Weinbergerhaus Family Ski Tour

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 14, 2011      

(Dateline: a few days ago on January 5, Austria.) After my Tofana 16 hour driving and skiing festival, I was up for something simple. Plan A was to head to the Langer Grund (Austrian for “cool place to ski tour”) for a bit of glisse combined with a nice long session at the Brennhutte.

The Weinbergerhaus sign greets you after climbing the closed but well used ski trails above Kufstein, Austria.

But my potential partner, Peter, came down with a cold and since we’re lacking snow here, I wasn’t that psyched for a lowland bush and rock study anyway.

Peter suggested that for an easy day I should head up the popular uphiller’s route outside of Kufstein, Austria that goes up a closed ski area about 800 meters vert to the classic Weinbergerhaus.

Nice thing happened: My gracious hosts the Barthels figured that some uphilling sounded like a good idea for them as well. Huberta doesn’t ski due to knee issues, but she walks quite a bit so she took a good stroll to a gasthaus about half way up the hill. The skiers kept going to the top, as that’s what skiers sometimes do…

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Huberta’s husband Manfred (one of the ski touring and climbing pioneers around here) is in his 70s and had some recent health issues that almost took him out from mountain sports. Manfred has been slowly mending, and really just started skiing by doing what are basically walks rather than tours. So his getting up and down the icy but nice slopes today, 800 vert meters to a sweet gasthaus with a view of the Kaiser (his home mountains), was really in a way as good as it gets and wonderful to join in on. Funny thing was, I could only get 10 minutes ahead of Manfred no matter how hard I tried. May we all be as strong as this hardman is when we’re pushing seven decades.

Manfred Barthel at Weinbergerhaus

Manfred Barthel at Weinbergerhaus. Another session of wurstel mit brot (wurst and bread), hey, that stuff could beat out the pastries and might even be healthier than all that sugar. But I did have a strudel, so much for that plan.

Parking, Kieser ski lift and parking area.

Parking at the closed ski area, lift is closed in winter, open in summer. It's a long piece of single-chair cable that goes about 800 meters vertical. Very funky. Word is the last year it was open in winter, a guy was stranded all night, tried to jump off, and was eaten by wolves (just kidding about the wolves, but the rest is true).

Now about our venue. As is happening all over Europe and some in North America, uphilling on skis is a rage. In this case, they open the ski lift in the SUMMER, and close it in the winter! Folks from all over the valley get their wiinter uphill workouts in before, during and after work mostly on skis, but some on sleds or plain foot travel. Key to the success of this situation is having cut and brushed ski runs, as well as the warm cozy restaurant (with reasonable prices) as an attractive goal.

Austrian backcountry skiing.

Instead of tower pads, note the barbed wire. I told you Austrian skiers were good, now you know why. Mess up, and you get strung up.

Wetter meter.

Wetter meter. I like the way weather in German is 'wetter,' since the wetter the better when it comes to winter climate in Colorado or apparently central Europe. You see these joke 'weather meters' up at the huts pretty often. I gather that if the rock swings, it means the wind is blowing, and if it swings wide, the storm is big. Or something like that.

To keep the family affair complete more Barthels and associates showed up.

To keep the family affair complete more Barthels and associates showed up.

View north, Inn Valley out to Germany.

View north from the Weinbergerhaus, Inn Valley out to Germany. Kufstein is just below, probably out of view to the left.

Another view of Kaiser mountains from Weinbergerhaus.

Another view of Kaiser mountains from Weinbergerhaus. I love just sitting in the window of these places, drinking a coffee or beer, and gazing out at where history was made. (And yeah, that's a goat in the photo.)


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7 Responses to “Weinbergerhaus Family Ski Tour”

  1. Eurob January 14th, 2011 11:34 am

    So here’s a brief translation of the weather meter board:

    Rock is wet – rain
    Rock is dry – no rain
    Shadow on the ground – sunny
    white on top – it’s snowing
    Rock not visible – fog
    Rock swinging – windy
    Rock bouncing up and down – earthquake
    Rock disappeared – heavy storm

    All you need to know, isn’t it?

  2. mtnrunner2 January 14th, 2011 12:29 pm

    > I could only get 10 minutes ahead of Manfred no matter how hard I tried. May we all be as strong as this hardman is when we’re pushing seven decades

    That’s awesome. And… that’s the plan 😉

    What beautiful country, and nice window view for the wurst and coffee.

  3. Tom Gos January 14th, 2011 12:56 pm

    Cool, we need this kind of expierience here in Colorado – nice restaurants with a view up the mountains to ski to (and I’m not talking about ski corp cafeterias or private clubs). Also neat to see that goat, I remember seeing some of those half and half goats in Switzerland and finding them quite unusual.

  4. WMC January 14th, 2011 2:00 pm

    Excellent, closed ski runs reserved for human-powered recreation! Contrasted to the western US where ski areas such as Stevens Pass WA, built and supported by skier dollars, opens the runs to snowmobiles after closing lifts in April. After the area closes the lifts two month’s potential skitouring is left on that terrain, often with many powder days!.

    We, the Wenatchee Mountains Coalition, are not saying to close the US Forest lands to snowmobiles. But we take exception to the snowmobiles first and everywhere mentality of USFS for winter recreation. If there were more snowy USFS terrain without snowmobiles, non-motorized recreationists would use it! Thanks.

  5. Rob January 14th, 2011 3:30 pm

    I love the barbed wire shot. If they raise the wire level as the snow piles up, then I’d be really impressed.

  6. Lou January 15th, 2011 1:12 am

    Rob, LOL!

  7. Iran Skiing Tour January 18th, 2011 7:06 am

    Cool, what a great experience. I love those warm cozy restaurants to relax and feel great having a hot drink.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

    Rahman Mehraby
    Destination Iran Travel & Tours

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