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!


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going steep

on monday, i took the day off work to have the chance for some spring splitboarding and new experiences.

we went down south across lower austria to reach the border of styria and parked our car near the small town of niederalpl. no one else was around, and we took off to a lonely tour up the rodel, a wellknown skitouring route, often-times flooded with people.

IMG_8720

the normal route leads over a small ladder and then up to the veitsch, but we turned right before that ladder to reach the bottom of the east facing walls of the großer wildkamm, as we had a different mission in mind.

IMG_8721

we changed from splitboard to crampons, mounted the boards on our packs, put our helmets on and then started the hike up the wide couloir.

i have participated in a course on how to use crampons and ice axe correctly (rock and the ice camp by Die Bergstation), but so far had never used my crampons during a real tour.

i had quite some respect mixed with a slight feeling of fear when we approached the start of the hike, but i immediately noticed again how well crampons hold onto a hard, slightly icy surface. roman went first and broke the trail for me. i was very thankful for that, this way, i didn’t have to focus on much else than following his steps and maybe looking up from time to time to avoid being hit by snow or rocks falling down. no need to scout the best line to climb, i knew i could trust him. this was a huge relief for me, because i can blend out my fear of heights better when i have something to stupidely focus on.

the steeper parts were actually easier to climb, because the footsteps are supported by more snow underneath and you can rest your legs a little. it gets tough to climb for about 45 minutes solely standing on your toes.

exhaustion kicked in when we were about half way up, but hearing that we had already made it to the upper half of the climb motivated me enough to keep pushing it.

we had to traverse to the right to get out of the couloir and i was nearly done with my nerves there. i was fueled by the thought that we’d be on top of the mountain in a few minutes and quickly made my way to the right.

when we reached the flatter part near the summit, i was overwhelmingly happy, surrounded by a feeling of safeness, thankfulness and pride. it was only a few steps more to the summit, so we left our equiment there for the last meters.

as we stood on the summit, i was so emotional i couldn’t prevent a few tears from running down.

we made an entry in the summit book (and found an old entry from the G and roman, “wos brauch i tirol” ;)) and then quickly went back to our little ski depot, where we took off the crampons, had a little bite to eat and something to drink and put our boards back into ride mode.

roman drew the first line and then i followed. the snow was perfect – not too hard anymore and not yet too soft and slow.

it was an awesome cruise down. i even tried a bit of McNab’s riding technique advice (great article, read it here), finishing one turn completely before starting the next one and it really made my turns more balanced and soft.

from the bottom of the couloir on, the snow was very warm already, making it a lot more exhausting to ride, but we had fun nonetheless. the last bit through the forest was a tad bit strenuous, but i still enjoyed it with every pore.

maybe this was our last splitboarding trip this year. maybe not. anyhow, it was a perfect day, crossing over the border of my comfort zone a bit and still feeling confident.

i’m very happy that i was able to achieve something i had never done before. it feels good to see signs of development and improvement.

thanks Roman for being my guide!Foto 1-1 Foto 2-1 Foto 3 Foto 4 Foto 5


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Winter Inauguration 2015.

to celebrate the newborn winter season 2014/2015, Roman and I went on a 9 day pow searching mission in Austria from friday, the 2nd january 2015 on.
our powder in the east (PIE) buddy G. came over and we hit the road to Salzburg together.
we met up with a group of PIE members in Großarl in the evening and made plans for the next day.

saturday morning, we started our first tour and hiked up to the Penkkopf, one of the most visited mountaintops in the Großarl region. Roman and I had already been up there before, so we knew that this tour was perfect as a starter. first you start out pretty mellow with a long hike along a shallow path through a dreamy winter wonderland, then the track steepens for the last hour or so until you reach the flat peak. from there, you have a great view all around, from Großarl to Kleinarl, which lies on the other side of the mountain.
after a short break on the mountaintop, we had a fun ride down. the snow conditions were pretty good, we had enough snow to ride without the risk of hitting rocks or trees situated underneath the snow and even found some entertaining pillows and small jumps.

View from the Penkkopf
view from the summit of Penkkopf.

on sunday, the weather had gone bad, with limited view, snowfall and lots of wind. we decided to play it safe and ride the slopes of Großarl.
as we all hadn’t had the chance to ride a lot prior to this trip, it was a great opportunity to get used to riding again. luckily, after several years of snowboarding, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it again. i have to say, i really noticed how much my riding has improved during the last winter season. i’m very thankful for that. seems like the bad conditions were useful after all!

we played around, explored the fresh snow next to the slopes and had a surprisingly awesome day.

on monday, it was time to say goodbye to the PIE group and Großarl. Roman and I hopped into the car and headed over to Obertauern, where we were able to stay at Hotel Leitner (nice place directly at the slopes, with breakfast buffet and sauna – check it out if you seek accommodation in Obertauern!).
we met up with F., a friend of G., and plowed through the fresh snow next to the slopes. the view was still limited, so we stuck to humble tree runs but still had a great time.

