February 2015

Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

June 17, 2015

Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

REALLY? We’re going to Saalbach-Hinterglemm? Isn’t that a total family-oriented ski area in which more beer gets drunk than actual riding gets done? To say some Powderchasers were a little surprised would have been an understatement. To be honest, so were we…
Wednesday early – the day on which we have to decide on a specific area – the forecasts are pointing at a strong low-pressure system that should bring snow from southeast. Then everything changed.

Friday we have our warm-up day under a supersunny sky. A few north-facing treeruns still provide some freshies, so even on Friday we already have a careful smile on our lips en little ache in our legs. Even when the snow taht’s forecast, doesn’t seem to want to show up until Sunday – and from the northwest no less!

Saturday three groups head out with their respective mountain guides. They all find some really cool runs, lots of them without any tracks or effort needed to get to them. Often enoguh we end up at a forestry road that takes us right back into the ski area without any kind of trouble.

Wow, Saalbach really has something to offer! Most skiers just mess around on the pistes, there is enough space for us in the backcountry! One group takes off at 15:00 into a longer route and only finds themselves at the bottom of the valley around 17:30. Tired but more than happy! We end the day in downtown Saalbach with a beer. Today was a good day.

Sunday starts a whole lot stormier than we expected. It snows like crazy, there’s already more than 10 centimeters of snow in the cars early in the morning and it’s just getting started.
Unfortunately the wind is howling and some of the gondolas can’t open up. In the end all groups manage to make it to the top one more time. Then the storm sweeps a 120 kilometer per hour wind over the top and all gondolas close from midstation up. We try to make the best out of the situation: one group tours from midstation to the very top of the ski area and is rewarded with a deserted mountain and ripping 40 centimeters of fresh pow on the pistes. Other groups milk the lower runs for freshies.

End of the afternoon it’s a ‘late lunch’ and slowly start packing for the trip home.