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Innsbruck & Tirol 2018/19 Snow

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
About time to get this show in the road again!

Winter and snow came late this season. Stubaier Glacier managed to open in October, but frankly conditions weren't particularly inspiring for skiing pretty much the whole autumn - though the long sunny days were great down in the city!

Unfortunately with no rain to speak of there wasn't much kayaking to be had in the Alps either, so I cut and ran to Scotland for a long weekend at the end of October:


http://youtube.com/v/d-nm2qWFvDo

Luckily from mid-November things started looking up, with a few storms rolling through from the south and bringing snow to Stubaital and Ötztal.

My first ski day was 25 October at Obergurgl. Fitting, as it was also where I finished last season:



I wasn't really expecting much, so was really positively surprised by the conditions. Snow was generally much better on the Hochgurgl side, where you could ski down to the valley on artificial snow; generally everything below the mid-stations was artificial. The upper half of the mountain had a surprising amount of natural snow - a fair bit of off-piste was good to go too, if you kept watch for sharks.









Since then we've had a few storms bring 5-15cm, before melting again - enough to look nice and freshen up the artificial pistes but not much more.



-----------------

Fast forward to this weekend, and the first real winter storm.

Looking ominous/promising yesterday as it moved in:



Head rain down here in the city last night and this morning. My initial thought had been to head to Ischgl, reasoning the trees go high enough to provide visibility and stay above the freezing level, but checking the webcams it (and a bunch of other resorts) were shut due to the wind.

Facebook video from Ischgl last night: https://www.facebook.com/ischgl.paznaun/videos/220232062232035/

In the end we went to Schlick2000. Again, better than expected, even though most of the snow hadn't yet arrived. There's a reasonable amount of snow high up, including natural snow. The pistes back to the middle station are all artificial with maybe 10cm of natural snow on top; below the middle station (which is more like 3/4 of the way down) there's no snow and no skiing currently.

By ~3pm today Schlick probably had another 15-20cm of fresh snow (it's too far south in Stubaital to get the brunt of the storm). Enough to get in the season's first fake turns, anyway wink





It's still raining here in Innsbruck now, but forecast to turn to snow down in the city overnight. Fingers crossed, but it looks like the winter is finally underway!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nice! Look forward to following this thread this season (and visiting Innsbruck).
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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?
@nozawaonsen, thanks! Let me know if you visit!

————-

Snow down to the city today, and Nordkette due to open (for skiing - it’s already open for pedestrians) this weekend.

Yesterday’s snow line:



And today’s snowline:



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Everything lookd better with snow

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Well it's been awhile... A trapped nerve in my back kept me off snow for a couple of weeks, before Christmas back in the UK. Got back to Austria yesterday, just as the snow taps turned on, and headed straight over east to my gf's hometown in Oberösterreich.

On the verge of snow/rain as I arrived just before midnight, but had turned to snow by the morning.



We went straight over to Wurzeralm, the local resort, which had 20-40cms of new snow. The top lift (to the best terrain), Frauenkar, was closed all day due to wind and avi control, but as not a single piste had been groomed, there was still plenty of fun to be had - and even more on the mellow forested slopes.

Found some of the weirdest snow I've ever experienced on the last 100m to the bottom though. 0°C, sleeted on artificial snow... so grippy and aggressive my skis could barely slide/be slid in any direction other than the the fall-line. Felt like I had a vacuum under my bases or something.

Some pics of the good stuff:









15cms of new snow had fallen on my car by 2pm, and the car park was fairly buried under the recent accumulations:



Hopefully that continues into 2019 - Happy New Year everyone!
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Happy New Year, INDEED! Nice! Very Nice!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I stayed in Innsbruck over New Year, where we had just a few cm down to the valley bottom but overall more than 24 hrs of heavy snowfall. I was pretty keen to get out today, but with only 6.5 weeks after a fib fracture, had to take it easy.

