Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.


Leave a comment

Winter 2016/2017 in review

this winter imposed a special challenge onto me. i will try to make a long story short.

in september, my husband and shredbuddy Roman tore the patella ligament in his right knee while stepping out of our camper in France. we were lucky that the campsite was situated closely to a hospital specialized in chirurgical surgery, where Roman could undergo surgery the day after his accident. thanks to the professional care in this hospital, we were able to leave France and head home two days after the accident, which was only possible because our camper has enough space to prop up ones leg while still being correctly belted.
of course, i was the designated driver for all those kilometers home, which was strenuous, but i was just so happy about the possibility of getting closer to home and our families that i pushed on until we reached Austria 2 days later.

although the healing process had been going very well, Roman was not ready to hit the mountains again. thankfully, Roman is not the only person that i knew would like my company during a splitboard tour or freeriding, but it makes things a bit more complicated if your planning efforts aren’t just like “tour?” “yep” (of course we do plan all our off-piste endeavours much more in detail, i’m only cutting a corner for the sake of an entertaining story).

the second special thing about this winter were the temperatures and the ost-stau. most of the time, we have nord-stau in Austria, meaning that regions from Dachstein on west-ward will get a lot of snow on their northern side, and that Lower Austria (where i’m situated) won’t get as much snow.
i’m very grateful that the weather decided to flow over to us from Russia, bringing us snowfall and temperatures of about -15 degrees celsius for quite some weeks in january.
the snow was meant to stay this time! 🙂

this allowed for lots of splitboard and snowboard trips in the eastern alps. i really enjoyed spending time with friends in the mountains, increasing the number in my shred counter.

i also took part in two contests this winter, the FWQ* Hochkar and the FWQ** Gastein. i was planning on entering the FWQ** Goldeck and the FWQ*** X Over Kitzsteinhorn, but sadly due to lacking snowpack, Goldeck got cancelled and i couldn’t collect enough points to make it into the FWQ***.

i was able to take home the 2nd place at the FWQ* Hochkar and landed on the 5th place at the FWQ** Gastein. my focus this year was on selecting a line during the facecheck, imagining how it will look like from above and then finding the line as well as incorporating a few jumps.
it might sound like an easy task to ride down a hill, but in a contest it’s really something different. you will have to take the conditions as they are, keep your senses together even tough you’re nervous, look out for landmarks where you have to turn right for example, keep up your speed, watch your riding style and on top of that, throw in some jumps, ideally with tricks.

while i was happy with both my contestruns, i know i could have stepped it up speedwise in Gastein. i got a lot better at remembering my line, setting myself up for jumps and landing them safely, next i want to work on improving my speed.

still, miracoulosly, my ranking in the Austrian Freeride Series this season is better than ever (i placed 6th). i have to say that this fact helps me keep my motivation. i wanted to quit contest riding after the last season, but this season it was a perfect way of collecting experiences for me and i have enjoyed it a lot more than last season.

we have had temperatures above 20 degrees on some days now, it felt nearly like summer already, but last week we had an unusual amount of snowfall in the eastern alps…
we’ll see if the season is really over for me now or if we might be able to smuggle in one more day of riding/touring in this prolonged winter.

thanks to all the friends that i was lucky enough to ride with, to the Open Faces crew for organizing these amazing contests and to my sponsors PIEPS and Julbo Eyewear for supporting me!

 
—- UPDATE —-

i was hoping to squeeze in maybe one last winter adventure for the season in may, but had a bit of bad luck and broke my middle finger at the beginning of our holiday in may. this meant that i could focus on bettering my stamina with lots of walking, running and hiking, but no splitboarding adventures, no climbing, no sauna…
my finger has nearly healed completely in the mean time and i can’t wait to put it to good use soon again 😉

Advertisements


Leave a comment

fwq*** x over kitzsteinhorn 2016

on the 18th of march, we packed our gear into our camper and headed west to kaprun. at half past six we dropped into the baumbar to sign up for the fwq*** x over at the kitzsteinhorn.
we ran into many familiar faces and it was really nice to see everybody again. after the cancellation of the fwq** in kappl due to high avalanche risk the fwq*** x over was the first contest of the season for us.

