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Arlberg, Lech Austria TR

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just back from a week in Austria. Flew into Munich, and trained it from there. It was snowing when we landed. Had a big plane of folks in front of us, so customs sucked to say the least. Then I kept hearing my name paged, and I knew that one of my bags was probably not on the same plane.

 

Once finally getting through customs, my fears were confirmed, and my ski bag was not coming until tomorrow, if I was lucky. Reason number eins, why you never, ever check your boots.

 

So, we missed our train, and ended up catching the next one 2 hrs later. It was snowing the whole time, and was dumping when the train pulled into Landeck. The bus picked us up, and we were off, and then the bus driver decided he had better things to do, and kicked everyone to a knee deep snow bank, and drove off. We waited for about 8 minutes, and bus # 92 from St. Anton was kind enough to take pity on us, and pick us up. Still no idea why bus driver # 91 couldn't take us the distance. Maybe he ahd a hot date, who knows. We managed to roll into Lech around 8PM, and took a cab to our hotel. At least it was still snowing...

 

We woke up to a winter wonderland of 30cm of fresh, and bluebird skies. The kind of stuff you hope for when you start a ski vacation but rarely ever seem to experience. Unless of course you are some sponsored skier who skis 200+ days a year.

 

We arrived the day of the Weisse Rennen, The White Ring race. Awesome! Half the mtn was closed so a bunch of Austrian's could race around all of the Arlberg! Oh well, what you going to do but go off-piste.Rented a pair of skis the first day. The hotel mgr ws kind enough to drive us to the Sport Alp rental place, and rented a pair of Blizzard Bonfides for the day. They were the perfect tool for the day.

 

 

There was plenty of off-piste.

 

 

 

A bit of avy activity too. Saw this go right as a skier was contemplating dropping this concave slope. But for the most part East, and West facing slopes were fine. North facing had wind loading and slabs. Sadly, 2 German skiers, who had a guide were killed off the Valluga 2 in St Anton while we were there.

 

 

 

 

 

But even days after the storm, there was freshies to be found.

 

 

 

 

Even 3 days after the storm, I was finding untracked. Just a few minutes of effort, yielded big smiles.

 

 

 

My ride to the goods.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning sunshine, and fresh Arlberg pow.

 

 

Did someone say "kalt rauch pulver"?

 

 

 

These kept showing up at the end of the day too...

 

 

 

 

Lots of nice scenery to look at while you were skiing untracked pow.

 

 

Heck, you didn't even need to be skiing to enjoy the views.

 

 

 

Our trip ended like it started, with snow as we left. Spent two days in Munich, where it snowed on both days too.

 

I hear the Arlberg is getting hit with the goods again. For those on their way; enjoy. For those thinking about going: go.

 


Edited by Toadman - 1/28/15 at 1:43pm
post #2 of 25

I see a lot of white in your photos.  You caught some great conditions.  Nicely done!

post #3 of 25

fantastic story except for that bus driver. as we were there in 09 (father and then 6 year old), would be great if you could say highlight on Arlberg trail map where you got those beautiful  lines since off-piste is verboten w/o a guide in the area. would be quite educational to see the jump off point etc. St Anton is on our list of potential new places to go because of the Valluga in April Eater Week but your story does give me pause. He is 11 now. We skied the White Ring in 09 and I was a beginner and have no idea how the heck I came off the Madloch Joch on the backside...into that small town to catch lift back up over OberLech..

post #4 of 25

Nice.  Was thinking about writing a TR myself after going there last March.

 

We got a nice storm of 60-80cm over 2 days while we were there (2 weeks).  Incredible skiing. 

 

Skied off the Valluga 2 following the storm.  Scary and sad to hear about the incident with the two germans.  Didn't realize that was where it happened.

post #5 of 25

Hoss any video ? Valluga 2?

 

Toadman - trail on map? 

 

We wait patiently

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post
 

Hoss any video ? Valluga 2?

 

Toadman - trail on map? 

 

We wait patiently

 

There are a few YouTube videos of people skiing off the top of the Valluga. This one does a good job of showing how steep the top section is and the type of powder you can find farther down.

