Euro Guidebooks — This one for Tirol

Post by blogger | February 8, 2011      
New Tyrolean backcountry skiing guidebook.

New Tyrolean backcountry skiing guidebook.

The Tirol of Austria (and northern Italy) is a terrific place to ski tour. Tyrolean terrain varies enough so you can almost always find something no matter the weather, the people are friendly, access is good, and the laid back hut and gasthaus scene keeps it mellow. That’s all why the locals like to keep it secret.

But you know what happens with secrets. Check out Axle and Johann’s new book covering Tyrolean backcountry skiing. This beefy tome is loaded with maps and photos (sometimes almost too loaded), comes with a disk containing GPS tracks you can work from a GPS enabled smart phone (take phone calls while you’re marching along the trail checking the GPS route so you know you’ll be to the hut in time for lunch), and more. Even though the book is written in German, by using an overall map to get your bearings, non-German speaking skiers could use it to find the goods with some help from the locals–if they’ll let you in on the secrets.

Guidebook for Tirol backcountry skiing.

This page for Alpbach area where I end up quite often during my European soujourns. While the pages get a bit busy with all the various ways of presenting information, they sure don't lack in informing you about your destination. Really quite impressive. Click image to enlarge.

Every time I head over the pond, seems I end up doing a tour or two with guidebook author Axel Jentzsch-Rabl and his twin brother. They’re originally from Vienna, which is where Sigmund Freud hails from as well. I’ll let you guess what that might mean. But I can say they’re great guys to hang out with and they’re CRAZY about ski touring. To purchase, you can contact the authors directly via their websites:

The author’s main website.
The book


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


15 Responses to “Euro Guidebooks — This one for Tirol”

  1. Dan February 8th, 2011 10:48 am

    Bill O’connor’s book on ski touring in the eastern alps is helpful…and in english (Cicerone press). Not nearly as comprehensive as the guidebook you described.

    Question: Maybe you can help/guide me to some help with the following. I am heading to the Silvretta in late March with a couple friends. We bought all the maps necessary (ski touring maps…you gotta love the swiss), but I don’t know how one uses the swiss grid in conjunction with a GPS. My GPS has the swiss grid datum (Magellan Explorist 600), but I am used to using the UTM system and don’t see how to use the coordinates (in conjunction with my GPS) from the swiss topos to identify waypoints. The swiss grid system is a little different but is based on the WGS84 datum and various explanations I found on-line aren’t helpful for somebody who only wants to load waypoints into a GPS. I had planned to deal with the GPS/Swiss grid system in Ischgl prior to begining the tour, but since you keep bringing up the matter of touring in the eastern alps, I am guessing that Wild Snow has other readers also interested in non-guided touring there. Prior knowledge of the Swiss grid system and GPS use might be helpful for them too. I am just a basic GPS user and maybe I am not seeing the trees for the forest. Suggestions?

    BTW: A couple years ago we spent 11 days in the Ortler Alps of northern Italy…non-guided. Great huts, great food and lots of friendly folks out having a good time. Probably similar to the Silvretta, but with peaks in the 12K altitude range.

  2. El Jefe February 8th, 2011 1:13 pm


    i am really ready to see an update on the “mobile hut”. i need some TRs from it!

    thanks for all ya do!

  3. ScottN February 8th, 2011 3:48 pm

    So, does this mean your gonna come out with the full-color version of your Colorado Backcountry Skiing book?

  4. Lou February 8th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Jefe, sorry about that, but the hut turned out to be a more private matter than we originally intended. We did build a box on a trailer, and we’re using for camping on private land. Eventually I can come up with more info but I have to see how things work out.

  5. Lou February 8th, 2011 9:22 pm

    Scott, I’d love to do that but the sales numbers just don’t support it. Someone else could perhaps do something as labor of love, but where I think it all has to go is on the internet, to be printed out or used on smartphone…

  6. Lou February 8th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Dan, I don’t recall any big problem with that. I’m pretty sure my GPS was simple to set to the Swiss coord system, and I went from there. But if I’m wrong, then I did something else that wasn’t that tough. I do recall getting coords off this map, then hand entering them into my GPS:

    But I also did work from the maps while on the trip. The main thing is of course to either have GPS set to Swiss coord system, or else convert the coords so you’re sure they’re WGS84

    I also got a favor from a guide who gave me a bunch of coords for the route, but he asked me not to publish them.

  7. Greig Scott February 9th, 2011 3:30 am

    You need to set your GPS to Map Datum CH-1903 and the Position Format as Swiss Grid. That allows you to enter the Eastings and Northings in six digit format for each (the grid lines on your Swiss Skitouren maps are the first three digits of each – hope that makes sense). Interpolating WGS 84 pain in the erse, as the grid lines don’t run parallel to the grid lines on the map.
    If you need anything else, drop me a mail on tacogreigo at mac dot com, also if you need any info on the Silvretta’s, I have toured there, and know the huts, bases getting there gen etc.
    Would offer to call, but I am based in the arctic wastelands of Scotland.

  8. Dan February 9th, 2011 8:56 am

    Greig and Lou,

    Thanks for your comments, they were very helpful. I am on my way.

  9. Greig Scott February 9th, 2011 9:24 am

    Right on, Dan, enjoy your trip to the Silvrettas. The Dreilanderspitz and Piz Buin are good peaks to ‘bag’ if you are taking the O’Connor book route. I did a slight variant taking in the Tuoi Hut in Italy (just to get some decent coffee and pasta…..not to mention a great ride down from the Gemspitz). It is well worth it from the Wiesbadner either as one big day going to the Silvrettahutte, or as an extra night intermediate stop. If not, enjoy the Rosti and Nescafe in the Swiss Huts.

  10. Pascal February 9th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Lou thank you for this blog – I really enjoy reading it. Living in Austria I specially like reading your trip reports from over here.

    For those heading to Austria / Switzerland – the avalanche forecast is also available in english on a daily basis




    The Silvretta is shared between these three so pick the right one.

    Currently the avalanche danger is low but there is very little snow around so take care on the glaciers.

    For GPS Tracks I can recomment this ressource (I download a lot from there all the tracks seem to be in WGS84. My GPS is set to WGS84 and they always worked fine) – it is free and there are many of them. You have to sign in though. They also offer hiking and mountainbiking tracks.
    Make sure to select the “type of tour” as “skiing tour”

    This page caluclates WGS Swissgrid
    It is all in German but you should be able to get along

    Enjoy your stay and pray for more snow.

  11. Njord February 9th, 2011 1:57 pm

    Tried ordering the guidebook this morning, but the website is not set-up to take orders for the US! Only Deutschland and Oesterich!

  12. Lou February 9th, 2011 2:00 pm

    Nationalistic chauvinists! They should be sentenced to skiing Mt. Blanc with snoller blades.

    Email those guys, I’m sure they’ll set you up. Mention you saw it on!

  13. Lou February 10th, 2011 7:27 pm

    Njord, great, thanks for emailing those crazy Austrians.

    Ic, sure, I’d guess most of the stuff in there is actually pretty moderate, from what I know of the terrain. Lots of vertical though, but you can always go half way up.

  14. lc February 10th, 2011 7:15 pm

    The guide looks great !
    Does it have anything useful for people just starting out ski touring or is it all hard core ?

  15. Dan February 11th, 2011 11:11 pm

    Thank you Pascal…very helpfull web sites.

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