roman still was on the waiting list for the contest at the time and we both hoped that he would be able to make it onto the starting list. it looked bad at first, but then a phonecall brought the change – one of the riders on the starting list wasn’t able to come, so roman was given a starting place and a bib number. he was going to drop in as number 46, whereas i had gotten number 16.
needless to say, we both were very cheerful.

we left the bar shortly after and quickly hit up a supermarket to shop for much needed alimentation.
then we found a good parking spot for our camper and called it a day, after discussing our lines for the contest.

after a night with only a bit of sleep we met up with the others at the gondola at 7am. the sun was already shining when we arrived at the public area to check out the contest face.
the start of the contest was postponed for a few minutes at the riders meeting to allow the crusty surface soften up a bit in the sun.

X OVER 16 - a group of freeriders perfoming a face check from the judges table. Pic by Daniel Roos.

perfoming the face check from the judges table. Pic by Daniel Roos.

shortly after the face check, we took the second gletscherjet gondola up to the alpine center and started our traverse and hike up to the start of the contest.
i really enjoyed the hike a lot – i didn’t have a lot of chances this winter to hike / bootpack or go on a splitboard tour, so it was a very welcome change for me to finally be able to move upwards powered by my two legs.

 

 

X OVER 16 - pic of Stephanie Jagl-Posch during the hike up to the start. Pic by Freezing Motions.

during the hike up to the start. Pic by Freezing Motions.

 

X OVER 16 - on the hike up.

on the hike up.

the tension rose while we waited for our turns at the start. somehow i felt a bit more nervous than usually. i watched rider after rider drop in and swoosh away through the soft-looking powder and my urge to cruise down the face got bigger every minute.

X OVER 16 - the view from above - looking pretty good!

the view from above – conditions looking pretty good!

then it was my turn! i strapped in, nearly got a cramp in my left leg, and then it was time to ride! i rode the upper part pretty quickly, jumping over two bumps. i tried to find my way into the couloir i had chosen, but got a bit lost and then had to traverse a bit to get to the right entrance.
i was rather happy with my riding in the steeper bottom part of the face. i had two hand drags, but nothing serious.
when i crossed the finish line, i was stoked and a bit exhausted, due to the cold i was suffering from at that time.

i exchanged experiences with the other riders who were waiting in the finish area for the other women and then moved to the viewer area.

a short time afterwards the results of the snowboard women category was shown on the big screen. i have to admit i was a bit bummed to find out that i had gotten second to last.
i didn’t understand the result at first, as i hadn’t crashed and felt pretty good about my run.
when we talked to the snowboard head judge after the contest, he filled me in that the cause for my bad placement had been the traversing i did in the middle section.
well, too bad. it still was a very enjoyable ride!

about an hour after my run, it was time for roman to drop in. he rode smoothly and safe, which secured him the 6th place in the end.
we continued to watch the whole contest and were able to witness some spectacular and inspiring runs, as well as getting our goggle tan on 😉

we went to eat lunch after the end of the contest and then came back for the prize giving ceremony.

X OVER 2016 - pic of the girls who made it onto the podium. Pic by Freezing Motions.

congrats to the girls who made it onto the podium: Manuela Mandl won snowboard women, Chevy Challis came in second, Mara Neumayr scored third; Stefanie Noppinger won the ski women category, Verena Fendl came in second and – not on the picture – Tijn Vuijk came in third. Pic by Freezing Motions.

after the prize giving, khantu suggested that we should put the rest of our day pass to use and go ride.
this was nearly the best part of the day – we hiked up to the womens start of the fwq* contest from 2014, everyone picked a point to drop in and then we were able to carve turns into an untouched field.
the view was nice up there, our mood was fine and we indulged in the few slushy powder turns we were able to make.

here are some pics to show you what i mean 😀

can't buy happiness, but can hike up to ride an untracked field.

can’t buy happiness, but can hike up to ride an untracked field.

