Onward to Italy

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 20, 2012      

Flying to Europe from the US can be as easy as getting to Alaska (?) — or as hard as visiting Nigeria (just assuming that’s hard). Depends on the connections.

This wasn't me, but I felt sorry for whomever it was.

Single forlorn un-tagged ski boot at the bulk unloading area in Munich. This wasn't me, but I felt sorry for whomever it was. Confirmation that one should ALWAYS carry on his ski boots while flying. And yeah, nothing is perfect -- I've heard at least one story about ski boots being left in overhead bins, and mine got left in Austria once at a friend's.

I’ve been using a nice United flight that hops from Aspen to Chicago, then connects about three hours later to the big bus for a speedy Munich hop. Last leg is under nine hours, and at night (US time). So not only are you on the jets a fairly short amount of time, but you sleep all the way over if you want (in my case, thanks to the X pills), then there you are in München at 9:30 in the morning. Stay up all day, nail another full nights sleep, and jet lag is hardly a concept.

Snow for the Euros, Austria.

Snow for the Euros, Austria. View from house near Inn Valley looks like something out of the picture books. Apparently they had a bad avalanche cycle a few days ago but things are stabilizing. Hopefully, when I return from Italy the skiing will be good and safe around Kitzbuhel and so forth.

In Munich, a few espresso to keep me awake. Then a bit of computer work to keep it real. Train south to Austria and visit the Barthel house (where tech bindings were invented) for that next night’s sleep. But not before the otherworldly taste treat of Huberta’s apple laced kaiserschmarrn provided needed (and unneeded) calories. Of course, homemade kaiserschmarrn is worth any sort of caloric surplus incurred while consuming. I think I even saw a French guy scarfing three helpings. To protect the guilty, names will not be mentioned. Suffice it to say, I’m guessing kaiserschmarrn is not included in “The art of French Cooking?” But I’ve heard it can be found in France anyway? Francophile wildsnowers, let me know!

The goods being served up, fuel for backcountry skiers.

The goods are served, fuel for backcountry skiers and tired travelers. Thanks Huberta.

Kaiserschmarrn secrets revealed?

Kaiserschmarrn secrets revealed? I'm not sure I could get the Barthel's secret recipe, but I did observe exactly how the pancake is chopped up to make the schmarrn.

Sunday, in a car south to Turin, Italy. A bit of a drive but oh so smooth in that left autobahn lane (undamaged by trucks), zilch for traffic.

A day such as this on an autobahn is like perfect powder in the mountains.

A day such as this on an autobahn is like perfect powder in the mountains.

I’m in a nice hotel a few blocks from the historic city center of Turin, in what’s obviously still a very old part of town with some cool architecture. To get here, the drive headed through the parts of town I’d been warned about–huge blocky apartment buildings that looked, well, a bit grim. But that’s usually part of any city, anywhere. Perhaps starker when you’re a mountain boy and don’t live around that sort of thing.

In Turin (Torino), a bit of city to make me appreciate the mountains.

In Turin (Torino), a bit of city to make me appreciate the mountains.

The main thing now is get more rest, then I’ve got interesting plans.


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26 Responses to “Onward to Italy”

  1. Silas Wild February 20th, 2012 1:00 pm

    Ooh, careful Lou. “observe exactly how the pancake is chopped up to make the schmarrn” Never associate Kaiserschmarrn with pancakes!! Hope your hosts did not hear or view that comment, Austrians are proud to brag that the two are not alike at all. 🙂

  2. Maz February 20th, 2012 3:28 pm

    But where’s the Tartiflette? Oh sorry, wrong countries :o)
    Make sure you enjoy a few caffe coretto before returning to Austria.

  3. Greg Louie February 20th, 2012 4:30 pm

    Yeah, always carry on your ski boots and one set of ski clothes. It’s saved my trip a couple of times . . .

  4. Mark W February 20th, 2012 8:55 pm

    My wife’s pretty well versed on international foods. I’ll see if she has any inside info on the kaiserschmarnn.

