It’s been 6 days since the last snowfall. Usually too long to find “first lines”. So we don’t ONLY look for the snow, but also whether there are many freeriders in the area.
Since Ischgl is better known for its “apres ski” culture, we want to try it there. With success!
Our plan for Saturday: across Paznaun on skis and board to the Arlberg.
We start in the Ischgl ski area. The usual hustle and bustle might be a little smaller than usual on a weekend in early January. Still, enough to develop thoughts of escape.
Via Idjoch and Greitspitze we shimmy through the ski area in the direction of Palinkopf and take the north-facing powder slopes next to the piste with us. From the Palinkopf head in a south-westerly direction across untracked and sunny terrain down to the ski slope to Samnaun. All W-facing slopes are still wonderfully powdery.
From tax-free Samnaun (slogan: More luxury. More world) you can take the legendary double-decker gondola back to the ski area. After a short descent, the Visnitz I chairlift takes you up the last 100 m to the Visnitzkopf (2,744 m).
There are only a few tracks in the Visitztal. So we have almost free choice in which untouched slope we leave our tracks. The best meters are waiting right at the beginning, down to the lower customs hut. Then it’s relatively flat at first, then on a forest road that gets steeper, past a chapel, down to Kappel. We just cross the main road and get on the other side in one of the small gondolas of the Kappel ski area. Two more chairlifts with short transfer descents later, we are at the top of this nice ski area. Great off-piste terrain right next to the piste is easily visible and accessible. But today we leave these behind. From the 2740 high Ablittkopf we only ski about 100 m down the slope before turning sharp right down into the so-called “Latte”. A spacious cirque with the best powder snow and again few tracks. Almost a miracle after 6 days without snowfall. After a good 500 vertical meters of powder, we glide out of the Malfontal with a big grin on our face. Again and again there are small but nice slopes and the shady valley is waiting for us with the best snow. After about 4,700 m of descent in powder, but also on the slopes and only about 100 m of ascent under your own steam, a brilliant day in Pettneu am Arlberg is coming to an end. We go back in 30 minutes with the previously reserved taxi from Kappl, where we have a beer in the hotel. With the public transport it takes about 1 hour with a change in Landeck.
On Sunday the groups take it easy in the Ischgl area – while the snowboarding groups does 2 short hikes to access some fluffy terrain, the skiers have a longer ascent to Piza Val Gronda and ski down the beautiful Fimba valley.
With a huge grin on their faces everybody meets for a last coffee before heading back home.