 

hiking and riding after the contest.

hiking and riding after the contest.

 

roman cheering, khantu strapping in.

roman cheering, khantu strapping in.

 

khantu riding the untracked field.

khantu riding the untracked field.

 

roman turning a lot more than usually.

roman turning a lot more than usually.

 

with this good feeling we left the kitzsteinhorn, checked into a camping site with sauna and then fell into our bed where we slept like babies.

 

gotta keep the burli clean!

at home: gotta keep the burli clean!


Leave a comment

FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015

X Over Ride 2015 - photo by frø-studio.com
me riding at the X Over 2015 – photo by frø-studio.com, thanks to Chevy for sharing it!

 

this past weekend, the FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015 took place at the lovely Kitzsteinhorn in Salzburg.
i’ve always been a fan of the countryside of Salzburg, as i’ve been skiing and snowboarding there since i was a small kid. the country offers a beautiful mix of picturesque lakes, soft, green summits and harsh, rocky peaks. most of the people there are very friendly and usually address you with the informal “Du”, as if you were friends, which is not the case in the east of Austria, where foreigners are approached with the polite, but also distant “Sie”.
it’s the perfect place for holidays, no matter the season.

i had visited the Kitzsteinhorn many times before (read about our first descent on the Niedernsill freeride route with the Freeride Experience here) and also competed there in 2013, when a FWQ* took place at the Geißstein (vis-à-vis of the Lakarschneid). i had a great time at that contest, riding powder on a blue bird day and taking 3rd place.

as soon as i knew i was on the starting list of the FWQ*** X-Over Ride 2015, i looked forward to riding the graceful face of the Lakarschneid for the first time.
we packed our bags on friday morning, then drove to Kaprun and took the gondola up to the public area underneath the competition face.
the weather was not too good, but we had the chance to get a first quick glimpse of the competition face.
it looked rather promising with a layer of fresh snow and hardly any tracks.

after a quick lap on the official ski routes we had to take the gondola down to the valley again, as the time window for accreditation was approaching fast. we quickly checked in at our accommodation (a’nette pension – my recommendation! they truly pampered us there with delicious vegan food!) and then headed back to the Baumbar in Kaprun to sign up for the contest and collect our bibs. Roman got number 24 and i was number 2.
pictures were taken of everyone to show them on the big screen in the public area before everyones run.

afterwards, we went back to the pension, had dinner (yummmm!) and then drove back to the Baumbar again for the riders meeting.
we received an update on the safety instructions, judging criteria, the hike to the start and the conditions in the face. basically, we got told the face was going to be pretty ace.

on saturday, we got up early, had a quick breakfast and then drove to the glacier gondola again. we did another face check and then started the traverse to the beginning of the hike.
sadly, as i had bib number 2, we were the first people to start the traverse and we didn’t really knew where to go exactly, so we traversed too low and had to do a 20 minute hike up to the proper start of the hike before the real hike already. dang! at least we were warmed up properly 🙂
from there on, all went well, we hiked through a wide couloir, then over a small rock, which was a bit tricky, but everyone helped each other getting over the rocky part. it was a nice feeling to experience this community vibe!
after about 30 minutes we reached the starting area.
i had only a few minutes left to breathe, calm down, take a sip of water, hectically ask Roman to hand me my goggle out of my already strapped on backpack and – “bib number 2, ready to drop in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” – off i went!

a great and rather unexpected asset of my personality is that i calm down rapidly as soon as i start doing something physically demanding. i can focus on the moment and concentrate on what i am doing and need to do right now and all other thoughts get muted. that’s also why i love sports so much – they clear my mind off all stuff that’s not so important in that very moment and puts things into perspective.

anyhow, my run was smooth, i should have gone faster, i should have done a jump in the lower part of the face, but still, i didn’t fall (a nice experience after setting my personal contest tumble record of 3 at the montafon contest) and so i felt good. it was a real pleasure to ride, the snow was pretty okay for me (it got slushier every minute), my mood was fine and so i arrived in the finish area happily.
i stayed in the finish area together with some of the other girls and we cheered for the riders who just finished their run. it was a nice, friendly atmosphere and i enjoyed being part of it.

