After a mega snow storm, a few days of sunny weather are never a bad thing. Especially when it stays as cold as it did here, with temperatures hovering around -13C at the top of the Silvrettabahn, and closer to -20C on the peaks. While direct sun tends to trash the snow, at this temperature the north facing aspects remain in perfect condition. So that’s where we went looking.
The Gampenbahn accesses 1000m vertical of varied terrain, most of which hadn’t been visible due to the weather for the time we’d been here. In the spirit of adventure, we headed out that way on Wednesday morning, and were instantly rewarded with huge areas of untracked snow (pics here). As long as you were careful and sought out the right aspects, creamy cold boot-deep untracked pow was everywhere. The ski routes were a delight, and following the locals on short traverses opened up steeper off-piste lines. It was great skiing.
The afternoon wasn’t bad either. From the top of the Gratbahn, we started off on piste 7 which led to another huge, north facing area that seemed lightly populated. Jan stayed on the piste, and I traversed to the left under a craggy ridge. Crossing frequent, shallow avalanche debris, innumerable lines of fresh snow spread out below. Watching from the piste, Jan guided me to a superb fall line comprising completely virgin fluff. I of course indulged, and smiled for the rest of the day.
On Thursday the weather was similar. Hence we cruised. Down piste 80 to Samnaun to do some duty free shopping (in cold conditions, there was no struggling on the 2km track through the village to the gondola), down the groomer to the base of the Fimbabahn, and through various other areas we’d not really had chance to explore. It was a wonderfully relaxing day, riding soft, forgiving trails in the sun.
But by the end, I was ready for more pow. Fortunately, the weather gods agreed.
Day 44 – 9100m, Day 45 9300m
Season totals: 45 days, 24 powder days, 352,200m vertical