Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 2013

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Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 2013

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:16 pm

Richard drove over to St. Anton today and dropped me off before parking at Nasserein. John, Martin and I were again with guide Alex of Piste-to-Powder. Al was sick and Paul had moved to a faster group and were replaced by a Swedish couple Ted and Karen. The group remained very compatible in pace and ski ability.

Wednesday was 100% clear. Reported new snow was a modest 2 inches in the resorts, probably twice that up high. At any rate, Piste-to-Powder probably sent all of their level 3 and 4 groups up the Valluga trams after an initial warmup run. This view from Galzig shows the Schindlergrat chair topping out at the Schindler Spitze at upper right at 8,725 feet.
IMG_2092.JPG

The top of the first Valluga tram in the notch center left is at similar elevation. The Valluga 2 tram ends at the tower dead center at 9,220 feet. The line for Valluga 1 was slightly out the door at Galzig, probably 15 minutes or so. View down from Valluga 1 to the top of the Arlenmacher and Rauz chairs.
IMG_2093.JPG


The Valluga 2 tram is mostly for sightseers: Richard went up there midday. You are not allowed to take skis up there unless you're with a guide. It's tiny, much smaller than Snowbasin's and our whole group would not fit in there with skis. Here's the view down the tram line with an avalanche "bell" protecting the piste below.
IMG_2097.JPG

There are also 2 Gasex installations near the top of the Schindlergrat chair.

Here's the initial descent off the Valluga's backside.
IMG_2102.JPG

The group is doing a switchback sideslip descent of the top section as there are more rocks in there than it appears from a casual look. Beyond the group is a saddle which you must cross to skier's left to descend the NW drainage to Zurs. The vast skier's right drainage is a terrain trap where it will take a very long hike to return to civilization.

This is an alternative descent due north, also leading to Zurs.
IMG_2104.JPG

However its upper section was steep and bony and the wind was blowing from that direction so there was likely less powder also.

Here's the first section we can ski.
IMG_2106.JPG


Traverse into the saddle.
IMG_2110.JPG


Looking back to the Valluga from the saddle.
IMG_2113.JPG


In the distance we see a couple of people skinning up for some extra fresh tracks.
IMG_2114.JPG


We were content with a short traverse to this slope.
IMG_2115.JPG


The Piste-to-Powder guides do a lot of traverses to bypass wind affected slopes like those in foreground for those with better snow.
IMG_2120.JPG


We follow another group skiing this powder slope.
IMG_2123a.jpg


Our turn
IMG_2125.JPG


We then have a long runout to Zurs' Trittalp chair. We take a lap there, traversing out to a powder run through these scattered trees.
IMG_2131.JPG


We ate lunch in Zurs ~12:30, then took the free bus to Rauz and skied down to Stuben. We rode up the 2 chairs, then set off on a 15-20 minute traverse with several diagonal step-up sections.
IMG_2136.JPG

I've always found those extremely tiring and so chose to take my skis off and walk. Fortunately enough people had set that route that I rarely postholed. We finish the step-ups but still need to traverse more to get around to a better exposure.
IMG_2139.JPG


Finally our reward, the most consistent powder of the week.
IMG_2142.JPG

IMG_2143.JPG

There was about 1,000 vertical of this. Then there was a short descent in direct sun through thick "Baldy powder" then some packed powder bumps shaded by opposing mountains and finally a long exit trail to a bus stop. The bus comes out to service backcountry and cross country skiers and costs 4 Euros for the 15 minute ride back to St. Anton. We caught that bus (last of the day) around 3:30, so that was all of our skiing for the day. Only 11,400 (but 4K of powder) due to waits for the tram, 2 bus rides, the slow chairs at Stuben and the slog out to our final run. Though today was the lowest quantity day of the week, it was definitely the highest in quality, hopefully illustrated by the pics above.
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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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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby jasoncapecod » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:24 pm

no pix ?
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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:42 pm

If the report is posted with numbers but no pix, that's a precaution to avoid losing the report and having to rewrite it. It usually means the pix will be loaded in 5-10 minutes, with the exception of situations like Sunday's report, when the Sandhof's WiFi hung up so I gave up until I could get a better connection a couple of days later.
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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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby ChrisC » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:51 am

I had an interesting response from Piste-to-Powder regarding skiing the Valluga. Maybe they changed their policy?


