Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.


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enormous edelgriess experience and a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

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where does the trail end?

 

this is the report of our last adventure in this winter season. looking back at the season, i’m really happy that we took the risks involved to spend 3 months in the snow, although austria hasn’t seen a winter with such little snow (well, except for carinthia and east tyrol) in the last decades. we had to accept the circumstances and made the most of it, resulting in a lot of great experiences in return.

would i do it again? yes, i absolutely would!
i have learned so much this season, both riding-wise and for life (although i didn’t reach enlightenment :P). i know that being surrounded by nature is very important to me, and what’s a better way to spend time outdoors than to shred down a mountain that you’ve just hiked up? this season has left me very calm and satisfied. and for that (and so much more), i’m grateful.

i want to thank my sponsor PIEPS and also powderguide.com for supporting me!

now enough with the nostalgic babbling and onto the report of our last adventure!

 

enourmous edelgriess experience.

on the 27th of march, it was time for us to give one of the legendary, classical freeride routes of austria, the edelgriess descent from the dachstein glacier, a shot.

after riding up with the gondola, the first difficulty is the 20 meter long climb up over ladders and stemples. then you reach the rosmarie-stollen, a tunnel which enables you to get to the other side of the mountain without climbing over the top (although there is a via ferrata over the ridge as well). there you can catch your breath (maybe even take a break on the small bench after the tunnel with a breathtaking view) before you begin traversing a steep slope to the edelgriess glacier. most of the traverse is easy to walk, there are some difficult sections nonetheless and you shouldn’t slip and fall in general, because underneath the path is a rock fall.

when you have mastered the traverse, you stand atop the edelgriess glacier and the 1600 meters in vertical height of descent.

we had soft, slushy snow in the top part of the slope, a little bit of powder in the middle section and then hard-crusted, difficult to ride snowpack in the last part. it wasn’t actually THAT breathtaking to ride, but it was a lot of fun! it’s always great to have such a long descent, feeling far away from civilisation (which you actually aren’t, also there are usually plenty of people riding the edelgriess to. when we rode it, there were only 3 other people. when we were at the parking lot again, we saw about 7 people walking across the traverse, so we were kinda lucky).

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climbing the ladder.

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rosmarie-stollen and the view at the end of it.

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the traverse.

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starting the ride down edelgriess (to the left).

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we happily succeeded.

 

a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

what made this adventure so special, is my fear of heights (or more precise: fear of falling). i want to talk about this issue a bit now, because i feel that it’s still a taboo and that’s a problem, because it makes people with anxiety issues feel like they’re out of the norm, or not as capable (read: good) as others. so, i will try to talk about my issues openly, to show others that you can improve and achieve things you once thought were impossible.

i get scared on a lot of occasions, be it steep traverses when hiking with the splitboard, climbing parts, exposed sections… i guess, many people who are scared of heights would just not bother to try stuff like that, which is understandable to me on one hand. on the other hand, there’s my hunger for challenge, for learning and getting better. i don’t want to be limited by my fear.
and of course there are many great descents that are only reachable with a bit of climbing involved. and i want to ride those!

the funny thing is, that i’m not scared when i’ve got my board strapped onto my feet. i’ve mastered steep slopes or very steep parts of faces without being bothered much. of course, i also feel slightly nervous, but in those situations, my nervousness only helps me to stay focussed, it doesn’t make my palms damp, it doesn’t make me shiver and i don’t panic. without my board, nervousness turns into panic quickly, which makes it hard to plan smart moves.

i enjoy bouldering, rock climbing and via ferratas, which are all activities where i have to go out of my comfort zone at least now and then to get better. during this winter season, i have slowly worked my way up. by the end of the season, my confidence was big enough to give the 20 meter ladder and the traverse a shot. yes, i did use my via ferrata set to belay myself. yes, it took me quite a long time to reach the target. yes, i was scared sometimes and had moments where i felt that i wouldn’t be able to reach the target. but i still made it! do i still seek improvement? yes. maybe sometime in the future i will be able to climb up a 20 meter ladder without getting scared. but at the same time, i’m proud of myself for overcoming my fear. and i wish to encourage others, that overcoming fears and obstacles in ones life is possible. no matter, if it’s a fear of heights or anxiety when you’re on the bus.

sometimes you might need professional help, sometimes a friends help will be enough, sometimes you will be able to help yourself. the most important factor is a positive attitude towards your own capabilities. and if you can’t yet honestly feel that way, fake it till you make it.
others might be doing better, but you can be successful in your own zone and that’s a huge step forward!