I needed somewhere that had easy skiing and few people, so we headed to Muttereralm first thing, leaving the car at Nockspitzbahn. This little local area forms the Bike Park in summer, but I've not skied there before. It tops out around 1900m, and essentially has two long runs following the lines of the two gondolas – a blue run to Mutters and red to Götzens. It is very pretty in the trees, and the low elevation and gradient meant that the avi risk was only 2, even after all the new snow.

Getting my left boot and ski on required a bit of creativity, but once that was done, it wasn't too bad. My left turns are not as good as they should be, and short turns are something for another day. I've also lost a lot of flexibility, and anything that threw me around (crud, death cookies...) was very painful and a good reason to call it a day at lunch time when the crowds grew and the snow got more chopped up.

We found a few nice little powder fields, though:



Three ski tourers heading up (sorry, not sure which peaks these are, but this was taken near the top of the gondola). A challenge for later in the season, perhaps:



As some sort of revenge for me taking the mickey out of his too-short trousers, N has decided to take up snowboarding (next week...) and has replaced them with these. Where's the facepalm smiley? Laughing

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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Scarlet, nice!

Quote:

Three ski tourers heading up (sorry, not sure which peaks these are, but this was taken near the top of the gondola). A challenge for later in the season, perhaps:


That's kinda the side of Nockspitze. The central bowl is the exit to the North East couloir - this is looking back up from the bottom of it last season (we hiked up from the Lizum side though, and I'd assume those skiers are heading to Lizum/Birgitzkopfl not up to Nockspitze):

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@clarky999, I was going to put Nockspitze (top of Nockspitzbahn, kinda makes sense), but when I checked the map I wasn’t certain about that. I know which is which from the valley, but the angle is different and I’m easily confused Laughing
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There was a thin crust on the snow surface this morning up to about 1700m (maybe higher) near the border with Germany. It was probably caused by a little riming of the surface - it was very foggy. The snow was also fairly heavy below 1500m. Looking forward to drier snow incoming.
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Solid snowfall throughout yesterday day and night, with cold snow down to city level. Good 10+cm now in the city, with the sun starting to peak through from the south.

Looks like it's still snowing at Nordkette, and the Stau effect will likely keep that going all day. Opening will be significantly delayed by avi control, not least as they've had some issues with one of the cables on the bomb lines. Seems to be fixed though as the bombs are rattling my flat atm! Not sure how much snow they have up there yet, but over 50cms would be a reasonable guesstimate.

Currently very cold too: -16°C at the top o Axamer Lizum, who are reporting 25cm of new snow. The Nordstau resorts like Nordkette and Seefeld (and the Arlberg etc) will definitely have benefited the most from this storm.

Looks like more snow on the way into and through the weekend too. The season can begin properly now!





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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I came so close to booking Sunday-Tuesday flights to INN last night but couldn't find anyone to come with me. These conditions look amazing, keep posting please!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@leggyblonde, Get 'em booked then give one of us a shout. Got another visiting SH next weekend, you're welcome to join.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Scarlet, That's very kind but I've now committed to some MTB to distract me!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@clarky999, @Scarlet, Looks awesome
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Snowing heavily in Innsbruck again now. Roads generally clear, but 20+cm around on uncleared footpaths etc (in the city). Beware of roof avalanches! Usually signposted on suspect buildings.

Hungerburgbahn open again as of yesterday - they had to shovel 40+cm off the whole length of the track.

Nordkette and Axamer Lizum shut due to avalanche danger. Including footpaths at the base of Nordkette, and toboggan track at Lizum. EDIT: Lizum have now opened 1 chairlift and the nursery slopes.

Schlick closed above the mid station.

Some closed lifts at Muttereralm, Glungezer, Stubai and Seefeld, but skiing still available.

Kühtai fully open, but I would imaine there's a strong chance of the road closing in the coming days...

Most lifts open at Bergeralm/Steinach am Brenner, which can be a safer option in dangerous conditions (not a reccomendation - make your own decisions/your responsibility/etc). See below from a level 4+ day last season. Mellow slopes with no exposure above:


Flat and shallow powder skiing in Tirol from theADVENTURESofCLARKLEBERRYfinn
https://vimeo.com/252227564

More snow due all this week into the weekend - currently up to 130cm forecast for Nordkette, 115 for Seefeld, around 90cm for Lizum, 80cm for Bergeralm.