i waited anxiously for Romans run and then witnessed how he also came down pretty smoothly, did some small drops and jumps and then arrived at the finish area satisfied.

we watched the whole contest and, although we used sunblock, got a fresh goggle tan.

the prize giving ceremony was very happy and delightful, congrats to all people who made it onto the podium and to the four new Austrian Freeride Series champs, Manuela Mandl (Snowboard), Jacoba Kriechmayr (Ski), Julian “Theking” Zenzmaier (Ski) and Thomas Feurstein (Snowboard)!

 

after the prize giving, Roman and i approached the snowboard head judge to find out our results – Roman came in 13th and i scored 5th place! very happy about these results! 🙂
finally a good result and a good ending for the contest season! i’m motivated for the rest of the winter season (hopefully some spring touring!) and already looking forward to the next competitions!
thanks to PIEPS and Julbo Eyewear for supporting me!

here’s a video of my run!

 

Results X Over Ride Snowboard Women:
X Over Ride 2015 Results SB Women, 1 - Mikaela Hollsten (FIN) 2 - Bettina Pickl (AUT) 3 - Manuela Mandl (AUT) 4 - Siobhan Challis (AUT) 5 - Stephanie Jagl-Posch (AUT) 6 - Caroline Onarheim (NOR) 7 - Laura Perfler (AUT)

p.s.: you can help me win a surftrip to Portugal by voting for my video on mysession.tv – you can vote once a day! thank you!


Leave a comment

Contests – A walk on a thin line between fun and frustration.

i had big plans for this season. i wanted to work my way up in the Austrian Freeride Ranking. i wished to show my best riding in the contests of the season and hoped for great moments. i aimed to become a better rider and collect lots of experience. i signed up for more contests than in the last two years to be able to accomplish these dreams.

so how is the season coming along so far? well, it’s not looking too promising, honestly.
i have competed in four contests up until now, the FWQ* Hochkönig (replacement for the cancelled contest due to fog on the Hochkar – read my article on powderguide.com about that: http://www.powderguide.com/magazin/events/fwt/artikel/1-fwq-open-faces-hochkar-musste-leider-abgesagt-werden.html), the FWQ** Kappl (article on PG), the Pitztal Wildface (a race on time, counting as FWQ**) and the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.

while i had the chance to get to know other riders and new resorts, i wasn’t really successful in any of the contests. granted, i got better results pointwise than in the contests before this season, but i never made it into the top half of the results.
it’s hard to acknowledge these results as a sign of progression, so i started to get a little frustrated.

adding to the negative feelings were the bad conditions we face this winter in Austria. they aren’t so bad you can’t get in some great days in the mountains, in fact, i’ve had a wonderful vacation in January, a great powder day in Zauchensee with newly found friends Claudia Klobasa and Michael Holzmeier, a wonderful splitboard touring day on the Göller in Lower Austria, as well as our annual descent from the Kitzsteinhorn to Niedernsill, but it’s just not good enough for me to be able to have funny snow days in between contests. as you may know, i work as a Web Developer in Vienna, which means that i can’t simply hike up a mountain before or after work without being completely knackered. most weekends were contest weekends.

göller, eisgrube. sunday funday! #splitboarding #pieps @julboeyewear @powderguide

Ein von steeephiii (@steeephiii) gepostetes Foto am 15. Feb 2015 um 5:54 Uhr

i tried to do my best, working out as much as possible and eating healthily, but due to all the travelling i have to do i hardly find time for recreational activities like for example my usual friday after work run in nature, which often helps me recharge my batteries.
i’m not complaining, because this is what i chose for myself to do, but it was simply a bit of an unlucky situation i was in.

to top it off, i’m having more colds this winter than i had in probably the last five winters together. i wasn’t feeling well in 2 out of 3 contests. how am i gonna show my best when i’m not feeling my best?

