Amazing powder at the Arlberg

Today was one of those very special powder days. It snowed 50 cm on top of a decent base in the Arlberg region during the past 24 hours, the deepest powder we’ve had since around 3 years. Although we were a large group of 9 riders – some friends came up from Innsbruck – we skied a lot of excellent runs in the lower elevations (below tree line) in St. Anton where the stability was good. I took my longer and wider Kästle BMX108 in 188cm out today, a good choice for today’s conditions where you could just point your skis and haul arse.

Waiting for the St. Christoph chair to open this morning during avi control work

 

Martin stoked after landing a sweet backflip in the pow pow. This pic was taken before the big dump on Saturday.

 

This week, I’ve really enjoyed skiing the shorter and 4mm narrower FX104 in 184cm, a wood/metal laminate ski, light, regular camber, long side cut (the radius feels longer than 26m). I definitely found it easier to turn in tighter terrain and the ski felt really lively and gave me great control. A really noticeable difference to the BMX108 is how much easier it carves on the groomers.

Kästle FX104

The Kästle FX104 in 184cm

 

On the last run today I dropped a cliff and landed in a big bomb hole, smashing my knee into my jaw. I had to get 4 stitches under my chin which sucked, but knee/teeth/tounge are all good so I got lucky! Skiing again tomorrow!

Winter is on!

Last week it snowed up to 1 meter from the northwest – the ideal weather direction for the Arlberg region – winter is on! I’ve had some great days skiing with the girls at Stubai Glacier and first off-piste runs in St. Anton with Stefan, Björn and Geli. My legs feel really strong and snappy, without the quad burn I typically have at the start of the season. For my first day skiing off-piste again I used my Kästle BMX108 in 188cm, a ski I know well and use for competition. This week I’ll be testing the new Kästle FX104 in 184cm, I’m curious to see how the shorter length will suit me. I’ll report back to you here.

The snow in St. Anton on Saturday was surprisingly good and what we like to call “creme cheese”: a rather compact yet soft snow layer which carries a skiers weight easily, so no breaking through to rocks. Right now I’m mainly focussing on good technique and keeping my weight over my skis. I’m trying to keep the pace high and ski all the way to the bottom of the run without stopping, something I have to do anyhow if I want to keep up with my skiing buddies Stefan and Björn. We were lapping “Bachseite” in St. Anton, perfect terrain to get your freeride legs back. More soon!

Busy although not skiing

This has been a tough season so far. I’m still sick with a nasty virus, which is affecting my airways and keeping me from skiing and training. My physiotherapist Bernd Neier helped me heaps by telling me to not regard this as lost time, but as an opportunity to work on other imporant things I now have time for, such as mental and proprioceptive training. And there are lots of other things going on. Warren Miller’s 61st ski film “Wintervention” was shown in St. Anton, and I was there to have a chat to the audience to give them some behind-the-scenes insight into filming our segment at the Arlberg. It was really fun!

Warren Miller's "Wintervention" in St. Anton am Arlberg

Then it was off to the Big Mountain Hochfügen to support the girls on one of the major Freeride World Tour events this season. The conditions were better than the riders expected and the girls rode strong, showing good turns and technique. Janette Hargin impressed the judges the most with a fast, confident line, taking plenty of speed over multiple features, especially a big cliff at the end of her run.

Jackie Paaso and Maria Kuzma, 2 competitors in the BM Hochfügen

At the start of this week I too joined the rest of the winter sports world at the ISPO in Munich. Freeride sport in general was a major focal point, and rocker skis are the shit right now. Here’s Kästle skis new BMX (big mountain) line, complete with rocker in the tip and every width underfoot you could wish for.

Kästle BMX line for 2011-2012

Finding myself on the wall at the KJUS stand