STAY AWAY from alpine slopes. STAY AWAY from steep and/or open forest lines. STAY AWAY from anything with exposure above you. STAY ONPISTE if you do not know exactly where you are going, STAY ONPISTE if you are not intimately familiar with the terrain and MICRO TERRAIN FEATURES.

Things are scary, and going to get scarier. Do not take risks. If you want to ride safe powder lines in the trees but don't know where, DON'T go exploring. Get a guide. I recommend Patrick Ribis at http://www.freeride.center/en. I believe he is running open groups atm, but best to speak to him directly if you are heading to this area of the woods for powder in the coming days. And bring FAT skis - otherwise forget about turning, and feel lucky if you can straightline without getting bogged down and stuck.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
An extract from the Tirol Avalanche Report blog:

Quote:
When the next front arrives, the already prevalent danger pattern will alter only very slightly. As a result of the precipitation and strong-to-stormy NW winds, fresh and trigger-sensitive snowdrift accumulations will form anew starting on Tuesday morning, 8 January 2019. These drifted masses will trigger naturally in leeward zones behind crests and terrain edges in particular, as medium-sized, in the major areas of precipitation also large-sized, in isolated cases even very large-sized avalanches.

Extremely large-sized avalanches currently appear quite unlikely due to the current snowpack structure, since no area-wide, cohesive, more deeply embedded weak layers exist from which slab avalanches could fracture.

On steep grass-covered slopes, in addition, glide-snow avalanches can be expected at any time of day or night. These releases can also grow to large size, due to the enormous snow depths currently. Areas below glide cracks in the snowpack surface should be consequently avoided....

... The current snow and avalanche situation can be attributed to an unfavourable, quite stable large-scale weather zone: a formidable high over western Europe and the Atlantic together with a low in the north are sending moist air masses from the Atlantic in the northwest towards the Alps. These air masses are, in turn, bringing intensive precipitation. According to meteorologists, it now appears likely that this pattern will persist over the next few weeks and bring more fronts our way.

Initially, no significant relaxation of the situation is in view.


Read the avalanche report here (click on the region on the map, then scroll down): https://avalanche.report/albina-web/bulletin?lang=en

An additional and unsual hazard to be aware of: at least one skitourer has been killed when the weight of snow caused a tree to fall on them. I heard a similar report from a ski tourer today near Innsbruck, when a tree fell near them. Apparently an avalanche on/near the Fernpass road was triggered by a mass of snow falling off a tree...
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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?
Sounds crazy. Last year we were in Chamonix when the snow seemed to never let up and avalanche warnings were always high. Sounds like Otztal Valley and other areas around there are getting it this year. I would be nervous sleeping under those steep cliffs in Obergurgl but I bet the runs are amazing.
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We're in Soelden - had a 36 hour break where it wasn't snowing much at all. It's just started up heavy again - another couple of cms over the last hour.
The snow on the runs is lovely but the visibility is poor which isn't much fun.
Ski show in Obergurgl is again cancelled for this evening.
Here on the campsite we're running out of places to pile the cleared snow!
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At least you won't have that ribbon of white going through the brown slopes at the bottom of Solden. #SilverLining?
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am in Tyrol, there is well over a metre of snow in my garden at 950m, a lot more is forecast, and as has been mentioned the av risk is high (4 to 5). Fortunately, most of the nutters have gone home. Main roads are ok.
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In cheerier news, some thoughts from the weekend in Oberösterreich - particularly Windischgarsten and Wurzeralm. Interestingly the British Ambassador to Austria was skiing just over the other side at Hinterstoder too!

The amount of snow is simply insane! We measured 110cm of snow in my gf's parents' garden at 602m - apparently the most intense snowfall/most they've had in such a short timeframe there since 2004. The area is a real schneeloch ('snow hole') and always seems to get lots of snow early season. Being rather low - Wuerzeralm tops out around 1800m - the season is shorter than Tirol, but great for powder Dec - late Feb.

