SAACnd Step in Mayrhofen, Tirol

from february 26th until march 2nd, we stayed in ginzling near mayrhofen and took part in the SAACnd step camp there. the SAAC camps are avalanche awareness camps where you learn about avoiding avalanche dangers when freeriding. our guide for the week was Stephan Keck.
check out his book: Solo mit Familie – Abseits vom Normalweg

on sunday evening, we met up in a hotel in hippach for the first theory session. we decided, that on monday we would go freeriding in the mayrhofen resort for a start. we did lots of runs, until our quads burned.

in the evening, we had another theory session and planned the next day. for tuesday, we planned a tour to the flachspitze (am flach) from juns. since the weather and avalanche conditions were fine on tuesday, we were able to do our tour. the descend was really fun!

hiking up to the flachkogel

on wednesday, we wanted to make it up to the rastkogel, descend from there and then hike up to the rosskopf, but sadly, the weather was bad. the sight was very limited, so we decided on the rastkogel summit, that we would not continue our tour. we rode back down to the resort and spent the rest of the day with practising how to search for multiple avalanche victims.

trying to find an avalanche victim without an avalanche beacon, with the use of avalanche probes only, is hard and takes a lot of time! never go out without beacon, shovel and probe! that’s the only option if you want to be able to find your friends – and if you would like your friends to be able to find you!

thursday was a big day for us – we were going to do the hoher riffler in the hintertuxer glacier area. our first glacier tour and our first hike up onto a mountain over 3000 metres. i had set my alarm to 5.45 to make sure i would be on time. we met up at 8am and took the gondola to the tuxer fernerhaus. from there, we hiked for approximately 3 hours to get to the summit. the weather was wonderful, a bit too warm even, and we were able to enjoy the wonderful panoramic view from the summit.
the descend was really great, we went through the kleegrube and our ride ended at the top station of the gletscherbus 1.
we spent a bit of time at the sunny terrace there and then called it a day… at least we thought so. since roman and me had rented an apartment in ginzling, a small village in a narrow valley, we had to wait until 6.30pm until we were able to return to our place, due to the street being endangered by avalanches.

[vimeo 37909394 w=500 h=375]

a few impressions from our tour…

friday was our last day. we decided to try the tour from wednesday once again. this time, we made it to the rastkogel with no problems (except for me being scared of heights / falling). we met a group of guys from GO RIDE at the summit. GO RIDE is an organization that collects money for kids that got diagnosed with cancer and their families. they asked us to take a picture with them to help raise awareness and get more supporters for their project. of course we posed with them! afterwards, we started our descend into the valley. it was an amazing ride, although the snow was rather hard. when we got to the bottom, we put on the skins again and started the trip to the rosskopf. sadly, i was a bit too slow and didn’t make it to the second summit, nevertheless i enjoyed the ride down a lot.
we ended our tour by taking the gondola and chairlift from hochfuegen to kaltenbach, there we took a taxi back to mayrhofen. man, i was SO tired!

on top of the rastkogel with the GO RIDE crew!

it was time to say goodbye again! we had a great time in mayrhofen and have learned a lot during our stay.
i was really happy with myself that i was able to do 1 day of freeriding and 4 days of touring in a row without being completely messed up after two or three days already. still, i fell asleep in the car and didn’t wake up until 3 hours later ;)

now it seems that spring is on its way, we will see if we will be able to do some more trips in this season or if it’s already over for us… so far, it was a blast!
-> http://www.saac.at/

hiking and riding in salzburg

from january the 27th until the 29th, we moved into a flat in hüttschlag near grossarl in salzburg together with my sister anita. while she went cross country skiing to build up her stamina for her upcoming mountainbike races, roman and me did a tour each day.

on the 27th, we started off with the karlkogel. the weather was overcast but okay and we started the ascent in hüttschlag. it took us about 3 hours to get to the summit. we started the descent through a rather steep field with delicious powder, then we reached a bowl where we sadly took a wrong turn. we missed the wonderful route down to the valley and had to follow the ascent track back down instead. but nevertheless i was proud that i had mastered  my first tour with more than 1000 meters altitude difference.