 

thankfully, the pages started to turn a little before the last contest, the FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon.
first off, i seeked advice from more experienced riders (thanks for your input, Manu!) and noticed that i had put too much pressure on myself and that i was eliminating the fun i usually have snowboarding this way.
secondly, i was in a good mood during the contest and i was very proud of myself that i managed the hike (really, the last part of it was more of a climb) to the start gate. it was also my first 3-star competition ever and i was happy that i had made it onto the starting list. i had a good time and enjoyed chatting with people, especially Caroline Mølgaard Onarheim (check out the blog she and her friend Mikaela Hollsten run!), who’s doing a winter season at the Arlberg.

 

i still have 2 contests ahead of me, the FWQ** Big Mountain Goldeck and the FWQ*** X-Over Kitzsteinhorn.
i have no idea how the rest of the contest season will unfold for me, but i’ll keep on trying my best. the contest season will be over at the end of march, and i hope that we can score some nice days touring and freeriding out in the wild until the snow fades away.

 

some pics from the contests so far:

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
starting my run at Hochkönig

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
chatting with Holzi after our runs

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
somehow my head looks funny in this pic!

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
highfivin Janine Quaas

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
SB Women Podium Hochkönig

FWQ* Hochkoenig 2015
SB Women Podium Hochkönig

FWQ** Kappl Contestface
the Contest Face in Kappl

FWQ** Kappl
waiting in Kappl and dreaming about a hot sauna

FWQ** Kappl - Roman
Roman throwing down in Kappl

Pitztal Wildface Face Check - Hike to Mittagskogel
hiking up to the Mittagskogel for the face check at the Pitztal Wildface

Pitztal Wildface Face Check Crew
Pitztal Wildface face check Mittagskogel – we have survived 😉

FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon
FWQ*** Silvretta Montafon – the climb up to the start
pic by skyhot

pic by mia* maria-knoll.com


Leave a comment

freeride contests in the upcoming season 2014/2015

pic by mia* maria-knoll.com

pic by mia* maria-knoll.com

both the Freeride World Tour and Open Faces (the organizers of the austrian series of Freeride World Qualifier events) have announced the contest dates for the upcoming winter season, which gets me rather excited.

this season, i plan to enter as many Freeride World Qualifier contests as possible to work on my riding and to be able to collect more points.
a new 1* tourstop location has been added to the Open Faces series – a contest will take place on the 24th of january at the hochkar in lower austria, which is one of my home mountains. this is a great opportunity for me to ride in a well-known surrounding and – at least once – have family and friends there to support me!

08.01.2015 – Axamer Lizum OPEN by OPEN FACES
10.01.2015 – 3***OPEN FACES AXAMER LIZUM
17.01.2015 – 2**OPEN FACES KAPPL-PAZNAUN
18.01.2015 – 2**OPEN FACES Freeride JUNIORS KAPPL-PAZNAUN
24.01.2015 – 1*OPEN FACES HOCHKAR
07.02.2015 – 2**OPEN FACES Freeride JUNIORS HOCHKÖNIG
01.03.2015 – 1*OPEN FACES UTTENDORF-WEISSEE
07.03.2015 – 3***OPEN FACES SILVRETTA MONTAFON
21.03.2015 – 4****OPEN FACES OBERGURGL-HOCHGURGL


1 Comment

FWQ** Open Faces Freeride Contest Kappl

1901262_10152226451107641_15822357_n
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.

1798024_10152230426962641_1381985566_n
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!).

kappl
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.


