Austrian Ski Tour — Kleiner Beil, 2197 m

Post by blogger | January 28, 2013      

We can’t let trip reports from our recent (early January) European travels fall through the seams of the Outdoor Retailer convention center carpet. Publish too many gear reviews — you could forget what the gear is actually used for! So here we go with another day of Austrian fun. (More OR gear stuff coming, trust us.)

Powder katz

A Tirolean powder cat sizes up the American powder hounds.

Powder! I skied 3 weeks of cold smoke in Canada over Christmas and now I am in the Tirol floating through fluff. A dream? It’s so good it could be. Truth be told, the conditions in Austria this January aren’t quite as perfect as they were at Valhalla Mountain Touring, but I’m having tons of fun nonetheless. The reason must be the excellent equipment I’ve been using — the Dynafit One boot and the women’s Dynafit Manaslu. Game changers for me — I feel like I am on the top of my game, a sense of mastery that usually comes later in the season after I’ve had months of practice.

The Dynafit One (size 25) weighs in at 49 ounces per boot, putting them easily in the midweight class of AT boots. They are heavier than other boots I’ve used but stiffer and higher. The enhanced performance is well worth a few ounces. I’ve paired the One with women’s Dynafit Manaslu ski, length 171 (41 oz, 1164 g per ski) light enough to balance the load. The Manaslus worked well on Colorado corn last spring and I’ve looked forward to seeing how they’ll perform on more challenging snow. Something wider and more rockered might be good, but they sure go uphill nicely.

In the Dolomites, I found more challenging snow. We toured through wind affected snow — stuff I usually suffer through. While I still didn’t look like a World Cup racer, better control from my Dynafit One boots helped me cruise through the variable snow easier than ever. More importantly, at the end of the day my knees weren’t aching, a huge personal triumph since they’ve become sensitive with all the miles I’ve been racking up in the backcountry these past few years.

So, when our Tirolean friend, Erich, invited us on a tour, I was delighted to have another chance to ride my boards, regardless of what the conditions might be.


An hour walk on a farmer's road starts our day.


Our friend and Tirol native, Erich.

Myself and Lou, Erich is fit and easily gets up ahead for the photos.

Me and Lou. Erich is fit and easily gets ahead for photos.

Summit heroes

Summit hero shot, 2197 m, Erich, Lisa, Lou

Skiing down

Skiing down Kleiner Beil in lovely light powder.

Erich cruising

Erich shows us how to have fun in Austrian pow.


Tirolean village of Alpbach is nestled under the low clouds.

Lou launch

Lou catches an inch of air as he launches down the hill to the essential gasthaus.


Guess that wurst.

St. Johanner wurst or in Tirolean dialect, “Sainihånser,” are longer and thinner than Frankfurters. The sausages are prepared in boiling water and traditionally served with horse radish, mustard and bread. They are trumping pastries on this trip and are the perfect apres ski snack at the gasthaus. Lou still orders apfel strudel but the wurst is fast becoming a preference. A light Weissbier, a plate of Sainihanser mit brot, the sight of our ski tracks down to the deck, and all is bliss.

Farmers are proud of their wurst and boast theirs is the longest

Farmers are proud of their wurst and boast theirs is the longest.

alm house

Faulbaumgartalm. We love how beautifully the wood weathers on these old structures. This gasthaus is a particular favorite because it's basically a fixed up old farmhouse, only not too fixed up. Very funky compared to some of the over-done tourist attractions you can find in the Tirol.

The cooking is all done on this wood fired stove.

All the cooking is done on this wood fired stove.

A few gals from surrounding farms were taking a break. I could understand some of their jokes, but the accent was pretty heavy.

Two gals from a nearby farm skied over for an afternoon schnapps. I could understand most of their jokes despite their heavy accent.


The copper kettle for making cheese in the old days. An iron arm suspended the kettle above the fire and could swing the pot away from the fire to regulate the temperature during the cheese making process. The wooden bowls were used to skim the cream from the top of the batch.

Erich, Lou isn't sure how he got this shot, had something to do with the gasthaus beers or at least that's the theory

Erich. Lou isn't sure how he got this shot. Had something to do with the gasthaus beers or at least that's the theory

Powdercat or hutcat?

Is she guarding the powder or the hut?

