Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Europe and Asia, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:45 am

Day 4: Kappl & Ischgl

So after the last three days at Ischgl -- which overwhelms you in all sorts of ways -- I decided to try another of the smaller, family ski areas that are part of the Silvretta region ski pass: Kappl. It's just five minutes up the road from Ischgl and has a reputation for being "modest in size," "great for families," and "the sunniest ski area in the region," which means the same thing in all languages: south-facing. Hey, they even have it in English on the trail map: "Sunny Mountain!"

Image


The base building is right alongside the main access road.

Image


You take a 1983-vintage Doppelmayr gondola 2,500 vertical feet to the top of the treeline.

Image


From there, you continue up to the summit, more than 3,000 feet higher, so that's the vertical you're working with. It's all above-the-treeline, which means the 27 miles of groomed trails (that's why it's classified as a "small" mountain) are a tiny portion of the skiable acreage and as you can see, pretty much everything is skiable, especially after Kappl got a six-inch shot of snow overnight.

Image

Image


I was one of maybe 100 people on the mountain, 85% of whom weren't there to ski untracked. For the next two hours, I did lap after lap of calf-deep pixie dust -- everything was fair game and it was all available with no brutal traverses, no sidestepping, no herring bones, no skiing through trees, no complicated planning, no nothing. Easy peazy. My tracks are the ones in the middle.
:bow:

Image

Image


But now back to the south-facing part -- about 11:15, the sun had begun affecting the new snow. You can see in this pic -- the only in-action shot I could get -- that it was getting a bit more meaty, like early-spring, even though Kappl's summit is at a higher elevation than Ischgl.

Image


So I did a few groomers that were like creamery butter, absolutely perfect, then went back to the top of the mountain because I had seen a sign up there with an Autobahn icon and wanted to know what the deal was. I followed a young couple and their kid:

Image


Here's the father going around the top of the peak:

Image


... and you come out the other side with this incredible view of a groomed path going right down the middle of a valley (Trail #9 on the far looker's right). You can just barely make out the trail and some people further down. Like pretty much everything here, this view is far more impressive than the pic lets on.

Image


Here's a reverse shot looking uphill from the just below the top -- as always, you have the opportunity to grab some extra-credit untracked turns along the side.

Image


Down you go at full speed:

Image


Further...

Image


Finally, you arrive at the bottom lift, 3,200 vertical feet later, thighs on fire.

Image


At which point, I decided that it was time for a Weissbier at the conveniently located Restaurant Huiseralm:

Image


After the beer, I downloaded to the base and headed over to Ischgl for the afternoon. I made it to the mid-station Idalp hub by 12:45.

Image


On my first run, where I was just poaching low-hanging fruit along a main artery, I saw something unimaginable in the U.S -- 14, count 'em, 14 Pisten Bullies were doing a synchronized groom on a principal trail. On the trail map, there's a "did you know?" blurb that says Ischgl uses 36 of them every night and they cost $650K each.

Image


Also in the Idalp area is a complete helicopter landing area and admin building. This copter had just landed, I assume to pick up someone who had ridden down in the meat wagon.

Image


For the next two hours, I did the same thing as at Kappl, lapped untracked snow, but at Ischgl, it was still in nice shape even mid-afternoon. I went back up to the Switzerland side and here is my very first self-made panoramic photo, showing half of Alp Trida, the other half is out of the frame to the left. The stitching software flattens the terrain; that's a 2,700-vert drop from where I'm standing.

Image


Finally, here's an example of a restaurant on the Swiss side. Sorry, I'm a traditionalist and don't think that a ski area is a place for Mies Van der Rohe, but apparently they have no problem with it.

Image
User avatar
jamesdeluxe
 
Posts: 3337
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:19 pm
Location: South Orange, NJ

Re: Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Postby berkshireskier » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:11 am

Thanks for the TR and the photos. Looks great. I'm living vicariously through your thread, as we have had two consecutive days of 55 degree temperatures here in the Northeast and I'm looking out my office window at green grass.

