Sunday, February 17, 2019

"Welcome to the Tirol!"

After a day of rest, recovery, and a bit of work, the bluebird skies and the mountains called me out once again for a day of ski touring in the Tux Alps south of Innsbruck. 

It hasn't snowed much in these parts in some time due to the Steenburgh effect and thanks to a huge ridge that sits over Europe, temperatures are exceptionally warm as well.  Options are limited for powder, but the beautiful Alps help to make up for that.  Beautiful weather and level 1 (low) avalanche conditions have also encouraged the already avid tirolean ski-touring community to get after it.  It reminded me a bit of home today when we arrived at the trailhead.  My partner commented "welcome to the Tirol!"

It reminded me of how I often say "welcome to Wasangeles" in the Wasatch. 

We saw just a few people out while we were ski touring. 

It may have been busy, but like nearly everywhere else, ski tourers (and nordic skiers) are amongst the nicest, friendliest people you'll ever meet.  Smiles were a mile wide today and the level of happiness off the scale. 

As I mentioned, the avalanche conditions were rated as low, but low avalanche danger doesn't mean no avalanche danger.  I mentioned this in a previous post, but with sun and warm weather, one can see crowns and debris piles from glide avalanches all over the place on steep, grassy and rocky  surfaces.  Here's one on the south side of the ridge we ascended. 

My intrepid partner on the summit.  Below is the Wipptal (Wipp Valley) with the Stubai Alps beyond (and probably some of the ├ľtztal Alps).

And one of yours truly.  I'm pretty certain that smile is stuck on my face for the rest of the day. 

As I mentioned, it hasn't snowed in a while and the ski touring crowd here gets after it.  We ended up skiing a run that reminded me a bit of Coalpit, without as steep of a headwall and without the bottom choke.  This slide path runs nearly to the valley below, enabling a run of about 1150 vertical meters (3775 feet). 

Pristine untracked it wasn't, but given the age of the snow, some good turns were had between the tracks on the upper third to half of the slide path.

Not surprisingly, as things choked up, the path became tracked wall to wall.

And even moguls.  No ski lifts anywhere in this valley either. 

Welcome to the Tirol!  Busy, but a great tour and a fun run considering the lack of recent snow. 

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