  5. Jernej February 21st, 2012 12:08 am

    Definitely no relation to the pancake! Just looks a bit like it during one stage.

  6. Gentle Sasquatch February 21st, 2012 8:43 am

    Kaiserschmarn – where are the raisins and the powdered sugar 🙂 ?

    When I was 18 I worked in the kitchen in Bavaria and I used to make it often. Fond memories.

  7. Lou February 21st, 2012 8:47 am

    Gentle, I got the beta on that! They told me that yes it’s made with raisins, except if you’re a farmer, can’t afford raisins, and have apples. I’m assuming the the Kaiser had his with raisins in it. But not everyone is the Kaiser (grin). In terms of sugar, the regular stuff works just fine.

  8. F. Felix February 21st, 2012 10:07 am

    Continental has a great, direct flight from Newark to Geneva (CO80, I think). I seems like it must be a subsidized flight–usually have a full row to yourself, unless the weather is bad and flights get jammed up.

    You arrive early in the morning and it’s less of a drive to get to Torino than from Munich. It’s also less than an hour drive to Chamonix, Grand Massif, Megeve or Les Portes du Soleil. Not much more to Verbier or Zermatt.

  9. Lou February 21st, 2012 11:18 am

    Hi Felix, I was trying to connect to one of those Geneva flights but it didn’t work out. They did look like a good way to get to a bunch of stuff. Thanks for the tip on them being less crowded! ‘best, Lou

  10. Jason Moyer February 21st, 2012 2:16 pm

    hey anyone out there in dynafit land know if the vertical binding with the 110 mm brake will be on the retail market next year. I’m wondering if i should jump on a sale pair. i think i’d prefer another pair of what i’m used to rather then be forced to buy a pair of radicals just because i waited.
    thanks in advance

  11. Marco February 21st, 2012 2:24 pm

    Hi Lou, welcome in Italy!
    First of all I apologize for my bad English.
    Only now I heard that you are in Turin, I hope to come to the Monte dei Cappuccini Thursday evening, but I’m not sure (I’m from Sesia Valley, near Monte Rosa).
    I read often your website, very interesting!
    From some years, like you, I’m doing a collection of old ski-mountaineering bindings, and it would be nice to exchange information and, why not, trade some models difficult to find to enrich our collections.
    If we fail to meet now, let’s keep in touch

  12. Lou February 21st, 2012 3:49 pm

    Cool Marco! I have lots of possible trades… stay in touch

  13. ellen hollinshead February 21st, 2012 4:21 pm

    Jason – I can’t answer your question, but I would say don’t bother with the radicals. I’ve had verticals for years now, but I was lucky to be able to demo the radicals for hte last five days. One simple thing really drove me nuts and maybe I need to do some research on what the technique might be, but the new design makes putting it into ski mode really difficult. You have to bend down and use your hand to twist the heel piece into ski mode. After not having to bend down like this for many years with the Verticals, I realized what a bummer it is to have to do so. It is awkward and kinda strains your back. And after you have the first binding twisted into ski mode and you are locked in, it is really painful to bend down and try and lock in the second heel piece so I ended up always taking off the second ski to put it into ski mode. Not good. I don’t like taking my skis off in sketchy places in the backcountry and this is a bummer….for me. I sound like a stiff old woman, but I’m not….just a little spoiled. LOVE the Verticals. Hope Dynafit keeps making them! OH – one more thing – both heel lifts are lower than the verticals – also not good for me, especially with the high heel position on the radicals. They just aren’t high enough if you’re sadly forced to skin straight up a steep pitch…

  14. Jeremy February 21st, 2012 10:30 pm

    Can you seriously take ski boots as a carry-on? I could never imagine TSA to allow this…

  15. Frame February 22nd, 2012 5:36 am

    @Greg L, can you get 2 ski boots and ski clothing in your carry-on or are you wearing it all? I can get 1 boot in my carry on bag and wear a jacket etc. But both boots … I wear size 30’s which would be a factor. I know in the good old day’s you would have the boots velcro straps stuck together and wear them around your neck…

  16. Pierre G February 22nd, 2012 8:15 am

    I do carry my ski boots+ski stuff in my carry on luggage AND a small backpack. So everytime my luggage are late, i can still ski with my boots and regular jackets and so on. No problem with the TSA so far.

