Hello powder, bye bye everyday life!
When I think about freeriding, it is like a travel through my whole life. I see snow-white slopes with no traces it them, exhausting ascents, comlete whiteouts, the change from snowboard to skitouring, splitboard and freeski, thrilling trainings and avalanche transceiver checks. Moments of challenge and pure happiness. That's when I think about the power of nature, the silence of it and the feeling of floating on clouds. We should really appreciate the region we live in, where the most beautiful and best slopes can be found like sand at the beach.
Three freeriders full of excited anticipation
Today I'm gonna take you with me, so you can see for yourself that we have a freeride paradise here. Together with my brother Simon, who spends more time on his snowboard in winter than on his actual legs, we are on our way to the valley station of the cable car Steinbergbahn. There we meet Lukas, an employee of the cable car company Leoganger Bergbahnen, who accopanies us today. Lukas has his freeride skies with him, my brother and I our snowboards. The cable car Steinbergbahn is the perfect starting point for us and our descents. When you come from Saalfelden, the cable car Steinbergbahn is the quickest way to ascent the mountain and enter the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterlemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. Hence, you can decide where you want to ski. Either to the famous places Saalbach and Hinterglemm, to the freeride paradise Fieberbrunn or you can stay here in Leogang at the Asitz mountain, where the views of the snow-white slopes are absolutely amazing. We decide to stay directly in Leogang, as we have to work at noon and we do not have to ski so far, when the good is so near.
Off the beaten tracks, but safe!
The landscape looks like right out of a picture postcard! The last few days it was snowing and today is the second sunny day with a little bit of fog, covering the city of Saalfelden. The view of the snowy massif Leoganger Steinberge is absolutely stunning. Can we find good powder snow for today? We ascent with the chairlift Asitzgipfel bahn, where you can find an avalance transceiver check. Our avalanche transceivers are all okay. We already checked the avalance report in the morning, it said avalanche alert level 3 and so we really have to take care and not ski too far off the groomed slopes. The Skicircus offers a special tool, called avalance report LO.LA, which values the avalance situation of the region especially.
From the freeride park to powder snow slopes
We start our day at the freeride park, where there are challenging obstacles and jumps all over the area. The boys slide over a box, whereas I try a small jump and enjoy the fresh air up in the mountains. The deep snow is already full of traces and you have to concentrate yourself not to fall. But it is great fun anyways to play in the snow. The next lift brings us to the top again and we discover nearly next to every slope a part of deep snow with no traces in it. After a short hike, we are at our starting point again, enjoy the view of the impressive massifs in front of us and here we go again. The snow is perfect, there is powder everywhere and we cheered loudly, beaming with joy, because after such a slope, we can't hold back our emotions. More runs are yet to come. Eventhough we stay very close to the groomed slopes, we find really good deep snow slopes and challenging trails through the forests. The boys like to play with the landscape, they jump over rocks, discover pillows and drops.
What a day!
Freeriding starts where the groomed slopes end. I read this sentences somewhere and since then I can't get it out of my head. Because it is so true. Freeriding is not something which happens at remote slopes at rocky areas. You can freeride directly next to the groomed slopes and you do not need a huge amount of time for it. And you are in the middle of nature. However, our freeride morning comes to an end. After the last run we have a big smile in our faces. "What a day!", we are all of the same opinion. At noon, work is waiting for us, but the weekend is not far away. Simon planned a splitboard tour, Lukas wants to go skiing again and I want to make a ski tour.
Here are 5 tips for more fun while freeriding:
- Always check the avalance report (www.lawine.at or LO.LA especially for the Skicircus), choose the right tour and do not forget to take your safety equipment with you.
- For the Skicircus there is a freeride map available, where the different freeride tours are marked.
- Just follow traces in the snow, if you know exactly where they are leading to or when somebody accompanies you who knows their way around. Even when the temptation is high, it can be extremely dangerous!
- When you want to try freeriding, do not hesitate and book a guide! Only leave the groomed slopes when you know how to freeride correctly.
- Have fun! Even when the conditions are not always ideal, you can enjoy nature, learn about and from the different layers of snow and respect nature and the landscapes.