Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.


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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 😉


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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!

pic by mia* maria-knoll.com


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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


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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!).

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.


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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.

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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!


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X Over Ride FWQ *, Kitzsteinhorn

Foto 1

march 22nd, 2013:

we are on our way to kaprun once again. after a short nap of approximately 2 hours, we arrive at the kitzsteinhorn. well, of course the only person napping was me, roman was behind the steering wheel.

we buy afternoon tickets and go up with the gletscherjet. it is snowing and the fresh snow looks very promising, so we check out some easy off-piste possibilities. after 2 hours, the lifts are closing down already.

we take the gondola back down to the valley and visit the “base camp” snowboardstore. we ask hermann to do a service on nearly all of our boards. while waiting for them to be finished, we go to the supermarket to buy some groceries. after that, we return to the shop where we wait, chat with others, have a radler and watch old surfing and snowboarding videos. at 8pm, our boards are ready, we give hermann a lift to his house and then leave to our appartement. we check in, cook noodles and then go to bed very early.

march 23rd, 2013:

the alarm goes off at 5:15. what a rude awakening!
we get up & prepare ourselves for an exciting day. at 7:00, we arrive at the kitzsteinhorn valley station. we get up and prepare ourselves for an exciting day. at 7:00, we arrive at the kitzsteinhorn valley station.

we fill out the sign-up forms and enter the check-in queue. then we take the gletscherjet 1 and go to the face check area. we catch a glimpse of the contest face, but for me at this point, it is only about looking for possible danger zones. i’m not yet able to make out a line and then recognize it from the top of the face 😉

Foto 4

the riders meeting starts at about 8:15, where we get informed that the womens start will not be near the summit of the geissstein, but a little bit lower. i feel relieved that i won’t have to hike all way up to the top, because i’m always a little bit scared of falling when hiking in exposed terrain. i will have to work on that, i guess!

we proceed to the start and then have to wait a bit. during the waiting time, i get more and more excited to ride the wonderful looking face. we were lucky enough to get about 20 centimeters of fresh snow two nights before the contest and surprisingly, no one had dared to ride through the contest face before the competition.

i’m glad that i will be starting as the 6th woman and try to figure out which way to go. the skier before me, Sabine Schipflinger, has bad luck and bails, even one of her bindings breaks. fortunately, she didn’t hurt herself, and after she made it through the finish, it’s my turn.

after hearing “Start frei für Startnummer 6, Stephanie Posch” (clearance to start for bib nummer 6), i take one more deep breath and drop in.

the snow feels great under my board, i am feeling secure that i can handle more speed, so i go for a rather straight line at the beginning, doing a hard turn soon, making the snow spray. i proceed over a windlip and am a little bit surprised by the take off, but manage to land safely. i ride further down, jump another windlip, and wooooosh, i’m crossing the finish line without falling.

i realize that i just had a pretty good run and feel relieved.

Foto 4-1

i hang out in the target area with the other riders, fascinatedly watching the rest of the competitors ride.

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pics of my run by Tina Rettenwander

i eat some of my lunch, silently laughing to myself about the poor, smashed banana, which looks like it had been put into a food processor, when in fact, it was only stored in my backpack… not the best idea, clearly 😉

a bit later, i notice that the startnumbers are slowly reaching the 30ies and Roman has number 32. i turn my attention to the face again and am a bit unsure if the rider i’m currently seeing is Roman or not, as he rides in direction of a rather big cliff.
he jumps down the cliff and doesn’t manage to stick the landing. as he is coming closer, i recognize Roman and am surprised that he dared to try this cliff drop.
it might not have been the best idea contest-wise to choose this difficulty in his run, but for him personally it was a great idea for sure, seeing that progression is important.

Roman // pic by Tina Rettenwander
roman approaching the drop. pic by Tina Rettenwander

we meet in the target area, watch some more contestants and then start to hike back up to the summit station of gletscherjet 1.
we grab something to eat and relax for a while, then we decide to go ride a bit until the price giving ceremony.
at 2pm, we come back to the langwiedboden and wait for the ceremony to begin.
what can i say, after hearing “Aus Österreich” i somehow already know that my name will be mentioned for place 3.
i was super super happy with the result! i’m still stoked 🙂
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snowboard women podium, pic by mia* maria-knoll.com

 

results x-over ride

 

 

 

 

march 24th, 2013:

Foto 2-2

we go to the kitzsteinhorn again and watch the 3start freeride world tour qualifier event for about an hour. we see the awesomely crazy run of Flo Orley and enjoy the sunshine.

then we go up to the kristallbahn and from there, proceed to the starting point of our route of the day, the ride down to niedernsill.
we already know the route, but previously have always started from the lakarscharte.
the ride is wonderful, we find very good conditions in the middle section, the rest is okay. we arrive at the valley and walk to the train station from there.
we are lucky and the train arrives within a few minutes, then we have to wait about 20 minutes for the bus to take us back to the kitzsteinhorn parking lot.

in the evening, we go to the tauern spa and let our muscles rest.

march 25th, 2013:

we ride the niedernsill route once again, this time, the snow is not as good anymore, but still enjoyable.

Foto 3-2

then we jump into the car, go to salzburg and meet up with my sister for a snack. afterwards it’s back to vienna for us. the trip is over, we made it home safe and are stoked on this nice short vacation.

next up:

longboard classic 2013 in stuben am arlberg on the 13th of april!
i’m so so looking forward to that, i bet it will be great fun!
longboardclassic