This is supposed to be something like a second honeymoon. Thus, staying at a classic (hopefully what my bride would call ‘romantic’) mountain hotel in Austria and skiing beautiful mountains fits the bill. To that end ‘professional trip adviser’ Manfred suggested we spend a few nights at the Ammererhof, in the Alps directly south of Salzburg, Austria. The resulting situation did not disappoint (thanks Manfred and Fritz), though the contrast between nearly perfect pow on day 1 and breakable crust on day 2 could have caused matrimonial discord. Day one:
Ammererhof viewed from above, excellent ski-in ski-out accommodation. They don't take credit cards, for another option try the Naturfreundhaus berg hotel just a few hundred yards away, and actually even closer to the starts for the bigger ski tours.
Tire chains to the Ammererhof mountain hotel. Talk about being high centered. Oh where oh where is our big bad truck when we need it? Lisa laughed as Fritz and I proved our old school European chivalry by grubbing in the snow at her feet.
Also have to share this photo of the tire chains. Our theory is they were designed in Italy. I mean, how else could tire chains be pink? We're wondering if the colors would look good on our pickup truck back in Colorado?
For our first tour in the area, Fritz suggested Hocharn, 3,254 meters high, an approximately 6,000 vertical foot day of touring, depending on route finding mistakes.
Whiteout on the Hocharn varied from this sort of vis, to almost nil. The day cleared later for a glorious descent, but not before some guys we were following made a route finding mistake and sent themselves and us following sheep under a 3,000 vertical foot wall of avalanche paths, one of which came down later and covered our tracks. During those morning maneuvers, ironically some of the staff we knew from the hotel were out in front, having set another trail going the correct way. They laughed when we finally caught up with them. 'You should have followed the locals,' was their refrain. Yup
This big looming peak became visible as the storm cleared. It's the Sonnblick, with what I'm told is Europe's longest operating high altitude weather station sitting on top -- along with a a full-on mountain hut and restaurant only accessed by ski touring. Amazing.
The day got better and better, here we're still backdropped by Sonnblick.
Happy trio at Hocharn summit, after what turned out to be quite a long climb.
Skiing off Hocharn summit. We were amused by one of the dialect spellings on the map for this peak, 'Hochnarr,''narr,' a new spelling for gnar?
Lisa combines trad Austrian technique with an attempt at freeride. This is a new PSIA thing.
Fritz again shows that perfect Austrian form. Freerider? Traditional? It's all mixed up! I try to make sense of things by turning less, that's the only solution I can think of.
Lou, enjoying a few minutes of sunshine.
And there goes His Blogness...
Lisa ponders the descent, we don't ski 5 or 6 thousand vert of powder that often.
Ammererhof, boot removal. Ah.
Map below shows location of Ammererhof and Nature Friends hut. Hocharn west of the hotels, change enlargement of map to check it all out. Truly terrific terrain without ski resorts too close, 100% ski touring, so it all has a nice mellow ‘human powered’ vibe.
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