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obertauern freeride #2.

on wednesday, we once more enjoyed the great freeriding possibilities in obertauern. after one ride at zehnerkar, we were joined again by our dear friend k. and together we rode zehnerkar two more times. the top entry surprisingly offered a lot of snow, much more than the last time we were there. the middle section before you need to choose your descent route was awesomely powdery as well and the bottom parts were full of tracks, as expected.

shortly before 1 pm, we went up to the seekareck with the chairlift, hiked up to the summit and then started the ride down to the gnadenalm. we had great conditions in the upper part and then fought our way back down to the street ;)

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r. and k. hiking up the ridge to the summit of seekareck.

we took the bus back up to obertauern and roman managed to forget his backpack in the bus. while he chased the bus, k. and myself had a great time at the spotival, where 2 bands played a live gig.
after about an hour, roman was able to get his rucksack back and joined us for another radler and some celebration.

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someone was very thankful to have his pack back.

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live gig by the reggaeband sysiphos.


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planneralm freeride paradise.

we had one of the best – if not THE best – freeride days today at the planneralm. after 2 days with snowfall and fog, it cleared up today so we could finally see in detail where & what we were riding.

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our boards in front of the jochspitze.

we did about 9 runs from the glaeserkoppe (short hike up from the glaeserboden t-bar), first going for the descent straight ahead, then traversing to the left, in direction of the jochspitze. later we switched to the rotbuehel, hiking up for the first run and then traversing into the face from the slope.
we happily left our tracks in perfect, light powder. i had the best run of the whole season in the morning, dropping and jumping and speeding down with delicious turns like it didn’t matter. i was beyond stoked after that run!

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two happy campers with two happy tankers.

i’m very very very happy that we haven’t already packed our bags last week and said goodbye to the season and the mountains. it looked like winter was done, but luckily that one more dump came to help us round off the season for good.

we will leave on saturday, until that, we will ride as much as possible.

i’m tired now. tired & happy. a good combination :)


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plannerknot.

just a short, relaxed tour along the ridge from the chairlift via plannereck to the plannerknot.
perfect for a sunny, warm day, waiting for the clouds to come over and hopefully bring fresh snow for the last days of our winter season. we will be leaving the alps on saturday. sniff.

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looking back. over my shoulder. i can see… the plannereck.

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lord helmchen gets ready for the ride down.

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view from plannerknot to the plannerseekarspitze.

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the view down to the planner valley.

p.s.: this was my 51st day snowboarding / freeriding / touring this season. i am beyond happy that i really managed to squeeze the most out of this season <3


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3 days at the guttenberghaus winter shelter room.

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on tuesday, the 25th of february, we were already excited in the morning, because we were going to hike up to the guttenberghaus (at 2146 meters) and stay in the winter shelter room for 2 nights. we had planned our trip a few days earlier and with the good weather forecast, we knew it was time to realise our plan. we started packing on monday night, deciding how much food we should bring and what else could be crucial to have with us up on the mountain, besides our usual company, the avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. we made sure to take some sweets with us, to cheer us up and give us energy, our sleeping bags and something to read.

we picked up the key for the hut in ramsau, parked our car at the parking lot near the feistererhof and started our ascent. the sun was blazing down and as it was pretty windless, the easy hike up to the hut made us sweat. we were in a great mood and looked forward to our time at the hut. we walked at a slow pace to take in the beautiful scenery and arrived at the hut after about 3 hours.

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yo-ho, up to the guttenberghaus we go!

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roman navigating.

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pointing out a fountain.

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the skintrack upwards.

when we got there, we were curious to see the interior of the hut. we unlocked the door and were pleasantly surprised – we found a stove (that we already knew about), a comfortable bunk bed for 4 people, a table with a seating bench and even a ceiling light, powered by solar electricity. next to the hut was a small outhouse, so all basic needs were covered ;)

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roman starting the fire.

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the guttenberghaus (only opened in summer).

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our resort.

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daw footprints.

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letting my board thaw up in the sun.

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the view from the shelter.

roman started to make fire, while i went outside again to collect snow to melt. we found a pan to cook in and made ourselves some soup. after dinner, we talked about our opportunities for the next day and went to bed very early.

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hut life.

the night was a bit turbulent, i woke up often and later on the stove went out, so it was rather cold inside the hut. roman got up to start the fire up again and from then on, it was cozy and we managed to get in some more sleep before the alarm went off at 7am. we snoozed for a few more minutes and then left the bed. we had breakfast (bread with hazelnut spread & tea to refill our batteries ;)), gave ourselfs a quick catlick and then got ready for the tour of the day – a hike up to the summit of eselstein, at 2556 meters.

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time for a delicious breakfast.

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looking up to the eselstein.

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on our way to the summit.

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the view onto the dachstein plateau (am stein).

