First winter camping fun trip for this season

Last weekend, we finally made it to the mountains with Burli! We met up with our friends “Pacher’s on tour” (check them out on Instagram, Facebook and visit their website!) for some winter camping days. First, we visited the Gemeindealpe in Lower Austria (or, as us Lower Austrians call it, the “Gmoa Oim”) where we did some fun laps and enjoyed the view to the Ötscher, one of the most characteristic and highest mountains in Lower Austria.

Stephanie Jagl-Posch in front of a view of the Ötscher in Lower Austria
The Ötscher is incredible!

After that, we continued our trip to the Planneralm, which is always a safe bet for a good amount of natural snow. We have visited this rather small resort a lot of times already, because we dig the fact that they only have natural snow on the slopes. Also, the feeling up there is very raw and rural – after all day skiing guests have left and the lights in the few houses up there are on, it feels like winter wonderland straight from some kitschy fairy tale. Besides of riding on the slopes, the resort also offers a freeride area and out of bounds lots of terrain for freeriding and touring is available.

We indulged in snowboarding in the resort, freeriding, a splitboard tour up the Karlspitze and also went ninepin bowling – my first time, so far, I have only played tenpin bowling. Ninepin bowling was much harder for some reason, haha.
Then, the Pacher’s left in direction of Fetzy’s World for some ice bathing and running through fire (yes, the Pacher’s ARE a bit wild ;)), whereas Roman and I went for the softer version and visited the Grimming Therme for a decent after-ride-chill.

Roman Jagl walking in a snowy forest on his splitboard
Roman hiking towards Karlspitze on his splitboard.

A wintertime view of the Planneralm
Looking back towards the Planneralm ski resort on our way to the Karlspitze.

Winter 2016/2017 in review

this winter imposed a special challenge onto me. i will try to make a long story short.
in september, my husband and shredbuddy Roman tore the patella ligament in his right knee while stepping out of our camper in France. we were lucky that the campsite was situated closely to a hospital specialized in chirurgical surgery, where Roman could undergo surgery the day after his accident. thanks to the professional care in this hospital, we were able to leave France and head home two days after the accident, which was only possible because our camper has enough space to prop up ones leg while still being correctly belted.
of course, i was the designated driver for all those kilometers home, which was strenuous, but i was just so happy about the possibility of getting closer to home and our families that i pushed on until we reached Austria 2 days later.
although the healing process had been going very well, Roman was not ready to hit the mountains again. thankfully, Roman is not the only person that i knew would like my company during a splitboard tour or freeriding, but it makes things a bit more complicated if your planning efforts aren’t just like “tour?” “yep” (of course we do plan all our off-piste endeavours much more in detail, i’m only cutting a corner for the sake of an entertaining story).
the second special thing about this winter were the temperatures and the ost-stau. most of the time, we have nord-stau in Austria, meaning that regions from Dachstein on west-ward will get a lot of snow on their northern side, and that Lower Austria (where i’m situated) won’t get as much snow.
i’m very grateful that the weather decided to flow over to us from Russia, bringing us snowfall and temperatures of about -15 degrees celsius for quite some weeks in january.
the snow was meant to stay this time! :)
this allowed for lots of splitboard and snowboard trips in the eastern alps. i really enjoyed spending time with friends in the mountains, increasing the number in my shred counter.


i also took part in two contests this winter, the FWQ* Hochkar and the FWQ** Gastein. i was planning on entering the FWQ** Goldeck and the FWQ*** X Over Kitzsteinhorn, but sadly due to lacking snowpack, Goldeck got cancelled and i couldn’t collect enough points to make it into the FWQ***.
i was able to take home the 2nd place at the FWQ* Hochkar and landed on the 5th place at the FWQ** Gastein. my focus this year was on selecting a line during the facecheck, imagining how it will look like from above and then finding the line as well as incorporating a few jumps.
it might sound like an easy task to ride down a hill, but in a contest it’s really something different. you will have to take the conditions as they are, keep your senses together even tough you’re nervous, look out for landmarks where you have to turn right for example, keep up your speed, watch your riding style and on top of that, throw in some jumps, ideally with tricks.
while i was happy with both my contestruns, i know i could have stepped it up speedwise in Gastein. i got a lot better at remembering my line, setting myself up for jumps and landing them safely, next i want to work on improving my speed.
still, miracoulosly, my ranking in the Austrian Freeride Series this season is better than ever (i placed 6th). i have to say that this fact helps me keep my motivation. i wanted to quit contest riding after the last season, but this season it was a perfect way of collecting experiences for me and i have enjoyed it a lot more than last season.
we have had temperatures above 20 degrees on some days now, it felt nearly like summer already, but last week we had an unusual amount of snowfall in the eastern alps…
we’ll see if the season is really over for me now or if we might be able to smuggle in one more day of riding/touring in this prolonged winter.
thanks to all the friends that i was lucky enough to ride with, to the Open Faces crew for organizing these amazing contests and to my sponsors PIEPS and Julbo Eyewear for supporting me!
 
