Alpina is a proposed Roman town, located in the Piedmont region, in the North-West of Italy, right below the Monviso mountain where the longest Italian river, Po (in Latin, Padus), begins.
Alpina is a traditional Roman castrum, positioned in a flat valley, at the elevation of about 700 metres. Its strategic value comes from the fact that the castrum sits right on one of the major ways leading from Italy to Gallia (the actual France), where the Romans made a rather short (80 metres) but precious hole through the mountain, in order to improve the passage of militiae and merchants toward French and British provinces.
The castrum has a traditional topology, with cardus and decumanus crossing in the middle, whe the remains of the forum may be found. Very few traces of the Roman buildings survive, however, likely because they were made of wood and stones, with the very notable exception of the Dome.
People living in Alpina are very active during spring, summer and fall, when the road through the Alps is busy and many foreigners pass through the town. They practice agriculture and there are many cows, sheeps and goats.
During the winter, however, the passage through the Alps is closed, because of rigid temperatures and of the fact that there is a lot of snow around.
So the main activities in Alpina during winter are skiing and other winter sports, that made the town similar in historical importance to what Olympia has been for later Summer Olympic games.
The ingenuity of Alpina inhabitants made possible the creation of wooden skis and sleds, and the environment makes possible both Alpine and Cross-Country skiing, as well as snowshoeing. A few of the soldiers and merchants that pass through Alpina in good seasons heard about these winter activities, and decided to stay in the town during winter.
This peculiarity of Alpina, unusual in the Roman empire, gave also rise to local cults in honor of cold divinities (algidi dei) with seasonal temples made of ice, rather similar to eskimo igloos, of which, with great despair of architecture historians, few traces remain.
The only remaining trace of those ancient cold cults is a statue of a Bear-Goddess suckling two little twins, a clear adaptation of the Roman foundation legend. This statue is positioned inside the main surviving Alpina building, a huge dome made of concrete and covered with bricks, where Alpina people played Curling. The Curling Dome was built in honor of Ursus Alpinus, the first rector provinciae, founder and main sponsor of the castrum.
Notes: the fictious Alpina castrum is located where now is the town of Paesana, 44°41′N 7°17′E. The hole through the Monviso mountain actually exists, but it was built during th Renaissance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Viso_tunnel). Earliest skis found date from the 6000 BC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skis#History. Curling was invented in Scotland, in the Middle Age: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curling#Origins_and_history
(Assignment for the Roman Architecture course, taught by Prof. Diana Kleiner of Yale at Coursera).