...........
Hi Chris,

Thank you for getting back to me. Sometimes we have to do that, but it happens rather rarely. At the end, it is always up to our guides to decide based on given conditions. Safety of our clients is our top priority, hence we don't want to risk anything if the conditions are really bad. However, our guides can almost always find some nice runs to do, even if the weather is not ideal.

If you want to ski the back of Valluga, you would need to hire a private guide and the avalanche risk level cannot be higher than 2. The cost of the private guide option is €380 for the first person in the group per day, plus €60/day per every other person joining the group.

Please let me know if you have any other questions! Are you ready to book?


Kind regards,
Mike

www.pistetopowder.com
info@pistetopowder.com
office: +43 664 1746282
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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:59 pm

What's the question you asked to get his response -- "Sometimes we have to do that, but it happens rather rarely" -- and what change in policy are you referring to?
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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:33 pm

Yes I would interpret that as an unfortunate change in policy. When Liz and I were in the Arlberg in January 2017 there was no skiing off the back of the Valluga. If you recall that season started with a major dump in early November, followed by 6 weeks of drought that melted out all the snow below 2,200 meters. The off-piste snow above 2,200 was extremely dangerous from the weak layer that formed during the dry spell.

There are other off-piste guides in the Arlberg. You can definitely hire the Lech Ski School and presumably the St. Anton Ski School. I would inquire with both whether they take advanced groups off the back of the Valluga, conditions permitting

Per https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather- ... mber-2018/ this season has overall had a decent start, marred by an ill-timed rain event in the NW Alps last weekend. The Arlberg probably had rain at low elevation but a good amount of new snow higher up.

The Pyrenees have had a poor start, but there's still a month before James' trip for that to turn around.
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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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby ChrisC » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:34 pm

Hi,

I was interested in 2 days of guiding for 2 persons.

Do you ever cancel for the day if there is heavy snow and/or wind? Just curious how frequent that might happen.

Also we would love to ski the back of the Valluga.

We have our own equipment - and 30+ years experience with off-piste in Alaska, BC, Chamonix, La Grave, Val d'Isere, etc.

Thanks,
Chris
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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby ChrisC » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:22 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:There are other off-piste guides in the Arlberg. You can definitely hire the Lech Ski School and presumably the St. Anton Ski School. I would inquire with both whether they take advanced groups off the back of the Valluga, conditions permitting

Per https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather- ... mber-2018/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; this season has overall had a decent start, marred by an ill-timed rain event in the NW Alps last weekend. The Arlberg probably had rain at low elevation but a good amount of new snow higher up.


Yes,

I reached out to another guide service - St Anton Classic Guides. They even had half day rates. Might do one group guide day and one private day with the 2 guide services.

https://www.stantonclassic.com/en/skiing/

St anton classic stands for local, knowledgeable and top Austrian qualified ski instructors as well as UIAMG mountain guides with vast experience; our guides are often skiing the route off the back of Valluga.

The rates for our ski school are per instructor per day for 1 person,
each additional person is € 25,- (incl. 20 % VAT)

All day (6 hours) start time from 9.00am € 380,-
All day (5 hours) start time from 9.00am € 335,-
Half day (3 hours) starts at 9.00/9.30am or 12.30/1.00pm € 245,-


Weather.

Things look decent - and getting better. The rain-snow line seemed lower and did less damage than France. And there have been recent snows.

https://www.skiarlberg.at/en

Snow depth Mountain: 340 cm
Snow depth Valley: 60 cm
Last snowfall: 03.01
New snow: 55 cm

And learning my European weather systems - northern Stau.

https://unofficialnetworks.com/2019/01/ ... -wepowder/
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Re: Valluga, Stuben (Piste-to-Powder), Austria, Jan. 23, 201

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:43 pm

Fraser sent me an e-mail a couple of days ago about the northern Stau. So as in 2018 it looks like we may be road warriors after flying into Geneva. The places we skied in January 2017 are where it's best now.

Also I got an e-mail from sbooker, the Aussie who is the Alps since Christmas. The rain/snow line from that warm storm just before Christmas was 5,000 feet in Austria vs. 7,000 in France.
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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