  17. Lou February 22nd, 2012 8:19 am

    I just carry my boots on a strap around my neck, never a problem with TSA so far. If they start hassling about ski boots, then it’s time to keep nearly anything else other than sock puppets from being carried on. On nearly every flight, I see at least one other skier doing the same thing (the boots carryon, not the sock puppet).

  18. Stuart February 22nd, 2012 8:24 am

    When I have gone to Europe I get my boots,helmet, goggles, gloves,shells
    socks and neck gaiter in an alpine boot bag.
    The bag is legal and smaller than most of the jumbo cases
    people are trying to cram on board these days.

  19. Lou February 22nd, 2012 8:29 am

    For whoever asked, I had the Cafe Correcto last evening, grappa version. Shocking.

  20. Dan February 22nd, 2012 9:18 am

    RE: Carry on gear/luggage.
    Caution; if you carry-on your avy transciever, remove the batteries BEFORE the security check. Also, the word “transceiver” (as in transmitter) sets off alarm bells with some TSA folks.

  21. Lou February 22nd, 2012 10:20 am

    Mainly, probably good just to not call it a transceiver. A cell phone is also a transceiver, as is a laptop with wireless. Once I carried on my laptop, cell phone, transceiver, and satphone. I had four transceivers! TSA didn’t seem to mind, though they’ve often had to pull out my bag of cables and give it a visual check.

  22. Greg Louie February 22nd, 2012 10:45 am

    Frame, I do like Lou and just carry the boots by the velcro over my shoulder, along with my daypack with a set of ski clothes and hat/gloves/goggles . . . when my ski bag got lost a few years ago, I was able to tour fine, though I looked a bit strange dining at the Albert 1er in Chamonix in my Gore-Tex pants and polypro top when the rest of the customers were in tuxes.

  23. Greg Louie February 22nd, 2012 10:48 am

    . . . by “velcro” I mean the power straps stuck together . . .

  24. stephen February 23rd, 2012 2:01 am

    When coming back from India in 2009 I wore the ski boots onto the plane as my carry on luggage was already overfull. No hassles aexcept having to take the boots off to have them X rayed. I may try wearing them around my neck next flight – never occurred to me I’d be able to get away with it!

    I also second the idea of taking boots and a complete set of clothing (plus spare sox & undies) as carry on luggage. I would have beeen very sorry if I hadn’t done this when flying to Vancouver in 1989. Skis are easy to hire, boots (tthat fit) less so, and small tems of clothing not at all at some ski resorts.

  25. Lou February 23rd, 2012 2:06 am

    Noble tradition with Alaskan climbers is wearing as much expedition gear as possible on to the plane. Did that at least once with my big boots and parka. Rather hot, but it worked. Along with my ski boots, I do try to keep a few essential and/or expensive items in my carryon assortment. I always buy extra baggage insurance as well, so at least I don’t take a financial hit if the checked bag disappears.

  26. Frame February 23rd, 2012 11:00 am

    I get the impressions discount airlines in UK/Europe have smaller carry on allowances then in the US. I understand it’s the same for the checked in baggage. I’ve gotten a boot bag with size 30’s on as carry on before, but there was a good deal of walking on an appropriate trajectory that keeps strangers between me and airline employees, at the check in the bag was well out of site below any desk/eye level. 2 of my alpine boots in my checked in luggage and I’m a third of the way to the allowable 20kg. Another good reason to switch to a quiver of one Titan was to get that weight down for the airline, let alone the actual touring.

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