I know about three words of German, now a few more depending on how you count. We headed up to Wildschonau today, a mountain region near here that’s known for its abundance of good ski touring terrain. Wildschonau means something like a “wild beautiful moist meadow,” with the “au” being the meadow. At least that’s what I gather from my hosts. If I’m wrong, edit me.
|Your intrepid traveler getting the climb done. Notice the tips on those Dynafit Manaslu skis. “Wild,” eh? I was with Manfred Barthel today, the guy with about 60 years of experience touring in this area. He’s so interesting to go with, telling all sorts of stories about the years gone by, even tales from being a boy during WWII and watching American bombers trying to take out a bridge near his home (they missed).|
|The classic “alm,” or high pasture, you tour by all sorts of these in this region. Wildschonau is apparently crowded with thousands of randonne skiers when conditions are good. They were smart today and stayed away, leaving Manfred and I as the only two ski tourers we ever saw.
This of course begs the question: If Manfred and I have a century of combined ski touring experience, and no one else shows up, is this an example of guru like wisdom or plain stupidity?
I think we did okay in the intelligence department, as the snow was decent around timberline, and starting to firm-up lower down. More, we enjoyed ourselves and that’s what counts.
In all, today’s mucky foehnfunk was a perfect test for the wide boat-tip Manaslu skis. They did work quite well, and would obviously be a fine steed for any region in the world with much powder skiing or deep difficult snow.
|Funny how those WildSnow stickers keep turning up. This one at the top of our first highpoint. When we got here, it was obvious that the foehn had broken as the winds were now coming from the west instead of the south. That was nice to see, even though the weather was still quite warm, wet and windy.|
|The cross at the top of our second highpoint had this touching display of dried flowers. About the time I took this photo the freezing rain and sleet started pounding. Ho hum, at least it was a good gear test, and we did get in a few nice turns.|
|Reminded me of skiing somewhere wet and scrappy! For which the OR Tremor pants are designed. They worked, though eventually wet through at the knee where I’d been kneeling in mud at the trailhead. Real world testing?|
|And now, to officially begin the WildSnow Name that Pastry Contest: We begin with an easy one. Hint: it’s named after a town.|
Tomorrow we’re headed for the high Alps, Dachstein. Unfortunately the Simony Hut is closed for the Dynafit product launch due to avalanche danger etc., so we’re going to a lower hut on the northern side of the massif. That’s a bit of a disappointment as the higher hut looked like it would be a cool adventure travel situation. Even so, the lower hut looks good on the map and is said to have lots of snow. The place has internet, so I’ll be able to blog from there if everything works out. If not, I’ll ride the cable car down to town in a few days and post some things to keep our online momentum.
Thanks for visiting, everyone!
And remember, Name that Pastry!