See all my >> photos from the week.
Wow. What an amazing week. I’ve never had so much powder in my life. Run after run of fresh untouched powder. And so light. I’m used to heavy, wet powder on the west coast. This was fresh, light, champagne powder. If you carved a turn in it, the snow would fly up in your face.
Friday/Saturday – hit the airport for a long overnight flight to Munich, followed by a long wait at the airport, and a bus ride for a couple hours into Innsbruck. We (5 of us) arrived in the city around dinner time, exhausted. We grabbed some dinner, explored the city and had some drinks ready for a solid week of snowboarding. The city was great to hang out. Temperatures were around -6 C or warmer most days. It was only slightly colder in the mountains which made for great conditions. Such a beautiful city with mountains surrounding you.
Sunday – Off to Stubai Glacier. We lost one guy already. The city nightlife was too much and he never woke up until noon. We couldn’t get a hold of him in his room so we were down to 4 guys. More fresh tracks for us then. The drive there was amazing – so many massive mountains surrounding you. 10,000 feet at the peak of Stubai. The highest elevation I’ve ever been riding. Some altitude sickness crept in for one guy at lunchtime and made him sick. The jetlag and dehydration contributed. I think I felt a bit on our final day as well, but kept riding. The snow was crazy. Deep powder lines through rock chutes. Untouched bowls of powder. So much space to ride, and everyone stays on a groomed run down the center of the mountain while everything off to the sides stayed untouched. Photos from Stubai
Monday – Off to Axamer Lizum. Another great spot. It was the location of a few races in the Innsbruck Olympics in 1964 and 1976, so you know it has to be great. High speed powder runs in the morning with a powder dropoff. We met a skier from Geneva (originally U.S.) on the bus by herself and joined us for the day which was welcome company. The afternoon was more winding runs down to chutes and powder bowls. Photos from Axamer Lizum
Tuesday – Nordpark. We caught the city bus to Nordpark for the day. It’s funny seeing business people riding in the seat next to people with skis and snowboards. The public transit is free for anyone in ski gear. Nordpark was cloudy and blowing at the top. We took the gondola all the way to the peak looking for runs and couldn’t find anything that actually looked like a run. You had to hike out and the runs didn’t look like actual runs as they were so steep. Combine that with 5 foot visibility, we couldn’t find our way down. Along with everyone else, we took the tram back down. That’s when we saw the warning sign – “Runs are extremely dangerous. 70 degree slope. One fall could result in loss of life”. Definitely not the first run you want to start your day with. Nordpark has an amazing snowboard park. Hugh kickers. I saw 1080′s & backflips off of here. Amazing. We rode the halfpipe a few runs as well. After spinning and landing out too far from the wall twice, I returned to regular riding – no sense hurting myself so soon and missing out on all the great freeriding. The lower mountain was fogged in, but the upper mountain was bursting with sun. My freckles are back in full force. T-shirt weather. The remaining rideable area was only serviced by a double chair, unless you wanted to go all the way to the bottom, so this made runs slow. Nordpark was fun, but not as good as the other hills.
Wednesday – Schlick 2000. Best name for a hill. I think this was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life snowboarding. Unfortunately Ben took the day off to rest up so he missed riding with me. Just me, John & Al. I found a bowl that emptied out into a long set of powderfields with rollers (picture big snow waves) you could ride up and over and surf like a pipe. It was so much fun. I rode that all day and gave up on the rest of the mountain. I timed the run top to bottom and it was a constant 10 minutes of fresh powder. That’s as good as heliskiing and you can get on a lift right away and do it all over again. I shot video with my camera of a run, with me screaming and laughing all the way. We also met some Aussies who had just come from the Torino olympics and watched the snowboarding events there. Photos from Schlick 2000
Thursday – rest day. I had to take a day off. I rode Schlick until I could barely stand. I knew it was my best day, so I gave it my all. I slept in a bit, went to an internet cafe to email home and wandered the streets taking photos and exploring the history. I rested up for one final great day of riding.
Friday – back to Stubai. It was gray and overcast in Innsbruck, but when we arrived at Stubai, it was puking snow. Large fluffy flakes. So light you thought you were riding on feathers. A few times I got buried and had to undig myself and walk out at the bottom of the runs. Fresh pow up to your knees that had drifted to almost 2 feet in spots. A great way to finish off an amazing week.
I’m working on collecting everyone’s photos from the trip and putting them together along with my videos into a DVD video for each of the guys to have. This is something we’re gonna want to remember for a while.
If you can afford to hit Europe for a week of skiing/boarding, you have to do it. I’ve been to Whistler on many occassions and as much as I love Whistler, this was WAY better. And to visit Europe at the same time, see new cultures and languages – makes it even more fun. Next big adventure – South America (Chile/Argentina) for some summer snowboarding.
snowboarding, austria, innsbruck, travel, europe