Trip Report - Austria 2021/22

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
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Tirol, Austria
Week 1: Hintertux Glacier. 13 October - 20 October
Days ridden: 5/7

Great early season conditions were on offer for the first week of this epic Austrian adventure. 30cm of fresh snow had fallen the day prior to my arrival, leaving some fresh snow and grippy corduroy to be experienced.

The first 2 days were cloudy and low on visibility, making it difficult to quite understand where one was in relation to other slopes, lifts, or anything else! Take it as fact that Hintertux is NOT the place to be on a low-vis day, perhaps even when the snow itself is falling. Snow quality was superb and there were fresh tracks to be found down some (closed) slopes.

Day 3 an onwards brought glorious sunshine and a true understanding of the resort. Given it's still October, only the upper lifts were open, limiting the number of open slopes. Regardless, it was fairly busy with ski race clubs from around the world, as well as tons of people hitting the snowpark.

Conditions began to deteriorate towards the end of my week, with no fresh snow, warmer temperatures and limited snow-making on the glacier itself meaning that it was firm and in some areas, icy.

Overall, a good first week at the glacier!

Getting here is supremely easy regardless of where you base yourself. I stayed one train stop away from Mayrhofen, and simply took the train (free with ski pass) and then the Hintertux bus (free in ski clothing) to the glacier. It took a little over 1hr in each direction and there are frequent busses throughout the day (1 every hour to and from).

Next stop: Kaunertaler Glacier.
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Pics or GTFO.

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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Easily, Hinertux enforced it reasonably strongly but lots not wearing them in gondolas etc. Kaunertaler is like COVID doesn't exist - majority of staff aren't wearing them and even fewer guests. Most opting for the buff and staff don't care.
So how are you going with the FFP2 mask wearing?
 
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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Kaunertaler Update 24.10

Came up on Friday and today, conditions are satisfactory at best. Very firm and icy in areas, with no new snow for 2 weeks and only a few runs open, it is a crusty feeling under foot. Temps are in the positives at daytime so freeze/thaw conditions are occuring. Let it snow!
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Easily, Hinertux enforced it reasonably strongly but lots not wearing them in gondolas etc. Kaunertaler is like COVID doesn't exist - majority of staff aren't wearing them and even fewer guests. Most opting for the buff and staff don't care.
Interesting to see how that goes. I think it was meant to be a requirement starting November.
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Pitztal Glacier 1/11 - headed up both Sunday and today (Monday). Yesterday's conditions were classic freeze/thaw - softened up in the afternoon, but shaded areas were very firm and somewhat icy. More of the same today before the impending snowstorm moved in around 1pm. If the forecast is to be believed, this week could be decent!

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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Stubai Glacier 5/11:

This wasn't in the original plans but a spur of the moment trip was made to Stubai since it was only 1hr 15mins drive. The snow quality was really good and plenty of fresh tracks to be had after yesterday's snowfall (beware of rocks though!). It was a sunny day and minus 10 degrees, so conditions were perfect. The Stubai Premiere is on this weekend featuring the world's best ski and snowboard freestyle athletes, and they put on a show in the park today, as they warmed up for the weekend. The size of the jumps (see below) and the tricks they were doing had to be seen to be believed.
 
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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Pitztal Glacier Update 6/11 - 10/11

The weekend were rest days for the legs after a big week last week.
Conditions on Monday were firming. Off-piste had fresh areas but by then it was slow, heavy and bumpy.
Tuesday was a rest day and strong winds today have closed both gondolas. Temperatures are again in the positives. One more adventure tomorrow before it's off to Soelden and Gurgl on Friday, for the ensuing 3 weeks.
 
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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Pitztal Glacier 11/11 and round-up: Warm weather meant conditions quickly softened after a firm start. Called it a day just after lunchtime with packing to be done for the next destination (Soelden/Obergurgl).

Pitztal overall is quite small but a good place if you are wanting to learn to ride the powder. It suffers from the amount of shade it is in throughout the day, making it firm/icy when conditions are not favourable. In combination with Rifflesee (which opens December), you would have more to explore, and Rifflesee is less than 5mins away on the ski bus.
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
13.11 Soelden AND Obergurgl update: 2 resorts in a day with ease, the stuff you dream of (or not).

Gurgl: This was a "pre-opening" with 4 slopes and 5 lifts open. A good lesson learnt already today about Gurgl - not as good until 11am or later. Why? The slopes are completely shaded until that time, meaning on a sunny day, it actually seems a little "dark" due to the contrast when you're in the shaded areas. Conditions were crunchy and in places, sticky to begin. More snow or snowmaking is definitely required before the full opening on Thursday (it was only open for the weekend as a prelude). First impressions tell me that even with a lot of snow, it is not a resort you can just "go anywhere" due to the number of rocks everywhere, unless they get a LOT of snow.

Soelden: Made it up the gondola after the morning laps at Gurgl by 12:30 for a nice afternoon in the sun. Having been on glaciers for a month, it was nice to be on a proper ski area. (Yes Soelden has a glacier area, but with the snow coverage it didn't feel like a glacier resort). Coverage was the best in Austria so far, with wide open slopes fully covered in snow, which didn't deteriorate to the point of being icy (even on a Saturday). Thus, a good afternoon was had, with snow in the forecast overnight and all day tomorrow, this place could be a winner for the next 3 weeks. Hopefully Gurgl gets up to the same standard with some fresh snow too.
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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@SnowKid how is the situation on the ground re FFP2 masks and the bars/apres?
Apparently from tomorrow (Nov 15) the 2G rule applies ie. must be vaccinated or recovered, and FFP2 masks are no longer required in gondolas etc. Will be interesting to see how that plays out in reality.
 