—- UPDATE —-
i was hoping to squeeze in maybe one last winter adventure for the season in may, but had a bit of bad luck and broke my middle finger at the beginning of our holiday in may. this meant that i could focus on bettering my stamina with lots of walking, running and hiking, but no splitboarding adventures, no climbing, no sauna…
my finger has nearly healed completely in the mean time and i can’t wait to put it to good use soon again ;)

Autumn weekend fun.

Recently, I’ve spent as much time outdoors as I could, to soak up the last warm sunrays. It’s already noticeable that autumn and winter are around the corner and as much as I love winter (all seasons, really), the lightness of living in the warmer months of the year has a certain feeling to it that I really enjoy.
On a sunny september saturday, Roman and I went to a climbing spot near Scheibbs, where I layed out my bouldering mat and  tried to solve some rocky problems. I havn’t been climbing a lot lately, so it took some time to get used to it again, but after about an hour I nearly solved the problem I had chosen. Do you know that point during a climbing session, when you suddenly find the solution to mastering the chosen route, but your body just isn’t capable of climbing it anymore? Yeah. Still I felt a bit of success, even if it only was of the “hurrah, I haven’t unlearned it all”-type.
Photograph of Stephanie Jagl-Posch bouldering on a rock wall

Sunday was an early shift for me, because I had a hiking rendezvous with 3 friends. We met up at 7am and then headed towards the infamous Oistal near Gaming. Our plan for the day was a roundtrip hike leading to the peaks of Scheibe, Scheiblingstein and the Bärenleitenkogel. Together with a lot of other people we started our ascent, luckily only a few of them also wanted to do the whole tour, most only walked until the Scheibe.
View of the Mountain called Scheibe
…Hence the name “Scheibe” (which means “Disk”)

The view from the Scheibe down to the Lunzer See
This is the view from the Scheibe down to the Lunzer See.

It was a steep, sweaty ascent, followed by multiple descents and ascents in rocky terrain. After summit number three all of us were ready for a refreshing stop at the Herrenalm, which was closed, but where the hosts were kind enough to leave drinks cooled in the fountain for the hikers. Putting some money in the glass jar, we all picked a lemonade to restore our sugar balance.

Photograph of the Ötscher in Lower Austria
Looking over to the Ötscher in Lower Austria

A person hiking
Stef walking in green surroundings.

 
About 8 hours and 1100 meters in altitude difference after the start, we arrived at the parking lot again.
We were tired, but all the gorgeous views, delicate smells (I LOVE conifers!) and wonderful memories were totally worth it!
I’m in love with the seasons! <3

one weekend of path maintenance work with the Gebirgsverein

path maintenance at the Schneealm: hammering a pole into the ground
hammering a pole with marking into the ground

