New snow – check. Too many people outside competing for the perfect snow – unfortunately also check. Answer? To go to a cabin in the middle of the nowhere to enjoy the pristine lines far away from the crowds.

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We headed to Neue Pfolzheimer Hütte in Gleirschtal –  a valley near from Innsbruck. We were a bit defensive in the beginning. The avalanche warning for the weekend was a high 3 because of the new snow and weak layers in the snowpack.

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After 2 hours of skinning into the valley you could finally see our Hütte.

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We still had a lot of time to enjoy the snow & the terrain after  ou arrival. Here’s Hannah enjoying some fresh turns.

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Hunger is the best spice.

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If you’ve been to Tirol, you’ve probably heard of Watten – the king of all card games. It’s played with a Bavarian card deck, with 33 cards. You play in teams of two, always trying to beat the other team by laying down better cards. Funny thing is though, that the best cards are always chosen out for the round only by TWO players – one from each team. This way the other two have no idea what is going in the beginning.

Confusing maybe at first, but rewarding in the end.

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Our cozy Winterraum. There was wood to burn and blankets to warm you, but all the food had to be brought and water melted out of the snow.

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Svante doing some morning exercise, to warm up for the skitour ahead of us.

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All this here was for us to play.

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We were overjoyed, because the weather forecast said today was supposed be windy and cloudy. However, warm sun greeted us all day long. Here’s Lucas climbing to the mountains ahead of us. Our goal would be one of these peaks – whichever would provide the best and safest snow with these conditions (in the end we went for the most left one in this picture).

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In the end we decided for Samerschlag (or Schartlkopf), a peak at 2829 meters. Our original plan, one of the 3000s in the area was out of the question: on the way up you could see big avalanches coming out of the steep and exposed walls. However, with good route choices and careful planning, some epic skiing would await us! Here are Hannah and Lucas depositing their skis before the last ascent.

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Me and Svante wanted to do the whole run and decided to climb with our snowboards/skis on.

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It’s not that bad, is it?

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At the peak, finally! I forgot to take a photo of the Gipfeljallu, but sure enough – there was Jallu at the peak.

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Svante enjoying the earned turns.

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Mittagspause and planning before going for the next tour!

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Preparing for the second (and one of the best ever) decent.

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The snow pack was a lot better than we had expected, so we finally had the guts to for something steeper. This was GOOOOD.

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Svante checking out his line.

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There’s nothing better after a hard day of skiing then a warm cabin to enjoy.

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…well of course a Weißbier never hurts. This was a positive surprise: someone had brought beer to the Hütte. Not a bad service.

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Full moon, painting the whole landscape surreal.

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As I said: you all have to learn Watten. Do it. This is also why four is the perfect number for a skitouring group. You need four players to play Watten.

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Me and Hannah decided to wake up before the sun for an early-bird skitour. The visibility was shit, but we hoped that sun would take the clouds away.

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Well, after ascending for an hour the weather never changed for better. It only became whiter. Unstable snowpack, no visibility – it’s time to turn back.

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In the meanwhile Svante had decided to stay and enjoy the warmth of blankets.

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With friends on a Hütte, even the all-day jobs like dishes become enjoyable.

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Lukas enjoying the last turns in new snow.

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Me, looking a bit drunk, with the best people!

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You know, skiing is fun, freeriding is awesome, but with skitouring there is always something special. Going to the backcountry, to the nature. Climbing, skiing, eating, sleeping and then repeating – it is a good way to live. Worry-free and rewarding.

Sure, with lifts you get more descents, but with lifts you don’t get the adventure. Waiting for the cabin to warm up from minus degrees. Cooking together. Playing cards in moon light. Ascending a peak using only your own muscles. And then enjoying the perfect turns you have earned for yourself. Living for the moment all the time.

No matter if you ski or snowboard or just hike. Go to the mountains and have an adventure. As Hannah said:

Going to the mountains is like going home.

 

 

 

P.S. If you go skitouring with Svante, you can be sure that something always breaks. This time it was the shoe. But everytime he fixes the things. McGyver of the year.

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