SkiBike Tour 2015-16 - Call Of The Pow

Posted: Wednesday, 13 January 2016 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

So for the last three days we had waited for a weather window in order to visit to the glacier above Kaprun. This, our last day in Austria, was to be our final opportunity for Thierry, Stephane and I to answer the "Call of the Pow" and see whether the stories we had head of vast powder fields high above the clouds were true. As the morning dawned there were patches of blue sky between the clouds and you could even see the sun, was today going to be our bluebird day?

Zellermoos dawn - was today going to be our bluebird day?

The Kitzsteinhorn base station is just up the road from Kaprun, itself no more than ten minutes from Zell am See. The base station sits in a deep gorge of monumental proportions served by either of two possible cable car systems; which is just as well, because once you are up in the glacier bowl the only other way down would be by helicopter.

Kitzsteinhorn - two cable car systems, the only other way down is by helicopter

We were warned at the base station that it was going to be windy at the top, I have survived Scotland, but there was little to prepare us for the sheer brutally once we arrived.

When we got to the first chairlift the cross winds were trying to wrench my skibike out of my grasp as it balanced precariously below me. The temperature was -9 degrees and with the wind the conditions were truly Arctic in nature. We managed a few runs struggling to see anything beyond a dozen metres. Without any vegetation for reference I was watching out for tiny bits of debris on the piste, just to be able to gauge my speed and direction.

The extreme cold forced us to seek the comfort of the Krefelder Hutte and some gluhwein before reconsidering our decision to remain in such hellish conditions. The forecast was bleak, with more gusty winds predicted, today was just not going to be our day. As if to add insult to injury the skies would clear tonight and tomorrow was going to be sunny and bright; someone else would be in for an amazing bluebird day tomorrow, how typical!

The forecast was bleak, today was just not going to be our day

We retreated down the valley to the relative calm of nearby Maiskogel covered by the same lift pass.

Admittedly we did find some good accumulated powder at the top of the mountain, but unfortunately horrendous ice further down. In short, it was the worst slope I have ever ridden, it didn't matter what technique I tried, none of them worked. For the very first time since the start of the Blog in 2009 I called it quits at 3.30 whilst the lifts were still running. Leaving Thierry as the last surviving member of our clique to answer "The Call of the Pow".

Stephane LeMaitre - Call of the Pow