Diedamskopf, AT 01/30/15

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Diedamskopf, AT 01/30/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:44 pm

Instead of going to one of the huge, well-known European ski regions as I've done in the past, this season, I decided to hit up a part of the Alps that's barely on North Americans' radar, but is a bit of a "Geheimtipp" (insider tip) amongst Europeans: the Bregenzerwald -- "Wald" means forest -- located in the far western edge of Austria bordered by Germany to the north and Switzerland to the west. It's part of the larger Vorarlberg county, which borders the Arlberg, home to St. Anton, and includes the snowiest ski areas in the entire Alps, which I'll be visiting over the next two days. I'll keep all three TRs in this thread.

After a 9 pm departure out of JFK, I arrived in Zurich at 10:30 am, grabbed a rental car, and drove east, alongside beautiful Lake Constance.

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90 minutes later, I arrived in the Bregenzer Forest region for a couple hours of arrival-day turns.

Day 1: Diedamskopf
For Europeans, this is considered a tiny "local's hill." I was told by someone at the hotel that I'd only need a few hours to ski it out, LOL, but Diedamskopf felt pretty roomy to me. I could've easily spent a couple days here. Like most ski areas in Austria, you take a gondola from an unassuming wooded base and ascend a couple thousand vertical feet above the treeline to mid-mountain and then another couple thousand feet to the summit, so more than 4,000 verts total.

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From there, you have a pretty wide open bit of terrain to choose from. They'd received a quick top-off the night before, but the previous big snow was three days earlier, so without hiking, it was mostly soft sloppy seconds. I'll take it.

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You can walk a couple minutes from the top lift to the actual summit -- which has a cross, a feature at virtually every Austrian mountain and always a photo op -- and nail a few turns.

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By 3 pm, I saw what looked like my best shot given the short time frame I had to work with -- a ridgeline along the far skier's right that you traverse for about five minutes.

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At little bit further...

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And then you can drop in wherever. Tracked up, but didn't really feel like it.

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I could've gotten a cleaner line with a more extensive traverse, but jet lag was setting in, so I settled for a few knee-deep turns:

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Reverse shot, my tracks in the middle:

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By 4 pm, clouds had moved in ahead of a storm system.

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In short, a nice warm-up for the next week and given the two storm days coming up these may be my only photos with clear sightlines until Tuesday, but I'll gladly trade that for fresh snow. After a slow start (as was the case across the entire Alps), snow has been falling steadily and they're now at avy level 3. Yesterday at the Damüls ski area, where I'll be on Monday, two people were buried in a side-country slide with one death, so obviously, I'm not going to be going far afield without a guide.

I'm staying at the very pleasant Hotel Krone in the village of Au.

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Dinner at these half-board places -- where breakfast and dinner is included -- is always great and Hotel Krone was no exception. The owners, the Lingg family, are major francophiles and have created an ambiance and level of cuisine that's become a big favorite with French visitors.

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The convivial Herr Lingg stops by at every table to greet guests and chat for a few minutes: a very cool extra feature.

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Some food porn:

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A night there, including an outstanding dinner and breakfast was well under $100 -- that's value.
Last edited by jamesdeluxe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bregenzerwald, AT 01/30/15

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:32 pm

A few comments:
1) The partially tracked snow was light and fluffy 3 days after the storm. This is supportive of the MateoSwiss stats I found indicated water content of 7-8% in the Alps above 2,000 meters.
2) That base elevation of 820 meters is really low. I'm guessing you're working with the upper 2,000 of that 4,000 vertical most of the time. No argument that 2,000 is more than enough with lightly contested powder and traverseable ridgelines to get away from the main pistes.

jamesdeluxe wrote:Dinner at these half-board places -- where breakfast and dinner is included -- is always great

It's great if the food is good at the place you have paid for dinner every night. On the NASJA Chamonix trip in 2004 it was so-so. You don't want to be eating mediocre food in France! Did you do some advance research on Hotel Krone (knowing it was favored by francophiles would probably be enough) or did you just get lucky?
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Re: Bregenzerwald, AT 01/30/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:23 am

Tony Crocker: Did you do some advance research on Hotel Krone (knowing it was favored by francophiles would probably be enough) or did you just get lucky?

I got lucky.
Last edited by jamesdeluxe on Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bregenzerwald, AT 01/30/15

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:46 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Jason mentioned that there's a similar lift setup at Zermatt.

I recall Sunnegga-to-Blauherd being a chondola with separate loading areas for chair and gondola riders liek Centennial at Beaver Creek. I do not recall the two lift type connection james describes here. The gondola from Zermatt to Trockener Steg has 4 interim loading/unloading stations though.
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
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