for adults (from 14 years of age) and offers spectacular views across the mountains around Valles.

Here, the effects of the South Tyrolean hay and herbal baths, massages, bio steam rooms and the Vitalis steam bath, a visit to the Stube sauna, in the Panorama relaxation room and in the reclaimed wood-crafted “Stiller Alm” with heated waterbeds are twice as relaxing.

Time for relaxing
In the “Masl Acqua” Pool Wellness relaxation has never been so easy. Water and warmth are two elements that could not be more relaxing. You will find more than enough in our “Masl Acqua” Pool Wellness with private green.

The all-year-round heated swimming pool with outdoor pool (30°C), a hot jacuzzi, a quiet room with fireplace, a heat steam room, an organic spruce sauna, a finnish fire sauna, a Kneipp experience showers, a romantic relaxing room “Silentium” and a fitness room guarantee for feel-good moments from morning till night.

Our Alpine log sauna with plunge pool in the middle of the Wellness Park is unique to the area. A sweat bath is a unique experience not just reserved for winter.

Warmth for body and soul
A sauna visit cleanses inside and out and gives a feeling of universal peace. To relax, we have a total of six different saunas in our “Masl Alpin” Wellness Oasis and “Masl Acqua”. The sauna-lovers among you will love our special infusions with selected essences.

The different natural active ingredients penetrate deep into the skin and lungs and soothe body and soul. The relaxing scent of local mountain herbs and natural oils in our sauna world accompanies you everywhere. Regenerating mountain water refreshes you between each sauna session.

Relaxation rooms
Relax by the fireplace and in the Panorama Wellness on the roof lounge. The Panorama Wellness area on the roof lounge is reserved for adults and features the ‘Stille Alm’ relaxation room with rustic flair and a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains in Valles all the way to the Dolomites.

The special treat: The relaxing wave motion of the waterbeds helps the whole body to unwind.

The ‘Masl Acqua’ Pool Wellness area also features comfy loungers and special relaxation elements. In a separate area to the swimming and sauna area, the special relaxation room is bathed in light and features a fireplace and direct access to the wellness park with sunbathing lawn.

The Silentium lounge on the ground floor is deemed a particularly cosy retreat for romantics. The tranquil bunks respect your privacy and several loungers make this quiet zone the perfect paradise for relaxation.

Featuring reclaimed wood and a water fountain with flickering candles, this room is another exclusive Masl highlight.

Where the mind can wander
Relax on the lawn surrounded by fresh air, the aromatic scent of the countryside and the soothing silence. In summer, nothing could be more lovely than relaxing in our Wellness Park after a refreshing swim in our pool.

Enjoy the spectacular view of the Valles mountains and the delightful surrounding countryside from the comfortable loungers on the lawn. Relish a good book enveloped by the all-encompassing silence and let your gaze sweep across the landscape – simply do whatever your heart desires.

Rituals of well-being
Blissfully indulgent treatments for inner and outer beauty. Indulge in some truly luxurious moments in the beauty area of the Alpin Hotel Masl. All our Alpine Wellness treatments are tailored to meet your individual needs.

We use premium-quality cosmetic products based on extracts from the mountain region and quality herbal oils from local producers. By harnessing the power of nature all around us, we benefit from its soothing effects.

Fit on holiday
Guests can also work out on holiday – for example, in our fitness room overlooking the garden. On holiday with us in Valles, you never need forgo regular exercise.

Our bright, appealing gym is equipped with high-quality Technogym equipment with three cardio machines (treadmill, steppers, cycle) and five of them different weight machines.

The gym area is equipped with mats and softballs for you to practise yoga and keep-fit. Find yourself spurred on to new levels of achievement by the stunning views of the Valles mountains all around.

Direct access from the gym to the Wellness Park and open-air pool also completely opens up new fitness perspectives. Enjoy a feel-good experience that you are not likely to forget in a hurry.

