Proof of Life

Post by blogger | January 10, 2012      

It was kind of cough, turn, cough, then turn. But I did it. A little tour out of Alpbach, Austria, with Fritz Barthel (inventor of the tech binding) and Franz Kroel (guide, pioneer climber, Ortovox man since 1991). A few photos below, details later about other adjunct adventures.

Backcountry skiing in Austria.

I wasn't sure I could make the climb, but the skiing was easy powder, making the down fluid and fun.

Franz Kroel of Ortovox.

Franz Kroel of Ortovox. Ho hum, another Inn Valley kid who grew up on skis -- when he wasn't rock climbing. Franz made this a work trip by running Fritz and I through some beacon drills. I've always thought the super tech Ortovox beacons were fun to use, so playing around with the units was a good adjunct to the day.

Austrian backcountry skiing and ski touring.

I graciously allowed the locals to break trail (ha). Thanks boys.


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15 Responses to “Proof of Life”

  1. Brian January 10th, 2012 11:19 am

    What ski did you take with you for the Trip Lou?

  2. Lou January 10th, 2012 2:03 pm

    I borrow Manaslu or 7 Summits once I’m over here. Am on Manaslu this year. Not sure what I’ll demo at Dynafit shindig, but it’s not going to be skinny.

  3. brian h January 10th, 2012 3:25 pm

    Does a starving man want to see pictures of a feast? Does a monk want to see the swimsuit issue? A thousand Colorado Wildsnow’ers are just ever so close to running away from home and then this gets posted…Lou, I suspect your illness is getting little sympathy.

  4. Tony S. January 11th, 2012 1:04 am

    At this point I just thiink it’s great to see someone from the lower 48 skiing pow. Looks and sounds like a fun time Lou, kick that crud to the curb and slay!

  5. Wookie1974 January 11th, 2012 2:00 am

    Looks like you got some decent weather! Was up there on Sunday with great pow, but the weather was, um, Scheiße.

    Have fun, and go to a pharmacy and get some Umkalowabo for that cold. (not making that up. Works.)

  6. Chase Harrison January 11th, 2012 5:44 am

    I have always lived vicariously through you.

  7. KDog January 11th, 2012 8:12 am

    What is that white stuff all over your skis?

  8. Glenn Sliva January 11th, 2012 8:56 am

    Lou: What’s your silent talk to yourself about hour 5 when you’re worn out? I need another one as I’m now only good for about 5 hours which limits me to a 10 mile day.

    Great adventure for us mortals which is a July day hike for you.

  9. Lou January 11th, 2012 12:44 pm

    Glenn, that’s a nice question I appreciate. A couple of things go through my mind… yesterday, I said to myself “Lou, you’e been working that cardio for years and years, if you just slow down the pace a hair and let the other guys know you won’t be breaking trail, you’ll survive, and remember to drink a few slugs of water and eat a GU half way up.” Then, during the climb I concentrate on ergonomics, especially at reduced pace I concentrate on using a true rest-step that shifts my weight to my leg bones for a moment every step. I make that a mantra. Then, tonight at the Dynafit event when everyone is expected to walk up to the hut, I simply prayed, and was provided with a nice slow pace and an Austrian guy who liked to talk and was gracious enough to go slow. That was all it took. It was different on Denali in 2010, I remember then I’d just look up and get this rush of awe and think to myself, you’re here boy, do your job, it’s what you’ve wanted since you were 10 years old and you are back, so dig it. A few prayers were said there as well….

    Another thing I’d add is that during some of those experiences I’ve felt a powerful energy coming from the folks I was with, especially on the Denali trip, I felt my son and those guys were a huge support. Part of that is mental, but I think there is a spiritual energy there as well when you’re with a group of good friends or just committed alpinists who have the same ethical frame as you. When you’re feeling out of sorts or just afraid, it helps to pay attention to that.


  10. Lenka K. January 11th, 2012 1:54 pm

    Hi Lou,

    no wonder you had hard time on Joel — the track is so steep even healthy skiers pant & sweat! 🙂

    From Alpbach,

    Lenka K.

  11. Forest January 12th, 2012 6:05 am

    You always put it so well, Lou. The people we are with and the mountain are truly magical. Thanks for saying what we all feel.

  12. Patricia Dawson January 12th, 2012 11:45 am


  13. Florian January 15th, 2012 5:22 am

    Could you please eleborate a little on that rest-step? You have mentioned it before, but I still don’t get how it works exactly. Maybe worth another post once you’re back, if you are too busy now?

  14. Glenn Sliva January 15th, 2012 6:01 am

    Thanks Lou. When you get to our age there are so many tasks and appointments on our to do list that compete for our time. I find it hard to maintain that beginners enthusiasm to finish the trip thinking about them. I’m certain your list is pages long by now. It pays to travel with friends and athletes that motivate you both physically and mentally. My Dynafits are almost a year old now and thanks to your thoughtful advice, well worn.

    Stay safe.

  15. Justin January 16th, 2012 4:26 pm

    Spent one month in the Innsbruck area during technical and sales training mostly in German. We worked til 8pm looking at those mountains, never able to ski before being shuttled back to the states. And the trainer spoke Austrian dialect just to tease me. Someday maybe I will ski there.

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