in january, the german freeride website PowderGuide started a competition together with Mammut called “Mountain Mastery”. this competition was seperated into 3 levels, and ran from january until march. you had to find the resort with the best snow conditions in step 1 and plan & realize a skitour in steps 2 and 3.
so… to prevent this post from turning into the next “war and peace”, lengthwise: roman and me worked hard and won it!
the grand prize for the two winning teams consisted of Mammut outerwear and a 3-day freeride trip to a resort that we could choose ourselves. since the other team was from switzerland, we decided to meet somewhere in the middle – SÖLDEN – from march 21st until 23rd.
markus and knut
on the 19th, sölden got 30cms of fresh snow and on the 20th, we hopped into the car and after 6 refreshing hours, arrived in tyrol.
we met up with our guide Markus Brand from the Mammut Alpine School, Knut Pohl from PowderGuide and professional photographer Baschi Bender.
we also met our fellow winners, Marco and Cyrill.
early on the 21st, at 6:30 am, the alarm clock rang and after a nice breakfast we left the house. first we picked up our lift passes and then we took the gaislachkogelbahn to the top. the sun was blasting down all day long, causing spring conditions nearly everywhere, but we still were able to find a little bit of cold, delicious powder.
sadly, Knut wrecked his knee in the afternoon. “Hühnerkagge” was our guide’s word for everything bad. “Knut kaputt” was my word for Knut’s knee.
in the evening, we had dinner (YUM!) and our guide showed us a presentation about avalanche dangers. we also saw a few of the pictures Baschi took of us (a big thank you to you, it was an honor for us to have our pics taken by you!).
the next day, we had more “yippieya-yay” than “hühnerkagge”. we also didn’t experience the dreaded ski pole helicopter as often (our guide swung his ski pole around in circles like a chopper blade above his head whenever he wanted to give us a sign that we should pick up more speed)… this means, it was a pretty good day! we rode some awesome faces (btw, that’s the first time i’m using this word to describe a line i rode, and i’m doing so with confidence, because when i checked out our lines the next day from the opposite hill, they looked pretty advanced to me… yes, it was a good feeling! :))
we did a very steep couloir without any problems.
during our lunch break, tobi and marius joined us for the rest of the trip.
the last run of the day was a very long descent down to huben. getting out of the valley was a pain in the ass (always good to have skiers around in such cases ;)) but it was well worth the effort.
friday was checkout day already. we loaded our stuff into the cars and went to sölden. during the first run of the day, i noticed that i was completely knackered and decided to call it quits. i let the guys proceed alone and went down to the valley, where i spent the next half hour sleeping on a park bench… phew!another hour later, i got a call from roman, asking if i could pick him up in huben. there, we had to say goodbye to everyone again.
it was a wonderful time for us, with people who are just as enthusiastic about freeriding / skitouring as us, with whom we could put the pedal to the metal and from whom we can still learn a lot. we have benefited a lot from taking part in the Moutain Mastery, it took our planning and risk management skills to a whole new level!
thank you to everyone at PowderGuide and Mammut who made this possible! thanks to ourselves for sticking with it and keeping up the work for hours and hours.
the only thing that’s left to say – YIPPIEYA-YAY!
other reports of the trip: