Tauplitz, AT: 02/04/19

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Tauplitz, AT: 02/04/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:36 am

Since I arrived on a Sunday, I was looking forward to what I always experience when skiing the Alps during off-peak midweek -- all lifts/terrain sectors open and few other skiers sharing the mountain with me. At breakfast on Monday, I spoke with the owner of my inn about where I should go for Day 2. She recommended their home mountain Tauplitz, about 12 minutes away, and raved about the beautiful views from the summit. On maps, the area is called Tauplitzalm; the word "alm" means "mountain pasture/meadow." I realized that I'd be skiing a handful of ski mountains on this trip that were either named after or contained alms.

While driving into base village, I was in for an unpleasant surprise. Instead of being able to head right up to the main lift, the parking lots were packed with cars along with families clomping on the side of the road in their boots. It looked suspiciously like a weekend. After finding a spot for my Citroën, I asked the woman next to me if today was some sort of national holiday. She said not just today, the entire week was a midwinter school break for the metropolitan Vienna, Upper Austria, and Czech Republic regions. Ugh, I realized that in the rush to change my plane itinerary from the Pyrenees to the Salzburg region a couple weeks earlier, I neglected to consult the school calendar, which is a critical step, even when visiting local's ski areas.

Thus, for the first time in virtually forever, I’d be skiing during a quasi peak period. The good news was that over the next six days, while certain intermediate trails were at times a bit of a traffic jam and steeper groomed sections sometimes skied down to boilerplate, I never waited more than three or so minutes for a lift (they were usually ski-on) and the extensive offpiste was deserted.

The skier densities you see in the following pix are pretty much what I encountered the entire week (to be fair, I’ll include some traffic jam pix later): quite tolerable compared to what you’d run into at monster ski circuits during the true school breaks that started the following week. As Tony’s Soprano’s mother would say, “oh, poor you!”

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As always, there’s always the disclaimer about how Alps trail maps don’t really convey the extent of terrain and Tauplitz was no different. Basically, you take a high-speed quad up a couple thousand feet to a two-mile-wide oval alm, which is surrounded by four or five separate peaks like a king's crown (you can't see from the map) with usable vert between 1,000 and 1,800 vertical feet. On the far looker's left, the Mitterstein gondola gives you access to 2,800 consistent verts including huge tracts of treeless offpiste on the top half and then nicely spaced glades on the lower half.

When I reached the mid-mountain alm at 9:45, yesterday's fog was still hanging on:
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I did a bunch of warm-up runs on the lower sections which had trees (here's a pair of parallel surface lifts) and plenty of leftover powder from the previous day:
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I could see in the distance that the cloud banks were dissipating so I stopped in for a quick break at one of the summit restaurants. Here's the de rigueur strudel porn:
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I love when chalets have old equipment on the walls. Here are some handsome Kneissl White Stars from the early 60s. With their simple graphics, these look so much nicer than most skis you see from the 70s and 80s.
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By 11:30, it went bluebird so I blew off lunch and skied nonstop for the next four hours:
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Much of the nearby offpiste was chewed up; however, the cold temps kept things nice and chalky. I was alone and didn't go much further afield to score untracked. Still, very pleasant skiing.
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Despite being roped off with warning signs, there were a couple rogue tracks on this pitch:
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Reverse shot looking up. The slope was correctly marked as capable of sliding. IMO, the people who skied it were nuts.
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By 3:30, I did the entire top-to-bottom descent, 3,600 verts, which allows you two different routes to the valley. I opted for the left one back to my car in Tauplitz:
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Whereas valley runs are often glorified cat tracks with scratchy manmade on the last thousand feet, this was a really nice trail with usable pitches (of course, I only have pix of the sections that look like cat tracks) and gorgeous long-distance visuals:
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Arriving at the cute base village:
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In short, a nice ski area for one day and plenty of interesting terrain if I'd had a local show me around.
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Re: Tauplitz, AT: 02/04/19

Postby EMSC » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:20 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Despite being roped off with warning signs, there were a couple rogue tracks on this pitch:


Reverse shot looking up. The slope was correctly marked as capable of sliding. IMO, the people who skied it were nuts.


If you had avi gear, partner and local snowpack knowledge those would be the desired ski spots for someone like me :-D Very pretty area, but doesn't look like any interesting advanced terrain that is inbounds in the pics....
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Re: Tauplitz, AT: 02/04/19

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:37 pm

South facing and tops out at 6,300 feet per Google Earth. It's good the temperatures stayed down, but that seems fairly common midwinter in Austria.

Did you see an avalanche rating? I usually saw them posted around base areas on our trip. I would think the rating would have been quite low from what I read about those big Austrian storms a few weeks earlier consolidating to a stable snowpack.
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