Have you ever spent hours working on a jigsaw, only to find that you can’t finish it as there is one piece missing?

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The phantom piste

Well, I had the same experience when I wrote the Kiztbüheler Alps Ski Guide a few years ago. I described every piste in every resort for miles around, only to discover that there was one piste missing – Black piste 23 above Söll, to be exact. I’m now updating my material to be used in a ski app, so I went back to check on black 23.

To my surprise, it still appears in the piste map, but as far as I can tell it still doesn’t exist.

To prepare for my search I made my way to the top of the Hohe Salve where the view is usually spectacular, but that day was disappointing due to too much cloud at different heights.

I fortified myself with a Gulasch soup, which I must say was one of the best that I’ve tasted in a mountain restaurant (and I’ve tried a few). It was very tasty and thick with tender meat – I think that many Gulasch must have lost their lives in the preparation of that wonderful steaming bowl.

Refuelled, I set off in search of the elusive piste 23. I started by heading for Söll from the top of Hohe Salve, taking the first piste to the right of 2c, and then kept as far left as I could.

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Every number under the sun, but no piste 23

That route took me on to a piste labelled “21, 22, 30, 31, 40”, almost a full lottery ticket of pistes, but no black 23 – which would have been my bonus number.

Skiing and snowboarding map the red run is shown to the left of chair 23, with the twin black 23 pistes to the right. But I actually skied down the right hand side (looking at the piste map) and there was absolutely no sign of it, but there were many signs telling me that I was on one of a number of other red runs – 21, 22, 30, 31 or 40 – take your pick.

The crazy thing is that according to the piste map, pistes 21 and 31 are much lower down the mountain, and piste 31 is actually a blue run, not a red run.

So, if you have recently skied in the Skiwelt, please check your pockets and look down the back of the sofa. And if you find piste 23, let me know.