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Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:01 pm
by Tony Crocker
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We didn’t pay enough attention to jet lag, wandering around town in Lech after dinner Saturday, getting to bed after 11PM. We didn’t set an alarm and woke up at 8:30. Bad weather was supposed to linger today after 1-2 feet new snow over the prior two days. However the morning was only partly cloudy with the clouds above the highest lifts. So we started with the Schleigelkopf and Kreigerhorn lifts and skied the ungoomed skiroute 202 (paper maps not same numbering as above) which we observed riding the lifts. It was well tracked but enough room to make our own for ~2,000 vertical. Liz dropping in:
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View down the slope to town of Lech.
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View across the slope with sundog at center.
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Road to Zurs at left.

Looking up from bottom of powder bowl close to the runout back to the piste.
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Next time up we continued to Lech’s highest lift Steinmahder. The direct lines there are south facing and constrained but the backside toward Lech is broad and open and looked promising. Unfortunately the cloud lowered onto the mountain by the time we got up there so we had to follow the piste down to Hasensprung. From there we skied past Steinmahder down a canyon piste to Zug, figuring correctly that visibility would be better lower down. It was still gray with occasional snow flurries so no more pictures.

Temperatures were cold by Alps standards, 10-15F. Fraser Wilkins of http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/" called it bitterly cold, but we dressed accordingly and with little wind were not uncomfortable.

Riding the Zug lift we saw another long skiroute 178 to far skier’s left. I checked that out while Liz went into the Balmalp restaurant at the top of the lift. That skiroute was also fairly tracked, and after lunch at Balmalp the cloud lifted enough to show a higher entry to it from the top of Kriegerhorn.

After lunch Liz skied the skiroute while I explored the trees between the skiroute and the lift. I got some deeper untracked but in both runs there was some hard bushwacking in the middle section before a more open exit back to the ski route.

The cloud lifted a bit around 3:30 and we both thought we could use Steinmahder for a long final run down to Lech. Unfortunately Steinmahde closes early so we had to ski that canyon back to Zug, repeat the chair ride and ski more gradual blues in the fading light ~4:30 through Oberlech and back to the Sandhof.

I skied 18,400 with about 7K of mostly cut up powder. Lech is not as competitive for powder as most North American areas but much more than Zermatt or Davos by my experience. It was nice day but could have been much better if we got up earlier. We did not wander off the tracked skiroutes because avalanche danger was high in uncontrolled areas. The front side Valluga runs in St. Anton and the Madloch chair link in the White Ring from Zurs were not open today, presumably also due to snow stability issues. The Valluga closure might have drawn more powderhounds to Lech today.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:23 am
by jamesdeluxe
For your warm-up day, I was going to recommend two ungroomed shots that we enjoyed and are right alongside lifts/trails: Kriegerhorn and the Zug ski route(s). Glad that you hit them without my suggestion.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:57 am
by Admin
Tony Crocker wrote:We did not wander off the tracked skiroutes because avalanche danger was high in uncontrolled areas.


From http://www.thelocal.at/20170116/rescue-dog-locates-austrian-skier-buried-under-avalanche

On Monday afternoon one man died in an avalanche in Lech-Zürs in Vorarlberg. A rescue helicopter arrived within minutes, but it was too late and the man could not be resuscitated. His identity has not yet been made public. Local media reports suggest the avalanche was triggered by a group of three skiers who were skiing off piste with a guide.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:43 pm
by EMSC
Admin wrote:triggered by a group of three skiers who were skiing off piste with a guide.


That's a pretty scary prospect... that even the hired guide was either not knowledgeable or caught off guard.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:31 pm
by jamesdeluxe
EMSC wrote:That's a pretty scary prospect... that even the hired guide was either not knowledgeable or caught off guard.

I wonder how often a client refuses to ski a line chosen by a well-regarded guide. I still remember the enormous Gobbler's Knob slide from last winter.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:46 pm
by Tony Crocker
I guess it's fortunate that I have not been tempted to hire guides this trip because there is so much powder inbounds. When I was here last in 2013 the snow was quite old so it was necessary to range far afield with guides to find any powder. And of course the avy rating was low. It was 4 on Sunday and still 3 today.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:28 pm
by Marc_C
Tony Crocker wrote: And of course the avy rating was low. It was 4 on Sunday and still 3 today.

Just remember, as the UAC has written many times, low doesn't mean no.

Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 15, 2017

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:37 am
by jamesdeluxe
Midweek: 3+ feet in eastern Switzerland and western Austria:
http://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtop ... 46&t=57623

^^ Once again underscoring the :dead horse: point about the lack of powder competition.