Oases of retreat
Our spacious wellness area is the perfect place to relax. With its magnificent countryside, the tranquil valley of Valles lies at your feet. And the bright blue skies above you. Sense deep inside you: calm and relaxation.

The vitality of the local mountains all around us is almost tangible. You encounter natural elements everywhere in our 2,000 m² wellness area.

Crystal-clear alpine spring water in the pools, natural mountain herbs, Alpine hay and regional essences in the beauty centre and saunas, a spectacular panoramic view from the windows onto the beautiful Valles mountains.

Our indoor swimming pool with all-year heated outdoor swimming pool, relaxation and fitness room and the children’s water world are all joined together and on the same level.

An internal staircase leads you to the sauna area. Together, these areas form the “Masl Acqua”, while our “Masl Alpin” Panorama Wellness is housed on the hotel’s third floor.

In summer mood
Summer couldn’t be nicer: Your summer holiday in South Tyrol is just around the corner. In the morning dew to the mountains: A perfect summer’s day in the Puster Valley can start. Illuminated by the morning sun, the mountains peaks draw you outdoors.

They’re waiting to be conquered! Discover the fascination of the holiday region Rio Pusteria: More than 30 huts with spectacular views are waiting for you on your summer holiday, hiking possibilities stretch up into the glacier region of the Zillertal Alps and the Monti di Fundres.

By the way, the Malga Fane is in the valley head of Valles and the largest and most traditional mountain hut village in South Tyrol. We organize a traditional snack at our own mountain hut once a week.

Our guests also receive the AlmencardPLUS tourist advantage ticket, which gives free travel on all the regional public transport systems and 9 mountain railways.

In addition, you have free admission to around 100 museums and collections and can take part in the entire supporting programme of the Gitschberg Jochtal Ski & Alm Region free of charge.

It really pays off to take your next summer holiday in South Tyrol at the Alpin Hotel Masl in the Puster Valley. The natural landscape all around is simply made for summer happiness.

Thrilling MTB and E-bike tours, exciting tennis matches at the hotel, a great Masl weekly programme with lots of activities and numerous excursions in the surrounding area. Let your summer holiday in South Tyrol begin!

Explore trails, paths, summits
The most wonderful tours, the best vantage points, the most interesting destinations. Thanks to the ideal location of our hotel, in the midst of South Tyrol’s largest alpine pasture and chalet region, you have the opportunity to choose from a large number of hikes at all grades of difficulty.

We have summarised for you the most beautiful tours in the immediate surroundings, so that you can undertake these together with our hiking guide or on your own. Slip on your hiking boots, shoulder your rucksack and set off into the wonderful world of the mountains.

Excursion destinations and sights
There’s more to Valles and the Puster Valley than hiking for your summer holiday. Our holiday region offers many other options for you, including the magnificent landscape and the traditional culture that is waiting to be explored.

Active summer
So many options for physical activity in a fantastic natural setting. Practically every summer sport is on offer. Play table tennis or tennis/soccer on the hotel’s own multi-game court or swim in the outdoor pool in the Wellness Park.

We have top mountain bikes for you to hire for the perfect bike tour. Or why not try an e-bike if you prefer something less strenuous. For Nordic Walking fans, we also have hiking poles for hire.

There are great opportunities for climbing on a high-ropes course in the area – for kids and grown-ups. But if you’re looking for an absolute adrenaline rush, then we’ll let you know where you can go paragliding or rafting.

For families, the ski and hiking region Gitschberg Jochtal has exciting adventure parks along with educational theme and adventure trails where you can learn a lot of fascinating things about the region. Simply let us know what you fancy for your summer holidays!

VALLES winter happiness
Your skiing holiday in the middle of the Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort: See the good that lies so near. White glistening slopes, fast descents, lively skiing, well-equipped ski rental shops and a professional ski school: This is one side of your winter holiday in South Tyrol right on the 55 km of slopes of the Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort.

The other is a dreamy winter wonderland with snow-covered peaks, idyllic winter hiking trails, cross-country ski trails winding through the valley, 3 toboggan runs and cosy refreshment huts.

