A forecast for high winds, intermittent snow and fog didn’t really fill us with massive enthusiasm as we got on the bus to take us up to Hintertux. And the gondola ride up the first two of the three stages to 3250m confirmed the forecast. While the third stage was open to the top, we thought we’d warm up on piste 2, a long red, before heading into the foggy abyss above. This was a wise choice, as little traffic so far left a wonderful fresh groomer for us, with an inch of soft new snow to leave rails in.
Next we headed to the top. The wind was apparent on the gondola, but the run down the glacier was sheltered and, although visibility wasn’t perfect, the snow quality made up for it. A few laps of the glacier later, we headed down the wide and undulating piste number 3, where the crowds seemed to be lingering. To escape, I dropped into the ski route off the top of piste 2. The first half was wonderful, 5 or so inches of powder and a natural half pipe. But about 2/3rds of the way down, the warm temperatures turned the snow to a grabby, gluey mess. The chair couldn’t come quickly enough.
Up the double chair and the T-Bar, the blue groomer on the glacier was possible the smoothest, most forgiving and emptiest piste I’ve ever skied. Warp 2 (68kmph in fact – Garmin measured) was hit before I dropped through the gate into the ski route on the left.
The snow was incredibly variable all the way down, changing from fluffy powder to wind-battered crust to soggy goo almost from turn to turn. But if you kept your momentum on the fall line, it was perfectly skiable and enjoyable. Just the type of skiing that all-mountain skis like my Head Monster IM82s are made for.
Replenished by a decent, if slight gelatinous goulash soup, the afternoon was pretty much more of the same. The variable visibility and soggy weather seemed to scare most people off, leaving deserted pistes for us to carve up. Then, about 3pm, just as we were thinking of skiing down, a huge snow storm hit and the temperatures dropped. In a virtual white-out, we headed up the chair and took the ski route to the base, happily tired and with a respectable appreciation of the terrain at Hintertux (pics here).
Day 37 – 8000m
37 days, 19 powder days, 281,300m vertical