Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

A wild and wonderful trip to Lech

This was the 9 days in the Arlberg that had it all climatologically. A true weather rollercoaster.

We started off with a respectable base and definite Springy freeze-thaw conditions for two days, the second with a gale force fohn wind that gradually shut down most lifts. Then it snowed more or less for 4 days, with a couple of lucky daytime clearings to allow true deep pow appreciation.

Next it rained at village level for a night but dumped just above. This deposited a lot of snow and also created very dangerous avalanche conditions. And our last day was a perfect, cold-to-cool bluebird, on perfect mid-winter pistes with a base that doubled during our stay.

Like I said, a true weather rollercoaster. We tried 3 times to make it to St Anton, but never got past the top of the Valgagehrbahn. That has never happened before. The Flexenbahn is a sweet ride though 🙂

During this crazy weather, we had some superb powder skiing. Midway through the 4 day storm, thigh deep pow was everywhere, and in classic Lech/Zurs style, hardly anyone was out skiing. Posh people just don’t ski in bad weather. Messes their fur up I guess.

 

Temperatures were a degree or two warmer than ideal all week really, so it wasn’t always super light snow. But if you picked your aspects and paid attention to the wind (and sun during the occasional clearing), there was true epicness to be found. It was a season’s worth of face shots in 3 days.

All my old favorites delivered the goods – the oddly named Furkawang, the Zuppert ski route to Zug, Osthang and Nordhang, the ‘between pistes’ area off the Trittalp chair, and all the north-facing terrain in Schrocken and Warth. The ski routes that peel off to the skier’s left on the Madloch were guaranteed 3pm fresh tracks on the way back to Lech. Hard to argue with that.

Scary avalanches and sunshine restricted off piste exploration on the last two days. The compensation was that the grooming crew exploited all the new snow and hit many of the main ski routes in Lech and Warth.

This made for perfect mid-winter riding on respectably steep, easy to carve packed powder. With rooster tails flying up behind our skis as we made high speed turns down the fall line, it was hard to rip the smiles from our faces. A fantastic end to another crazy fabulous week in the Arlberg.

8300m, 7100m, 9100m, 10000m, 9100m, 8200m, 9400m, 10400m,  8600m vert

48 days, 401,900m vert, 14 powder days

 

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