The Snow Cave is a natural cave which is formed by the snowmelt in the spring months and sometimes remains intact until the following winter. However, if only small amounts of snow fall in the winter, the cave will not form.
During particularly cold and snowy winters, accumulations of snow remain in shaded areas and compact into large ice masses. Accumulations of scree and mud insulate the surface.
The melt water flows down the mountain and underneath the ice masses and even though the temperature of the water is only just above freezing point, as it runs though, it carves out a small cave underneath the layers of ice.
The cave continues to grow in size in the summer: the narrow hollow carved out by the stream is filled with cold air which is denser and therefore heavier than the summer air outside. This in turn sets off an inverted chimney effect: the heavy cold air sinks down to the bottom of the cave, giving rise to a strong draught from the top to the bottom of the snow cave. Warm summer air is now drawn into the cave from the upper openings, causing the cave to melt from within.
In the meantime, the warm is cooled by the ice and thus flows out through the lower opening as heavy air. This effect can continue for months, melting an ever larger cavity in the ice. *By car
- Coming from Innsbruck: take the A 13 and the A 22 toll motorway and exit at Bressanone/Brixen, following the signs to Brunico/Bruneck along the Val Pusteria/Pustertal road as far as San Lorenzo/St.Lorenzen. Follow the signs to Val Badia/Gadertal
- Coming from Verona-Bolzano: take the A 22, exit at Bressanone/Brixen and continue as above *By train
The nearest train stations are:
- Brunico - 37 Km
- Bolzano (via Passo Gardena) - 72 Km (via Brunico) - 100 Km
- Connection train station - Alta Badia by the local bus SAD: www.sad.it *By air
- Innsbruck - 130 km
- Munich - 330 km
- Venice Treviso / Venice Marco Polo - 180 / 200 km
- Verona - 213 km
- Milan Bergamo / Milan Malpensa - 310 /400 km
- Information airport transfer: www.suedtirolbus.it - www.cortinaexpress.it