Final Adventures in Austria – Days 5 and 6

Well, we have wrapped it up.  We skied our final days in Austria – and we are beat. Run hard and put up wet.  Aches and pains in places we didn’t even know we had – at least that’s what Steve moans every time he tries to move.  I tell ya, you can’t take him anywhere. I’m just getting warmed up.  Give me another couple of weeks. (Not really – we are all very tired – but with big smiles on our faces)

Yesterday we skied over to the Zweithousander again and we all ate at the Panarama-alm Hutte again.  What great views you get over there.  It is amazing.  We had almost the whole party of skiers with us, but we sort of skied in two groups. The old man group consisted of Colonel Bad Influence, Captain Redpants, Corporal Punishment and Lars Braun (he who has not been named yet).  The other group was Bob leading the 3 younger folks we had skiing with us around the resort.

The old man group was in search of what powder remained, and we did find some ski-able stuff that was pretty good.  It was more work, as it was heavy but interesting to ski.  Everyone liked it – except Captain Redpants was not a real fan.  He did get out into it and tried it, but skipped a few lines.  We mutually questioned each others sanity, but settled any differences we had over a beer.  Beer is sort of like the universal solvent – you drink enough and everything is just fine.

After a full day or skiing, we improved our social skills by going to the Londoner – the most famous bar in the Alps. We drank beer, danced and generally carried on until it was time to catch the train home.  We stumbled to the train station, got home and called it a day.

Today thee old men went places that none of us had every been before. We skied down a long gorgeous run that went by farm houses into Aschau.  We had one of the best gluhweins we’ve had this trip at a hutte near the bottom. It was a welcome refreshment.

Then we caught a bus to the Ki-West lift that took us over to another valley.  None of us had ever been there.  It was amazing.   There is some great terrain there and it would really be amazing to catch it when it had fresh snow.

We skied down to another village called Westendorf.  Once there we had to figure out how to get back. Casting caution to the wind, we put ourselves into the hands of Captain Redpants.  His fantastic guiding skills lead us out.  We had to catch a couple buses, but we made it back to Kitzbuhel.  Hallelujah – and we were all in one piece.  Tired and achy, but very happy.  We dragged ourselves onto the train and headed back to our motel.

Tomorrow we leave for Munich, where we spend the night.  We catch a plane out Sunday morning, and after 2 changes of planes, and many hours off travel, we will make it home.

It has been a fantastic trip and we have really enjoyed it.  Great snow, great people and fantastic scenery has made this a very memorable trip for sure.

Here are a few pictures from our last two days.

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The Pengelstein to Powder Glory – Austria – Day 4

Today all the lifts at Kitzbuhel were open and we had sunshine with no wind.  We dashed right up to the top, across the Pengelstein lift and dove into the powder.  (Just a quick side – we got to ride the one cable car across the valley on the Pengelstein lift that has a glass floor.  We have always wanted to do it and today it happened) There were fields and fields of powder today, and we ate them up as much as our legs could stand. It was glorious.

Today it was Steve, Erik, Hans and I who went skiing. The others in the party went off shopping and site-seeing – so we carried the load and went skiing. It was tough.

I have to correct something here so things are understood.   We have named Captain Redpants and his story is covered in earlier posts on this blog.  Captain Redpants has named us – Steve is Colonel Bad Influence and I am Corporal Punishment.

The moniker of Colonel Bad Influence came from all the times Captain Redpants has followed Steve “into another great place” only to have to make his way out by the skin of his teeth. He figures he is a bad influence on me too as I drop into anything he says is good. Many times it is and then there are the other times…

He calls me Corporal Punishment and I think I figured out why. I figure that it’s a psychological sublimation of some sort.  It is actually pure punishment for Steve and Erik to see me drop into the powder and cut it up so well.  They look on in agony, dreaming of being able to do it as well as I.  I actually feel bad for punishing them so much.  They may disagree with this analysis, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Today, we skied with Hans, who has come for this ski trip many times before. He is a fun guy to ski with and he is a good skier. We decided he needed a moniker too – so we named him Major Marvelous. He lived up to his name with his skiing as he was marvelous to ski with.