are you aware of all the work that has to be done to ensure safe paths in the mountains? do you know how much time has to be dedicated to refreshing markers and mounting signposts? are you informed about the people who take care of handrails alongside steep paths? well, i wasn’t, at least up until the first weekend of july 2016!
after years of splitboard touring, hiking, freeriding and some (easy) climbing in the alps, i decided it was time to give something back to the volunteers who generously donate their free time to ensure safe paths in the mountains for everyone to use free of cost.
in may, after getting inspired by an article about path maintenance, i contacted the Alpenverein to ask about possibilities to help out. i quickly got a reply, offering the chance of joining a team which takes care of the paths on and around the Schneealm in Styria. this sounded like a great opportunity to me – to be taken under the wings of experienced people, getting initiated into the vast field of knowhow around path maintenance.
although the weather was forecasted to be a bit capricious, i set out for Altenberg an der Rax in the morning of the 2nd of july 2016. i arrived at 10pm and met up with Otto from the Gebirgsverein Südwien-Mürzer-Oberland. after a short stop at my accomodation, the Lurgbauer-Villa, we quickly began our drive up the Schneealpe.
our first tasks were improving the mounting and cleaning some signs. we then moved on to the Kutatschhütte, which is a small shelter on the Schneealm. to ensure a welcoming hut experience for all visitors, we cleaned up a little, sweeping the floor, emptying the trash can and folding the blankets.
path maintenance at the Schneealm: sweeping the floor of the Kutatschhütte
sweeping the floor of the Kutatschhütte

then we continued our trip across the Schneealm plateau, stopping every few meters to either rectify existing posts with marking or to hammer new posts into the earth, to allow for good orientation even on foggy days. every post needs a bit of barbed wire wrapped around it to keep the cows which graze on the mountain pasture from playing with the posts. they love a good scratch just too much!
after a short break in one of the huts, we continued our work and repainted the letters on some signs. they get worn out by the weather so much that they need a bit of refreshment now and then.
path maintenance at the Schneealm: Otto repainting a sign
Otto repainting a sign

later on, we drove back down towards the valley and stopped at the Knappensteig. we ascended a short bit, carrying a cordless screwdriver and a cordless brushcutter to the path. we enhanced the mounting of a sign and then proceeded to mow the grass covering the path. since a lot of people like to use this path for trailrunning, we made sure to uncover the path as good as possible.
at 5pm, just before the thunderstorm, we ended our work day and i headed back to the Lurgbauer-Villa for a very relaxing night of sleep.
 
on sunday, the weather was not too friendly – grey clouds and rain greeted me in the morning. still, we had work to do and met up at 10am. this time, we were 4 people in total, since we were joined by Peter and Nikos.
we packed all of the needed equipment into the all-terrain car and drove up to the Nasskamm. at the end of the road, we noticed that a handrail had been partially destroyed, probably by an avalanche in late spring.
our first task for the day was found!
path maintenance at the Schneealm: picture of a handrail, that was broken and has been repaired by us
the handrail, before and after

we searched for the missing parts of the handrail and tried to figure out how they could possibly fit together. after getting a general idea of the situation, we started with pulling up one of the longer logs with assistance of a rope to the path over the steep slope. we hammered a shorter pole into the ground and Peter used the chainsaw to even out the ends of the longer log, so that they formed a flat surface to lie upon the tops of the vertical poles. after using long nails to fix the log, the first part of the handrail had been restored successfully.
the rain got more intense and we had to use a hoe a few times to chop steps into the steep, slippery path between working on the handrail. after about 2 hours, we were done with repairing the handrail.
luckily, the weather had gotten better again, so we grabbed spar varnish in red and white, a sledge hammer as well as a chainsaw and started a 20 minute hike upwards to a meadow. orientation in the fog would be a problem here, since the marking on the trees had already faded out too much and the posts with marking were too far away from each other. so we started enhancing the situation. Nikos and Peter added posts and cut away some branches to reveal the paint marking, Otto and I refreshed the spar varnish on the trees.
path maintenance at the Schneealm: Nikos is mowing the lawn in the mountains
Nikos mowing the lawn in the mountains ;)

path maintenance at the Schneealm: using a brushcutter to uncover poles with marking
uncovering poles with a brushcutter

after this, we took a short break and then proceeded to the last place of action of the day, a path further down the mountain. we followed the path by foot, added posts with marking and cut away the grass around all posts.
when we reached the car again, we packed all equipment into the trunk and headed back down to the valley, where we ended the day at the Altenbergerhof.
 
although I was tired after two days of work, I was very happy that I decided to take part in this project! especially the hard work on sunday was great, because you could see the results directly afterwards. I was able to learn a lot and I was not aware of all the work that needs to be put into maintaining a safe network of paths.
my goal is to keep participating in these missions to learn enough so that I can contribute on my own in an area near to my home one day.
 
