Yet more snow in Schladming

17th March 2010, by Dave Watts

Dave puzzles over five rival piste maps

Dave puzzles over five rival piste maps

On Tuesday, the last day of the editors’ tour round ski resorts in eastern Austria mainly covered by the Ski Amade lift pass, dawned to … you guessed it … yet more snow. Sadly, the temperatures had risen a few degrees, so the fresh snow on the runs that had been groomed on Monday night was not as magically light and powdery as on Monday. Nevertheless, the snow was deep and delightful. First, we headed up the Hochwurzen sector of the Schladming ski area and down the FIS-approved downhill run – which is in fact a lovely gentle red run for most of its length; and it was deserted when we hit it first thing after our 9am start.

After exploring Hochwurzen, we headed for the central Planai sector, reached by a gondola from near the centre of Schladming as well as from the Hochwurzen and Hauser Kaibling sectors. It was still snowing hard and after a few runs on Planai, we headed over to Hauser Kaibling via the deep deserted valley between the two. Hauser Kaibling’s slopes were deep in powder and with large untracked patches to make fresh tracks in. The off-piste and ski routes looked good too but there was no need for them as the pistes were like skiing off-piste.

After lunch at the rustic Schoarlhütte (great ribs) we enjoyed more powder after heading back to Planai. An amazing number of different piste maps was available (at least five for Planai and Hauser Kaibling alone – all somewhat different and all confusing in many ways). That crazy arrangement, together with poor signposting and pistes with the same numbers but going in different directions, led to your editors ending up having ski a couple of kilometres along a snow-covered road after finding themselves at the end of a piste and the foot of a closed lift. But we managed to navigate our way safely to the black World Cup run back into town and a welcome beer at Charly’s Treff with its photos of local and other Austrian skiing legends such as Franz Klammer.

As we headed to Salzburg airport early on Wednesday morning, the sky was blue and it was looking like the first sunny day since our arrival last Thursday. But the fabulous fresh snow we had enjoyed on our trip more than made up for the lack of sun. Next stop for Chris the Three Valleys in France, for Dave Zermatt in Switzerland. Watch this space.

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