Overnight snow almost down to Mayrhofen made our bus journey from Vorderlanersbach to Gerlos a little slower than anticipated. Still, the 8.02am bus had us at the Gerlos gondola at 9.30, so we were set for a decent day. Especially as there was plenty of freshies in Gerlos village, which looked a very quaint little place. I suspect it would be a pleasant base for a relaxing week of cruisy skiing (pics here).
A plastic 3D trail map had us confused on the gondola ride (as well as a source of amusement for locals).
Eventually, we figured we’d aim to explore all the 4 interlinked areas, ending up in Zell am Zimmer in order to get the train back to Mayrhofen.
This meant our first run was a black, groomed, with 6 inches of powder on top. By the time we got there it was pretty tracked, but if you hugged the edges and dipped off trail, there was untracked pleasures to be had. In fact it was so good, we did it again (ok, I got on the wrong chair!), and coming in from a different, higher line, bagged some nice boot deep snow in the trees. Certainly a great warm up.
Then it was up 3 chairs to take us to the top of the ridge between Gerlos and Koenigsleiten. Once there, two very noticeable changes were immediately apparently. First, there was hardly anyone there, and untouched off piste was visible everywhere. Second, and probably the reason for the first, the lifts were a mix of slow quads and old doubles. We hadn’t factored this into our timing equations, but with all that virgin snow to hit, that suddenly seemed less of an issue. Wide open slopes, powder to hit – what’s a bus timetable?
The skiing was indeed a hoot. Soft snow, empty slopes and no competition for fresh lines. There wasn’t anything terrible steep, just enjoyable open bowl skiing. And slow lift rides to admire the surrounding scenery as the sun gradually emerged from the clouds.
By the time we skied down to take the chairs up to the slopes above Krimml, it was a full-on sunny day. Luckily, the aspect here appeared mostly north facing, leaving the snow unaffected by the suns damaging rays. The fast lifts meant we did 3 quick runs on cruisy wide open terrain, where there seemed little to differentiate between piste and off-piste. Then it was time for a truly excellent, hearty Goulaschsuppe in a lovely old wood carved restaurant by the base of the main lift, before we began the long ski home.
It took about 2 hours for us to get to the gondola download at Zell am Ziller. It was a pretty easy ski, and still allowed us to explore a few new runs and plunder more fresh. Unfortunately, we didn’t really have time to play in Zell am Ziller. It looked like, with a slightly lower snow line, it would have some fine runs. But we had a bus, a train and a bus to catch so we could make our nightly sauna appointment, and relax after a decidedly pleasant day of exploration and powder bagging.
Day 36 – 6900m
36 days, 18 powder days, 273,300m vertical