Euro Tour — Innsbruck & Praxmar

Post by blogger | March 18, 2008      

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!”

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
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.”

European backcountry skiing.
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.

European backcountry skiing.
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.

European backcountry skiing.
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.

European backcountry skiing.
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?

European backcountry skiing.
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…

European backcountry skiing.
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.


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11 Responses to “Euro Tour — Innsbruck & Praxmar”

  1. AJ March 18th, 2008 3:56 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Welcome to Europe!

    Is that a Germknödel?

    BTW the little village of Lüsens marked on the billboard is quite famous for it’s iceclimbing, the so called Hängende Gärten, first climbed by the late Andreas Orgler, is a classic and among the hardest in Austria.

    Have fun tomorrow!

  2. lotharmatthaeus March 18th, 2008 7:32 pm

    It’s a germknoedel, mate. And they are unbelievable! Make sure you get some kaiserschmarrn as well. Way better than a cliff bar!!

  3. John Eaton March 18th, 2008 10:36 pm

    My German Foreign Exchange Student Toby , says Lothar is right. The germknoedel is awesome. Sometime his mother fills it with plum-jam (Pflaumenmus) and covers it with vanilla sauce and then puts poppy seeds on top. He is wishing he was home right now eating it ! ! ! Lou sound like a great trip. Mikie is going back with Toby for 5 weeks after school is out. They will get to Austria for a few day from what I hear.
    Love The Story , Wish I was There.

  4. Lou March 19th, 2008 12:08 am

    Indeed, germknödel, the calories of 10 Cliff Bars in one package!

    John, that’s great that Mikie will get over here, perhaps they can do some spring skiing.

  5. Jeff Prillwitz March 19th, 2008 12:00 pm

    Golden roof or golden arches?

  6. Lou March 19th, 2008 1:46 pm

    Jeff, good catch! I was thinking of Photoshopping that heinous sign out of there, but it’s part of the deal, for better or worse. Not appreciated on our part, that’s for sure.

  7. Njord March 19th, 2008 8:13 pm

    The key to realize is that once you cross the border back into Bavaria, the Germknoedel becomes a “Dampfknoedel”… and is usually smothered in Vanilla souce, rather than butter.

    50 miles makes quite a difference in many culinary nomenclature variations over there!

    (and I’m still traveling…. stuck in DIA, trying to get a flight to EGE).


  8. steve March 19th, 2008 8:37 pm

    Lou- totally off topic but I just noticed you put some copy write notice in your RSS feed. I’m sure there are great reasons for this but I wanted to let you know that I used to read your blog every day — I put your RSS feed on my My Yahoo! page so I could see whenever you wrote a new post. Recently- I don’t read as much anymore because now when I log on to my page all I see is your copywrite warning — and I must say that doesn’t really inspire me to click the link to read on. The RSS feed only shows so many characters of your entry and the copywrite notice takes up most (if not all) of the alotment — so I’m not enticed to read on.

    Just thought I’d share my 2 cents. It sounds lazy but I just realized why I didn’t read as much Lou — it wasn’t on purpose. There may be others like me…

  9. Lou March 19th, 2008 11:58 pm

    Hi Steve, sorry about that, I’m getting ripped off like you wouldn’t believe. Isn’t the whole RSS feed blog post still there, just with a new header that says it’s okay for private use? That’s what it is in my feed reader… What I probably need to do is go to a summary feed rather than feeding the complete post. What’s your opinion of that option?
    Thanks, Lou

  10. Manfred April 1st, 2008 12:40 pm

    Hallo Njord,
    I am the guy with 7 decades and still turning them, as Lou said. The Dawson family is staying with us right now and although the weather is not very good, we have a lot of fun with them.
    Your statement that a Germknoedel becomes a Dampfknoedel in Baveria is not quite true as it remains a Germknoedel even there. A Dampfknoedel is a Dampfnudel (steamnoodle), made of the same dough, but much smaller and no plum jam filled in.
    I cordially invite you to come to our place in Austria 70 miles south of Munich and my wife Huberta will cook both and you will appreciate the difference between.
    Have a good time and take care.
    Kind regards

  11. Lou April 1st, 2008 12:55 pm

    The Tyrolean has spoken…

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