Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Posted by John Barr 16th January 2012
Having endured a week working in London I couldn’t wait to get back to the mountains, especially as the local forecast predicted low temperatures and blues skies for Saturday. I was concerned by the unexpected 6 inches of snow on our drive in the morning, but hoped that the sun would be shining by the time I reached Kitzbühel, where I planned to start an excursion to the Ski Welt.
However, the closer the train got to Kitzbühel, the heavier the snow fell. Half of the Kitzbühel lifts, including all of the connecting routes towards the SkiWelt, were closed because of an incoming storm. The Fleckalmbahn, a long bubble out of Kirchberg, was one of the affected lifts, but the nearby Maierlbahn bubble was running. The blue run numbered 16/26, red 40 and black 43 were all open. The blue piste is a nice cruising route, but – under a foot of fresh powder – I couldn’t really tell the difference between the red and the black. Perhaps they are very different when they are icy and scraped on a cold February afternoon.
As the storm ebbed and flowed, I’d have half an hour of good skiing on firm snow (with a predictable covering of soft powder), then half an hour of heavy snow and no visibility. So I decided to retreat to the z’Röhrmoos hut for some fortification. The menu is very reasonably priced and very Austrian, the service is swift and the beer hits the spot. By the time I left the restaurant the snow had passed. I took the fast Maierlbahn bubble (enjoying its heated seats) and went to practice my technique on the black run number 43. I was just thinking how well I was skiing as I sat back, got thrown by a bump and landed on my rear end. At least the landing was soft (the snow that is, not my rear end). The bottom of the blue run was fantastic - firm, grippy snow, just the right pitch for long carving turns and not too busy. The top of the SkiWelt, just across the valley, is shrouded in cloud. It will have to wait for next week.
If you have been holding back booking your ski holiday in a low lying Austrian resort because you’ve been worrying about the snow cover – you can stop worrying now. We have enough snow to keep the pistes in good condition until the end of the season.
About the author
John Barr: My first skiing experience was in Glenshee, which I enjoyed so much that I quit for 15 years - until friends dragged me to Meribel. Skiing on the continent was somewhat different to Scotland, and I’ve been catching up ever since. I moved to St Johann in Tirol in 2009 - with Kitzbühel, the SkiWelt, and several smaller resorts just a short drive away. I’m a computer technology analyst by day, which I can luckily do anywhere as long as I’m on-line
- The very last day of the season (probably) - 14th April 2013
- Easter snow in Austria - 27th March 2013
- Taking DIY a bit far - 15th March 2013
- A visit to the circus - 11th February 2013
- How hard is the Hahnenkamm race, really? - 26th January 2013
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