 

 

on january 28th, the frauenkogel was our destination. the higher we got, the more we could peek through the clouds. underneath the summit, the snow had been blown away partly, leaving a hard, icy snow pack for us to hike on. i was a bit tired already when we got there, and so the short climb up to the summit meant a challenge for me. thankfully, roman helped me and carried my snowboard for me, i was anxious to say the least. stupid fear of heights ;)
when i finally stood atop the frauenkogel, i was glad that i had made it.

 

 

january 29th was our last day, so we had to pack up our stuff in the morning before heading to the penkkopf.
i have to say, this was the best tour during these 3 days. the weather was perfect, sunny and not too cold, the surroundings were astounding and the mountain was not crowded at all.
the route went through sparse forest terrain, with the snow sparkling in the sun. when we stood atop the mountain, we had the chance to have a proper break, re-assemble our equipment, change our clothes and eat a snack. i also left a note in the summit book.
the descent was simply wonderful with lots of untouched powder underneath our boards. we were gliding and floating, as if the snow was cotton candy.

getting ready for winter

hiking up the veitsch

in november, i visited some movie premieres and reviewed two of them for the gap – one was “The Art of Flight” by curt morgan, the other one was the freeski film festival in vienna.
i really enjoyed both nights. here is my review of “The Art of Flight” and here is the review of the freeski film festival.

also in november, i bought a splitboard including skins and crampons, aswell as a bivvy sac and new poles. i spent a lot of money on this setup, but after trying it out 3 times, i can already say that it was well worth it for sure. okay, i haven’t had to try out the bivvy sac so far, luckily ;)
i got the k2 panoramic in 158 cm. normally i ride a 148 jib board, so i was a bit anxious that it might be strange to ride a longer board, but – hell no – it felt pretty much just like the 148 k2 vavavoom that i own. also, i didn’t know if it would be stiffer or noodlier than my jib board, being split in the middle and all, but actually it’s a bit more stable… with less pop of course, but more float aswell :)

i’m very happy with my choice and i’m looking forward to touring a lot with it. so far, we hiked a bit in october, where we spent 2 days on the kitzsteinhorn, to get a feeling for our equipment and check out how it all works and how it works best. we also hiked up the veitsch (styria, nearly 2000 metres) and enjoyed knee deep powder there aswell.

hiking up the veitsch
on the veitsch i also got my first core-shot… haha, didn’t take as long to happen as i thought it would. i went over a rock, thought “oh, a shark”, but i didn’t think it was that serious because i didn’t fall or hit the rock really hard. when i checked out the base of my board at the parking lot at the end of the day, i had to notice that the rock had scratched through the base and that the core was visible.

but since i visited a wax workshop recently, i know a lot more about repairing and servicing boards. we repaired & serviced our boards today, which means, we’re all set for hiking tomorrow and on tuesday.
we have not decided which mountain we are going to pay a visit to, we will have to check out some conditions reports first, but i’m sure we’ll find something in the lower austrian / styrian alps.

i’ll keep you updated! so long, farewell!

hike2ride hochkar, 13.03.2011

on sunday, we decided that we would try to find decent snow somewhere near our home.
since we knew that the conditions were pretty bad in the semmering region, we thought that our only option would be to drive to the west and try our luck at the hochkar.

when we arrived, we were sceptical if that was a good idea – down in the valley everything was green (well, brown) already. i was already pretty bummed, but we still wanted to see for ourselves if there was enough snow for a small tour or not.
so we went up to the top of the leckerplan chairlift and checked out the schmalzmauer from there… it looked pretty okay, so we repacked our stuff and started to hike.

hochkar
hiking…

we hiked along the ridge, where we were able to enjoy wonderful views of the mountains surrounding the hochkar. as if this had not been enough, when we arrived at the peak and started our descend, we noticed that there was still enough snow and that it was not hard or icy at all, it was rather soft :)

hochkar
guido.

hochkar
roman.

hochkar
guido and roman.

hochkar
proof that i was there too ;)

it was a great feeling to hike up a mountain and ride down again – nothing beats this. it always feels like having accomplished something big.
i’m really thankful that we have such great landscapes in austria, within the range of a short drive by car.

this might have been the last freeriding adventure this season :(
a great goodbye to a great winter!

