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! ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

relaxing with a view!


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go with the flow!

relaxing with a view!

relaxing with a view!

let me get this straight – i love winter sports. i love splitboard touring, i love snowboarding, i love cross country skiing, i love going for a walk in a¬†wintery wonderland. last winter, i was very frustrated by the weather. we had had only a few powder days here in eastern austria, and it didn’t look much better in western austria. i was in a bad mood, constantly waiting for this one big dump that i had hoped for since the season before. but it never came.
we enjoyed some really great days in the mountains, but it just didn’t feel like a proper winter.

about 10 years ago, we would get lots of snow, even in the flat lands of eastern austria. when you were unlucky, you had to shovel yourself a passage through a snow windlip on the street to my parents’ village to get through by car. in the morning, you’d find your car hidden underneath some 30 centimeters of freshies and dug in even more by the snowplough. you could often go cross country skiing¬†on the fields nearby, you could bobsleigh down hills, you could go skiing or snowboarding on the mountains close-by.

these times seem to be long gone. and so far, it doesn’t seem like they will come back this winter season.
i have gotten in one splitboard tour in lower austria in november and since then, nearly all the snow has melted and temperatures have risen again.

having a break in the sun.

having a break in the sun.

the big difference to last winter is my personal stance on the weather. i have decided not to get upset about the lack of snow and warm temperatures anymore.
i will do whatever i can to minimize my own negative impact on the climate, like reducing the waste i produce, reusing or repairing stuff before buying new things, eating a plant based diet and using my bike or my feet as means of transportation as often as possible.
i often pick up trash that i find washed upon a beach or lying around in nature. 3 days ago i found an empty bottle of vodka in a forest. i collected it and carried it with me until i reached the next trash can.
i will continue to do things like that because i truly believe that everyone of us can make a positive impact on the environment.
but still – i can’t¬†change the weather, i can’t make it snow and i can’t reduce the temperature.
it is of no use to be upset because of the weather.
i have decided to adapt to the current situation, go with the flow and make the best of it!

for me, this means not driving hundreds of kilometers to the next glacier to be able to snowboard. i’d rather stick to the options i have in my nearer surroundings and embrace the beauty and fun that can be found here.
while i won’t be able to work on my snowboarding technique this way, i still can continue to build up stamina, balance and muscle power to help my body perform even better (and by the way, this year i have finally acknowledged that my body is already capable of so much awesome stuff, i’m really grateful for that!).

a fiery sunrise.

a fiery sunrise.

 

two weeks ago on sunday, i decided to flee from the ongoing fog that has been plaguing the valleys and flat land for the last week. i hopped into the car, drove for 30 minutes and then started a short hike. although i was tired and it was cold and foggy at the parking lot, i soon saw the first rays of sunshine and enjoyed a wonderful hike! it was warm and the birds sang a lovely song.

last weekend, roman and i finally had the chance to go on hikes together again!
on saturday, we conquered the paulmauer and on sunday, we summited the g√∂ller, both mountains in lower austria. the first one being more of¬†a little hill, the second can be called a decent mountain already ūüėČ

here are some pictures…


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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.

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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.

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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 Рcheck 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 Gro√üe 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 Рthanks 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 ūüėČ

 

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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Splitboard Article in Volume Magazine

a short time ago, Roman and myself were asked to write an article for an¬†austrian music magazine called Volume¬†for their Freeride Special on the topic of Splitboarding. we sat down, thought about it, started to write, erased parts again but finally finished the piece and called it “Split it¬†– Die Geschichte des Splitboards und wof√ľr es gut ist”.

Volume Magazin

read it online here:
-> http://www.volume.at/magazin/kategorie-uebersicht/detailansicht/m05/4856/

 

thanks to Stephan from Die Bergstation for inviting us to be part of this Freeride Special!


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sunrise tour awesomeness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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wonderful wednesday: riesneralm Рkleines bärneck Рgstemmerscharte Рhintere mörsbachalm Рdonnersbachwald.

today, we went to the riesneralm, took the chairlifts up to the top and then descended towards the hintere mörsbachalm. then we started our ascent up to the kleines bärneck. from there, we rode down to the mössnakar. after arriving in this valley, we put our skins onto our splitboards again and hiked up to the gstemmerscharte, which allowed us to pass to the hintere mörsbachalm again. we followed the path to donnersbachwald and walked back to our car by foot.

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view from the top of the kleines bärneck.

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before the second descent.

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the second descent.