Another EU TR — Grieskogel from Sellraintal

Post by blogger | May 4, 2009      
European backcountry skiing

European Ski Alpinism

I’ve been out in Virginia Beach for the last week, doing family stuff related to father’s passing. Traveling was smooth and we’re back in the Colorado blog command center. Biggest hill near us in Virginia supported the aptly named Hilltop Shopping Center — something like three inches above sea level. Ouch. The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains rise to the west, but we didn’t have the time for road tripping so I had to dream of real mountains. With that, my mind wandered back to the last Europe backcountry skiing trip. Which led to digging out more ski photos. Which of course led to another blog post…

Backcountry Skiing

Manfred Barthel clones himself on Grieskogel (actual summit not visible).

Grieskogel is a medium sized peak in the western Stubai Alps of Austria, in the Larstiger mountains between Sellrain and Hochstubai. You reach it via the usual network of roads you find in this area, in this case reminding me of spring skiing on Independence Pass back in Colorado. I’d hooked up for today’s trip with Manfred Barthel, the Austrian alpinist elder I’ve come to know over the past few years (and father of Dynafit binding inventor Fritz Barthel). Manfred continues to amaze me with his skill and endurance, not to mention his amazing knowledge of the Alps. He seems to have a telepathic sense of where the snow is good, the avy danger lower, or the weather friendly. Last night was warm, so he knew that lower altitude snow wouldn’t firm up. Hence, we needed to utilize road or cable access to reach a higher altitude start. Manfred knew exactly where to go, and it worked out terrific as a result. As always, I felt privileged to spend the day skiing with him. His subsequent advice on pastry consumption was equally valuable.

Backcountry Skiing

This is Easter weekend, perhaps the most popular backcountry ski days in central Europe. Thus, a few cars were present. Reminded me of the first few opening spring days on Coloardo's Independence Pass

Backcountry Skiing

One thing I really like about ski touring in Europe is the age range. We've got some of that going on in North America, but the number of folks who ski past middle age here is mind blowing, and you see the kids out too, as in this photo.

Backcountry Skiing

Heading up. Conditions were similar to the Western U.S. in May.

Backcountry Skiing

Manfred and myself on the summit. Thanks Manfred! And check out those Alps, they seem infinite for backcountry skiing.

Backcountry Skiing

Yours truly headed down. Nothing extreme, just a nice mellow morning of corn snow and views.

Backcountry Skiing

Now, some of you might be fighting obesity from just looking at all the pastry photos that keep sneaking into these EU blog posts. But the stuff is just so fun and tasty it has to keep coming. No guesswork here, just a blueberry crepe. Happy belated Easter.


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3 Responses to “Another EU TR — Grieskogel from Sellraintal”

  1. Jack May 5th, 2009 12:00 am

    Lou, my condolences on your Dad’s passing.

    As an over-the-hill 2 planker who enjoys skiing with the youngsters, I really am heartened to read about the elder skiers such as you come across in Europe. Thanks for another terrific post.

  2. Lou May 5th, 2009 6:53 am

    Thanks Jack.

    Indeed, one thing I’ve noticed more and more about ski mountaineering is it has an amazing age range for such a physical and high-tech sport. Very nice.

  3. Euro Rob May 5th, 2009 7:41 am

    I (just 30) ski a lot with 50+ guys. It’s awesome to learn from them and see all the peaks far away from the mainstream. One of them, well over 60, told me how things were when he did his first tours, alpine boots and bindings, seal skins clipped onto the skis. Far from high tech 🙂

    And yes, the pastry (and generally cuisine) is great here in Austria!

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