On Tour at the Alpin Deep Snow Days
The first Kleinwalsertal ALPIN Deep Snow Days took place for the first time from the 18th to the 20th March 2016 when around 600 participants took part.
When the alarm clock went off at 6.15 a.m., I considered for a moment whether it had really been a good idea to sign up for the Deep Snow Days. It is Sunday after all and my bed is just too warm and comfy. The tweeting of the birds outside my bedroom window and the rays of sun that had started to appear through the curtains convince me, however, that I should throw myself out of bed. The view out of the window swept away any lingering doubts that I had. There is not a cloud in the sky.
After enjoying an energy-boosting breakfast and sorting out my mount equipment, I find myself standing up at the car park next to the Ifen lift. It is only 7.30 am, however, at the Deep Snow Days camp there is already a great deal of hustle and bustle. The first skiers wanting to make the most of early bird skiing are already trundling across the other side of the car park. I wouldn’t say no to some of that as the pistes look so inviting today. However, I and my rented skis make our way to the meeting point for the tour. I was spoiled for choice when selecting my skis. Wide powderlatten skis or a light-weight uphill touring ski? I decide on the latter which I later found out to be the right decision.
As my group was quite small, we merged with another group to form a party of 13 participants with two guides. The guides explain that we are going to do a different route than the one that had been planned as the conditions are better on the north-facing slopes. If you have ever done a ski tour in Schwarzwassertal, you will know that you have to first tackle the long and flat stretch to Melköde. We cut this stretch off our route by taking the Ifen lift and we then cross the mountainside higher up. We obviously do not attempt this without first checking our avalanche transceivers.
Now it is time to strap on our skis and head on up the mountainside which we do in a relaxed fashion. I wonder for a moment why we are going at such a leisurely pace, however, I am to discover later on that this is also a very good decision. We soon reach the Galtochsen alp. You can enjoy a wonderful view of the Ifen from the roof.
For those who still haven’t had enough yet, there is a further stretch up the mountainside to accomplish. We decide to follow along a shady slope that has not been skied on very much beneath the Ochsenhoferköpfe. We zigzag our way up ... it has been a while since I tackled hairpin turns and I struggle a little on this slope. This is when I feel glad that I chose the lighter uphill touring skis and that I didn’t use up all my energy during the first stage of the tour. Note to self: practice hairpin turns! When we reach the top, we take off our skins on the slope. This is actually not very easy with cold hands and without a firm foothold. We still manage it though. The descent is definitely worth the effort of the ascent. Our guides Christian and Martin have found us a slope that is covered with the finest powder snow. Fantastic!
We head towards the Melköde hiking trail in high spirits. The conditions are not particularly optimal here and the snow has already been skied over a lot. And then something unfortunate happens. One of the members of our group falls over and injures a knee. We have to call the helicopter which arrives within five minutes (in case you are concerned, a full recovery has been made). Our somewhat diminished group then returns to the Auenhütte. We buy a few things from the reduced stock on offer, put our feet up and enjoy the sun. We deserve it!
Overall conclusion: it is definitely worth it! Until we meet again next year from the 10th - 12th March 2017 at the ALPIN Deep Snow Days!