freeride experience zell am see, 03.03.2011 – 06.03.2011

on thursday, the 3rd of march 2011, we drove to zell am see in salzburg to attend a freeride experience weekend there.
we arrived in the afternoon, checked into our room in thumersbach (right across the zeller lake) and then visited zell am see. we went to see the la resistance shop and randomly ran into sepp, who we know from wakeboarding, there. he spent his winter season in zell am see and works at the la resistance shop. we chatted for a while and then left to get something to eat.
afterwards, at 8pm, we met up with the other group members in the lohninghof, right next to our hotel room.
we were quite suprised at how big the group was. the guides bengt and gerry went from table to table to talk to everyone and see if anyone was missing. they also told us about the plans for the next days and when we would start on friday.

so, friday, 8:30 am it was. we met up in front of the lohninghof, jumped into the vw busses that were our taxis and went to a sports shop in zell am see. the skiers received their rental equipment there, aswell as avalanche beacons, shovels and probes.
at about 10 am we arrived in saalbach hinterglemm. the sun was shining and everyone was looking forward to the first day of freeriding. we got split into 3 groups with 7 to 8 people. our guide was gerry.
we started with some runs next to the slopes to warm up.
afterwards, we hiked up to the peak next to the chairlift. this took us about 30 minutes, then we had a short break at the peak. we proceeded to ride down from the peak.
next up was another short hike. this time, we didn’t hike up to a peak, we just crossed over for a bit and then did an awesome run down to lengau.
the snow was a bit wet and heavy, but still it was way better than expected!
when we arrived down in the valley, we had to push out to the next village for about 5 kilometers. we were all pretty exhausted after that, so we decided to take it slow and have a drink and something to eat.
after that, we went back to zell am see (thumersbach). in the evening, we met up in the lohninghof for dinner. i had wonderful spinach dumplings… nomnomnom!

freeride experience 2011
first lines. well, OUR first lines ;) everything was rather tracked already!


saturday
, 8:30 am. we met up in front of the lohninghof and went to the kitzsteinhorn.
i was expecting to find a bit more fresh powder there, i have to admit. i was a bit sad to see that all the freeride routes (they have 5 which are avalanche safe) already had been ridden a lot.
but no need to worry! gerry knew where we had to go to find fresh pow. we hiked a bit and then – booooom – there it was! a wonderful ride down from the kitzsteinhorn to niedernsill, lots of untracked, cold snow… it couldn’t have been any better!

freeride experience 2011

freeride experience 2011
beautiful!

on sunday, we went to saalbach-hinterglemm again.
we went up with the zwöflerkogel gondola again. then we also took the seekar t-bar to the top, just like on friday.
this time though, we didn’t just hike a short bit, we hiked about an hour to reach another peak. the skiers put on their skins, roman and me simply walked (without snowshoes, there was no real need for them).
we were lucky and found a bit of powder on our run down to lengau again.

freeride experience 2011
hiking.

all in all, it was a great experience. we didn’t expect to find any powder at all, due to the enormous lack of snow this winter, but thanks to our guide the 3 days went totally different than we had feared ;)

more pictures can be found here
a video is still in the works!

-> http://www.la-resistance.at/
-> http://www.freeride-experience.at/

ötscher tour, 27.02.2011

finally we were able to hike up and RIDE (not hike, like the last time) down! :) we were pretty happy about that!
we arrived in lackenhof at about 12:30 am (rather late), packed our gear and then took the chairlift up the großer ötscher.
from the top station of the chairlift, we started to hike upwards to the peak. this took us about 1,5 hours (480 meters difference in altitude). we came to the conclusion, that it would be a good idea to invest in splitboards, because carrying about 10 kilograms of gear on your back when hiking upwards for 1,5 hours is not exactly the nicest thing to do ;)

the weather was fine. in the beginning, it was sunny, later on it got cloudy and a bit foggy – thankfully not too much, it didn’t affect the sight.
when we arrived at the peak, we took a short break to drink something, change our clothes, repack the backpacks and take a snapshot as proof that we made it to the peak.
funnily, roman met a couple that he knew up there… the world’s very small obviously!

ötscher
prooooof!