 

post #7 of 25

That top section is seriously steep, and the rocks everywhere, seems like a serious consequence if-fall zone! Surprised me. Is that steeper than the Sapphire Chutes in Whistler or Highland Bowl in Aspen-Highlands or the Cirque in Snowmass. I am wondering and seems a long long steep ? I was under the impression it was not that steep :eek

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post
 

Hoss any video ? Valluga 2?

 

Toadman - trail on map? 

 

We wait patiently

 

There are a few YouTube videos of people skiing off the top of the Valluga. This one does a good job of showing how steep the top section is and the type of powder you can find farther down.

 

Wow, that was mesmerizing and I'm not a big pov fan.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

That top section is seriously steep, and the rocks everywhere, seems like a serious consequence if-fall zone! Surprised me. Is that steeper than the Sapphire Chutes in Whistler or Highland Bowl in Aspen-Highlands or the Cirque in Snowmass. I am wondering and seems a long long steep ? I was under the impression it was not that steep eek.gif

I think it's a 40 degree slope at the top. You're not allowed to take skis or a board to the top unless you have a certified guide to sign off for you, because it's all off piste up there.

Last year, our small Euro gathering group skied that face in the blind. Our guide was hoping the snow clouds would clear by the time we reached the top, but they didn't clear until we were halfway to Zurs. The snow was really nice though.
post #10 of 25

Austria is a great place to ski. I spent the New Year there 1999 - 2000. Always great Skiing.

 

Hope you had a great one. Martin - skimckay

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post
 

fantastic story except for that bus driver. as we were there in 09 (father and then 6 year old), would be great if you could say highlight on Arlberg trail map where you got those beautiful  lines since off-piste is verboten w/o a guide in the area. would be quite educational to see the jump off point etc. St Anton is on our list of potential new places to go because of the Valluga in April Eater Week but your story does give me pause. He is 11 now. We skied the White Ring in 09 and I was a beginner and have no idea how the heck I came off the Madloch Joch on the backside...into that small town to catch lift back up over OberLech..

Off-piste w/o a guide is not verboten in Lech. But if you don't know where you're going, or don't have back country knowledge, then best to hire a guide. The Lech Schischule will happily set you up. The area for most of the ski track pics is off Rufikopf area. Either Red # 38 or Blue # 38. Also, tons of terrain over off itinerary 36 underneath the Mohnenfluh, and over to 65 off of the 2 person Rotschrofen chair as well. 

 

Off the Trittkopf tram there is the whole Ochsenboden area to ski as well. (Red # 8)

 

They now have snow making on the lower parts of the Red 33 from Madloch Joch down into Zug. Best to do that run early in the day. 

 

I didn't hit Stuben this trip mainly because it had suffered from the winds, and most North Facing slopes were in the 4 zone for avy danger while I was there. But that area can be good when conditions are right.

 

They sure like their bikes in Munich.


Edited by Toadman - 2/4/15 at 9:52pm
post #12 of 25

What is the best time of year to visit Arlberg? purely from snow conditions point of view - with maximum chances of fresh powder.

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post
 

What is the best time of year to visit Arlberg? purely from snow conditions point of view - with maximum chances of fresh powder.

Someone with some snow data, or a local would have to answer that one. Weather is a fickle thing.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post
 

What is the best time of year to visit Arlberg? purely from snow conditions point of view - with maximum chances of fresh powder.

Though it appears we have some lucky dogs (bears?), I'm going to say that March is more likely than not to disappoint if you are a powder hound.  I was there a couple of years ago & snow conditions were so-so on and off piste.  Most of the better runs at Arlberg were bumped up and icy by mid-day.  Rendl fared a little better.  Off piste was set up pretty hard and/or dense.  Basically just like a typical day back home in New England.

 

However...

 

If you are not so picky about the snow, the weather can be very nice and the views amazing.

 

Besides, at the end of the day a nice cold beer may have your name on it.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post

What is the best time of year to visit Arlberg? purely from snow conditions point of view - with maximum chances of fresh powder.

I've found early February to be good. The risk of warm days messing with the snow tends to be low, but they still get some storms coming through dropping fresh stuff. There might be heavier dumps earlier or later in the season, but there's a higher risk of freeze-thaw conditions before and afterwards.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post
 

What is the best time of year to visit Arlberg? purely from snow conditions point of view - with maximum chances of fresh powder.