Whatever you choose to do on your winter holiday, you can always come back to the warm atmosphere of our hotel after a fun day in the snow. What could be nicer than relaxing in the sauna and swimming pool as snowflakes dance outside the window?

Skiing holiday in Valles
Everyday on your skiing holiday in Valles it’s time to: fasten your skis and hit the slopes! After all, the ski & hiking region Gitschberg Jochtal is right on our doorstep.

With 55 km of slopes and 15 lifts, it’s also perfect for more leisurely skiing. It is particularly suitable for families and recreational skiers who appreciate the calm away from the busier slopes.

Ski school
If you or your children want to quickly turn into proficient skiers, the ski instructors of the Vals Jochtal ski school are the right people to go to. The ski school offers children’s courses, adult courses, private and group lessons as well as snowboard and cross-country skiing courses.

There is also full day care for children. In the Kinderland right next to the Jochtal valley station in the centre of Valles, there are magic carpets, the Bambino express, a Bambino tent, a tubing lane, bunging tunnel and other teaching aids.

Ski rental
The partners of our Alpine Hotel Masl also includes three ski rental companies with top ski equipment. In the village itself, you can hire your entire ski equipment at a special discounted price.

Huts & South Tyrolean delicacies
In addition to all this outdoor exercise in the snow, we also have something for your taste buds. There are numerous cosy Alpine huts for you to stop at along the way. Here, you can enjoy typical South Tyrolean specialities and even your little ones are sure to find their favourite food on the menu.

Even more ski fun
The Skirama-Valle Isarco ski pass gives you access both to the Gitschberg Jochtal and Plose ski resorts. Plus, the entire area is part of Dolomiti SuperSki, the world’s largest ski carousel with 1,200 km of slopes.

Plan de Corones, Sellaronda, Val Gardena, Marmolada are just some of the numerous ski destinations that you can reach from the Alpin Hotel Masl.

And if you sometimes don’t want to put on your skis, there are lots of other ways to enjoy winter in Valles and the surrounding area. How about a winter or snowshoe hike, a jolly toboggan ride around on the magnificent cross-country skiing tracks? Just find something that is right for you!

Hotel’s own ski cellar
You will find a personal ski locker in the new ski cellar of the Alpin Hotel Masl. For added convenience, it opens with your room card and your skis and ski boots can be stored there to keep them warm in the dryer overnight.

Dolomiti SuperSki: Endless fun on the slopes
The Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort has 55 km of slopes and 15 lifts and is part of the Dolomite SuperSki area. With only one ski pass you can choose from up to 12 ski resorts and 1,200 km of slopes from within and outside of South Tyrol with slopes scattered across the entire southern Alps and the Dolomites region.

Plan de Corones, Sellaronda, Val Gardena, Marmolada are just some of the numerous ski destinations that you can reach from the Alpin Hotel Masl.

Winter hiking
Unforgettable hiking experiences in our mountains. Simply enjoy the winter wonderland. On foot, with snowshoes or with touring skis, easy or demanding tours – there is something for everyone! You can start your discovery tour of the fascinating mountain world directly at the hotel.

Winter hikers can purchase special day tickets, which are valid for the cable cars within the entire Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort. With this ticket you can use each cable car once for a full day.

Our tip: At Jochtal, the main mountain in Valles, there is a groomed winter hiking route. Once you reach the top with the cable cars, a breathtaking panoramic view and fresh mountain air await you.

The hike from Valles to Malga Fane, the most beautiful village of alpine huts in South Tyrol, provides unforgettable impressions. Start of this hike is at Kurzkofel Hut.

This 3 km long, and moderately steep trail leads through a wild-romantic winter landscape all the way to the renowned Malga Fane. Here you can take a break in one of the traditional alpine huts and return back to the valley on a toboggan.

Absolutely rewarding is the easy winter hiking trail in the nearby Altofassa Valley, which starts in Maranza. Alone, as a couple or a family… everybody is fascinated by the unspoiled landscape in the Altofassa Valley.

