Snow for the Euros

Post by blogger | January 7, 2012      
Snow for the Euros

As many of you readers mentioned, most of the Alps are certainly receiving mass quantities. Roads are of course a mess and the avalanche meter pegging the red zone, but smart folks enjoy. I'm lying low with a cold, but will hit it eventually even if I OD on zinc lozenges. Meanwhile, this is what I'm seeing from where I'm staying, near the Inn Valley in Austria. The alpine is of course inundated. As usual, I'm residing at the family house of our friends the Barthels, where the tech binding was invented in the basement and changed ski touring as we know it. Sort of wild when you think about it. More than 20 years later and folks with Dynafit and other tech bindings are running over the mountains with speed and grace that was previously only a dream to most mortals. One has to wonder what is next--magnetic bindings or something else with near zero weight?


17 Responses to “Snow for the Euros”

  1. James Broder January 7th, 2012 8:46 am

    Next to come are piezoelectric ski bottoms. Hit the red button and they turn into skins. Hit the green button and they turn into P-Tex.

    No more stepping out of your bindings and sinking down to your crotch while groping in your pack for your skins.

  2. Lou January 7th, 2012 9:01 am

    James, I would agree that the hundreds of years old technology of climbing skins is due for a change. The things are heavy, glide poorly, don’t always attach to the ski, takes tons of time and energy to maintain. Wow, they’re truly a blockage of the flow! So, one has to wonder, has someone at Pomoca, or Coltex, or Black Diamond realized this…? Just think what it would do to rando racing if the racer simply hit a switch to “remove” their skins?

  3. Lou January 7th, 2012 9:34 am

    Also amazing they haven’t yet done a skin that’s half the weight. In fact, skins have gotten heavier in comparison to some of the old antique stuff. That is pathetic.

  4. Lou January 7th, 2012 9:39 am

    And, I still don’t get how they make their wood piles look so perfect…

  5. Jernej January 7th, 2012 10:32 am

    Don’t tease with that snow… 🙂 It all stops on top of the Tauern tunnel (i.e. border of Land Salzburg) and we’ve still got close to 0 south(east) of the line between Lago di Garda and Vienna. I took a small gamble today and went to see how far north and close to the new storm snow we can get while still enjoying the sunny weather (inbounds, since it was also the first skiing day of the season and the first time since a knee surgery).

    Nockberge range was in full on sun with amazing views of the snow clouds rolling over the mountains to the north just across the valley.

    With so much wind everywhere the northwestern slopes were eroded to the ground and all that snow accumulated on the lee sides where you have deposits of up to two meters (huge relative to the total snowfall of 20-30cm).

    We took it easy at first, skiing a few low angle lines in the trees to test the knee and the snow conditions then finished the morning with some open bowls where everything was very stable even on steep lines.

    Enjoy your Euro trip!

  6. Scott January 7th, 2012 11:28 am

    Ahhh…. so that is what snow looks like..

    Actually snowing in our neck of the woods today. Could it be…winter?

  7. Scott K January 7th, 2012 4:47 pm

    Enjoy the century old ski culture there. I wish we had that much snow in Colorado!

  8. Jack January 7th, 2012 7:27 pm

    Your killing me Lou, I would love to be over there. Enjoy!

  9. Lou January 8th, 2012 12:55 am

    Jack, I’m trying, but I’m layed low with a cold or flue… will do my best. Traveling isn’t always all roses, that’s for sure! At least I’ve got some kind friends to hang out with, instead of being stuck in a motel room or something. Lou

  10. RobBJ January 8th, 2012 3:37 am

    Glad to see Europe has snow. After a poor season down under and a slow start to the US centre, I was starting to get worried about global warming. ( actually I think I am still a bit worried..)

  11. Kevin January 8th, 2012 9:23 am

    Speaking of skin tech, has anyone here used Gecko skins? The concept (glueless skins) seems awesome. I gathered they initially had a durability problem but may be better now, and was thinking of getting some when I size up my AT boards.

  12. Lou January 8th, 2012 9:25 am

    Kevin! Plenty of Gecko users here. Try it in the search box, but also, yes, they fixed their durability problem.

  13. Kevin January 8th, 2012 10:42 am

    Thanks, Lou! Looking forward to hearing how they hold up this season. Hope you feel good enough to get some turns in soon!

  14. David January 10th, 2012 9:59 am

    Hey Lou, sorry you’re down and out for the time being… Weren’t you sick during your last trip across the pond?? If you need a proxy I could be available at a moment’s notice…

  15. Lou January 10th, 2012 10:04 am

    Hi David, I’ve actually been pretty healthy during most of my trips over here. Once I fought a cold the whole time but it wasn’t as bad as this time. Another time I had a two day cold or something like that. I also had some troubles with jet lag persisting but figured that out a few years ago. The only health challenge I’ve noticed that’s consistent is it seems after all the packing, preparations, then brutal flying/driving/trains one can arrive rather wasted and not recover for some number of days. That’s one reason I try to extend my trips by a few days, since I need to work and produce, and simply being mentally and physically tired really cuts into that.

  16. thesnowtraveller July 17th, 2012 3:37 pm

    This was my 8th season in Europe, and I had not see anything like it. Snow Snow and more Snow. It was the perfect season with no complaints, shame it had to end in April as it could of gone long into May!

  17. France January 28th, 2013 8:19 am

    Great memories. This season is shaping up nicely too.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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