EU Tour 1 – In View of Pflerscher Tribulaun

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

One cure for jetlag is denial. You “sleep” for a night, get up, and go skiing even though your body thinks you should still be deep in the land of REM. Espresso helps, as does a stiff breeze at the summit of a mountain. Don’t try this on a chairlift, however, as you might nod off and take a plunge. Ski touring works well, as you’re always moving under your own power. The Kitzbuhel and Innsbruck area ski touring locations we normally visit here in Austria are sparse in snow cover, so yesterday we did a long drive south over Brenner Pass to the Sud Tirol portion of the Alps (Italy, near border with Austria), where a more normal snowpack is yielding what I call “low Alps” powder. Check it out.

WildSnow.com after the ski tour tradition. This time in Italy that is really Austria.

WildSnow.com after the ski tour tradition. This time in Italy that is really Austria.

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As many of these ski tours do, this one began with a flat shuffle up a snow-covered farm road.

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Tirol tourism industry results in lots of structures that appear to be rental chalets. This one has a faux outhouse on the deck, replicating the old style of toilet location intended to drop the results directly down into a sewer or waste pit of some sort.

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The usual signs in this part of the world. This along with the large amounts of people make navigating perhaps too easy. Even so, the locals we were with figured out a way to enjoy untracked boot-top pow instead of nearby areas that appeared rather crowded even by European standards.

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The older structures are what attract our attention. This one has some features I like for what we might build on our alpine land in Colorado.

wood shed

Check out the firewood storage system that keeps everything above the snowpack and under the building eaves. Only problem with this setup for Colorado is you're not really supposed to be storing your cord wood attached to your structure, due to wildland fire concerns. On the other hand, a quite attractive feature.

Berg hut

Berg hut, the new WildSnow Field HQ?

Pflersher Tribulaun 3087 m

We were impressed by the beautiful Pflerscher Tribulaun peak 3087 m. I love going to all these different places in the Alps, instead of the usual foreign ski tourist circuit (Cham, Cham, Cham).

Ridge

Massive crowds of ski tourers were going for the spitz in the background. It was tracked out. Instead, we went for a lower and untracked area and did an extra lap. As seems to be the case in many 'crowded' areas, all you have to do is think a bit outside the box and suddenly it's not crowded. Or at least not until you get to the on-mountain restaurant gasthaus, where we ended up sitting outside for a coffee before continuing down to the trailhead.

Down

When in Rome, do as the Romans do... let's ski together for the photo! Zero avalanche danger at this point, thankfully.

Down

Typical boot-top powder we seem to ski quite a bit every visit.

Getting to the top

Reaching the top of the day's high point.

Rodels lined up at the Gasthaus

Amazing how popular the rodel sledding is. We anticipate this to become a big deal in the U.S., as it takes very little skill, pegs the fun meter, works for all ages, and can be directly attached to an on-mountain restaurant. I'm actually surprised it's not already more common.

More signs so you locals can comment on where we were.

More signs so you locals can comment on where we were.

Gasthaus

We hit this gasthaus for a coffee. Totally supported by human powered sports, not a ski lift in sight.

Welcoming Vetter Restaurant.

Lunch on the road, still in Italy. Vetter Restaurant was warm and welcoming, totally affordable. Just off the highway. We're headed for Switzerland in a few days, might as well enjoy the low priced victuals while we can.

Tile stove had the place feeling warm and cozy.

Tile stove had the place feeling warm and cozy.

More about the big peaks we were gazing at.

Comments

25 Responses to “EU Tour 1 – In View of Pflerscher Tribulaun”

  1. Werner January 4th, 2014 3:13 am

    First sorry for my poor english. Hi Iive here in SüdTirol. like to reeding here something about mi home :-) .

    PS: the peak ist called the PfleRscher Tribulaun.

    Greets and Happy skiing
    Werner

  2. Lou Dawson January 4th, 2014 3:48 am

    Hi Werner, thanks. Are there perhaps several spellings for the name? But yours seems to be the correct one. I’ll change. Lou

  3. francesco January 4th, 2014 5:46 am

    Welcome to the old Europe!

  4. Jason Gregg January 4th, 2014 8:36 am

    Hi Lew I’m in Sils until Wednesday, they got a 4.5 feet of snow on Christmas and now it’s dumping again. If it was Little Cottonwood we’d be locked in our hotel soon, but skied four laps of pow today at Furtchellas. On the north side of Julier pass there’s a lot less snow so far this year and they were getting Foen today, so I’d say if you’re coming to Switzerland the Engadin might be your best bet.

  5. Lou Dawson January 4th, 2014 8:40 am

    Hi Jason, thanks for the info, indeed we are coming to CH, we’ll see where we end up though Sulzfluh is definitely part of agenda. Doing some industry journalism coverage in CH several locations, perhaps a day or two of skiing. Lou

  6. Jason Gregg January 4th, 2014 8:41 am

    They use umbrellas here…that’s how hard it’s snowing.

  7. Erik Erikson January 4th, 2014 12:10 pm

    Lou, you do right to stay on the south side of the alps. Here on the north side, you really gotta know all the secret spots to find some snow still… Had a lot of it in late November and early December for the time of the year, but know the situation has gotten really bad,
    Have fun in Europe and lots of good skiing!

