5 days, 3 countries, 2 chicks, 1 pair of skis each
5 days of exploring the alps at its best. Pure freedom, a lot of sun and many new tracks done by us. The goal of Italian cappuccino at a cafe in Meran with our skis next to us always kept in mind. This kept motivation high.
Let's go into details: 1 What are the Challenges? 2 Our highlights? 3 The Route
1 WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES? Preparation, weather, avalanche situation, finding the correct route
Well, preparation is easy when you are excited and you take a rainy Sunday afternoon with delicious cake and coffee. You get into the right mood, learn the names of the peaks on the way and make reservations at hotels or pensions down in the valley!
Weather and avalanches: pick some dates and then hope for sun and safe conditions ;) Worked for us: 4 out of 5 days bluebird, first day some snow and fresh powder - we have been sooo lucky!
Correct route: a lot of reading beforehand and gpx helps :)
2 OUR HIGHLIGHTS? Every day more meters in altitude skiing down than going up, hell yes! A lot of times we did the first tracks because the tour moves away from the traditional and known ski routes. This was so amazing, also you should calculate some extra time to stop and check if still on track. Another highlight was EVERYONE that talked to us when we walked into Dorf Tirol and Meran with T-shirt on and skis on our backpack. "Did you mix up the seasons?", "Did you get lost in winter?", "So cool, where did you ski?" and just many smiles and surprised faces because spring was already fully on in Italy and there was noone else around in ski gear :D
3 THE ROUTE Day 1 - Starting at famous Zugspitze and drawing some fresh powder lines into "little Canada" – people from that area know that’s a rare case – good thing we started on a weekday ;) ! We already crossed the border to Austria on that very first day. Known as “Gatterl” you ski through a small gate and whoop already in Austria. Some powder turns and uphill time later we arrive at “Biberwierer Scharte” from where we ski down to our first nights stay.
Day 2 - Next day after delicious breakfast and welcomed by bluebird sky we enter the area of Satteltörl and Mieminger Scharte and end this perfect day. Amazing views, warm weather, fun spring powder and some slush on the way down. Ending the day with Coffee and Marillenknödl in Obermieming. Hooray!
Day 3 – We start in Axams (we took the bus from Obermieming and no, we do not feel like cheating because we do it for fun not for endless hiking from Obermieming to Axams ;) ). Via Hoadl, skiing down next to the Kalkkögel and with skins back up to Adolf Pichler Hütte and Gamskogel. From there we ski to Schlicker Scharte and find our way down to Neustift. Awesome about today: we made it down to the valley in the afternoon for coffee in the sun and found a cute stay for the night (Pension Grubenhof). Thanks for having us and the early delicious breakfast.
Day 4 – Glacier is calling! Today is finally the day we use our alpine gear (the crampons and ice pick people where making fun of the last days because we already had to carry those with us). After crossing the Glacier and making it to Sonklarspitze via “Hohes Eis” we enjoy some stunning views, climb down the east ridge and find ourselves on the tracks down all the way to Timmelsjoch where we enjoy a delicious cappuccino while waiting for the taxi driver to bring us to Pfelders – our next overnight stay. In Pfelders we go for some beer and pizza and then quickly hit the bed – long day!
Day 5 – this could be daily routine forever: getting up, nice weather, breakfast with delicious coffee, skis on and start tracking, lunch at the top, skiing down, coffee and REPEAT!
On our last day of crossing the alps from Pfelders to Meran we felt excitement, pride that we did not get lost but also a tiny bit of sadness that our adventure is coming to an end.
We had to hike down the last 800 meters in altitude with our skis on the back since the sun ate all the snow already. And then we made our overall goal: Italian cappuccino in the sun, skis next to us and some curious and surprised looks from everyone else in the cafe.
NOTE: a huge thank you goes to Stefan Herbke and the Panorama Magazine for the gpx tracks and the inspiration to do this tour!