Getting back to the day of skiing, we skied a bunch of great fields of powder and we worked up a real appetite.  We stopped and ate at the PanaramaAlm hutte atop the Zwiethousander.  This is a 2000 meter high mountain from which you get fantastic 360 views of surrounding mountains. On such a sunny day, the views were amazing.

After lunch we skied more, but the powder was getting cut up and heavy, so we headed down some packed runs. We blazed along until we were all used up, and then we called it a day.

We had a great time.  Here are a few pictures to show you some of the stuff were saw today.

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More Poo in Kitzbuhel – Austria Day 3

We had another great day skiing Kitzbuhel. The whole crew showed up for the train in the AM (except one girl) and we headed in.  Eleven of us went up the hill to ski and the others went shopping.

The resort had some lifts closed in the morning but they eventually opened all of them as the day went on. First run we skied down to the bottom after skiing some powder and had to catch the gondola back up. Taking another lift, we found some great poo and we just kept circling around and doing the poo again and again. It had a bit of a crust near the top, but as you got down lower, it was sweeeeeet!  We almost went horse screaming and whooping on our way through it.

We ended up at the “Spaghetti Hutte” for lunch and we ate some really good spaghetti. The hutte is actually the Fleckham hutte, but per Steve it has the best spaghetti on the mountain.  Thus it will be forever known as the spaghetti hutte.

There were times when the top was fogged in as clouds kept blowing through.  The fog was hard to see through and it would freeze on our goggles.  That made visibility a real challenge, let me tell you. However once you got down the hill a bit, the fog would clear and we could drop into the poo to strain our voices with joy once more. It was really rough.

Captain Redpants had a few adventures today as one of his bindings broke and his pole got bent. He says he fell because his binding broke.  However, we’re more inclined to believe that he fell and then his binding broke.  The bent pole resembles a ski racer pole, so I think it made him go faster on the mountain – though I could be wrong.

Anyway, we had a fantastic day. Here are some of the great pictures from our day.

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Skiing Powder in Kitzbuhel – Austria Day 2

Today we skied some seriously good powder despite the warm and windy conditions. It snowed most of the night, so when we walked to the train in the morning, there was plenty of new snow around. We were excited to say the least.

Once we arrived at  Kitzbuhel we found that most of the lifts were closed due to the wind.  Crap!  Visions of floating through the good stuff were drifting away.  Noooo!!!!  However Bro came to the rescue as he was confident he knew where some good stuff could be had. I put my dreams in his hands and headed up.

We caught the gondola up the steep Kitzbuhel face and headed out. Immediately we lost Captain Redpants, as he had a business call he had to take.  After waiting for a while any sense of fellowship was eclipsed by the call of powder, so we abandoned him.  He did catch up with us at lunch though.

We dropped into some powder off the first run – and never looked back   We skied powder every run, staying off the main runs to cut up the sweet stuff at every opportunity. It was deep and sweet and we cut it up until we were worn out.

At one point we met up with a local guy named Hugo. He flew by us in the powder so we complimented him on his skiing.  We rode up the lift with him and he said he knew of a line of powder no one went to and asked if we wanted to come. We said sure, and it was great. He told us he usually doesn’t have anyone to ski with as they can’t keep up with him.  After some runs with him, we bid him adieu and met our party for lunch at a hutte.

After lunch, Steve and I went on a true adventure.  We found an amazing gully, that was steep and deep and challenged even our incredible ability.  It humbled us but we made it.  We had to stop and cool off as we had really worked up a sweat. It was work, but it was great!

We turned over our latest powder field discovery to Erik and Lars and called it a day.  Steve and I had chewed it up and it had chewed us up – so we were done.

Here are a few pictures of our adventures.

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Skiing St. Johann in Tirol – Austria Day 1

We arrived in Austria yesterday and checked into our motel – The Kitzbuhler Alpin in Oberndorf Austria.  Our room is nice, but it’s on the top floor and the ceiling slants down above our beds.  I have been training myself to not bash my head and after 3 bashes, I think I’ve got it.  I have to stay low until I am in the middle of the room before I stand up.