We've been hammered 7 out of 9 years, from early/mid Feb to mid March. I think you r chances are good - its the snowiest part of Europe so just rock up and cross your fingers.

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 

Got an e-mail the other day from BA customer service, apologizing for the delay in our ski bag, and confirming the reimbursement for the ski rentals. So, it wasn't all bad. Got to demo some Blizzard Bonafides in 30 cm of Arlberg pow, and has me seriously considering some Blizzard skis in the future.

post #18 of 25

I'm headed there in March. Can't wait. Thank you so much for the video.

post #19 of 25

was there in 86'.  we got 10 feet of snow the week I was there.  The road in and out was closed all week except for a couple hours one afternoon.  Snowed every day.  Never saw the sun.  We couldn't ski anywhere but Lech and Oberlech because of avalanche danger.  Not complaining as there was plenty of skiing.  YM

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Someone with some snow data, or a local would have to answer that one. Weather is a fickle thing.

St. Anton is heavily south exposed, so March is problematic.  The Arlberg is a high snowfall region, so I vote for late January/early February.  Mid-to-late February you get into the Euro school holidays with higher prices and more crowds.  Snow preservation factors are very important in the Alps.  Look at those nice pics in the TR above 2-3 days after the storm.  That won't be powder on a south facing slope in March.

 

Average snowfall by month is fairly even, less consistent than in the Rockies but not as volatile as on the West Coast.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 2/10/15 at 11:35am
post #21 of 25

Hi Tony, 

As usual it's that time of year for us, and I had asked about the Dolomites, Val D'Isere and St Anton as we try to figure where to ski. Really interested in the Dolomites, they seem to be having more and more snow coming in, the Arlberg of course is in great shape..but your warning about St Anton suggests April 5-12 St Anton not a good idea. We did Lech-Zurs April 16 to 23 in 2009. Anyway, your counsel is always solicited.

Thanks

post #22 of 25

Val d'Isere and Zermatt are the top 2 choices in the Alps for high altitude and north exposure in late season.  But people should be consulting http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/.  Fraser Wilkin is my counterpart in the Alps in analyzing ski conditions there and has far more hands-on experience than I do.

post #23 of 25
Hey Everyone,

I'd add confirming that good old Austria (St Anton) is best mid season, not March or April same as the Dolomites (but this is a superb ski region, worth the visit!) compared to Val d'Isere they don't have that altitude. If you want any advice, Val d'Isere is my speciality, see http://www.skimckay.com - Val is in another climate all together, tucked up high, bordering Italy, it's got the height and will deliver the best guarantee on late quality snow especially up high on the glaciers (Val and Tignes). I know many folk who adore the Dolomites and St Anton so they're all seriously popular as you well know!

Best wishes, Martin - skimckay
post #24 of 25

Nice trip report and beautiful pictures which brought back memories of my one and only European vacation when I spent a week in St Anton in 2001.  Still my favorite ski trip of all time.  Stayed in  a beautiful hotel with included breakfast and dinner fit for royalty.  I joined an off piste guided group for most of my skiing and did those hut routes from village to village.  Very cool and highly recommended.  However the real charm of skiing the Arlburg region is that is the "Birthplace of Skiing".  Where it all started.  You can see and feel it as all those villages are dedicated to the sport, each having their own lift system where you use a shared lift ticket.  I would love to go back!

 

Ski On!

 

Rick G

post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post
 

Nice trip report and beautiful pictures which brought back memories of my one and only European vacation when I spent a week in St Anton in 2001.  Still my favorite ski trip of all time.  Stayed in  a beautiful hotel with included breakfast and dinner fit for royalty.  I joined an off piste guided group for most of my skiing and did those hut routes from village to village.  Very cool and highly recommended.  However the real charm of skiing the Arlburg region is that is the "Birthplace of Skiing".  Where it all started.  You can see and feel it as all those villages are dedicated to the sport, each having their own lift system where you use a shared lift ticket.  I would love to go back!

 

Ski On!

 

Rick G

Agreed, lots of nice little villages to stop for a bite, and or a drink! :cool

 

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