Arriving on Friday around midnight, there was a good 30cm of fresh snow on the roads through the village. Great fun to drive (with 4x4 and winter tyres!).



My car 40 MINUTES after we'd cleared it of snow in the morning:



Skiing was simply outrageous. Bordering on too deep. We mostly skied pretty mellow stuff, where you really had to work to keep speed up/moving. Got tempted onto a couple of short steep (40°) clear shots in trees - like an idiot - and paid for it the second time. I cut the top of the slope, and watched a lot of slough clear out, then dropped in. Coming out of the third or fourth turn more slough slammed across the front of my skis and I went over the handle bars. Popped up just fine, but minus a ski - tough 15 mins of digging to find it again! After that back to the mellow stuff for the remainder!

We didn't stop to take photos til our last run - this is what it looked like at 2pm:

100m traverse from the top lift:



Mid mountain:

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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Enjoy it while it lasts! Which might be July!? wink
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@Toadman, hopefully we'll get to keep enjoying it 'til the end of the kayak season in October haha!
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http://youtube.com/v/71SDuqTtsNw
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.

http://youtube.com/v/71SDuqTtsNw
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.

http://youtube.com/v/71SDuqTtsNw
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Woke up to another 25 cms of overnight snow.
The bombs are going off, sounding closer than normal so I'm guessing they are clearing areas they wouldn't normally have to.
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You know it makes sense.
Absolutely DUMPING down in Innsbruck again now.

Kühtai is completely cut off - roads in both directions (to Kematen and Ötztal) shut due to avalanche danger.

Been told that Nordkette will be shut all week.

Bergfex suggesting 70cm to fall at Nordkette today.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@clarky999, Looks like my options for Friday might be dictated by what is open!
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@leggyblonde, Absolutely. Decisions about closures should be on the websites by about 8.00 – 9.00, so they might be up before you get airborne. I think Nordkette will be out, so your best options for Friday will probably be Patscherkofel, Axamer Lizum and Muttereralm if you want to stay local, but today only Patscherkofel is open so who knows. They have kept it open since Monday though, despite all the snow.

It looks like there will be a slight let up in the weather on Friday and Saturday, so maybe things will improve a bit.
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@Scarlet, fingers crossed that the weekend let-up helps! I was also wondering about Bergeralm for Friday; looks to be staying more open, reasonably mellow, hit by less by the storms and very quick for me to get to on a train
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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?
@leggyblonde, Yep, I've not been there but if there's transport then go for it.

@clarky999, What is the website you're using that shows the snow depths?
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@Scarlet, bergfx is an app - he may be using that .Oetztal app will also give you snow depths
Eg
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Scarlet wrote:


@clarky999, What is the website you're using that shows the snow depths?


The avalanche report site. You can pull up all sorts of info, snow profiles, etc: https://avalanche.report/albina-web/weather/map/snow_height?lang=en
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The conditions look A-MA-ZING. Gutted not to be around to enjoy them. My only hope now is that my Japan trip end of January delivers as much of the white stuff! Otherwise, whats the point of travelling half way around the world! Puzzled
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@clarky999, Thanks, I didn't realise it was on there. Also, holy crap, there's 4m+ of snow on that mountain above my house Shocked
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Scarlet, yep! More snow fell on Seegrube in the last 7 days than on Whistler in it’s snowiest ever December, and about 3/4 of what Mt Baker (snowiest ski resort on the planet) got in the whole if its snowiest ever MONTH. Pretty incredible!
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@clarky999, and there is a lot more to come...
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For cautious visitors there is too much snow.
We are in a position to be able to wait it out and ski on a fab base in hopefully clear conditions.
For our friends who have paid to fly (inconvenient diversions meant they eventually arrived in hotel at 5am when it should have been 5pm the previous night) and then to be faced with whiteouts on the slopes it's not so great - fortunately there is always beer
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