Today we skied our first day in Austria at St. Johann in Tirol ski resort.  Our party has increased in size, and there were at least 11 of us on the hill.  St Johann is a small resort but the new snow made up for its lack of size.  It snowed all night and all day and we had some serious powder. The visibility was very poor but we made our way down enough times to wear ourselves out.

We headed up the gondola on our fist run and cruised down one of the “packed” runs.  It had about 4-6 inches of powder on it and was fun to ski.   Not satisfied with that powder, we went off the main run where the snow was about 18 inches deep.  It was deep but very heavy, so you had to have a steep slope or some speed in order to be able to turn.

Steve, Erik and I  took a bit of an excursion to find some even deeper stuff and we almost lost Captain Redpants. He crashed several times and all but disappeared in the snow.  He came out of his skis and lost his poles and had to dig around in the snow to find them.  We got down into an area where there was nothing but stumps and logs – so we had to cut through the trees to get back to the main run.

After a great lunch at one of the on hill huttes, we were fortified and headed back up. We went to the other side of the mountain and cruised to the bottom.   The snow kept falling and the wind was blowing, packing the snow onto the front of our jackets. With the wind, you couldn’t see anything so we had to make our way down by braille.

After another run or two, we’d had enough so we called it a day.  It has continued to snow, so we are  excited about the prospects for some deep stuff tomorrow.  You know we love that deep stuff – so it should be great.

Here are some pictures from our adventures today.

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The Way of Captain Red Pants – Italy Day 6

Today was our last day of skiing in Italy, so we cast caution to the wind, and went “The way of Captain Red Pants”.  This means we followed the direction of our Norwegian ski buddy Erik.  He wears very distinctive red ski pants, thus the name.  I must say, despite some early doubts, his path to our destination was fast and smooth.

We decided we had to get to a specific hutte for lunch. Steve has been dreaming of eating lunch in this place for some time, but it had never worked out – until today.  This hutte has a large grill inside where they serve a massive platter of grilled meats.  It is incredible, if you are into that. We ate until we could hardly walk, but we had some adventures before we ended up at that huttte.

The start of our adventure was when we entered the van in Armentarola to head to the Lagazuoi.  (We skied that yesterday, but the hutte we wanted is near there.)  The driver of this van thought he was in an Italian road race or something. He drove very fast and passed one bus and another car on the steep, twisting mountain roads.  If another car would have come around the corner our choices would have been 1) crash or 2) pitch off the steep road side.  Neither one a very appealing choice. We happily leaped out of the van at the Lagazuoi and jumped onto the tram.  We figured that was a much safer choice for travel.

On the first run down the Lagazuoi, I saw a 10 euro bill on the trail.  I stopped to pick it up but the wind swooped it up and carried it out over the rocks. I figured it was gone.  However, as I skied down I saw it swirling around, and then it headed right back towards me.  I stopped and it came right to me and I grabbed it before it could fly by.  Sweet.

We headed up the tram again, but once on top, the wind had picked up and it looked like a storm was moving in.  Not wanting to risk lifts closing due to the storm, we headed down to the hutte and back towards Corvara.

Steve and I quit early, as we were very tired – suffering from the cumulative effect of 6 days of skiing. We parted ways with Captain Red Pants as he went off in search of other followers to lead.

Tomorrow we head off to Austria to ski around Kitzbuhel for another 6 days of skiing.  Man, life is rough, eh?

Here are some pictures from our adventures today.

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Skiing the World War I Tour – Italy Day 5

If we thought we had covered a lot of ground on other days, well, they paled in comparison to what we covered today.  We took the World War I tour, and we used every form of conveyance known to the skiing world. (almost)  The day started at 8:30am and we arrived back at 4:30pm – and we were pooped! We took ski lifts (old doubles, triples, four seaters, six seaters), gondolas, trams, and poma lifts.  We walked, took carpet lifts, buses and even a horse drawn ski lift.

There were gondolas that went through villages, right over the roof tops of the houses below.  Old chair lifts that pierced through spires of rock and trams that went straight up sheer cliffs.

