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Austria: Kitzbühel/Kirchberg 2018/19

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yesterday, 13th October, was Ski Opening for the new season at Kitzbühel, though only on a very restricted area at Pass Thurn. I decided to start my season and, since the skiing available at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier is currently restricted to one T-bar, I thought I might as well see what Kitzbühel had to offer for a change. Going up the Panoramabahn gondola the conditions did seem more suitable to mountain biking than skiing...

However, when I reached the top there was some snow in sight, about 50 cm on the piste, I reckon (where it hadn't been scraped away). This wasn't a local snowfall but old snow for old fogeys, snow which had been preserved from last season over the summer...

I hadn't expected great conditions and, as it was about 11 o'clock before I reached the slopes with a blue cloudless sky, I thought the snow would be soft. What I hadn't reckoned on was that others had been skiing there for two or more hours. When I followed a group round to the left where the piste you use to return to Kitzbühel goes, this is what I found...

Moguls. Ouch. This isn't the corduroy slope I would have dreamed of for my first piste of the season! Looking the other way where the run flattened slightly it wasn't all quite so challenging (though I did have my only fall of the day on this run near the bottom of the Resterkogel chairlift)...

And here is the view from the bottom station of the Resterkogel lift, showing much of the two available pistes...

It was a strenuous first day's skiing - I kept going for about two and a half hours before my legs wilted. Here's the view looking down the main piste...

And one skier managing it well...

The moguls weren't all you had to watch out for. Sometimes there was crossing traffic (but it was quite slow)...

All in all, it was an enjoyable if challenging first day. I did ten runs before retiring, the target I had set myself. It looks now as though the real snow might start arriving in a couple of weeks time.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well done for having a go, and thanks for the great pics!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
After coming home from a day in the mountains, on foot not very far from Kitzbühel, it seems rather bizarre that anyone would think of skiing on a day like today. It was most definitely shorts and t shirts conditions, lots of folk sunbathing on the summits in perfect "Kaiserwetter". Not sure quite what the point is of the lift company going to all this effort just so they can claim the resort "opened" in mid October. The "pistes" are very quickly going to turn into a collection of sugary soft moguls apparent in the pictures. Much better to stick with walking, climbing or biking until there is some real snow or at least cold enough for any snow (whether from last year or a snow canon) not to melt in the 20 degree afternoon sun.

The warm dry autumn weather seems likely to continue for the next week or so, suggestions of cooler damper conditions the week after next.
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