Sunrise in Obertauern
good morning, Obertauern!

tuesday was the first day with sunny weather and fresh pow, as well as a national holiday, which meant that lots of people came to the resort and ventured into the backcountry. we decided to stay on the safe side (after all, we still had an avalanche risk of 3 out of 5) and first warmed up next to the slopes. we hit some drops, did some turns and after about an hour, decided to explore some of the safer routes out of bounds.
i have to say, i’m not one who chases first lines, i’m more of a safety lover. i’d rather be safe and maybe ride a slope where there’s already some tracks inside, than go out of my way to be the first to ride somewhere.
there will be times when the conditions will be just right anyways and then i will be able to truly enjoy drawing first lines.
still, we had no problem finding paths to ride that were enjoyable, occasionally scoring face shots as well as dropping and jumping around.

on wednesday we pulled out our touring gear and went on a hike to the Große Kesselspitze, which lies next to the resort of Obertauern, but can’t be accessed by the lifts.
the weather felt like spring (oh no, not again, just like last winter! ;)) as we walked through a lovely forest and then spitzkehred our way up to the top. the last few meters to the summit have to be climbed, so we left our equipment at the ski depot to check out the view on this sunny day.
we met a few other ski touring folks and talked to them about the possible descent on the south facing slope. originally, we had planned to ride down the ascent route as a safety measure, but since the snow seemed to be good, we decided to follow the tracks of the other guys.
it was a great idea and a memorable descent!

On top of the Große Kesselspitze
Roman checking the view on the summit of the Große Kesselspitze.

The rocky path up to the Summit of Große Kesselspitze
a look back to the rocky path up to the Summit.

A look back on the descent of Große Kesselspitze
this was our lovely way down!

 

thursday was our planned travel and chill day. Roman wanted to try out a new binding, so we went to the Blue Tomato test center in Obertauern, where he received a now! binding to test.
as we stood around in the shop, M., one of the shop dudes, asked if we were interested in giving him company for a short freeride intermezzo. we shortly discussed if this sounded like a good idea or not (after all, knees were sore and a freeride camp was coming up) but then made up our minds and told M. that we were going to join him.
in the mean time, his shred buddy B. had arrived and we headed up to the chair lift together.
after two warm up runs, we started to hike towards the Seekarspitze. after about 30 minutes, we reached our destination and each of us found an individual spot to drop in. my route was steep at the top and i couldn’t clearly see if there were rocks beneath me, so i decided to head to the left after dropping in, to ride around that overhanging part. snow was good and we all had a good time cruising down.
afterwards, we said goodbye and headed back to the shop, where Roman finally bought the bindings.

shortly after his purchase, we drove to Bad Mitterndorf and checked into our apartment. the rest of the day was spent relaxing, in the evening we visited Steph from Die Bergstation for a chat and a Zirbenschnaps.

I ho Hoamweh noch BA
Mitterndorf, here we come!

friday morning meant the start of yet another freeride day, only this time not on our own but with a group of lovely, funny people, most of them already familiar faces, as we were part of the motherland anniversary camp.
happy campers cruised and hiked, and faster than we could point out shit, the day was over.
everybody seemed sore but satisfied.

Mitterndorf Sunset.
the sun setting like crazy over Bad Mitterndorf.

during the night, it started to pour down like crazy. on saturday, a lot of the snow in town had melted or been washed away. also, it was very stormy, so much that all the lifts were closed.
Steph and Markus, our guides, let us decide if we wanted to go ride the slopes of Riesneralm or do an avy training.
we all preferred to work on our avalanche rescue skills, and so we went up to the Schönialm by car, where we first got served hot drinks by the friendly Schönialm staff, although it was their day off – thanks again!
the guide team explained the proper process when solving an avalanche accident and then we went outside to work on our practical skills. we split up in two groups, got tips on our shoveling technique and then hid a few avalanche transceivers and backpacks for the other group to search.
our guides played eye witnesses who had just seen a group of people go down with an avalanche. and they did it very well – Steph pretended to be totally devastated and in panic, we hardly were able to get out any info from him and even needed to do a body check to find out if he was carrying an avalanche transceiver, which might interfere with our search.
as our group consisted of 4 people with 3 of us knowing each other pretty well, our rescue went fine and we finished solving the problem of multiple buried transceivers and probing for a backpack rather quickly. statistically, everyone could have survived, as we were finished in about 12 minutes, if i remember that correctly.
the result felt really good and i am sure that we were able to better our skills.
hopefully, we will never need to use our knowledge, but it’s good to feel prepared and able to help.

on sunday, we faced yet another slush day and roman and i decided to skip riding and go home instead.
we had had a great week of riding and felt no need in fighting with wet, heavy snow. our thighs agreed 😉

 

Going Home sad.
going home – happy because of the great days we had, sad that the weather wasn’t on our side for the last day.