We went from high mountain peaks to low valley village areas so many times that our ears were playing the 1812 Overture.

We took one bus ride up to the lifts at Fedare that was very long and had 21 hairpin turns on the way up. Each hairpin turn was numbered so you knew how many more you had to endure before reaching the top. (those 21 hairpins turns were just part of at least 100 other turns).

We ate an amazing lunch in a newly renovated hutte.  It was probably the best food we’ve had the whole trip so far.

There were so many fantastic peaks and valleys and villages to see that our eyes hurt from the overwhelming beauty of it all.

Needless to say, it was awesome.  We loved it.

Here are some pictures so you can get a taste of it too. (click on the World War I link above if you want more data and facts about this tour we took)

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Skiing Colfosco – Italy Day 4

We did not cover much ground today.  The upper lifts that would take us out of this valley into any other valley and around the Sella were all closed.  High winds from the storm we had were keeping them from operating.

We did get some snow through out the day.  It was off and on, so visibility keep going from good to “can’t see a blessed thing”. Wind, snow and the sun blinking in and out made for a short but enjoyable day.

Since we could not get into any other valleys, we skied a close resort called Colfosco.  Mostly intermediate terrain, but fun. We stopped and had lunch at the Negerhutte (named such due to it being made with almost black wood) Had some great spaghetti and beer there. We did another run or two and called it a day.

Here are a few pictures from today.  Not many as most of the time it was snowing and blowing and not really good picture weather.

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Skiing Val Di Fassa – Italy Day 3

Today we really covered some ground.  We started out doing the Sella Ronda Orange route (clockwise around), but we ended up going to some places none of us had ever been before.

We stopped fairly early and had an Andechs beer at a hutte, (you can never pass up having an Andechs when you can get it).  It was there we decided to go on an adventure to new lands. We decided to head over to the Val di Fassa ski area to see what it was like.

It started with a very long run down into the village of Canazei.  The slope ended and we had to hike quite a ways through the village to get to the next lift.  When we finally got there, we stopped in a pizzeria and had a gluhwein and some pizza. It was definately needed by then, I assure you.  We sat and ate and enjoyed this quaint little village and the interesting locals who were sitting and eating there too.

Once done we caught the gondola out of that valley and headed over to the Val Di Fassa area.  First we had to catch a tram that went down into the village of Alba. We would have skied down, but you would have needed a hang glider to get from the top to the village below.  It was essentially all cliff.  Once down we caught a gondola up into a big open bowl where the skiing was uncrowded and nice. There were lifts from the top that went further on, but we had to head back or we may not have gotten all the way back before the lifts closed.

We ran into some serious fog coming back, where you could not see anything.  It was hard to know which way was up or down. Steve and I both got vertigo bad – but we powered through and made it down.  Once back we almost had to carry Erik back to the motel, as his legs were so thrashed (Steve and I were not any better actually)  It was a great day, but we wore our asses out.  Man, life is rough when you are skiing in Italy every day.

Here are some pictures from the day.

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Skiing the Marmolada – Italy Day 2

Today was a very nice day. Clear sky’s with plenty of sunshine,  so we headed to the Marmolada.  (along with a whole bunch of other people) This is the highest mountain in this region and it takes 3 trams to get you to the top.  You go up about 6000 feet, climbing over sheer cliffs on your way to the top.  Then you get to ski a-hell-of-a long way down some seriously steep slopes.  It is quite fun actually. With the day being sunny and clear we had some fantastic views over the whole region. Really amazing.

Once we got to the bottom, we had to refuel, so stopped at a hutte and had some great food (but lousy service).  Once done we were off looking for more adventure.

We skied off the main drag of the Sella Ronda – and we found some good powder.  Not deep, but sweet, so we did a few laps of that and then headed home. We took a detour and ended up going the long way around, (I blame Steve for that – but he keeps saying someone else took the wrong “right-hand” turn – meaning me) so we didn’t make it back to the hotel until about 4:30 or so.  Having headed out at 8:30am – we had a long but excellent day on the slopes.

I have attached a slide show for you to see some of our activity.  Check it out below.

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