The winter hiking map for the cable cars will show you how to reach the Altofassa Valley directly from Valles. Take the “Schilling” cable car to “Tanne” and hike along the groomed trail all the way to the Altofassa Valley. From here, you hike to the cable cars, which bring you back down to the valley.

Alpe di Rodengo, also known as the “small high-alpine plateau of the Isarco Valley”, is also ideal for winter hiking. This easy trail offers fantastic views of the Dolomites and the Fundres Mountains. Cosy alpine huts await you along the way. From the hotel, the starting point can be reached after about a 15-minute drive.

Nordic Skiing with stunning views
Set against the panoramic backdrop of the spectacular mountains, cross-country skiing is a true pleasure. When the picturesque mountain village of Valles is enveloped in a wintry white blanket of snow, winter sports fans automatically flock to our doors.

A particular joy for the cross-country skiers among you. Our region has several well-groomed tracks that are perfect for skaters and also for fans of the classic style.

The cross-country ski track in Valles is supplied with artificial snow. The 7-km-long track is located only 2 km from our hotel and leads through the unspoiled natural landscape of Valles.

The starting point of the cross-country track can be easily reached within a few minutes by car or local bus, which stops directly outside the hotel. It is also possible to hire cross-country skis along the route.

The cross-country ski track in Maranza leads through the wild-romantic scenery of the Altofassa Valley. The 12 km long track is of medium difficulty with a difference in altitude of 150 metres.

The 15 km long track on the Rodegno Alpine pasture winds its way across the plateau and offers delightful views of the Dolomite Mountains. There are lots of traditional alpine huts where you can rest awhile and have a bite to eat.

Natural toboggan run – natural snow and traditional alpine huts
Sledging can be done by both old and young alike, and is therefore very popular. Sledging is fun and always a create activity in the fresh air! Our holiday region offers several toboggan runs. Sledges can be rented without charge in the hotel. We also have ski bobs available for children.

From the Jochtal cable car valley station 1,5 km from the hotel, the “Schillingbahn” will bring you to the start of the sledge run. Enjoy a comfortable ascent by cable car and the easy 1-km-long toboggan run back down to the valley.

If you have a ski pass, you can use the cable cars for free, otherwise you can purchase a special ticket for tobogganists. In the neighbouring village of Maranza, you can try a different toboggan run. It starts at the “Gitschberg” and leads down to the valley station of the cable cars.

The ‘Brimi Winter Run’ toboggan track is 6.7 km long. The starting point can be comfortably reached with the cable cars. You need a ski pass or a toboggan ticket.

The scent of Christmas fills the air…
Visiting one of the South Tyrolean Christmas markets is a truly special experience. A winter holiday in South Tyrol during the festive season is always an unforgettable experience. Nowhere else will you find more beautiful, quainter Christmas markets.

Framed against the backdrop of the snow-covered mountains, and accompanied by the fine scent of cinnamon a visit in this Christmas atmosphere could not be more romantic.

Christmas markets can be found in many South Tyrolean villages. The atmosphere to be found in Bressanone, Brunico, Bolzano or Vipiteno, which can be easily reached from our Hotel Masl, is particularly intoxicating.

Offering artisan products, South Tyrolean specialities, Christmas sounds and scents, the Christmas markets in the outlying areas await with a truly unique atmosphere.

Bright-eyed children
A holiday at the child-friendly Hotel Masl in South Tyrol brings a smile to everyone’s face. We have adapted to fit the needs of the modern family and our family-friendly Alpin Hotel Masl in South Tyrol is a fun place to be.

We offer everything children and parents could possibly want from a family holiday in South Tyrol. As a child-friendly hotel in South Tyrol, we have plenty of space and opportunity for every member of the family to spread their wings.

Enjoy the freedom of our spacious family rooms with a separate room for the children, and in the exclusive two-level family suites. All family rooms can be reached by lift and are accessible with prams. Upon request, we can provide cots, high chairs, baby phones and a kettle!

