There’s a group of people in the Val di Non who meet before dawn randomly every morning, 365 days a year. The destination is Lake Tret, a small Alpine lake on the border between Trentino and Alto Adige.
This activity is today referred to as cryotherapy but this brave group of people discovered the benefits of an ice bath at a time when nobody knew anything about it!
They are mostly women of all ages but the group also includes men: they get up before 6, quickly get dressed, pop a small towel in their pocket and forgo breakfast to drive to a place called Plazze di Tret. They arrive in dribs and drabs and each one sets off at their own pace along the path leading up directly to Lake Tret.
Indeed, this group’s destination is not simply the lake, but literally its water!
Their secret for an enjoyable dip is to walk briskly and warm up the body thoroughly. This means they reach the North-East shore of the lake at a steady pace in just 35 minutes, where a little jetty awaits. This is where they undress, hang their clothes up on an old larch tree and then dive into the lake’s cold water. It takes just one moment for them to “reset”! Once they are out of the lake, the water on their warm body evaporates almost by itself, so a small towel is enough to dry off the last few drops before they get dressed again and walk back down.
In winter, though, they need to take a few more precautions.
First of all, the first one to get there has the task of piercing the ice that has formed over the surface of the lake. To do this, they keep a small axe hidden in the woods. Secondly, they need to make sure they lay down a cloth on the surface of the ice: if they come out of the water and stand with their wet feet on the icy surface, they could stick to it!
Afterwards, they walk down to the valley with a lighter mind and a regenerated body. Some of the group members meet someone climbing up the trail, others go home and then on to work, and others still stop at the Scoiattolo hotel to wait for the others and have breakfast together.