A van full of ski gear, climbing gear, and some hope: 650 km later I was on the north side of the Alps.
Hofer Gronning was my first stop and Ischgl was next after six and a half hours of driving. This was the start of our ski tour, the party capital of the Alps. At the parking lot I met Sam and other ski instructors, along with mountain guides Andy and Euan. All of us were there to ski the high altitude traverse of Austria and Switzerland known as the Silvretta SkiTour.
The start of the tour
Ischgl, the party capital of the Alps, looked like a ghost town, since the season had just ended. Huge discos on the slopes, bars and all the clubs were closed.
After an afternoon of on-piste skiing to get the legs back into shape we set off on our tour. We reached Piz Gonda with the help of a cable car before skiing to the Heidelberger hut. We had no problems and this was a good warm up, since we had great snow conditions for our first turns.
The Heidelberger hut was a monster, more of a hotel in the mountains equipped with hot showers and all sorts of luxurious commodities. After a truly amazing dinner, the boys were in bed at 9:30pm. We put this down to all of us being middle aged men happy to grab an early night.
Larainferner Spitze 3037m
Uphill is the theme with ski touring – earning those turns. None of that “lift up, ski down, drink beer” stuff. Here in the mountains, slogging is the name of the game but you get to see some sights no one else whom’s riding chair lifts does.
We headed west towards our peak: Larainferner Spitze 3037. We had brilliant weather without a single cloud. Wherever we looked, we saw magnificent summits all around us. We descended a short ridge to reach a 40 degree slope with ideal snow conditions.
We skied down to 2600m where we put the skins back on and skinned up to Vadret da Fenga 2900m. We made great turns in spring snow all the way to the Heidelberger hut.
We decided to skin up to Piz Mottana the next day. We had another great day without clouds. While skinning up, we met some of the the Austrian Ski Team, who were just skiing down. We reached the ridge of Piz Mottana, where we practiced some short rope techniques before enjoying a gorgeous ski descent.
Curana Lada 3079m
It was a long walk uphill before we were anywhere near the summit. Overall, there was a lot of walking and skinning on this trip, so I’m very fit for the mountains at the moment. After descending from the summit we crossed the Kronen Joch and enjoyed gorgeous powder snow all the way down to the Jamtal Hut. The dinner at the Jamtal Hut proved to be even better than the previous night.
Again we had a good night’s sleep at the hut. The morning brought another bluebird day and from the Jamtal hut we headed south to Ochsenscharte and then up a really nice technical ridge (F+), which brought us to the summit of Dreilanderspitze 3197m. The descent to the Weisbadener Hut was short but that meant our starting point for the next day was slightly higher.
Piz Buin 3315m
The morning came with some cloudy weather, but visibility was still good. At midday however, the weather turned and the clouds covered the summits around us. We left our skis at the col below Piz Buin and ascended a snow slope followed by a rock/ice ridge to the top. While we were descending, snow started to fall and low clouds covered our summit. We skied back along the glacier to the Weisbadener Hut in flat light and poor visibility.
The last section of the trip took us down to Galtur from the Weisbadener Hut. We hoped we’d be able to ski all the way down, but this wasn’t the case and in the end we even had to walk to reach the small town where our tour ended. Public transport delivered us back to Ischgl where I picked up my van and drove the 650 km back to the Slovenia. An all-around superb ski tour.