1 Comment

FWQ * Open Faces Freeride Contest Hochkoenig

on saturday, the FWQ * contest in the hochkoenig region was able to take place. previous contests had to be postponed due to the lack of snow in this winter season, so this was the first contest of the open faces freeride series  in this winter season.

we went to maria alm in the hochkoenig region on friday. our first mission was to do a face check of the competition face. sadly, the wind was blowing at high speeds, which meant that the abergbahn, with which you can get closest to the competiton face, was not running. also, the warm wind hat affected the snow pack negatively, meaning that the snow had gotten wet and heavy.

the t-bar, which would have been the second best choice for us, was not running either. we were unsure what to do and already talked about hiking up to the place, where the finish of the contest was going to be the next day. then we suddenly saw that the t-bar got switched on – we rode down to the valley station of the t-bar and found it to be closed down again. luckily, we encountered the two lift operator guys who told us that they were awaiting a group of people who needed to use the lift, for whom they were going to switch it on again and that we could sneak into the lift line behind those people.

we waited a little bit and then rode up to the bottom of the competition face. we had a good luck at it with a pair of binoculars and saw that there was just enough snow to ride, despite the high temperatures.

contest face
the contest face, with the start a little right of the middle.

afterwards, we checked in at our room at the berggasthof hinterreit, then went for a vegan pizza at “pick nick ossi” in maria alm.

on saturday, the alarm went off at 6 am. needless to say, i had had a pretty sleepless night (fell asleep in front of the tv at about half past 8 pm, got up to brush my teeth at 11:30 pm and couldn’t fall asleep properly for the rest of the night… i’m such a pro!) and crawled out of bed like a zombie. i managed to pull myself together until breakfast at half past 6.
at 7:30, it was time to meet up at the valley station for accreditation. but instead of a queue full of freeriders, we found a few confused looking freeriders and stressed organization team members. we got the info that the guides and the organization crew were checking out the contest face and waiting for more weather info concerning the wind at the moment. instead of accreditation, we started with the riders meeting to ensure no more delay as soon as the ok to run the contest would come.

we talked about the snow conditions, time table and required safety equipment. accreditation was rescheduled to a later time. we were told to show up at the valley station at 9:30 again, which left us with about one hour of free time. we decided to take the gondola and do one ride to stay warm.
when we arrived at the bottom again, accreditation had already started, so we lined up in the queue and filled out our registration forms. at 9:30, we had a quick second riders meeting and then everyone took the gondola up.

riders meeting
riders meeting.

at first we were told that we would have to hike up to the starting gates after the face check, but during face check we got an update, saying that the abergbahn would open up and we could all take the chairlift. from the top station, we had to follow a ski route and then traverse to the starting place on the other side of the ridge above the contest face. a short climb later, the first 5 competitiors were standing on top of the slope. this also included me, as i had scored bib number 4.

as usual, the women were the first riders to start. we were 9 snowboarders and 10 skiers. after us, the men had their go, 32 skiers and 25 snowboarders.

face checkface check
face check.

the first part after the start was pretty steep, over 40 degrees. we had the choice to start directly at the start flags or more to the right (riders right, meaning seen from the riders perspective), where one would have to drop in from a rock.
i chose to start from the flags, traversed to the right, did a little cliff drop onto the slope and then rode towards the middle of the slope. sadly, i was not able to go as fast as i wanted in that middle section and i also missed out on a few smaller rocks, where i could have jumped.
in the bottom part, shortly before the finish line, i did a small straight air.

i was happy that i had not fallen, but at the same time i had wished for more. in the end, i came in 5th place, which is okay, but i’m motivated to do better in the future.

the snow conditions were difficult to ride, as the snow was decelerating and you could easily get stuck with the nose of your snowboard or the tips of your skis. some riders took a fall because of that, but luckily no one got injured. a few riders even managed to get down the contest face in style.

1656350_10152184265952641_637243271_n
after my run

the results are:

Ski Women:
1. Birgit Ertl (AUT)
2. Kornelia Kocher (AUT)
3. Stefanie Noppinger (AUT)

Ski Men: 
1. Maximilian Dettenhofer (GER)
2. Colin Biribauer (AUT)
3. Michael Strauß (AUT)

Snowboard Women:
1. Siobhan Challis (AUT)
2. Jenny Farrah (USA)
3. Sophia Neuner (GER)

Snowboard Men:
1. Andreas Bichler (AUT)
2. Matthias Zauner (AUT)
3. Johannes Schwaiger (AUT)

the full results can be downloaded here

my report is online on powderguide.com now!