Went to the Planai & had some fun at the Blue Tomato Girls Day, where we got the chance to get coached and work on our park skills. I was stoked because I learned how to ride a tube, which I hadn’t mastered before… all pics can be found here: https://www.superparkplanai.at/gallery/blue-tomato-girls-day-planai-2020-allpicsen/
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 ;)
you may know about me that i was an avid wakeboarder a few years ago. i even took part in some cable wakeboarding contests despite my quite novice status. and it was great fun and a wonderful experience.
goofing around before my run at the Corona Wakeboard Cup in Vienna in 2011
then somehow my interest in wakeboarding decreased. i was still using the same board since beginning to ride and due to the fact that we lived in vienna at that time, the viennese cable was the place i visited most to ride. it’s a nice cable with a relaxing surrounding, but there are only a few obstacles, which meant that i hardly got the chance to practice on obstacles. i could have learned the perfect raley there, but let’s face it – i’m too much of a wuss for that and not interested in taking hard falls :D
after moving to the countryside, i was even further away from the next cable and due to my old board, whenever i rode i had difficulties to slide all the way over a box and always thought it was solely my own fault. how wrong was i!
late last summer i borrowed the board of a friend and suddenly noticed how easy it was to master the slide over the whole box!
at the beginning of this year i decided to finally get myself a new setup. i found a good deal on a used setup and travelled to vienna to meet up with the woman selling it. it turned out that one of her co-workers was a wakeboard buddy of mine from my days in vienna.
she had bought the board last year, thinking she’d want to pick up wakeboarding, but then coming to the conclusion that she’d very much rather stick to kiteboarding.
that way, i got my hands on a good as new ronix quarter til midnight and ronix limelight bindings.
i had to wait a few months to try out my new treasures, but when i eventually hit the water, i was stoked.
the setup felt so much like “mine” and i got used to the new board quickly.
of course we had to go wakeboarding more frequently from then on and i’m very happy that i was able to make huge progress since then.
i especially enjoyed our trip to the newly opened Cable 7 Wakepark in Treviso in Italy. we joined the Pachers there for a few days.
we were allowed to camp next to the lake, where we had enough space to set up our hammock and slackline.
we were able to just chill in the hammock and watch other people ride the cable.
this is Cable 7 in Treviso – beautiful, right? :)
deluxe camping next to the lake
nowadays i’m doing my first tricks on sliders like boardslides or 180 offs, trying out new obstacles that i had never dared to ride before and i have overall gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities!
i’m beyond stoked on how much fun wakeboarding is again for me and can only recommend trying it out to everyone who is interested in it!
a good starting place are the Action Cats wakeboard camps or of course Fetzysworld!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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]
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.
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.
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 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.
i had big plans for this season. i wanted to work my way up in the Austrian Freeride Ranking. i wished to show my best riding in the contests of the season and hoped for great moments. i aimed to become a better rider and collect lots of experience. i signed up for more contests than in the last two years to be able to accomplish these dreams.
so how is the season coming along so far? well, it’s not looking too promising, honestly.
i have competed in four contests up until now, the FWQ* Hochkönig (replacement for the cancelled contest due to fog on the Hochkar – read my article on powderguide.com about that: http://www.powderguide.com/magazin/events/fwt/artikel/1-fwq-open-faces-hochkar-musste-leider-abgesagt-werden.html), the FWQ** Kappl (article on PG), the Pitztal Wildface (a race on time, counting as FWQ**) and the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.
while i had the chance to get to know other riders and new resorts, i wasn’t really successful in any of the contests. granted, i got better results pointwise than in the contests before this season, but i never made it into the top half of the results.
it’s hard to acknowledge these results as a sign of progression, so i started to get a little frustrated.
adding to the negative feelings were the bad conditions we face this winter in Austria. they aren’t so bad you can’t get in some great days in the mountains, in fact, i’ve had a wonderful vacation in January, a great powder day in Zauchensee with newly found friends Claudia Klobasa and Michael Holzmeier, a wonderful splitboard touring day on the Göller in Lower Austria, as well as our annual descent from the Kitzsteinhorn to Niedernsill, but it’s just not good enough for me to be able to have funny snow days in between contests. as you may know, i work as a Web Developer in Vienna, which means that i can’t simply hike up a mountain before or after work without being completely knackered. most weekends were contest weekends.
