3 Cime/3 Zinnen Dolomiti
The 3 Zinnen Dolomites ski area has a special living attraction: its own herd of reindeer, the only one in the entire Alpine region. At the Croda Rossa mountain range you can marvel at and stroke the friendly four-legged friends from the far north. Rudolf "Rudl" Egarter is responsible for the herd. He once brought the animals from Finland and made them the stars of the skiing area.
So we decided that the reindeers could pull the sleigh
Rudl Egarter Technical Director
How the reindeer came to us
Rudolf Egarter's reindeer herd is already in its third generation at home on the Croda Rossa in Sesto. In a spacious enclosure, "Rudl", as he is called at home, and his staff lovingly look after the five animals. The leader of the herd is Mika with his imposing antlers, joined by Kelly, Emmy, Any and little Alba.
It all began in 2003, when Rudl offered snowmobile rides on the Croda Rossa. "But that was anything but environmentally friendly," Egarter recalls. "So we decided that the reindeer could pull the sledge." And so, at the end of 2003, Rudl went to Any Maga's farm in Vuotso in Finland, almost 3,300 kilometres away, for a 14-day crash course. There he learned everything about the behaviour, diet and special features of the cloven-hoofed animals, which belong to the deer family. Rudl's fascination remains unbroken to this day: "They are absolutely adorable creatures!"
After Rudl Egarter had studied the animals in their homeland, he took four of them on the long journey to South Tyrol. The animals were on the road for a week by ship and lorry. The reindeer did not have much trouble getting used to their new home in the Dolomites. No wonder, their thick fur insulates them up to a temperature of minus 45 degrees. So they don't mind the freezing cold winter months in the Dolomites.
The menu in the 3 Zinnen ski area is also entirely to the herd's taste. Rudl: "Here in our mountain forests there is plenty of Icelandic moss, the reindeer's favourite food." Without the robust plant, the herd could practically not exist. Because unlike grazing cattle, they cannot tolerate fresh grass. "If they ate large quantities of it, they would die," Rudl reveals. Plants that are poisonous to humans, such as toadstools, are harmless to them and are excellent for a snack in summer.
The reindeer can be observed in their enclosure every day from the new viewing bridge at the Croda Rossa.