Otztal Day 4 — Similaun to Schone Aussicht Hutte


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 23, 2012      
Over the peaks between huts in the Otztal Alps, Lou makes a few curves.

Over the peaks between huts in the Otztal Alps, Lou makes a few curves.

With the weather deteriorating by the day, we took our last 24 hours of semi-blue sky to make one more crossing of a high pass in the Alps. Fresh snow yielded turns, backcountry skiing story in photos:

When morning came at the Similaun hut, the clearing storm revealed.

When morning came at the Similaun hut, this was the view out the window. A ski touring party headed to Similaun peak.

Nearly every hut or hotel we've been to this year has been ski-in ski-out.

Nearly every hut or hotel we've visited this year in Europe has been ski-in ski-out. Here, Lisa heads down the ramp from the Similaun front door. Way better than a slopeside condo in Vail, eh?

Today, we exited the front door on skis, and continued down this.

Today, we exited the front door on skis, and continued down this for a few hundred vert before turning left (northerly) climbing to the Tisen saddle (where the 5,000+ year old Iceman mummy was found), then continuing over the Hauslab saddle where we dropped northerly over a glacier then swung west to the Schone Aussicht mountain hotel (which serves lift skiers as well as backcountry skiers.)

View looking back to the southwest during our tour.

View looking back to the southwest during our tour. This peak is the Similaun, summit is the far center point. The slopes here are excellent skiing out of Similaun hut. Unfortunately we had to skip skiing the Similaun to progress our route. If we return, we'll stay at Similaun hut for a few days if the weather is good, and ski this stuff.

Lou heading northerly for a visit to where Otzi lived for 5,000 years.

Lou heading up, hoping to visit the place where Otzi lived for 5,000 years. Similaun in background, look close to see backcountry skiers on the skin track.

Ted at the Iceman Memorial marker; Otzi was found just a few yards from here

Ted at the Iceman Memorial marker; Otzi was found just a few yards from here

Looking southwest, Lisa and Ted just leaving Iceman memorial marker area

Looking southwest, Lisa and Ted just leaving Iceman memorial marker area

Down glaciated moderate terrain to Schone Aussicht hotel, good snow was found. Lisa skiing

Down glaciated moderate terrain to Schone Aussicht hotel, good snow was found. Lisa skiing

Ted banging out a few euro wriggles. Might as well do like the locals.

Ted banging out a few euro wriggles. Might as well farm it like the locals.

Looking back at our tracks. Classic.

Looking back at our tracks. Classic.

Crazy Italian design at backcountry skiing hotel.

The view from the Schone Aussicht hut is legendary; sadly the clouds came in so no photos. But we got amused anyhow by the hut's Italian design features. For example, the ski room was covered with mirrors. Why, I do not know, but it made an interesting self portrait. The reflective theme continued to the downstairs bathrooms, where mirrors are located for the men in such a way as to inspect yourself thoroughly every time one takes a pee. Is this some sort of Italian thing? I mean, the descent was extreme, but do I need to check IF IT IS STILL THERE? The bright red ceiling in the bathroom completed the surreal atmosphere. I'd recommend bypassing Schone Aussicht if you can do so; the hut keepers are pleasant and helpful, the bathrooms amusing, but as far as I could tell the physical plant is rather run-down and tends to be crowded with resort skiers.

We thought we had reservations for a room, but ended up in the lager.

We thought we had reservations for a room at the Aussicht, but ended up in the lager. I didn't think the bunkroom was all that bad provided one was tired and had jetway earplugs. Only concerns were nearly zero escape options in case of fire (a valid take, when you look at all the retro wiring and old woodwork), and the bathroom being fully two floors down below (don't have that evening beer in other words).

Curious about Otzi the Iceman? His skis were not found, but judging from how well equipped he was, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d had a pair of planks lashed to his feet. More here.



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Comments

12 Responses to “Otztal Day 4 — Similaun to Schone Aussicht Hutte”

  1. mark April 23rd, 2012 8:59 am

    so fun to see the spot Otzi was found. check out stuff you missed in history podcast for more info on him. thanks for the great pics!

  2. Skifunkster.com April 23rd, 2012 9:05 am

    The snow looks amazing, wish I could of got out. Can’t believe the fresh tracks!

  3. Nick April 23rd, 2012 11:18 am

    Gorgeous terrain. Great to see all that snow.

  4. Scott Nelson April 23rd, 2012 1:49 pm

    Awesome Lou! Looks like the honeymoon has been good!

  5. Lou April 23rd, 2012 1:53 pm

    More coming!

  6. Jim April 23rd, 2012 5:36 pm

    Sorry to be off topic, but just wanted to thank Lou and gang at Wildsnow for all their great unbiased and detailed ski and camp gear and technique recommendations over the years. I’ve followed their advice for tent, skis, bindings etc and all worked well for a recent AK glacier camp. Thanks for such a great resource. Nothing else like it anywhere.

  7. Lou April 23rd, 2012 8:08 pm

    Hi Jim, thanks, happy to be of service. Lou

  8. Mark W April 23rd, 2012 9:35 pm

    Beautiful as usual. People who drone on about loving tree skiing should take note.

  9. Pete Anzalone April 24th, 2012 6:10 am

    Wow, you guys are killing it and killing me but in a good way.
    Glad it’s going so well. Keep them TRs coming!

  10. Lou April 24th, 2012 12:35 pm

    Thanks Pete, the trip went super well, we’re on our way back to US but have many more Trip Reports to file. What was excellent is even though we had some rainy “april wettter” days, we used those days for cultural stuff and office work, which gave the trip a nice rhythm. Our last tour was yesterday, it turned out quite nice in the Tirol, we’ll have a TR on that eventually, but first some other stuff has to get published. Lou

  11. Ian April 26th, 2012 7:04 pm

    The story I heard (from a Bavarian) about Otzi is that he must have come from northern Germany, as who else would have gone onto a glacier in their slippers.

  12. Susan April 27th, 2012 2:21 pm

    Anyone interested in Ötzi needs to go see him in the archeological museum in Bolzano, Italy. They have a terrific display there of Ötzi himself, plus all his accoutrements. Really great to see your pictures of where he was found, Lou.

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