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looking back to our skintrack.

the conditions were a slightly difficult, the snow had a firm crust on it and it was slippery to walk. we were glad that we had brought our crampons and used them to make the ascent a bit easier. our route went from the guttenberghaus to the feisterscharte and then up to the summit of the eselstein. from the feisterscharte on, we had a great view onto the enormous dachstein plateau (am stein), and a few chamois had an awesome view onto us. on top of the eselstein, we enjoyed a great panoramic view of the eastern alps.

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the view from the eselstein.

the ride down went surprisingly well, as we had encountered lots of rocks on our hike up. unexpectedly, our boards didn’t get harmed.

we arrived at the hut at about 2pm and then had a relaxed afternoon, looking down on ramsau and schladming and watching daws cruising around up in the air.
in the evening, we once again checked out the possibilities for the upcoming day and decided to go up to the gruberscharte and maybe continue to the edelgrießhöhe and descent through the edelgrieß.

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roman trying to chop wood – the axe was blunt.

after another bunk bed night, we got up at 7am. it was time for us to clean up the hut and leave it in a tidy condition. we extinguished the fire, made the beds, opened the windows to vent and swept the floor. at 9am, we put our backpacks on, stuck the skins onto our splitboard skis and had a last look at the small hut. we said goodbye to the birds and off we went. we were a bit exhausted, so we decided to just traverse a bit in direction of the gruberscharte and then ride down into the gruberkar directly.

the ascent was a tad straining, since the snow crust had not yet melted and there was a lot of old avalanche debris lying around. it was challenging to navigate through all the rocks and a stream creek, but we made it down safely, without harming ourselves or our boards.

after returning the key, it was time for a nice pizza down in schladming. mission completed!

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good night!


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FWQ** Open Faces Freeride Contest Kappl

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packed bags for contest weekend

this weekend, we’ve been to kappl (near ischgl in tyrol) to compete in the fwq** contest there. originally, i thought i would have to compete in kappl alone, because roman didn’t make it onto the starting list immediately, but a few days before the weekend he received an e-mail that a few slots had opened up again. he agreed to take one of the slots and we were both really happy about it.

previously, the freeride world tour contest in fieberbrunn, that was meant to take place on the 1st of february, had been postponed due to the snow conditions to the 3rd of february, and took place on the same face in kappl, on which we were going to compete in the fwq** contest. since we were able to watch the fwt contest on the live stream, we had a good chance to check out the face and think about possible lines.
luckily, it had snowed a bit more since the fwt contest and we were optimistic, that we would have good conditions.

on saturday, we arrived in kappl, bought a ticket & went up to the top station of the albittkopfbahn to do a face check. the face looked pretty good, but not as powder-y as expected. as it was already late afternoon, the snow on the ski route 17 that we followed for a short bit had already thawed a bit, so it was rather surfy to ride – but on the other hand, we knew that there might be a crust on top of the snow the next morning. and so it was …

sunday started early at 5:30 am, we packed our bags, had a quick breakfast at 6 and then left the guesthouse at 6:30. at 7, we arrived at the valley station of the dias-bahn, met fellow contestant chevy in the accreditation queue and waited for accreditation to start.
we filled out the waiver and picked up our bibs and goodie bags – i got bib #3 and roman got bib #23. that was a rather funny coincidence, as friends of us, bea & steve pacher (check out my article on mizzi.at about actioncats to find out more about bea, who is one of the leaders of that awesome group), who were going to compete at the fwq** in goldeck on the same day, had received the same bib numbers. maybe those are reserved for married snowboarder couples? ;)

afterwards, we took the gondola up to the sunny mountain restaurant, where the riders meeting was going to happen at 8:30. we received lots of useful information as usual, especially concerning the snow conditions and of course the time table. this time it was crucial to start the hike up to the starting gates early enough, as the hike was estimated to last about 40 minutes. i have no idea how long it actually took me, but i was stressed a bit because i knew i was late. i had not brought my watch with me, so i messed that up. next time, i’ll wear my watch for sure!
we were asked in advance to bring a climbing harness, as the ascent had some pretty steep parts in it, but in the end, it all was covered in enough snow to ensure safety without being belayed – the mountain guides and contest organizers made sure to form safe steps in the snow for the contestants to climb up in. there was one steep section were two mountain guides kept an eye on the contestants, which gave me a good feeling, although i didn’t need any help. i just strapped my board onto the backpack and made sure to focus on the next steps instead of looking around too much.

shortly before reaching the starting gates, i could hear the announcer talk about the contest start being delayed for 10 minutes – i breathed a sigh of relief, as i knew that i was going to be able to make it up in time. i reached the starting gates, took my board off the backpack and quickly put my bib on. i was a bit surprised by the entrance into the slope, as it looked more spicy than expected. luckily, i had the chance to watch 2 riders enter the competition face before i had to start, that gave me at least a bit of a chance to estimate where i would want to drop in.

