Headed out today from Kitzbuhel area, about an hour drive to the small touring base village called Praxmar in the Stubai Alps. Dynafit was having a business meeting up there so we figured it would be nice to see a few friends from the company at the gasthaus after our tour (not to mention, yes, the return of “guess that pastry!”
|The weather wasn’t great today, so we opted for a fairly civilized ski climb. The approximately 1,200 meter vert to the Lampenspitz (above, on the summit) is well traveled and even marked with the occasional pole, so our traveling mostly through a whiteout was doable. After the past weeks of Colorado powder skiing I was wondering if we’d remember how to ski euro-mank; luckily we actually had some powder today — albeit in the infamous “God’s pingpong ball.”|
|The ski touring here might be a bit civilized and even crowded on some days, but check out what you get in the way of a trailhead billboard! Instead of the water stained and stapled topo map you might find at a Forest Service trailhead in Colorado, you get a full-on artist’s oblique view of the touring area! I don’t know if I’d trade that for our nearly deserted Colorado backcountry, but it’s nice to imagine having something like this to enjoy at every parking area.|
|Some of the skiing was quite good, at least insofar as my feet and legs felt like they were hitting powder even though all my eyes saw was white cotton. Fortunately, we did ski out of the clouds lower down and got some good visibility on the more difficult heat damaged snow you find on the exit to many of these tours.|
|After a snack at the ubiquitous trailhead gasthaus, we made a quick stop in Innsbruck to check out the famed Golden Roof that the Kaiser built for his Italian wife back in the day. In this photo the roof is way back at the end of the street, reflecting light so it’s bright white. This oldtown part of Innsbruck, though touristy, is still quite beautiful and fun to visit. In the street near the Golden Roof they’ve got things like wurst stands and om-pah yodel bands, all combine to yield that festive alpi spirit that makes visiting these places so much fun.|
|Hanging out with our hosts Fritz Barthel (right) and his father Manfred is a treat. Talk about a ski touring family, Manfred has been skiing all over Austria for more than 50 years, and Fritz invented the Dynafit binding. Needless to say, the stories don’t quit. I like Manfred’s descriptions of doing 2-day epics to reach tours by foot and train that are now done in times like 6 hours round trip. I’m wondering if it’s the mega-slogs when you’re young that keep you skiing into your 70s, like Manfred. If so, I’m thinking all that long distance torture during my 20s might have had a purpose?|
|You find various invocations and images on the bars and restaurants. This is one of the best yet. Translation: Be you an atheist, Jew or Christian, come on in and have a drink! Talk about marketing…|
|I don’t know If I can sustain the caloric intake our past “Name that Pastry” contest required, but at least today we’ve got one for all you sweet tooths out there. This guy has got to be the most high calorie gut bomb I’ve ever experienced. Believe me, nuclear reactor fuel has nothing over the thing — three of us had to work to finish it! Apparently gaining popularity at the huts, this is not exactly a pastry, the name starts with G and it’s served in a sea of melted butter. Any takers?
The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow. Stay tuned.