Just out of curiosity, how much are you paying for lift tickets at each of the resorts?
berkshireskier
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts

Re: Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:48 am

berkshireskier wrote: how much are you paying for lift tickets at each of the resorts?

250 Euros for a six-day ski and bus pass that covers the Silvretta region. At today's godawful exchange rate, that's $330 or $55 a day. It used to be a lot cheaper, but the quality and quantity I've gotten over the last five days have been worth a lot more than $55.

I love skiing in North America, east and west, but all :stir: aside, the places I've skied in the Alps are a whole different ballgame.
User avatar
jamesdeluxe
 
Posts: 3337
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:19 pm
Location: South Orange, NJ

Re: Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:58 pm

berkshireskier wrote:Just out of curiosity, how much are you paying for lift tickets at each of the resorts?

The lift tickets are the only thing reasonably priced over here.

jamesdeluxe wrote:which means the same thing in all languages: south-facing. Hey, they even have it in English on the trail map: "Sunny Mountain!"

I really don't get this. You got lucky with new snow and still it gets heavy by 11AM. Flims/Laax is also mostly south facing, and with no fresh snow 90% of the off piste is useless. Plus pistes on the lower 2/3 of the vertical are frozen granular in the morning and heavy spring snow at the end of the day. If it's like this in January, what's it going to be in March?

I had no illusions about snow conditions in the Alps having the consistency of LCC or Mammoth. But I question putting a ski area in this much south exposure, expecially a massive complex with start of the art lifts over tens of thousands of acres. I carp at Jackson's exposure, but Jackson gets way more snow and also has colder average midwinter temperatures. My criticism would not apply as much to Kappl,which is a satellite area in a larger ski region. Madrisa at Klosters was also mostly south exposure. Madrisa's pistes were in good shape, though you would not want to go off piste in the old snow there either.

That said I completely appreciate the virtues that James describes, and for those it's worth trying to work in one trip a season over here. He's also absolutely correct about lack of competition for powder, though as I've analyzed many times you still need some luck to get that on an advance scheduled trip.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9822
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Kappl, AT 01/30/13

Postby Patrick » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:36 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
berkshireskier wrote:Just out of curiosity, how much are you paying for lift tickets at each of the resorts?

The lift tickets are the only thing reasonably priced over here.


Well, I found that food and beer in Austria resorts or touristy towns were pretty cheap compared to what the similar quality would be priced in North America. But I've noticed that you've moved into Switzerland, where everything is expensive, even summer lift tickets.

Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:which means the same thing in all languages: south-facing. Hey, they even have it in English on the trail map: "Sunny Mountain!"

I really don't get this. You got lucky with new snow and still it gets heavy by 11AM. Flims/Laax is also mostly south facing, and with no fresh snow 90% of the off piste is useless. Plus pistes on the lower 2/3 of the vertical are frozen granular in the morning and heavy spring snow at the end of the day. If it's like this in January, what's it going to be in March?

I had no illusions about snow conditions in the Alps having the consistency of LCC or Mammoth. But I question putting a ski area in this much south exposure, expecially a massive complex with start of the art lifts over tens of thousands of acres. I carp at Jackson's exposure, but Jackson gets way more snow and also has colder average midwinter temperatures.


Many ski areas in the Alps started off on farmer fields, from rope-tow to eventually lifts. Many were not designed to be a major ski area, they just developed that way.

Tony Crocker wrote:That said I completely appreciate the virtues that James describes, and for those it's worth trying to work in one trip a season over here. He's also absolutely correct about lack of competition for powder, though as I've analyzed many times you still need some luck to get that on an advance scheduled trip.


From what I understood, there is more competition now than there were 10-20 years ago. One of my blog goals for the seasons, is to write a few TRs from Winter 1993 and 2003 where I had a few days in the Alps.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4729
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario


Return to Europe & Asia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use