Google Map below has Kleiner Beil marked with icon, look north and northwest for Inneralpbach starting point.

View Larger Map


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17 Responses to “Austrian Ski Tour — Kleiner Beil, 2197 m”

  1. rachi January 28th, 2013 11:10 am

    I would go to Zell am See :)! I’m from there and we got a lot of nice ski tours here. And the conditions on saturday where pretty nice (40cm powder).

  2. Pete Anzalone January 28th, 2013 11:12 am

    Terrific TR!

  3. Tom Gos January 28th, 2013 11:14 am

    I’m jealous. Enough said.

  4. Lisa Dawson January 28th, 2013 11:41 am

    Hi Pete! So psyched to see it snowing in our home mountains today. Bet you’re having fun skiing with your little ripper son.

  5. SquishRT January 28th, 2013 11:52 am

    Great TR Lisa, I for one am always happy to read about what’s being eaten after the days ski. Love the old copper cheese making pot, and the gasthaus looks perfect. Glad to hear your knees are feeling up to it all too.

  6. Lisa Dawson January 28th, 2013 12:42 pm

    SquishRT — Lou says wurst and Tirolean cheese helps lubricate the knees. Perhaps he’s right.

  7. Matt January 28th, 2013 12:48 pm

    My wife loves her new Dynafit boots too and now she’ll want to ski them in Austria too. For the wurst, I guess I’ll take her.

  8. Lukas January 28th, 2013 1:21 pm

    Hey Lou,

    you are in Tirol right now?
    A few months ago i sent you an email. I’m living in Sellrain valley. If you want to, we can go on a ski tour together.
    in Tirol it’s a Würstl, the Germans say “wurst” 😉

    best regards,

  9. Rob S January 28th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the TR, Lisa! Gear, technique, etc are all very important, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the food! 😉

  10. Lou Dawson January 28th, 2013 1:34 pm

    Hi Lukas, we’re back in US now, but if we get over there again I’ll drop you a line.

    Wurstl it is! But, we have some German heritage as well going on here so it’s wurst too!

    Oh, and I thought wurstl was just the smaller diameter wurst.

  11. Jailhouse Hopkins January 28th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Someone seems to be on DPS a lot lately! Resistance is futile!

  12. Lou Dawson January 28th, 2013 3:06 pm

    Jailhouse, they’re the only pair of skis I brought with me traveling! Rest assured, we have another Ultimate Quiver in the works and I _will_ be out on some other planks. Lou

  13. David B January 28th, 2013 4:21 pm

    I noticed those Wailer 99’s as well.

    They are fun aren’t they Lou.

  14. Barry January 28th, 2013 6:19 pm
  15. Joan January 29th, 2013 2:29 am

    I was in the region on Sunday! Wildschönau valley (if you zoom out, valley to the right) skinning the Lämpersberger. It was a nice sunny day, without that powder though…

    Does anyone know any way i could visit he ISPO being only an huge skiing fan?


  16. Wookie1974 January 29th, 2013 6:19 am

    Joan –

    Talk to your friends in the industry. They get lots of passes and will often hand them out to pals.If you live in Munich or the area, you can often help them out in some way to justify your mooch. The big companies have people for everything, of course,but smaller outfits might need a knowledgeable friend to answer questions or just to help set up and serve coffee.
    I often wonder at people’s massive desire to go to the show though. The after-parties are great, mostly, but in the end, its just a huge trade show. The cool stuff you saw there won’t be available to buy until next season, and when it is, you’ll see it in the shops anyway. Lou is doing interviews and working, it makes sense for him – but for non-tradesmen? it can be a place to meet some of your idols – if you’re into that.
    Go skiing instead. During the show, the hard-core of the business is all cooped up inside. More pow for us!

  17. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 7:08 am

    Wookie and Joan, exactly, these are B-to-B shows. If you’re a fan of the ski business you’ll enjoy them no matter what, but if you’re going as a tourist just for fun it would get old fast unless you’re a total gear geek. We talk it up because that’s where we are and what we’re doing, and as Wookie says, we work hard, I mean really hard. Appointments all day long, private interviews, walking around on concrete for hours on end. It’s totally worth it for us as blogger journalists but I’d question how long a tourist would want to stick around, again unless they’re way into the gear scene.

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