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the contest face. the start was at the peak on the right side of the picture, the finish is visible at the very bottom of the picture, marked by the flags.

then my time had come – after a countdown, i started my run.
i chose the steep, rocky traverse over to the riders right section of the face and made it across safely. then i dropped in and… one of my binding straps came loose. i bent down and closed it again, but was bummed about this small mistake.
next thing i know, i picked up velocity and then saw a few small rocks in front of me. i quickly made the decision to jump over them, pointed my board straight onto them, ollied off, landed and managed to ride away straight. i was very happy about that, as i often have the problem of braking after a jump or drop. not so this time! :)
sadly, i was so focussed on stomping that jump, that i didn’t pay enough attention to the entrance of the gully that i was planning to ride and missed the chance to make it through the small valley before the gully. i came to a halt and then had to lie down and whip my board around. i was bummed out! also, it added to my exhaustion and when i finally came up again, i started to ride again and tried to catch my breath.

i rode through the gully – the judge later told me that i should have gone a lot faster, but i saw an improvement in my riding, as i was able to ride the gully rather fluidly. of course it was not fluid enough to achieve a good amount of points, but it made me happy to witness my own progression.

in the bottom section of the slope, i jumped over a small windlip and ended my run by going through the two flags. i was content with my ability to ride down the whole face without being extremely exhausted (although it was very exhausting still). i know that i wouldn’t have been able to do that 2 years ago.
i stopped next to the other 2 women who had already completed their run and sat down. we talked about our experiences and watched the other riders master the face.

i waited until roman had his run (he chose a safe and mellow, but very fun-looking line and made it down without a fall) and afterwards we rode to the public area to view the rest of the contest. fatigue kicked in and i rested a bit on my board (did i mention that i bought a k2 fastplant in 154? it’s an amazing board!).

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roman watching the contest

at 2:30pm it was time for the prize giving ceremony. i was very nervous somehow, although i knew for sure that i hadn’t been able to perform good enough to be on the podium. talks were given and the winners were announced (congrats to all, especially to chevy, who placed 3rd in the snowboard women category – well deserved).
when the ceremony was over, we talked to the snowboard judge a bit to find out what we could improve in the next contests. we also got to know our results – i placed 4th and roman placed 13th. not so bad!

then we rode down to the valley, threw our stuff into the car and started our looooong drive home – only interrupted by a delicious pizza in a restaurant in see. the drive home was not as long as the one to kappl (it took us 5 hours instead of 4 due to traffic jams), still i didn’t manage to stay awake the whole time. good that i wasn’t the one behind the steering wheel ;)

our next plans are a trip to the guttenberghaus in the dachstein massif, where we’ll stay in the winter shelter room, and the fwq* contest at the weißsee gletscherwelt resort in uttendorf.


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sunrise tour awesomeness.

on thursday, we started our day very early. the alarm went off at 4am, it kicked us out of our cozy bed & made us stumble into the kitchen for a bit of breakfast. we felt tired, cold and it was dark outside.

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we packed our backpacks with a small snack and something to drink, got dressed in all our gear and then went outside to find our car covered in a thick layer of ice. grrrr.
after 5 minutes of intense scratching around we managed to get off enough of the ice to ensure a safe drive.

we drove for about 30 minutes until we reached the parking lot of the planneralm. we were a bit late, so we saw a big part of our hiking group already starting the ascent. they all had their headlamps on and marched away into the darkness.

our shredbuddy G waited for us to get ready, while we put our shoes on, stuck the skins onto our splitboards and extended our poles.
then we started the hike up as well, for a short time with the help of our headlamps, immediately switching them off when we safely had reached our track.
it was still dark, but due to the snow all around us and the nearly full moon it was light enough to allow our eyes to recognize our surroundings.

we chatted a bit while walking, but also took in the bleak silence before the breaking dawn.

we topped out at 7am straight, after a short, refreshing hour on the path upwards.
everyone chose a good place in the front row to witness the upcoming spectacle. we drank tea, ate snacks and G even took the time to make some fresh coffee.

at about 7:15, it was time for the big play to start, the reason we all got up so damn early – the rising sun.
i’m not exaggerating if i say that it was extremely beautiful and the colors were amazing. you hardly ever see such great colors during daytime. sunset is also a completely different story.

in addition to this great spectacle of mother nature, i felt overwhelmed with joy to be able to share this moment with a bunch of friendly people and was also pretty proud of myself that i had the power to overcome my weaker self. of course it would have been cozier to just stay in bed, but sometimes you gotta do some work to experience extraordinary things.

i’ll leave you with some pictures of this adventure, enjoy!

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