 

tomorrow it’s time for the first FWQ contest of the season at the Hochkar in Lower Austria, wish me luck!


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hike2ride hochkar, 13.03.2011

on sunday, we decided that we would try to find decent snow somewhere near our home.
since we knew that the conditions were pretty bad in the semmering region, we thought that our only option would be to drive to the west and try our luck at the hochkar.

when we arrived, we were sceptical if that was a good idea – down in the valley everything was green (well, brown) already. i was already pretty bummed, but we still wanted to see for ourselves if there was enough snow for a small tour or not.
so we went up to the top of the leckerplan chairlift and checked out the schmalzmauer from there… it looked pretty okay, so we repacked our stuff and started to hike.

hochkar
hiking…

we hiked along the ridge, where we were able to enjoy wonderful views of the mountains surrounding the hochkar. as if this had not been enough, when we arrived at the peak and started our descend, we noticed that there was still enough snow and that it was not hard or icy at all, it was rather soft 🙂

hochkar
guido.

hochkar
roman.

hochkar
guido and roman.

hochkar
proof that i was there too 😉

it was a great feeling to hike up a mountain and ride down again – nothing beats this. it always feels like having accomplished something big.
i’m really thankful that we have such great landscapes in austria, within the range of a short drive by car.

this might have been the last freeriding adventure this season 😦
a great goodbye to a great winter!


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freeride experience zell am see, 03.03.2011 – 06.03.2011

on thursday, the 3rd of march 2011, we drove to zell am see in salzburg to attend a freeride experience weekend there.
we arrived in the afternoon, checked into our room in thumersbach (right across the zeller lake) and then visited zell am see. we went to see the la resistance shop and randomly ran into sepp, who we know from wakeboarding, there. he spent his winter season in zell am see and works at the la resistance shop. we chatted for a while and then left to get something to eat.
afterwards, at 8pm, we met up with the other group members in the lohninghof, right next to our hotel room.
we were quite suprised at how big the group was. the guides bengt and gerry went from table to table to talk to everyone and see if anyone was missing. they also told us about the plans for the next days and when we would start on friday.

so, friday, 8:30 am it was. we met up in front of the lohninghof, jumped into the vw busses that were our taxis and went to a sports shop in zell am see. the skiers received their rental equipment there, aswell as avalanche beacons, shovels and probes.
at about 10 am we arrived in saalbach hinterglemm. the sun was shining and everyone was looking forward to the first day of freeriding. we got split into 3 groups with 7 to 8 people. our guide was gerry.
we started with some runs next to the slopes to warm up.
afterwards, we hiked up to the peak next to the chairlift. this took us about 30 minutes, then we had a short break at the peak. we proceeded to ride down from the peak.
next up was another short hike. this time, we didn’t hike up to a peak, we just crossed over for a bit and then did an awesome run down to lengau.
the snow was a bit wet and heavy, but still it was way better than expected!
when we arrived down in the valley, we had to push out to the next village for about 5 kilometers. we were all pretty exhausted after that, so we decided to take it slow and have a drink and something to eat.
after that, we went back to zell am see (thumersbach). in the evening, we met up in the lohninghof for dinner. i had wonderful spinach dumplings… nomnomnom!

freeride experience 2011
first lines. well, OUR first lines 😉 everything was rather tracked already!


saturday
, 8:30 am. we met up in front of the lohninghof and went to the kitzsteinhorn.
i was expecting to find a bit more fresh powder there, i have to admit. i was a bit sad to see that all the freeride routes (they have 5 which are avalanche safe) already had been ridden a lot.
but no need to worry! gerry knew where we had to go to find fresh pow. we hiked a bit and then – booooom – there it was! a wonderful ride down from the kitzsteinhorn to niedernsill, lots of untracked, cold snow… it couldn’t have been any better!

freeride experience 2011

freeride experience 2011
beautiful!

on sunday, we went to saalbach-hinterglemm again.
we went up with the zwöflerkogel gondola again. then we also took the seekar t-bar to the top, just like on friday.
this time though, we didn’t just hike a short bit, we hiked about an hour to reach another peak. the skiers put on their skins, roman and me simply walked (without snowshoes, there was no real need for them).
we were lucky and found a bit of powder on our run down to lengau again.

freeride experience 2011
hiking.

all in all, it was a great experience. we didn’t expect to find any powder at all, due to the enormous lack of snow this winter, but thanks to our guide the 3 days went totally different than we had feared 😉

more pictures can be found here
a video is still in the works!

-> http://www.la-resistance.at/
-> http://www.freeride-experience.at/