  8. Andrew January 4th, 2014 12:41 pm

    Lou, I’ll be THAT guy!

    Could you comment on the distance of your tour and the vertical gain? Is it typically out and back, or are your trying to complete loop type tours?

    Also, I notice that some of the signs say AVS on them…what does that stand for. Love these Euro posts.

    Thanks.

  9. Erik Erikson January 4th, 2014 12:50 pm

    Andrew, AVS means AlpenVerein Südtirol (alpine club south tirol)

  10. Rob S. January 4th, 2014 2:21 pm

    Thanks for a reminder of what I loved so much about skiing in Europe! The huge number of small restaurants and warming huts are a pleasure to explore. I’m sure many would turn up their noses and sniff that nowhere in the Alps is true wilderness, but the lifestyle in the Alps is seductive.

  11. Hell January 4th, 2014 3:21 pm

    Lou, check out the Dolomites, just a little further south of Pflersch. I was born and raised at the feet of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Toblach. There’s a ton of skiing to be found there and usually no flat approaches, it goes right up into the most amazing couloirs. The area has been getting a lot of snow in the last 2 weeks.

    I live in Colorado now but can’t wait to move back to my stomping grounds soon!

  12. Scott Nelson January 4th, 2014 6:10 pm

    Regarding the Berg hut, the new WildSnow Field HQ, I’ll X-out my calendar now, when do we start building?

    Looks like a beautiful place there. Sorry but my geography stinks, but are you near Toblach Italy ?

  13. Hell January 4th, 2014 6:17 pm

    Well, right now I am in Boulder, CO, but yeah I am from Toblach, Italy (aka Dobbiaco). If you guys are planning on going there and need suggestions…I am more then happy to help out.

  14. Gentle Sasquatch January 4th, 2014 9:39 pm

    Good for you to find some decent snow. I was just checking web cams today for snow around Salzburg and was surprised to find a lot of bare ground.

  15. Lou Dawson January 5th, 2014 12:29 am

    Gentle, yes, much of what we usually ski this time of year has been scoured by warm temperatures, but the more southerly kept its snowpack. We are thinking that things will look better in a few weeks, meanwhile Sud Tirol and other areas. Today we’re driving over to Switzerland so we’ll see what that brings. Lou

  16. Jason Gregg January 5th, 2014 1:25 am

    I am the opposite of knowledgable for skiing in the Alps, most of the time we visit the inlaws in summer.. But it seems like the distance between freezing line and tree line is way less than in NA, meaning storm skiing here is more limited. Yesterday we’re lapping fun stuff but only 1500′ vert of it, nothing above would have been safe even if you could have supplied some synth vision googles for skiing in the milk bottle. Plus the one zone we could ski is like the Govt Trail in early June, you’re not supposed to be in there because of the animals, and we did see a baby gamse in the middle of all the pillowy, minigolf.

  17. Erik Erikson January 5th, 2014 4:42 am

    Gentle, you are right: Very little snow round the area of Salzburg, but there ARE some spots left were ski touring is still possible and fun – more the real secret spots ;-)
    So if you are actually planning to come overhere in the next time, I could give you some clues where to go, as I know this area really well. Just tell me.

  18. Pete H January 5th, 2014 3:50 pm

    My wife and I are headed over for two weeks at the beginning of February. Flying into Milan then heading to wherever the snow is. Your photos are getting the stoke level up!

    Hell – my wife went through Toblach a couple summer ago doing a trail running hut trip. She loved it. Maybe we’ll head there if the snow is still good.

  19. Lou Dawson January 5th, 2014 4:00 pm

    Pete, good job, later in the season is almost always better. But always always have a plan for accessing different parts of the Alps so you can go where the best snow is. Lou

  20. Pete H January 5th, 2014 4:27 pm

    Thanks. Its definitely a challenge between the efficiency of pre-planning accommodations and remaining flexible. If you don’t mind me asking, Lou, what is your strategy?

  21. Tom Gos January 5th, 2014 6:26 pm

    Lou, as always I’m jealous when reading your Euro trip reports. Keep ‘em coming.

  22. Louie Dawson January 5th, 2014 9:18 pm

    Awesome! Looks like a great time!

  23. Lukas January 7th, 2014 8:10 am

    Hi Lou,

    there is only one spelling for Pflerscher Tribulaun ;-)

    Unfortunately the snow conditions in North Tirol are really bad. Most of the ski tourers living here around Innsbruck are driving over the Brenner for ski touring.

  24. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 1:51 pm

    Hi Lukas, indeed,Thanks.

    Brenner is seeing the traffic from massive numbers of ski tourers! Sadly we are now skiing Swiss powder, but it’s still fun so long as one survives (grin). We’ve been at Fritschi covering Vipec. Facility visit yesterday and ski tour today on demo skis with the bindings. Now we’re headed to another press event. Who knows when we’ll get any blogging done! We’re crazed bloggers in a rental car, the GPS is my life.

    I’ll check the spellings. Seems like I get them wrong half the time….

    Lou

  25. Sarah Uhl January 8th, 2014 8:22 pm

    Street signs on the skin track and backcountry only accessible espresso bars… what a utopia! so psyched for you guys and can’t wait to plan my own trip!!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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