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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Soelden 14/11 update: POW DAY! Gurgl was closed due to avalanche risk, making it a simple decision to go to Soelden this morning. I wasn't quite sure how much snow would be on the ground, given that the forecast for Gurgl said 30-40cm and Soelden was 10-20, which seemed strange considering how close they are in proximity. Anyway, a half an hour delay in the gondolas/lifts starting to transport guests gave a good indication (see photo below). There was probably 30-50cm in places, with knee deep areas around the resort. Visibility was pretty low all day, luckily the snow was soft, abundant and the crowds were small (very surprised by this, but maybe the Austrians don't like to ski, work or do anything else on Sundays). No lift queues except the initial morning commute up the hill. A very good Sunday you could say!
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
@SnowKid how is the situation on the ground re FFP2 masks and the bars/apres?
Mixed. People wear them in gondolas but maybe 25% do so on chairlifts with a bubble. The enforcement is very inconsistent - some staff will tell you to wear one on a bubble lift, others have no interest in enforcing it. Après has been very quiet so far, mainly due to the early season I would imagine. In general though, bars and restaurants have enforced the rule about being vaccinated/recovered/negative test, but you can definitely tell it isn't something they are overly keen on doing, or care about. Staff across Austria seem to have chosen not to wear them - supermarkets, transport, resort workers etc. ate very, very rarely seen in a mask.
 

Skifahrer

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Feb 6, 2021
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Dahoam
As of today, 2G applies to the gondolas. Did you have to show your vaccination certificate?
I wonder how that is done with the Tirol Snow Card?
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
No. I bought my pass weeks ago so I'm unsure how they would check it. I believe they are checking guests bhying day tickets at the point of sale for a vaccine document. There were no staff checking any documents today, in fact, it's rare to see a staff member outside (i.e.they just sit in the lift hut all day).
As of today, 2G applies to the gondolas. Did you have to show your vaccination certificate?
I wonder how that is done with the Tirol Snow Card?
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Obergurgl 18/11 & Soelden 19/11 updates:

Official opening day at Obergurgl brought sunny weather and temperatures hovering around the 0 mark. The slopes were nice in the morning and softened a little during the day. 85km of slopes were open across the Hochgurgl-Obergurgl resort area, a fairly impressive feat for opening day. The ski-out to the bottom of the Hochgurglbahn was closed, but we tried it anyway and the coverage was fine (probably closed as it hadn't been groomed as yet).

Soelden was very firm on Friday afternoon and getting tracked out, very standard conditions after 5 days of no fresh snow. It wasn't icy though, so that tells you the base is reasonable and the weather has been favourable enough to make all day skiing a possibility.
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
LOCKDOWN: Yes, sadly. Austria enters a 10-day lockdown from Monday, with the possibility to extend this to 20 days maximum (December 13 end date). Extremely disappointing news, which has been forced upon the authorities based on infection ratea, combined with dreadfully poor vaccination rates that are some of the lowest in the EU (65%). The next 10-20 days had been mapped out but alternative plans will now be considered.
 

PMG

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LOCKDOWN: Yes, sadly. Austria enters a 10-day lockdown from Monday, with the possibility to extend this to 20 days maximum (December 13 end date). Extremely disappointing news, which has been forced upon the authorities based on infection ratea, combined with dreadfully poor vaccination rates that are some of the lowest in the EU (65%). The next 10-20 days had been mapped out but alternative plans will now be considered.
And the government is considering mandatory vaccine.
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
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I was thinking of Austria around the middle of February as a Japan trip appears to be off the table for this winter but both Austria and Germany are regressing as winter approaches.
I desperately want to test skis in Austria in the second week in March but remains to be seen if it's going to be possible, especially bringing 2 small children.
 

Donza

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Apr 21, 2004
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I was thinking of Austria around the middle of February as a Japan trip appears to be off the table for this winter but both Austria and Germany are regressing as winter approaches.
The list of destinations is getting smaller.
 
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Jacko4650

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Snowboarding across Tirol this Winter using the fantastic Snow Card Tirol, costing 875 Euros for the season. More on my winter plan here: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/snowcardtirol-tips-recommendations.90457/

Will be posting regular updates from each of the resorts as I visit them, stay tuned!

If anyone wants to cut a few laps, feel free to send me a message or reply here!
You are a bastard! Not fair, I cant even get back to Qld to get my passport until 17th December and by then, Premier Pluckachook will have imposed so many more "conditions" that it may still be near impossible. Going skiing in Austria - going into lockdown as we speak BTW, is simply not cricket mate.
 
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SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
33
97
68
Tirol, Austria
Obergurgl 20/11 update: The Saturday before lockdown was certainly one of the busier days of the season to my eye, hardly a surprise. Temperatures overnight and in the morning were not far from 0, so conditions were cold/firm to begin, and by midday, the slopes were tracked out. Perfect half-day option today and one final full day tomorrow, with hopefully a few less people with it being a Sunday, but I wouldn't be surprised to see crowds again with the impending lockdown on Monday.
 

Sbooker

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The list of destinations is getting smaller.
Yeah. Europe is iffy. Canada has dramas with broken highways. Ironically the Covid basket case that is the USA may just be the easiest. Direct flight to LA and a nice drive up the 395 to Mammoth for a spell in a self catering apartment. Nice hill too.
 

sli1

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Yeah. Europe is iffy. Canada has dramas with broken highways. Ironically the Covid basket case that is the USA may just be the easiest. Direct flight to LA and a nice drive up the 395 to Mammoth for a spell in a self catering apartment. Nice hill too.
yep. The US is the last place that would lockdown.
 
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