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!

New KJUS Freeride Line

KJUS team mate Lucas Swieykowski and I are involved in creating a new freeride line with our ski wear sponsor KJUS. Our job is to help the design team understand a freerider’s needs in order for them to make perfect, uncompromising ski wear for the demanding and experienced skier. We’re gathering ideas, sending the team ongoing feedback and photos, and generally spending a lot of time thinking about the perfect freeride jacket, pants and overalls. The new KJUS FRX line will be available in retail next winter. We’re currently working on the 2012/2013 line, I can’t wait for our creations to hit the shelves.

Getting creative at the KJUS international headquarters in Cham, Switzerland

Yesterday I had my first day freeriding again in St. Anton am Arlberg. Stefan Häusl and I found some nice skiing despite the fact that it had poured rain in the valley the previous day. Conditions were dangerous in higher elevations as well as lower elevations of all aspects due to the weight of the drenched snowpack. On the Schindlergrat we saw a huge fracture line of at least 2 metres on a ridge triggered by avi control. We skied the Schindler couloir, the safe option.

Stefan on the Schindlergrat, St. Anton am Arlberg

I was in the best mood yesterday after a good day of freeriding, it’s scary how much I need to be out there to feel happy. Skiing on the groomers or doing some gentle off-piste runs is great but not the same. I definitely felt my lack of fitness and today I’ve got sore muscles, all good though!