-> info on path maintenance and volunteering at the Alpenverein website
-> German version of the article on powderguide.com

fwq*** x over kitzsteinhorn 2016

on the 18th of march, we packed our gear into our camper and headed west to kaprun. at half past six we dropped into the baumbar to sign up for the fwq*** x over at the kitzsteinhorn.
we ran into many familiar faces and it was really nice to see everybody again. after the cancellation of the fwq** in kappl due to high avalanche risk the fwq*** x over was the first contest of the season for us.
roman still was on the waiting list for the contest at the time and we both hoped that he would be able to make it onto the starting list. it looked bad at first, but then a phonecall brought the change – one of the riders on the starting list wasn’t able to come, so roman was given a starting place and a bib number. he was going to drop in as number 46, whereas i had gotten number 16.
needless to say, we both were very cheerful.
we left the bar shortly after and quickly hit up a supermarket to shop for much needed alimentation.
then we found a good parking spot for our camper and called it a day, after discussing our lines for the contest.
after a night with only a bit of sleep we met up with the others at the gondola at 7am. the sun was already shining when we arrived at the public area to check out the contest face.
the start of the contest was postponed for a few minutes at the riders meeting to allow the crusty surface soften up a bit in the sun.

X OVER 16 - a group of freeriders perfoming a face check from the judges table. Pic by Daniel Roos.
perfoming the face check from the judges table. Pic by Daniel Roos.

shortly after the face check, we took the second gletscherjet gondola up to the alpine center and started our traverse and hike up to the start of the contest.
i really enjoyed the hike a lot – i didn’t have a lot of chances this winter to hike / bootpack or go on a splitboard tour, so it was a very welcome change for me to finally be able to move upwards powered by my two legs.
 
 
X OVER 16 - pic of Stephanie Jagl-Posch during the hike up to the start. Pic by Freezing Motions.
during the hike up to the start. Pic by Freezing Motions.

 
X OVER 16 - on the hike up.
on the hike up.

the tension rose while we waited for our turns at the start. somehow i felt a bit more nervous than usually. i watched rider after rider drop in and swoosh away through the soft-looking powder and my urge to cruise down the face got bigger every minute.
X OVER 16 - the view from above - looking pretty good!
the view from above – conditions looking pretty good!

then it was my turn! i strapped in, nearly got a cramp in my left leg, and then it was time to ride! i rode the upper part pretty quickly, jumping over two bumps. i tried to find my way into the couloir i had chosen, but got a bit lost and then had to traverse a bit to get to the right entrance.
i was rather happy with my riding in the steeper bottom part of the face. i had two hand drags, but nothing serious.
when i crossed the finish line, i was stoked and a bit exhausted, due to the cold i was suffering from at that time.
i exchanged experiences with the other riders who were waiting in the finish area for the other women and then moved to the viewer area.
a short time afterwards the results of the snowboard women category was shown on the big screen. i have to admit i was a bit bummed to find out that i had gotten second to last.
i didn’t understand the result at first, as i hadn’t crashed and felt pretty good about my run.
when we talked to the snowboard head judge after the contest, he filled me in that the cause for my bad placement had been the traversing i did in the middle section.
well, too bad. it still was a very enjoyable ride!
about an hour after my run, it was time for roman to drop in. he rode smoothly and safe, which secured him the 6th place in the end.
we continued to watch the whole contest and were able to witness some spectacular and inspiring runs, as well as getting our goggle tan on ;)
we went to eat lunch after the end of the contest and then came back for the prize giving ceremony.
X OVER 2016 - pic of the girls who made it onto the podium. Pic by Freezing Motions.
congrats to the girls who made it onto the podium: Manuela Mandl won snowboard women, Chevy Challis came in second, Mara Neumayr scored third; Stefanie Noppinger won the ski women category, Verena Fendl came in second and – not on the picture – Tijn Vuijk came in third. Pic by Freezing Motions.

after the prize giving, khantu suggested that we should put the rest of our day pass to use and go ride.
this was nearly the best part of the day – we hiked up to the womens start of the fwq* contest from 2014, everyone picked a point to drop in and then we were able to carve turns into an untouched field.
the view was nice up there, our mood was fine and we indulged in the few slushy powder turns we were able to make.
here are some pics to show you what i mean :D
can't buy happiness, but can hike up to ride an untracked field.
can’t buy happiness, but can hike up to ride an untracked field.