 

after about 15 minutes, we were ready to start the descent. we traversed to the left (west) for a while, the snow up there was rather hard and icy, since the peak is pretty exposed to the wind. a bit further down, we got into the fürstenplan couloir and found soft, but wet snow there. the conditions were pretty good, we were expecting them to be much worse. we really enjoyed ourselves in the slushy snow.

towards the end of the run, we had to pass through the woods. we couldn’t avoid carrying the boards and walking, since there were so many stones visible.
after about 30 minutes, we reached the black slope and rode down to the parking lot. that was it – our first proper snowshoeing / freeriding tour! we were very stoked on that… also, we were happy that we were not really exhausted after this trip. obviously, leading a more active life really changes things, builds up stamina and strength!

for more pictures, click here! there’s a slideshow with all pics!

freeriding the “stoa”… krippenstein!

on january 3rd and 4th, roman, his co-worker guido and a friend of guido, markus, went freeriding on the famous krippenstein in upper austria. we booked a guide at outdoor leadership and met up with him (klaus) in the morning of the 3rd of january at the krippenstein gondola.

we were quite lucky with the weather, as it was pretty sunny and not too cold or windy, but still there had been a big lack of snow, like nearly everywhere in the austrian part of the alps. it’s not exactly a good winter so far.
nevertheless, we were able to do some awesome runs down to the valley. they were rather challenging, especially the bridge that we had to cross at the end of some runs. we also hiked a lot, so we were able to see a lot of the possible routes.
on the second day, klaus practised searching for avalanche victims with us. while this was not new to roman, guido and me, it still was very good to practise it again and refresh the knowledge. practise makes perfect! :)

in the evenings, we all were exhausted! after the second day of riding, everyone was pretty happy and we were smiling a lot. thankfully, we had booked very nice rooms with great hosts, so we were able to relax perfectly. we stayed at the haus rye in obertraun.

krippenstein.
klaus explaining the heilbronner kreuz (a school class from heilbronn in germany got lost on the mountain in the year 1954, they all died and the cross was built as a reminder of that tragedy).

click here to see a slideshow with pictures from the two days.

-> http://www.krippenstein.com/
-> http://www.outdoor-leadership.com/

hike2ride… or rather hike2hike.

today, roman and me went on our first proper snowshoe trip all on our own.

for preparation, we bought avalanche rescue sets and snowshoes, aswell as lots of books on avalanche awareness and skitouring. also, we took part in an SAAC avalanche awareness camp in westendorf, tyrol, and tried to learn as much about avalanche dangers and route planning as possible.
we checked the avalanche report in the morning and studied the route that we wanted to follow. we were lucky, the avalanche danger was only rated a 1 out of 5, so touring was possible.
after a proper breakfast, we packed all of our gear in my car and made our way to mariensee, about an hour from vienna.

when we got there, the weather was fine and we were looking forward to our little trip. sadly, there was not much snow…
we went up with the chairlift and then put our snowshoes on.

snowshoeing is fun!
(un)packing the snowshoe gear

we snowshoed to the west over the “steinerne stiege” for about an hour, then we reached a plateau and decided to rest a bit there. ah, that sandwich was delicious ;)

snowshoeing is fun!
snowshoeing is fun!
snowshoeing is fun!

we had to notice that it was not possible at all to ride down to the valley, due to the lack of snow, so we had to turn around and go back to our starting point. that was a bit of a bummer, but nevertheless, the trip was great fun. i’m sure we’ll go on a lot of snowshoe trips in the future, but hopefully we will be able to hike2ride instead of only hike2hike ;)

snowshoeing is fun!
roman being a gentleman and carrying my snowshoes for me ;)

strolling around on the rax with my mom

recently, i invited my mom to come to the rax with me. the rax is one of the bigger mountains in the eastern part of the alps, about 1 hour by car from vienna.

we took the cable car to the top and went for a walk to the ottohaus. it was rather windy and a bit of snow had already fallen there, so we tried to make our way through the snow without getting our shoes wet.

i really enjoyed this little getaway together with my mom. it’s nice to spend time with loved ones!

here are 2 pics.

rax
my mom enjoying the view – yes, it was windy!

rax
me looking good in front of an even better looking mountain ;)