i tried to do my best, working out as much as possible and eating healthily, but due to all the travelling i have to do i hardly find time for recreational activities like for example my usual friday after work run in nature, which often helps me recharge my batteries.
i’m not complaining, because this is what i chose for myself to do, but it was simply a bit of an unlucky situation i was in.
to top it off, i’m having more colds this winter than i had in probably the last five winters together. i wasn’t feeling well in 2 out of 3 contests. how am i gonna show my best when i’m not feeling my best?
thankfully, the pages started to turn a little before the last contest, the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.
first off, i seeked advice from more experienced riders (thanks for your input, Manu!) and noticed that i had put too much pressure on myself and that i was eliminating the fun i usually have snowboarding this way.
secondly, i was in a good mood during the contest and i was very proud of myself that i managed the hike (really, the last part of it was more of a climb) to the start gate. it was also my first 3-star competition ever and i was happy that i had made it onto the starting list. i had a good time and enjoyed chatting with people, especially Caroline Mølgaard Onarheim (check out the blog she and her friend Mikaela Hollsten run!), who’s doing a winter season at the Arlberg.
i still have 2 contests ahead of me, the FWQ** Big Mountain Goldeck and the FWQ*** X-Over Kitzsteinhorn.
i have no idea how the rest of the contest season will unfold for me, but i’ll keep on trying my best. the contest season will be over at the end of march, and i hope that we can score some nice days touring and freeriding out in the wild until the snow fades away.
some pics from the contests so far:
starting my run at Hochkönig
chatting with Holzi after our runs
somehow my head looks funny in this pic!
highfivin Janine Quaas
SB Women Podium Hochkönig
SB Women Podium Hochkönig
the Contest Face in Kappl
waiting in Kappl and dreaming about a hot sauna
Roman throwing down in Kappl
hiking up to the Mittagskogel for the face check at the Pitztal Wildface
Pitztal Wildface face check Mittagskogel – we have survived ;)
FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon – the climb up to the start
pic by skyhot
on saturday, roman and me packed our bags and headed west, as roman had a gig at the winter opening in wagrain. when we arrived there, all the slopes were still green. a few hours later, a soft but constant snowfall set in, which continued over the weekend.
roman mixed the opening act (lemo, go check them out) and we all enjoyed a nice evening together.
as we had already checked the weather forecast and webcams of the region beforehand, we were prepared to travel further west on sunday to find some freshies.
after breakfast, we jumped into the car and off we went to tyrol. at first we were a bit undecisive about where to go, our options were hintertux, stubai or sölden. in the end, we decided to go to the stubai glacier.
we were expecting to do warm up runs on the slopes, with nearly no snow offpiste.
luckily, we were wrong.
when we arrived, we immediately bought tickets and took the gondola upwards.
we were welcomed by enough snow to do our first turns of the season.
it still snowed lightly, with the most perfect snowflakes i have ever seen.
in the evening, it was time for pizza and sauna.
on monday, enough snow had accumulated to ride offpiste without collecting coreshots. i lost track of the number of runs we did, but it was a whole lot.
we rode until our legs were properly done and the lifts closed.
tuesday came around the corner and we dragged our exhausted bodies onto the glacier once more.
at first, the weather seemed to turn out a little better than during the last days, providing us with better vision, but in the afternoon, it was time for the total whiteout.
i may need to get a better goggle glass ;)
we quit at 3pm, gave our tickets back (boohoo :/) and then hit the motorway.
next up – splitboard touring in lower austria on the weekend. hopefully.
in january it’s time for the motherland anniversary camp and after that, the contest season will be in full swing.
i’m looking forward to the competitions, meeting fellow contestants again, improving my riding and collecting points.
also a highlight this winter – the kripp girls camp with melissa presslaber.
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
- 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.
i recently took part in an online competition where the grand prize was a year long full membership at the DANUBESURFER homebase in vienna and one free ride behind the wakesurf boat. somehow i was lucky and won the competition.
on the 13th of july, i visited the DANUBESURFER homebase to claim my prize.
the weather was great, so were our moods and wakesurfing was awesome once again!
-> here’s a report about that!
the DANUBESURFER crew has set up a really nice place to hang out and relax near the danube for all the wakesurfers, so visit the DANUBESURFER homebase near the marina in vienna (U2 Donaumarina for the public transport crew, and there are also enough parking lots nearby if you need to come by car) and check the waves there!