 
hiking and riding after the contest.
hiking and riding after the contest.

 
roman cheering, khantu strapping in.
roman cheering, khantu strapping in.

 
khantu riding the untracked field.
khantu riding the untracked field.

 
roman turning a lot more than usually.
roman turning a lot more than usually.

 
with this good feeling we left the kitzsteinhorn, checked into a camping site with sauna and then fell into our bed where we slept like babies.
 
gotta keep the burli clean!
at home: gotta keep the burli clean!

tauplitzpow16 edit

last weekend, we decided to venture out on a short trip to the tauplitz, where the snow forecast had predicted about 40cm of fresh snow. coincidentally, we met two riding buddies of ours there, mat and oli, and so we enjoyed two days of riding in a group of four snow hungry friends.
the question of the weekend that caused some fiery discussions between mat and oli: does riding hellbents make you unlearn how to ski? what do you think? post your opinion below! ;)
[vimeo 152908204 w=700 h=393]

tauplitzpow16 from Stephanie Jagl-Posch on Vimeo.

travelling birds.

burli
since july, roman, his parents and i are the proud owners of a campervan.
we didn’t make the decision light-heartedly, roman and i had been thinking about it for a long time. pondering about the costs, the endowment we would like to have, the maximum age and kilometers we would accept and the downsides of travelling in a camper as well as the financial commitment involved.
we had already been on a few camping trips and since we overall mostly liked the experience, we decided to start searching for a campervan after romans parents agreed to also invest in the camper, so they can use it as well.
the search ultimately started in may and it took us until late june to finally find a nice vehicle. campervans are very requested, so you have to be fast to score a good one.
we found “burli” (the name the previous owners gave the campervan) at a local camper shop, we checked it out on the same day and agreed to buy it the next day.
it was a quick decision and so far i can only say it was a good one.
burli is about 12 years old but in very good shape, on the inside as well as on the exterior.
we upgraded the camper with a solar panel to supply us with enough power to be able to spend a remote night.
luckily, the camper already came with a built-in ski storage including a drain, as well as with a bike rack.
we have already travelled with burli, visiting friends and family, and went for a 3-week-surftrip to france, spain and portugal. read more about that in the next blog post!
so far, it’s a dream come true for us and we cannot wait to go on many more adventures.

going steep

on monday, i took the day off work to have the chance for some spring splitboarding and new experiences.

we went down south across lower austria to reach the border of styria and parked our car near the small town of niederalpl. no one else was around, and we took off to a lonely tour up the rodel, a wellknown skitouring route, often-times flooded with people.

IMG_8720

the normal route leads over a small ladder and then up to the veitsch, but we turned right before that ladder to reach the bottom of the east facing walls of the großer wildkamm, as we had a different mission in mind.

IMG_8721

we changed from splitboard to crampons, mounted the boards on our packs, put our helmets on and then started the hike up the wide couloir.

i have participated in a course on how to use crampons and ice axe correctly (rock and the ice camp by Die Bergstation), but so far had never used my crampons during a real tour.

i had quite some respect mixed with a slight feeling of fear when we approached the start of the hike, but i immediately noticed again how well crampons hold onto a hard, slightly icy surface. roman went first and broke the trail for me. i was very thankful for that, this way, i didn’t have to focus on much else than following his steps and maybe looking up from time to time to avoid being hit by snow or rocks falling down. no need to scout the best line to climb, i knew i could trust him. this was a huge relief for me, because i can blend out my fear of heights better when i have something to stupidely focus on.

the steeper parts were actually easier to climb, because the footsteps are supported by more snow underneath and you can rest your legs a little. it gets tough to climb for about 45 minutes solely standing on your toes.

exhaustion kicked in when we were about half way up, but hearing that we had already made it to the upper half of the climb motivated me enough to keep pushing it.

we had to traverse to the right to get out of the couloir and i was nearly done with my nerves there. i was fueled by the thought that we’d be on top of the mountain in a few minutes and quickly made my way to the right.

when we reached the flatter part near the summit, i was overwhelmingly happy, surrounded by a feeling of safeness, thankfulness and pride. it was only a few steps more to the summit, so we left our equiment there for the last meters.

