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SPRING SKI SAFARI - James Cove, The Tirol, Austria
Sunday March 31, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

As April starts we're in the Austrian Alps enjoying late season skiing. It's looking good as the weather closes in.


UPDATE: Friday 5th April


And after the snow the weather clears and our Spring Ski Safari continues.

But where to head?

Kuhtai seems a good bet.

The drive up from Innsbruck looked promising.

On the way to KuhtaiOn the way to Kuhtai

























More than promising.

Getting closer to KuhtaiGetting closer to Kuhtai

























And when we arrived..

 Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria

























 Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria

























 Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria Kuhtai, the Tirol, Austria

























Kuhtai, the Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, the Tirol, Austria

























You gotta love a Spring Sking Safari:


UPDATE: Wednesday 3rd April.

I'm afraid the PlanetSKI Spring Safari rather ground to a halt today.

We headed to Soelden in the Tirol and first thing it looked like a normal ski day with crowded slopes and plenty of people out.

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few hours later this is what it looked like at the same spot.

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what happened in between?

The much forecast storm arrived.

It was all rather bleak out on the slopes and on the lifts.

Soelden, the Tirol, InnsbruckSoelden, the Tirol, Innsbruck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resort holds the Hannibal event later in the month on the glacier.

Preparations are underway, but went on hold today.

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the local restaurant near the main arena I bumped into the man who runs it and who I have met at previous editions, Lawine Torren.

"All the preparations are going to plan but the snow at the moment doesn't help. Oh well, it is the moutains!" Lawine said to me.

"See you next week."

As I said I have been before and it is quite a spectacle

Look out for my reports from the Hannibal event later.

And as I skied down after a limited day's skiing was I bothered the Spring Ski Safari had rather ground to a halt?

Soelden, the Tirol, InnsbruckSoelden, the Tirol, Innsbruck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a bit we're going to be getting some April powder days.


UPDATE: Tuesday 2nd April

And our Spring Safari in the Austrian Alps continues as we arrive in the Zugspitz Arena ski area in the Tirol.

There's a handful of resorts in the area and we planned to hit the main ones of Ehrwald, Lermoos and the Zugspitzplatt glacier area itself.

All in a day.

First up Ehrwald with the cherry on the top of the cake waiting - Zugspitzplatt.

But more of that (or not) later...

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ehrwald was deserted and we timed it well with the icy snow turning to perfect groomed snow as the sun did its work.

The scenery was stunning and, this being early April, we had the slopes to ourselves.

Spring skiing comes highly recommended by me, as you can read lower down this article as I visited Alpbach and Stubai on the first legs of this Spring Ski Safari.

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 10-minute drive away was Lermoos.

And old British favourite and steeped in Tirolean charm.

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the views were stunning with barely a soul around - Spring skiing at its best.

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaYours truly in the Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz Arena, Tirol, AustriaZugspitz Arena, Tirol, Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And as we ticked off Ehrwald and squeezed an extra top to bottom run at Lermoos (lunch could wait) we headed round to the main draw - the Zugspitzplatt glacier area.

What could possibly go wrong?

Next up my obligatory video and snow report.

So far so good?

Well, not quite so.

Those who know the area will have noticed that in the video I seem to think the glacier area I was about to ski is in the Tirol in Austria.

It is not, it is in Germany.

Was I about to get my wish of skiing in Germany fulfilled?

Er, no.

I had the wrong lift pass.

I may well have the Tirol Snow Card that gives me access to all the resorts in the Tirol, but it carries no weight in Germany.

I made my representations to the lifties but this is Germany... rules is rules.

And as I was only popping up for an hour or so I had left my wallet in the car - 1,750m below where I was standing.

Oh, well at least I had learnt a bit about the geography of the area and been able to look at skiing in Germany even if I couldn't actually do it.

Zugspitz Arena, GermanyZugspitz Arena, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And peer into the country.

Looking into GermanyLooking into Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views from the top are pretty special too.

Even from the Austrian side.

Zugspitz ArenaZugspitz Arena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz ArenaZugspitz Arena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zugspitz ArenaZugspitz Arena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so where next in my Spring Ski Safari?

One thing is certain - if I want to have some skiing it will be somewhere in the Tirol.

Oh, and by the way if you ever purchase the annual Tirol Snow Card for access to apparently all the resorts in the Tirol  take note - it can't be used in St Anton or Fieberbrunn either.

Let's hope there are no others.

APRIL SKI SAFARI - DAY ONE

This season spring skiing should be excellent if the start of April is anything to go by.

I'm currently living in Innsbruck in the Tirol and will be putting in plenty of spring skiing and much else besides this month -  as winter turns to spring the mountains come alive.

There's hiking, biking, rafting, touring, parapenting and a whole range of activities.

Not to mention BBQs and simply chilling in the alpine sun.

And then there's the skiing.

And my first port of call?

Going up it didn't look too hopeful but no doubts crept in for me - April is one of my favourite times of the season to ski.

And I knew what it would likely be like at the top at 2,000m

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the scene at the top of the Alpbachtal Wildschonau ski area.

Not bad for April, eh?

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the pistes?

Pretty much deserted with full coverage:

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the trick with skiing at this time of year, in any ski resort, is knowing which slopes to hit and when.

First thing the slopes will be icy, so no need to rush for that first lift.

Instead head up later and then move round the mountain on slopes that have been softened by the sun.

And if you are lucky and have a bit of knowledge you'll find some spring snow off piste to make some turns.

Not as good as powder, but it's a pretty good second in my book.

Spring snow in AlpbachSpring snow in Alpbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And lunch isn't sitting inside out of the cold and wind, as can happen in the middle of winter, rather outside enjoying the sun.

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you like your sun and skiing in a T-shirt:

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And darkness doesn't fall straight after skiing - there is time to do other activities.

I decided to head into the village of Alpbach for a little nose around.

It is one of the most beautiful of the villages in the Tirol.

It is an old British favourite and even has a British ski club.

It oozes alpine charm and reminded me of similar Swiss ones such as Wengen or Murren.

Time just goes at a slightly slower pace, as it does in April.

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then it was the 40-minute drive back home to Innsbruck.

With a cheeky après ski beer by river Inn.

April in the AlpsApril in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in case you are wondering the PlanetSKI office is the terracota coloured building to the left of my head - with views out the back to the mountain above.

Our apartment/office is called Hafelekar and the Hafelekar peak is the one above at 2,256m.

A sharp rise as Innsbruck sits at 560m

And this week as spring has sprung we have also had our hiking boots on and walked up to the summit.

Hiking is another fabulous spring activity.

The path to the summit is now manageable.

And the views from there are utterly spectacular.

Next up though, as mentioned, it's going to be skiing at one of the nearby glacier resorts.

It will be different from Alpbach - steep, high-altitude glacier skiing rather than cruising gentle reds in the sunshine.

Pitztal, Hintertux or Stubai?

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

UPDATE:

Stubai wins:

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

 

Related Articles

APRIL NEWS IN BRIEF (Friday April 19, 2019)
TOP TIPS FOR AVOIDING THE CROWDS (Thursday April 18, 2019)
ONE LAST SKI, ONE LAST SKI (Thursday April 18, 2019)
FEBRUARY SKIING SECRETS (Thursday April 18, 2019)
MARCH SKIING SECRETS (Thursday April 18, 2019)
APRIL SKIING SECRETS (Thursday April 18, 2019)


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