Children and teenagers can look forward to their very own playroom in the Hotel Masl, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a private bathing area for families with a children’s world with a large outdoor playground, children’s ropeway, course with pedal car trail, a petting zoo with child-friendly animals and the hotel’s own farm

In winter, the ski school and the Gitschberg Jochtal family ski resort offer ski lessons for children, so everybody can enjoy the splendid fun on the slopes.


Agviq - Bowhead Whale

Join Wild Chronicles on a journey to the Arctic where wildlife filmmaker meets bowhead whale — one of nature's most long-lived mammals. Not much is known about this mysterious giant, but with a little help from National Geographic's Crittercam® the filmmaker gets a breathtaking glimpse into the whale's secret world. The revealing footage has helped researchers discover how these whales can survive centuries in their freezing habitat.

2012 Bowhead Whale Hunt, Taloyoak

First Bowhead Whale Hunt In Taloyoak

Fall Whaling in Barrow, Alaska 2015.

Barrow whalers pull Bowhead whale ashore

Whalers in Barrow, Alaska pull ashore the first caught Bowhead whale of the 2011 Fall whaling season. This was a 2 year old male about 27 feet long.

Tikigaq - A Point Hope Whaling Story

Tikigaq - A Point Hope Whaling Story (2019)
Producer: Cale Green
Narration: Ryan Rock

Our lead was not safely opened for whaling so I just took a shot with my iPhone. That agviq came about 10 feet from me before nakkaqing.

Now here's a question: How can a creature like the bowhead whale, which has no teeth, get to be 60 feet long and weigh up to 60 tons? Found out!

Bowhead Whale Virtual Grand Opening. June 7, 2021.

Celebration of the installation of an articulated bowhead whale skeleton at the UA Museum of the North.

Launch video (6:30 minutes) includes comments from project personnel and partners. A conversation with museum mammalogists about the project and bowhead whales follows (45 minutes).

Project funded by the Bill Stroecker Foundation.

Barrow Fall 2011 whaling bowhead harvest

This video was uploaded from an Android phone.

The iconic and rarely seen arctic whale: the Bowhead

Bowhead Whales are found only in arctic and subarctic waters. Their large head is up to two-fifths of the body length. Males can be 18m in length whilst the females can reach 20m. They can weigh up to an amazing 90,000kg. The mouthline is strongly bowed. Whaling severely depleted the numbers of these iconic whales of the Arctic. Save the whale!

Bowhead Whales surfacing near Barrow

Bowhead Articulation: Skull Move and Clean

In August 2020, UAMN Faculty and Staff moved the Bowhead Whale Skull from the Gallery of Alaska, where it had been on display since 1980. Taking advantage of warm days in August and September, the museum team cleaned and re-cleaned the bones—and let them dry in the sun.

The bowhead whale is an iconic Arctic species inextricably tied to Native cultures in western and northern Alaska and a rare success story in marine mammal conservation. This skeleton is from a young male harvested by Alaska Native hunters in 1963 near Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), the northernmost point in the United States.

This specimen has been in UAMN’s mammal collection since 1965. The skeleton will be articulated and suspended from the lobby ceiling in Spring 2021. Project funded by the Bill Stroecker Foundation.

35 BOWHEAD WHALE IN BARROW ALASKA

Amazing to watch as this community cuts down a 35 ft. Bowhead Whale. Fall Whaling season in Utqiagvik, Alaska.

Preparing Maktak for later consumption. I also give some insight on the Inupiat connection to the Agviq (Bowhead whale).

Bowhead Whales Almost Hit Canoe and Swim Underneath

Bowhead Whales like in the movie Big Miracle swim under our Canoe. Filmed in Igloolik Nunavut, Arctic Canada

ABC Crew preparing and serving portions of a bowhead whale to the community after a successful whale hunt. For more information visit

The krill trap model: understanding mechanisms that create bowhead whale feeding hotspots

The October 2020 meeting of the Marine Ecosystems Collaboration Team focused on understanding mechanisms that create bowhead feeding hotspots near Point Barrow, Alaska. Craig George (North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management Staff) presented on community perspectives on the Point Barrow krill trap, food security, and science. Carin Ashjian (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) and Stephen Okkonen (University of Alaska Fairbanks) presented on exploring the Point Barrow bowhead whale feeding hotspot.

