Snow for the Euros – Part II

Post by blogger | January 8, 2012      

Too bad I wasn’t there, but better to take care of myself and not end up at the doctor instead of just in bed all day. Fritz and his friends did get some, Peter hits it below. These guys do exactly what we do back home when the alpine is too wind blown or dangerous, they have a bunch of timber terrain they hit. Works well when the snow is right.

Backcountry skiing in Austria

Backcountry skiing in Austria, click to enlarge. Snow depths in the Alps are being measured in multiple meters. A resort guy on TV tonight said they stopped measuring at his location because they couldn't find the snow stake!


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10 Responses to “Snow for the Euros – Part II”

  1. Randonnee January 8th, 2012 7:25 pm

    Did they ski on Manaslu or Stoke, or similar, in that great powder?

  2. Jernej January 9th, 2012 2:37 am

    Not strictly related but I thought you might appreciate it anyway (since you’re in bed with nothing to do)

    Skiing Pallavicini couloir on Grossglockner in ’78:

  3. Lou January 9th, 2012 3:41 am

    Rando, the subject of skis did come up. The guys getting the deepest were of course on the 7 Summits since they are Europeans and tend to ski on skinny skis (grin). But some of them were on wider options. Lou

  4. Rob Stokes January 9th, 2012 8:33 am

    I find it quite funny that the Euro’s get the reputation of skiing skinny sticks… may be pretty true on smaller mountains but head to a resort like Cham or La Grave and you will not find more 110+mm skis with tech binders on elsewhere in the world!

    Get well and get in that pow pow Lou!

  5. Lou January 9th, 2012 9:11 am

    I may do an informal survey tonight.

  6. James Broder January 10th, 2012 6:20 pm

    My own experience in Tirol confirms yours, Lou. Skinny skis on skinny guys whose slight physiques and relentless speed on the “up” belie their diet of beer & schnitzel, followed by more beer.

    At home I ski on either 191 Stokes or 188 Coombacks (I’m 6’2″ and 220 lbs). After a couple of trips to Kitzbühel during which the biggest touring planks I could find were 178 Mustagh ATAs, I finally brought over a pair of 183 Scott Powd’Airs (100 underfoot) to leave in my friend’s garage. They’re a little small for me to use in Utah or BC, but good solid work skis, a little heavy for the “up” but pretty heavenly on the “down”…..especially in the snorkel pow we’ve had here for the past week.

    Seven Summits-sized skis are standard amongst my friends here in Kitzbühel. Mustagh ATAs are bigger than anybody I know here uses. For me, 178 Mustagh ATAs were insanely light compared to what I’m used to and helped me to at least stay in the same ZIP code as my Tirolean touring buddies on the way up, but on two out of every three turns I felt like I was going over the handlebars.

    Contrast this with my observations from Revelstoke last season, where my Coombacks seemed like nordic skis compared to most of the hardware I was seeing in the lift line.

  7. Lou January 11th, 2012 3:58 am

    My theory: a lot of this is cultural, but as a skier gets fitter and more skilled, and places more and more emphasis on enjoying the up as well as the down, they may not focus as much on how wide their skis are. But either way is terrific if done well. Personally, I’m finding I usually like something around 100 at the waist, but once in a while I find that more width is nice, such as when we ski bottomless facets.

  8. Andi January 11th, 2012 5:23 am

    Hi guys,
    at first, please excuse my english – it’s not usend very often.
    It’s interesting to hear your comments about ski width in europe;-) I think it’s right that the average waist is, not only a bit, a bit smaller than in the US but as you said the big ones are comming… There’s just the problem theat the people in the queue at the lift station look at you as if you had a note with “idiot” on your forehaed when you’re standing there with a 112mm “surfbrett”:-) Even more in alpine touring. I ski the old k2 mt.baker SL (wich i think is a wonderful 88mm ski) and the other guys on the summit look at me as if i was from mars. The tradition of skinny ski waists is connected with the tradition to cut as many turns as possible in a face. That’s ok i think because we “tourers” have to earn our descends with the work of the ascends, which coul be quite hard in the alps. Another problem might be the shape of our mountains in many parts of the alps. In many locations is not enough room for big lines because the faces end in deep cut valleys with ravines or wood called “Latschen”. This together with the fact that in everything changes slower in europe explaines why the ski-widths grow slow, too.

    Greetings from the Allgäu,

  9. David George January 11th, 2012 6:10 am

    It is a question of D+. A 2000 m ski day was considered pretty extreme 20 years ago, so much so there are guidebooks listing 2000m+ combos. But 2000m is becoming the norm even for mortals and we are seeing more and more people logging 3000 to 4000 meters days. You are not going to be doing that on some fat-assed ski. You’ve got the weight, you’ve got the skin drag etc and, honestly, on a normal alpine touring day the conditions don’t really warrant a 100mm+ ski.

  10. Toby January 11th, 2012 6:44 am

    For me anything more than 2000m per day is climbing/mountaineering rather than skiing. I’m typical skinny ski euro tourer. For sure I have 100+ skis, but they are mainly collecting dust and waiting for some lift served days. I maybe can understand hauling big gear that 2000m of vertical, if there is a camera team waiting and spectacular lines are expected. But I rather choose proper tools for the job. Light is right and the downhill part of the day is more enjoyable when you are not too exhausted of climbing. (Or is it so, that you are just going faster up with lighter gear and the result is the same than going up slower with big gear? ; )

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