Warth-Schröcken, AT 01/31/15

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Warth-Schröcken, AT 01/31/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Forgot to post TRs from the two major storm days.

Day 2: Warth-Schröcken
On today’s menu was Warth-Schröcken, which, along with nearby Damüls (I’m going there tomorrow), is considered to be the snowiest region in the Alps, with an average of approximately 440 inches per year, and that’s probably measured close to the base, so increase that for further up on the mountain. As usual for the Alps, the map doesn’t convey how much skiable acreage there is (lots), nor how big it skis.

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As you've probably figured out by now, all things being equal -- I guess that means vacation time, disposable income, availability of frequent flyer miles -- I love skiing in the Alps. That said; there is one part of the Euro skiing experience that most people can do without: storm days at ski areas that are above treeline. And when I say no trees; I mean NO TREES.

It snowed about six inches overnight and continued blasting pretty much all day. Following a white-knuckle drive up a steep, switchbacked road to Warth, it was quickly clear that I wouldn't be leaving the piste today, despite the untracked off-piste goodies pretty much everywhere. Oddly enough, you could see well into the distance, but it was really tough to figure out what was directly under your feet. Pretty much all you had were those markers along the sides of the groomed trails, without which you're SOL.

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Still, there were all sorts of fun diversions, like this advert at a lift base for a doctor who specialises in treating sports-related accidents -- it says "better off with a helmet."

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So the big news -- which happened last year but continues to be a major story -- is/was the installation of the Auenfeldjet gondola, which connects Warth-Schröcken with neighboring Lech. For a variety of reasons too numerous to go into, it took something like 40 years of on-and-off-again negotiations between all sorts of stakeholders before it was approved. To give you an idea of what this is like -- culturally, it's kind of like lift-connecting Utah's Brighton ("regular" people who like to ski/ride) with Deer Valley (i.e Europe's 1%).

Here's the "you gotta be kidding me" part about this gondola -- you ride it from Warth, up and over a bunch of peaks for about ten minutes before arriving at the bottom of Lech's Weibermahd high-speed quad; however, instead of you getting off the gondola and walking/over to the HSQ, it literally connects on a shared bullwheel, with two gondola cars alternating with one chair counter-clockwise, over and over, and continuing uphill on the Weibermahd lift! Imagine the technology (and expense) involved in coordinating this dance, where a gondola meets a chairlift at "mid-station" and goes on its merry way as a chondola.

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After I got over that bit of insanity, I spent a couple hours revisiting a bunch of runs at Lech from eight and nine years ago. It even cleared up for a bit.

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After going back to Warth, I ran into a couple very pleasant British skiers whom I'd met on the Auenfeldjet gondola earlier and we made turns for the rest of the day together -- even got about ten minutes of blue skies before the whiteout returned:

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Here we are at one of the many atmospheric restaurants and huts:

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So despite the less than stellar visibility, we had a fun time... thanks to Kevin and Paul for the great company.
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Re: Warth-Schröcken, AT 01/31/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:29 pm

Despite a comparatively mediocre 2014-15, Warth-Schröcken was once again named the snowiest resort in the Alps measured at or near the base: 325 inches (significantly below its average of 417 inches) by the Weather to Ski site. I'd love to know its mid-mountain and near-summit totals.
http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-s ... w-2014-15/
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Re: Warth-Schröcken, AT 01/31/15

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:20 pm

According to Fraser Warth measures snow at 5,494 feet within its lift served range of 4,921-6,725. On average Euro ski areas measure 1/3 of the way up their vertical while North American areas measure 1/2 of the way up theirs. There are numerous outliers both higher and lower.

I wrote my North America article for 2014-15 and sent it to Fraser a week ago. He wrote back and asked for some pictures. Hopefully it will be published soon.
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Re: Warth-Schröcken, AT 01/31/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:38 am

Tony Crocker wrote:On average Euro ski areas measure 1/3 of the way up their vertical while North American areas measure 1/2 of the way up theirs.

We've talked about it before, but worth bringing up again -- although Warth-Schröcken mentions its status as the snowiest region in the Alps on its website (their "brochure figure" is 11 meters/430 inches), the title doesn't provide the value that it would in more numbers-obsessed North America. Far more important to their marketing efforts is the connection to Lech. Anecdotally, most visitors I ran into weren't aware of how much snow the ski area receives.
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