This is a hard winter. Maybe those climatic circumstances are not even worth calling winter. Most of the Alps are brownish green up to high altitudes. Be it climate change, which would be very bad, or bad luck, which is not much better, there are ways to escape into the white.
So, what does one do, when one is already craving for powder? You go and search for it, check webcams and data from weather stations and then pick out the spots with the thickest potential snow layer. It would be best to explore the spots with local knowledge. As I’m definitely no native to the west of Austria, I had to try it without local knowledge, but with a good friend, who is always up for any kind of adventure: Mikaela Hollsten. For five days we shared our passion, hunted the powder, took pictures and escaped daily life.
So, besides a bit on Arlberg: Where is the snow?
Well, one has to up high, and for powder search for some north east orientation where there is no direct wind influence.
Our first day led up to Kappl and we were lucky immediately: we followed a signed ski-tour which circles the top of the mountain. After the first bend, there it was: One lonely track in a powder face. We rode down the first bit without hitting a shark and decided that we would stay and make use of the beautiful morning light.
The shadows finally crept into our little paradise, which was now fully tracked anyways. We took lunch in the bright sun, discussing about (im)possible lines on the opposite mountain ridge. Just far lookers right of the competition face of the Freeride World Qualifier, where last year also the Freeride World Tour got rescheduled to, there was a big snowfield with huge wind lips exposed to the west. I think I would be very careful with that face if there would be more snow, but that day it was safe. We took it easy, it was really fun to ride and surf the windlips. What a great first day.
Our second day was a touristic exploration on our splitboards, along the Sivretta high alpine road. First the plan was to split up a bit and hike some lines, but the snow cover and snow quality was just too bad. As Mikki and me are both having the same urge to peek around the next corner, we ended up on the pass of Silvretta high alpine road. Beautiful scenery at the artificial lake up there… a bit like Norway.
In Ischgl, which is normally known as THE crazy party resort, not only because of the german trash movie «Feuer, Eis und Dosenbier», there really are excessive and expensive parties, we discovered more beautiful wind lips and took a small trip to Switzerland. Ischgl is a really huge resort and offers plenty of opportunities for skiing out of bounds. Finally the Tourism Office used one of our pictures for their New Years Post, so we got rewarded for our work.
For the last two days of the old year we headed over to Montafon. We started early the first day, our bellies still full from the tasty noodles with salmon we enjoyed at our stay over at Liz’ Kristoferitsch place. In Montafon they have a strong local crew, so some spots were tracked out, but there was still plenty of powder to ride. Just needed to hike a little further. We were also able to ride some little steep lines and do some drops, they already have a comparable good snow base there.
Last day of the old year…first snowfall after a long time. Happy 2016!