It was all a little disconcerting, leaving Lech in the middle of a mega-dump, and 2 hours later arriving in Fiss on a bright, sunny day. With no apparent new snow in the village, I was starting to wonder why we left Lech?
Still, a spectacular sunny Sunday was perfect for a day of exploration (see pics here), as Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is a pretty monstrous ski area. We initially headed up to the top of Fiss on the Schoenjochbahn, and hurtled down a hoot of groomer to the bottom of the Almbahn gondola – a 700m vertical warm-up! Next we decided to navigate across to the far side of Serfaus, where the Restaurant Masner seemed a sensible target for lunch.
We didn’t exactly go the quickest way, probably catching three more lifts than was necessary due to incorrectly interpreting the subtleties of the trail map. But by 1pm, Restaurant Masner had been renamed ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’. It was a long way indeed, but well worth the journey. There was even evidence of recent fresh snow in the shady spots, especially off the edges of Pezidbahn’s steep black groomers. Perhaps it does snow here after all, I thought.
The restaurant was indeed a fine lunch spot, and we fuelled up on yummy soups and truly delicious Germknoedel, before a fairly relaxed ride home via 4 lifts. Finally, a couple of relaxing hefeweizens in the sun at the Hexenalm, the après bar at the base of the Fiss gondolas, provided a chance to reflect on the unexpected vastness of this ski area, and on an excellent first day at Fiss.
A smattering of snow came down Sunday night, but nothing to get excited about. Once again we hopped on the gondola and this time steered skier’s right toward the Schoengampbahn. Just as I was picking up speed on the sedate groomer, the surface changed from virgin ‘roid to 3 inches of heavy, wind-blasted goo. Quite a shock, and a high speed disaster was only marginally averted. Looking on the bright side, at least we now knew there was some new snow up high on the mountain.
Luckily you didn’t have to go far to find the good stuff. By lunch time the wind had loaded the runs under the Zwoelferbahn and Almbahn with several inches of talcum like snow. With virtually no one skiing off-piste, it was fresh lines every run, all afternoon, both under the lifts and in the trees that surround the pistes down to the Almbahn.
It’s quite amazing how conditions can change in two hours, but this day went from potentially very average to a beauty. And as we headed down to the quaint village of Fiss to end the day, light snow started to fall. From here on, it was only going to get better.
2 days – 9000m, 8000m verts
Season Totals: 36 days, 276,000 vertical metres, 7 powder days