SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser, Austria Jan. 22, 2017

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SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser, Austria Jan. 22, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:06 pm

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After seeing the Hahnenkamm we stayed 15 miles down the road in Brixen, which provided easy access to the Kitzbuhel and Ski Welt Wilder Kaiser complexes. For the latter we had a free bus from the Vital and Sport Hotel in the morning and could ski directly to the hotel at the end of the day.

As KItzbuhel was still busy with World Cup racing Sunday, we skied SkiWelt, which has 90 lifts and 287 km. of pistes. Hohe Salve at 6,000 feet is the highest point of the ski area and the only part above tree line.
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Other peaks range from 5,100 to 5,500 feet with trees to the top. Consequently the area feels like one of the Summit County trail complexes (Deer Valley and Park City in UT, Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper in Colorado) if those areas were interconnected. Trail pods along the peaks, generally in the 1,000 vertical range, are similar to the recent connections between Park City and Canyons. There are longer runs dropping down to the towns below at 2,100 – 2,600 feet. There are four towns on the north side, Going, Ellmau, Scheffau and Soll, two on the west, Itter and Hopfgarten, and finally Brixen to the south. There is also skiing south of Brixen connected to Westendorf, which we skied Tuesday.

View NW from top of Hohe Salve past Soll.
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View NE past Brixen toward Kirchberg.
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View W from top of Hohe Salve past Hofgarten.
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Weather continued clear with highs just over freezing. SkiWelt is a weekend concentrated area as it has the most extensive skiing close to Munich and Salzburg and does over 2 million skier visits per season. Thus in skier traffic it is more like Summit County Colorado. Fortunately the Austrians spare no expense in their lift systems, with most lifts being gondolas or high speed sixes with a few 8-packs in the busiest areas. Skier density was the highest I’ve seen in the Alps and in the upper range for western US areas.

Although this region got the two January storms, overall snowfall is fairly modest, and SkiWelt has the most comprehensive snowmaking system I’ve seen, covering nearly all of that piste mileage. One of the snow guns:
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Here’s one of the snowmaking reservoirs, with more traditional Alpine scenery in the background.
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That pond has 6 pumps and probably 4x the surface area of the mid-station reservoir at Mammoth. And that was not the only such pond in Ski Welt. As the Alps get more precipitation in summer than winter, I’m guessing sourcing water for snowmaking is much easier than in the American West.

Upon arriving from Brixen we went up to Hohe Salve right way. After a couple of warmup runs I wanted to explore the ungroomed NE side of Hohe Salve shown in the first pic above. A closer view here:
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You would think a week after a storm there would be skier-packed lines in there. But no, it’s lightly tracked powder that’s way past its prime. It was a lot of grunt work to get through, so Liz bailed, backtracked and skied the 51, 43 and 42 lifts. I took laps on 7, 71 and 66, and we rejoined at 64 to continue moving east. We skied down to Scheffau, then back up through 68 and 98 to reach the long 80 piste to Ellmau.

It was not warm enough to melt/freeze much, but what admin and I called the “snowmaking subsurface” at Deer Valley once was much in evidence here. Steeper pistes were occasionally semi-controlled slides on that firm subsurface. While I drew the Summit County analogies, Liz thought SkiWelt was more like 5x(Sugarbush+Killington). At any rate she definitely had more experience in this type of skiing.

We pushed on to the 3 lifts in Going, the farthest town east. One of the lifts there serves a sled course of over 1,000 vertical.
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That lift has hooks to carry the sleds.

We eventually made it back up to Hartkaier and from there skied the 97, 99 and 69 lifts to each the long 1c trail leading back to our hotel.
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The 1c is one of those meander though the countryside runs. It is south facing with no snowmaking, so had some bare spots to avoid but at 4PM it was somewhat sun softened with few hardpack sections. We skied 27,600 vertical using those fast Austrian lifts.
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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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Tony Crocker
 
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Re: SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser, Austria Jan. 21, 2017

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:33 am

Were conditions any better across the road at Westendorf? We liked that sector the best of the Skiwelt.
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Re: SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser, Austria Jan. 21, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:34 am

Report on Westendorf is imminent. Snow conditions were not better, but the terrain across the road, both at Westendorf and Kirchberg/Kitzbuhel, is better because it goes 1,000 feet higher and opens up more. Some of it is steeper too. Snow conditions were slightly better at Pass Thurn.
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: 9795
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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