Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen |Photographer: Katharina Kleiter

28 Jan. 2020 · Winter Activities
Katharina Kleiter

FRIENDS ON POWDER DAYS!

The VAUDE ski touring camp is the perfect mix of ski tours, workshops and dream tours. We attended the ski touring beginner's course on Sunday and well, what did we experience there? Read about it yourself...

"Hi Kathi, I booked the ski touring beginner course at the VAUDE ski touring camp for you!". The moment this message landed in my mailbox, my feet tingled with anticipation and excitement. After I was on touring skis for the first time last year, I wanted to deepen my experience and knowledge this winter. The VAUDE ski touring camp, in cooperation with the Bergwelt Alpine School in Oberstaufen, offered the ideal opportunity to do just that because the camp (with a large test center and support from the VAUDE Pro team) left nothing out. But enough about the hard facts and off to the ski tour in the Bärgunttal!

Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Katharina Kleiter

During the drive, thick snowflakes fall from the sky, which once again transform Kleinwalsertal into a winter wonderland just in time for the VAUDE ski touring camp. Fortunately, it means that in a few hours, I will be able to float my turns through the finest powder. But first off to the Walserhaus, the base of the ski touring camp.

Once there, I grab my equipment (which I can test today) fill up my thermos with tea and off I go with the Walserbus to Baad. By my side: Edu, our guide today and part of the DAV federal teaching team / VAUDE Pro team, as well as six other participants. Some of them are at the camp for the second time, others are newcomers like me. All of us united: The desire & curiosity for ski touring!

Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen |Photographer: Katharina Kleiter

Once in Baad, we pull on the climbing skins, step into the binding and walk the first few meters in the snow. A bit away from the bus stop, we gather in a circle for the first and most important teaching unit: the avalanche transceiver. Memorable and easy to understand, Edu tells us about its handling and function - together we test whether all devices are OK. Then we are off to Bärgunttal!

We move on in no hurry and with everyone at their own pace. The silence in the valley and the thick flakes do the rest for total deceleration. After about 15 minutes we stop again briefly: final discussion of today’s route and the 1x1 of the sharp turn. Because the technology enables us to turn even in very steep terrain, we will need it today more often than not. Edu also explains again how to kick the bow in detail.


His calm nature and the smile on his lips take away the stress and the exercises are getting easier and easier. Then it is time to leave the beaten track and up we go through the finest powder - sharp turn after sharp turn. In front of us: A gigantic mountain panorama from Bärenkopf, Kleiner Widderstein, Karlstor ... The view, the special silence in winter and the clear mountain air fascinated me again and again in the past, when I was still on snowshoes. The idea to take up ski touring basically came out of missing downhill runs after downhill runs.  😉

Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen |Photographer: Katharina Kleiter

Yes and here I am now. In the middle of a snow-covered winter landscape, with touring skis under my feet and excited to see what else is waiting for me today. But first a short break. While taking a deep breath and a bite off the cereal bar, Edu shares more his knowledge about touring, such as, the risk of avalanches. A topic that may trigger one or the other queasy feeling at this moment, but that is why it should be discussed.


When our breath is calmer again, we push ourselves further up, through small forest sections, towards Karlstor. This will not be our goal today, after all we are beginners - but the terrain with the rugged rock and the massive face is within reach. In front of, next to and below us: pure enjoyment of nature!

Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen |Photographer: Katharina Kleiter

In between, there are always short breaks and further teaching units from Edu about avalanche knowledge, ascent techniques and the correct handling of the equipment. So we don't arrive completely exhausted, but satisfied and yet a bit amazed at the highest point of our tour today. Astonished because: Edu chose a spot with a slope of about 30%. Well protected by a ledge, but somehow it feels like we are standing in the middle of nowhere 😊 

But Edu immediately takes away any unease and shows us calmly how to put the climbing skins away. Click, click - after we are all safely in our bindings, we discuss the final route we would like to follow downward and determine who goes first and who goes last. Why do we follow a predetermined route?

When we are riding down we will be stopping often, this is so we can always keep a good eye on the group and be able to control who has last and if everything was OK. A technique that can be used to react quickly in dangerous situations because it is easier to locate the individual. And then: POW POW POW! We glide through the finest powder one after the other - we FRIENDS ON POWDER DAYS! We emerge after an hour above the official beaten track. We glide the last few meters towards Baad before we take the bus back to the Walserhaus. Full of happiness and new knowledge. And while I return my test material, I wonder whether it might not be time to invest in my own equipment?

Skitour Bärgunttal towards Karlstor

You're now interested in ski tours and freeriding? Here are our suggestions:

  • You better ride with a guide
    The guides of the mountain and ski schools are very familiar with the area and its conditions.
     
  • Always use the right equipment
    An avalanche transceiver and backpack with shovel, probe and a first aid pack must always be with you! Best to complete an avalanche course beforehand.
     
  • Respect your limits and zones
    Shy animals and rare plants are part of our beautiful nature - also in winter! The marked areas are so called protected areas, which are reserved for animals and plants. Please respect those areas - nature will thank you.
Hählekopf im Hintergrund der Widderstein | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Chris Lemke

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