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Thumbnail photo: Brad Benter/USFWS

Inupiat Subsistence Whaling Arctic Alaska, Bowhead Whales, Eskimo Whaling

Clip from Barrow Alaska Our Tales DVD (Touch Alaska Interactive Media)

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale

This film (narrated in Inupiaq) presents the epic journey of bowhead whales as they make their annual migration across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. The film takes its narrative and title from the 2013 calendar edited by Steve Okkonen. The vision for this film is to improve public understanding of the iconic bowhead whales and their role in the Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem.

The film explores whale taxonomy, physiology, diet, behaviors, and their widespread movement through Subarctic and Arctic waters. Other topics include the study of the whales through ongoing tagging and aerial observation programs, and the extensive body of traditional knowledge gathered and sustained by the indigenous whaling peoples.

This film (narrated in St. Lawrence Island Yupik) presents the epic journey of bowhead whales as they make their annual migration across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas.

The film takes its narrative and title from the 2013 calendar edited by Steve Okkonen. The vision for this film is to improve public understanding of the iconic bowhead whales and their role in the Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem.

The film explores whale taxonomy, physiology, diet, behaviors, and their widespread movement through Subarctic and Arctic waters. Other topics include the study of the whales through ongoing tagging and aerial observation programs, and the extensive body of traditional knowledge gathered and sustained by the indigenous whaling peoples.

This film is also available in these languages:

English:
St. Lawrence Island Yupik:

For more information, please see the museum's production blog at

Thomas Napageak Jr., a subsistence whaling captain from Nuiqsut, Alaska, testifies at Secretary Salazar's hearing on 5-Year Offshore Leasing Plan in Anchorage, Alaska in April 2009. Napageak opposes offshore drilling, and has been impacted by offshore development already. He has seen harm to fish and wildlife including seismic exploration kill seals and alter bowhead whale migration.

Barrow Fall 2011 whaling bowhead harvest

This video was uploaded from an Android phone.

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale

This film (narrated in SLI Yupik) presents the epic journey of bowhead whales as they make their annual migration across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. The film takes its narrative and title from the 2013 calendar edited by Steve Okkonen. The vision for this film is to improve public understanding of the iconic bowhead whales and their role in the Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem.

The film explores whale taxonomy, physiology, diet, behaviors, and their widespread movement through Subarctic and Arctic waters. Other topics include the study of the whales through ongoing tagging and aerial observation programs, and the extensive body of traditional knowledge gathered and sustained by the indigenous whaling peoples.

This film is also available in these languages:

For more information, please see the museum's production blog at

Judging by the whiteness of this bowhead whale's fluke, it is very old, possibly around 200 years old. Filmed in Chukchi Sea, Russian Far East.

2017 Spring Whaling Ikayauk and Tuiġan Crews

Bowhead whale - Nomasa series

enjoy this peaceful beast. song: Amarantine by Enya

Managment History of the Inupiaq Bowhead Whale Hunt

Ecology of the bowhead whale by Véronique Gélinas.wmv

Understanding the ecology of the bowhead whale in the eastern Arctic using a mixed method approach combining analyses of stable isotope and trace metal and traditional ecological knowledge
by Véronique Gélinas
Errata: names of co-authors that are spelled incorrectly: V. Lesage and M. Hammill
Abstract #1383 to be presented at the IPY Montreal Conference

FrostBytes -- 'Soundbytes of Cool Research' is a concept developed by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS: to share interesting information about the Polar Regions. These 30-60 second audio or video recordings are designed to help researchers easily share their latest findings to a broad audience.

Up, close and personal with a giant bowhead whale in Arctic Canada

Check out more on our travel blog
This video is shot on the ice floe near Byllot Island, Pond Inlet on Baffin Island in Canada. The photographer is trying to get a bit closer with the bowhead who is peaking trough the ice while catching a breath so it can continue feeding below the ice. Amazing to hear the sound of the breathing. you could even smell it's breath! Quite fishy even )
Shot during an Arctic expedition with classetouriste.be
See more at : classetouriste.be/arctic-kingdom-canada/

UBC researchers use drones to study Bowhead whales in the wild

A research team undertook what is believed to be the first intensive effort to study bowhead whales with the use of an aerial drone in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. Read more here:

For full footage with no text, visit:
Footage: VDOS Global 2016

Permits: Special Flight Operation Certificate File Number 5812-11-682, University of British Columbia Animal Care Amendment A14-0064-A002, Department of Fisheries and Oceans License to Fish for Scientific Purposes S-16/17 1005-NU and Animal Use Protocol FWI-ACC-2016-09.

Spring Whaling in Barrow, Alaska

What are Whale Baleen Plates? | WHALEZONE.TV S2E4

Hi everyone, welcome to a new episode of WHALEZONE.TV, which is now available on our blog! In this episode, our Marine Biologist Vanessa explains what are whale Baleen plates? Watch, learn and enjoy!

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Ekdale, E. G., Deméré, T.A, and Berta A. (2015) Vascularization of the gray whale palate (Cetecea, Mysticeti, Eschrichtius robustus): soft tissue evidence for an alveolar source of blood to baleen. Anat. Rec. 298, 691-702.
Sears, R., Williamson, J.M., Wenzel, F., Bérubé, M., Gendron, D., and Jones, P.W. (1990). The photographic identification of the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Rep. Int. Whal. Commun. (Spec. Iss.) 12, 335–342.
Givens, G.H., Huebinger, R.M., Patton, J.C., Postma, L.D., Lindsay, M., Suydam, R.S., George, J.C., Matson, C.W., and Bickham, J.W. (2010). Population genetics of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the western Arctic. Arctic 63(1).
Sumich, J. (2014). E. robustus the Biology and Human History of Gray Whales. Whale Cove Marine Education, Corvallis, Oregon
infographic of a Humpback whale from

Footage:
1)Skim Feeding Right Whales by New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Program
2)Drone video of a Arctic Bowhead Whale by VDOS Global 2016
3)Blue Whale feeding sardine from documentary The Hunt BBC Earth, 2015
4)Blue Whale drone Video from National Geographic
5)Grey Whale à Benthic feeding from Dolphins Safari

Bowhead Whale in Belgium - Groenlandse Walvis - Baleine boréale

On March 31th 2017 a Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) was discovered swimming along the coast in Middelkerke in Belgium. This is probably the same animal that was already sighted in 2015 and 2016 alon the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland and France. It is the first Bowhead whale ever recorded under the Polar circle. Normally these filter feeding animals live around the packice of the North Pole and never leave this area. They are very elusive and not much is known about their behaviour because their numbers are low and their habitat is very hard for humans to do research. Bowhead whales are animals of extremes. They have the largest mouth in the world (their baleines can grow to 3 meters in length). They can live up to 200 years old (based on a harpoon found in the body of a freshly dead whale!) and with that they are the oldest mammals known. These beautiful animals have almost gone extinct by whaling (Dutch whalers being the worst for them!). Once there were only about 5000 animals left. At the moment commercial whaling is prohibited for this species and numbers have grown a little bit. Estimates are that there are now around 20.000 animals in the world, still not much. Dutch villages have more inhabitants.

Such a beautiful and rare animal. A species that hardly any person has ever seen. that turning up in Belgium!

You can imagine that I was totally excited when seeing this animal alive along the coast together with my friends Frank van Duivenvoorde and Bertus de Lange and many friendly Belgian mammal enthusiasts.


Watch the video: ВЛАКЧЕ