as we stood on the summit, i was so emotional i couldn’t prevent a few tears from running down.

we made an entry in the summit book (and found an old entry from the G and roman, “wos brauch i tirol” ;)) and then quickly went back to our little ski depot, where we took off the crampons, had a little bite to eat and something to drink and put our boards back into ride mode.

roman drew the first line and then i followed. the snow was perfect – not too hard anymore and not yet too soft and slow.

it was an awesome cruise down. i even tried a bit of McNab’s riding technique advice (great article, read it here), finishing one turn completely before starting the next one and it really made my turns more balanced and soft.

from the bottom of the couloir on, the snow was very warm already, making it a lot more exhausting to ride, but we had fun nonetheless. the last bit through the forest was a tad bit strenuous, but i still enjoyed it with every pore.

maybe this was our last splitboarding trip this year. maybe not. anyhow, it was a perfect day, crossing over the border of my comfort zone a bit and still feeling confident.

i’m very happy that i was able to achieve something i had never done before. it feels good to see signs of development and improvement.

thanks Roman for being my guide!Foto 1-1 Foto 2-1 Foto 3 Foto 4 Foto 5

Winter Inauguration 2015.

to celebrate the newborn winter season 2014/2015, Roman and I went on a 9 day pow searching mission in Austria from friday, the 2nd january 2015 on.
our powder in the east (PIE) buddy G. came over and we hit the road to Salzburg together.
we met up with a group of PIE members in Großarl in the evening and made plans for the next day.
saturday morning, we started our first tour and hiked up to the Penkkopf, one of the most visited mountaintops in the Großarl region. Roman and I had already been up there before, so we knew that this tour was perfect as a starter. first you start out pretty mellow with a long hike along a shallow path through a dreamy winter wonderland, then the track steepens for the last hour or so until you reach the flat peak. from there, you have a great view all around, from Großarl to Kleinarl, which lies on the other side of the mountain.
after a short break on the mountaintop, we had a fun ride down. the snow conditions were pretty good, we had enough snow to ride without the risk of hitting rocks or trees situated underneath the snow and even found some entertaining pillows and small jumps.
View from the Penkkopf
view from the summit of Penkkopf.
on sunday, the weather had gone bad, with limited view, snowfall and lots of wind. we decided to play it safe and ride the slopes of Großarl.
as we all hadn’t had the chance to ride a lot prior to this trip, it was a great opportunity to get used to riding again. luckily, after several years of snowboarding, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it again. i have to say, i really noticed how much my riding has improved during the last winter season. i’m very thankful for that. seems like the bad conditions were useful after all!
we played around, explored the fresh snow next to the slopes and had a surprisingly awesome day.
on monday, it was time to say goodbye to the PIE group and Großarl. Roman and I hopped into the car and headed over to Obertauern, where we were able to stay at Hotel Leitner (nice place directly at the slopes, with breakfast buffet and sauna – check it out if you seek accommodation in Obertauern!).
we met up with F., a friend of G., and plowed through the fresh snow next to the slopes. the view was still limited, so we stuck to humble tree runs but still had a great time.
Sunrise in Obertauern
good morning, Obertauern!
tuesday was the first day with sunny weather and fresh pow, as well as a national holiday, which meant that lots of people came to the resort and ventured into the backcountry. we decided to stay on the safe side (after all, we still had an avalanche risk of 3 out of 5) and first warmed up next to the slopes. we hit some drops, did some turns and after about an hour, decided to explore some of the safer routes out of bounds.
i have to say, i’m not one who chases first lines, i’m more of a safety lover. i’d rather be safe and maybe ride a slope where there’s already some tracks inside, than go out of my way to be the first to ride somewhere.
there will be times when the conditions will be just right anyways and then i will be able to truly enjoy drawing first lines.
still, we had no problem finding paths to ride that were enjoyable, occasionally scoring face shots as well as dropping and jumping around.
on wednesday we pulled out our touring gear and went on a hike to the Große Kesselspitze, which lies next to the resort of Obertauern, but can’t be accessed by the lifts.
the weather felt like spring (oh no, not again, just like last winter! ;)) as we walked through a lovely forest and then spitzkehred our way up to the top. the last few meters to the summit have to be climbed, so we left our equipment at the ski depot to check out the view on this sunny day.
we met a few other ski touring folks and talked to them about the possible descent on the south facing slope. originally, we had planned to ride down the ascent route as a safety measure, but since the snow seemed to be good, we decided to follow the tracks of the other guys.
it was a great idea and a memorable descent!
On top of the Große Kesselspitze
Roman checking the view on the summit of the Große Kesselspitze.
The rocky path up to the Summit of Große Kesselspitze
a look back to the rocky path up to the Summit.
A look back on the descent of Große Kesselspitze
this was our lovely way down!
 
