Back in Austria

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We got back here to Austria a few days ago. Have been socializing with our kind hosts the Barthels and skiing so much that the blogging pace got stifled a bit. I’ll pick it up in a day or so, as we’re flying back to USA tomorrow and I’ll thus get more EU trip reports up starting this coming Sunday.

Meanwhile, they really got dumped on around here. The avy danger continues in the red zone, so we’ve been playing it safe but have indeed continued to ski euro-pow and everything else as well. Doing that terrain selection thing.

European backcountry skiing.
Today we headed up to the Wattener Lizum in Austria, where we got a taxi ride through a military reservation up to the Lizumer Hutte. Very nice, old antique hut with a modern addition. Even has a climbing wall. That’s me above checking snowfall from the last 12 hours or so. It’s been doing that for four days.

From the hut we skied up the Torspitze then back down a nice 1,000 meter plus run to the road and our parked car. As per the usual for this trip, most of the run was in a whiteout but some of the skiing was still quite good.

European backcountry skiing.
Lisa has the obligatory cappuccino before the tour. The Lizumer Hutte walls visible in this photo are from the old historic part of the building. A huge variety of ski tours are available in the mountains around here.

European backcountry skiing.
Louie does a snowpack eval at Lizumer Hutte, before our tour. This is known as the table shear test and is incredibly accurate, but can only be done at Austrian huts due to strange trace elements in the snowpack.

European backcountry skiing.
I picked this spot to probe the snowpack and see what the layers felt like. After taking the photo, Lisa had the kindness to inform me that the signs warns about unexploded military ordinance.

European backcountry skiing.
The whiteout breaks for a moment on the way up, and Lisa catches this shot of me.

European backcountry skiing.
Louie charges the vertical.

European backcountry skiing.
Fritz Barthel, guide for the day, and Dynafit mechanic if necessary. Above in the clouds, the map came out more than once. Down here the route was more obvious, but we had to make sure we didn’t get tricked and drop too soon into the valley.

European backcountry skiing.
More turns are had by Louie.

European backcountry skiing.
The kid again. I’ve been trying for more shots like this using my point-and-shoot camera. It’s sometimes hard to get the skier in the exact right spot, but I liked the way this one turned out.

European backcountry skiing.
Traversing to egress near the valley floor, we pass through a series of classic small Tyrolean farms. Our last day of European backcountry skiing for this trip, and it had turned out nice. No avalanche problems, some good snow. Now back to Colorado where it’s epic as well. Ho hum, I’m kinda concerned that I’ve forgotten how to ski hardpack, but I suppose that’ll come back to me when I need it someday in the far distant future.

Comments

2 Responses to “Back in Austria”

  1. ATFRED April 7th, 2008 10:38 am

    Hi Lou.

    I just got back to Denver, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed meeting you, Lisa, and Louie at the Munich baggage claim – small world!

    Looks like you folks got hammered with the same storms as our group did.

    Europe, being all above tree line, and tending to get massive multi day storms, is really a skiing gamble. You either get a white out, or you get deep snow in huge terrain with fantastic scenery. Our group skied St Anton, then toured the Silvretta alps, and the Stubai alps; and, we were very fortunate to get a lot of the latter.

    As always, our guides – Cosley & Houston – did a great job of making each day as good as possible.

    By the way, the Austrian huts we stayed in were quite nice – most had hot showers. One even had its’ own climbing wall! As you know, it makes a huge difference when running water is available.

    Lastly, after 13 days, I’m now sold on Dynafits. They tour and ski with great efficiency and solid feel, and they just get easier the more you use them.

    Glad to see (from your photos) that your trip went well.

    Have a good flight back.

    Fred

  2. Matthew April 7th, 2008 9:07 pm

    Keep up the good work. These trip reports are fabulous. More than one of you photos have become my wallpaper. :)

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