thursday was our planned travel and chill day. Roman wanted to try out a new binding, so we went to the Blue Tomato test center in Obertauern, where he received a now! binding to test.
as we stood around in the shop, M., one of the shop dudes, asked if we were interested in giving him company for a short freeride intermezzo. we shortly discussed if this sounded like a good idea or not (after all, knees were sore and a freeride camp was coming up) but then made up our minds and told M. that we were going to join him.
in the mean time, his shred buddy B. had arrived and we headed up to the chair lift together.
after two warm up runs, we started to hike towards the Seekarspitze. after about 30 minutes, we reached our destination and each of us found an individual spot to drop in. my route was steep at the top and i couldn’t clearly see if there were rocks beneath me, so i decided to head to the left after dropping in, to ride around that overhanging part. snow was good and we all had a good time cruising down.
afterwards, we said goodbye and headed back to the shop, where Roman finally bought the bindings.
shortly after his purchase, we drove to Bad Mitterndorf and checked into our apartment. the rest of the day was spent relaxing, in the evening we visited Steph from Die Bergstation for a chat and a Zirbenschnaps.
I ho Hoamweh noch BA
Mitterndorf, here we come!
friday morning meant the start of yet another freeride day, only this time not on our own but with a group of lovely, funny people, most of them already familiar faces, as we were part of the motherland anniversary camp.
happy campers cruised and hiked, and faster than we could point out shit, the day was over.
everybody seemed sore but satisfied.
Mitterndorf Sunset.
the sun setting like crazy over Bad Mitterndorf.
during the night, it started to pour down like crazy. on saturday, a lot of the snow in town had melted or been washed away. also, it was very stormy, so much that all the lifts were closed.
Steph and Markus, our guides, let us decide if we wanted to go ride the slopes of Riesneralm or do an avy training.
we all preferred to work on our avalanche rescue skills, and so we went up to the Schönialm by car, where we first got served hot drinks by the friendly Schönialm staff, although it was their day off – thanks again!
the guide team explained the proper process when solving an avalanche accident and then we went outside to work on our practical skills. we split up in two groups, got tips on our shoveling technique and then hid a few avalanche transceivers and backpacks for the other group to search.
our guides played eye witnesses who had just seen a group of people go down with an avalanche. and they did it very well – Steph pretended to be totally devastated and in panic, we hardly were able to get out any info from him and even needed to do a body check to find out if he was carrying an avalanche transceiver, which might interfere with our search.
as our group consisted of 4 people with 3 of us knowing each other pretty well, our rescue went fine and we finished solving the problem of multiple buried transceivers and probing for a backpack rather quickly. statistically, everyone could have survived, as we were finished in about 12 minutes, if i remember that correctly.
the result felt really good and i am sure that we were able to better our skills.
hopefully, we will never need to use our knowledge, but it’s good to feel prepared and able to help.
on sunday, we faced yet another slush day and roman and i decided to skip riding and go home instead.
we had had a great week of riding and felt no need in fighting with wet, heavy snow. our thighs agreed ;)
 
Going Home sad.
going home – happy because of the great days we had, sad that the weather wasn’t on our side for the last day.
 
tomorrow it’s time for the first FWQ contest of the season at the Hochkar in Lower Austria, wish me luck!

i’d rather surf – in fuerteventura.

on the 4th of september, we had an early start into the day at 3am. while it was dark, we drove to the airport to catch our flights, first to madrid and then to fuerteventura. the target of our trip was corralejo, a small town in the north of the island, well-known as a place for vacations in a never ending summer. the temperatures hardly ever drop below 20 degrees and it only rains on about 20 days a year. this is also the reason why there’s only a minimal amount of plantation, making a big part of the island look like the sahara or how one would imagine the surface of the moon.

i had wanted to go to fuerteventura even before i started surfing, so when i got the invitation to come visit the planet surf camp on the island, i didn’t need to think about it for long. for sure i was going!
and there we were, rolling our hand luggage towards the gate at the airport. we both had managed to fit a long, thick wetsuit as well as booties and the most necessary clothing into small suitcases, so we were able to save a bit of money for the flight.
after two flights, we safely arrived at the airport in fuerteventura and caught the bus number 3 to puerto del rosario. there, we changed buses at the estacion del guaguas (terminal autobus station) and went to corralejo with bus number 6.
we didn’t know the right station to get off the bus, so we had to walk about one kilometer to the surfcamp, but arrived happily in the end.

Foto 1
a part of the outdoor area at the surf house.

at the surfcamp, we were greeted by Nina, one of the teamers at that time. she gave us all the info we needed about the camp and our room.
next, we went to check out the town and get something to eat and then hung out at the house for the rest of the day.

Foto 5
time to load up all the boards onto the vans!

on the next day, we had our first surf session at el cotillo, which is a long beach break. we joined the beginner group, so surf instructor olly could check our surf level. we luckily made it into the intermediate course for the next week, horray!

Foto 1aFoto 2a
surfing at el cotillo.

we spent the weekend surfing in el cotillo on our own. planet surf allows you to borrow surfboards which are not used by courses on the current day for free, which is a good opportunity to get more sessions in, especially on the weekends where the surf instructors have their well-deserved days off.

Foto 4
live the search ;)

during the next week, we had a surf session each day with instructor marco from italy and were able to check out different spots. on our last day, the waves were not good during our session in the morning, so olly thankfully squeezed us into another surf session in the afternoon so we could catch some waves before leaving.
besides surfing, we also went on a lot of walks into the town and we even hiked up the big volcano behind corralejo once.

vulkan
hiking to the top of the volcano.

if you want to go to fuerteventura to surf, i have some recommendations for you:

  • find out at home what bus lines you might need to reach your desired spots. there are no line numbers to be found at the bus stations.
  • you are allowed to put surfboards into the baggage compartment of the buses, just make sure they don’t get damaged. if you give the bus driver a friendly wave after taking the surfboards out, he might even greet you goodbye with a honk. don’t be sad, only the little town train gets two honks! ;)
  • get your hands on a surf spot map. it should be available at the surf shops in town and includes info about the best conditions to ride at each spot as well as a tide timetable.
  • if you want to rent a car for surfing in corralejo, go to autos hernandez. the other companies don’t rent to surfers. the best idea might be to check where you can rent a car for surfing before starting your trip and maybe rent a car at the airport already.
  • to get to el cotillo: if you go by car, you can keep driving until you reach the last part of the beach with a long, steep stairset leading down from the parking lot.
  • if you go by bus (number 8 from the roundabout on the main street of corralejo), you can get off the bus at the first station directly after entering the town. it’s a 25 minute walk from there to the beach.
  • in case you want to spend a day just hanging out at the beach, you can walk to flag beach from corralejo, it will take you about half an hour and the sand beach there is a lot nicer than the rocky town beach. you will be able to see this beach when going to corralejo from the airport, it is next to the two big hotel buildings standing on their own shortly before corralejo.

some tips for vegans:

  • it might be good to know that there are hardly any savoury plant-based spreads available in corralejo. the spar in the big shopping center on the main street carries hummus, in hiperdinos you can get peanut butter chocolate spread and one vegan margarine. there’s a big variety of fruits and veggies available and some exotic fruits are even grown locally on the canaries like bananas and mangos. you should absolutely try those!
  • we found plenty of plant based milks in the supermarkets, even vegan yoghurt.
  • the best places to eat out were single fin (creative burgers, run by two friends from italy, with surfmovies being played on a screen outside the bar) and big wave (an italian restaurant with a huge variety of vegan toppings and nice waiters).
  • aside from single fin and big wave, you might be able to get vegan options at the mexican restaurant as well as the indian restaurants.

 
-> http://www.planetsurfcamps.com/