Every February a team of 10 or 12 from the Snow+Rock buying and marketing teams head to Munich for the annual ISPO trade show. Company Director Kevin Young tells us more about the impromptu ski trip afterwards.
ISPO is one of the biggest winter and outdoor sports expo events in the world. Every year it blows our minds with the vast array of brands and products on show there. After 4 days of immersing yourself in the best winter-sports gear in the world, the thing you want most is to go skiing or snowboarding, and this year a few of us made time to go to St Anton in Austria for 3 days after the show.
Like all the best ideas this one started in the pub, and it turned out to be one of our best ideas ever. We arrived in a very snowy St Anton after driving through snowfall most of the way from Munich. There was snow piled up everywhere in the town, which is always a good sign. We grabbed a late dinner and headed to back to the Hotel Reselehof to prepare for a big day skiing. We had arranged to meet our guide at 9am the next morning so we got all our gear ready before we went to bed.
We set off to meet our guide the next morning, it was still snowing and visibility wasn’t great. The first run was a challenge for me (recovering from a broken toe!) with deep snow hiding moguls and ruts in the rolling clouds. But the quality of the snow was superb. Deep, light and getting deeper by the hour. Our guide Klaus was of course an amazing skier and had fantastic local knowledge from his days working for the resort’s avalanche safety team. He took us to some fantastic terrain where visibility was helped by sticking to the trees wherever possible and the snow was deep and mostly untracked. He tested us during the day to see if our skills were up to our ambition, we covered a lot of ground well off the beaten track once he had confidence that we were not too much of a liability in steeper and more challenging terrain. This was an amazing day.
Day 2 and we were joined by our old friend Gunnar who runs the Hotel Reselehof. Straight away we were back into a world of untracked powder, cornices, chutes and magical forests. Gunnar has lived in St Anton for 35 years and said he skied some new terrain that day as we continued to follow Klaus with adrenalin pumping around our bodies. Snow continued to fall and cloud was constantly rolling through, but with Klaus leading the way we always had just enough visibility to enjoy the powder which was now bottomless.
Day 3, our last day. We met Klaus, just the 3 of us today, he had plans for us and wasted no time in getting the day off to a steep and deep start. The weather was beginning to clear and the resort staff were hard at work trying to get the pistes open following days of heavy snowfall. Pistes were the last thing on our minds, but we would have loved to be first down the from the top of the Schindler Spitze before the piste bashers laid their fresh corduroy tracks (see picture). We turned our backs as the piste was being laid and followed Klaus into the deepest snow I have ever experienced with perfect visibility and not a track in front of us. Every turn created a wave of snow that came up over my head and temporarily blinded me and blocked my mouth and nose. It was a total assault on the senses and we were loving every second of it. We kept this up, run after run via Stuben, Langen and finally the Maroi valley. We had to take 2 buses during the day to get back to the ski lifts, and spent a bit of time hiking up and over a few hills to access yet more untracked terrain. We finally admitted to Klaus that we were tired and needed lunch, it was 4 o’clock! Our energy was all spent and we were as happy as we could ever hope to be.
When we left the next morning the sky was clear and the weather was cold (-17 c). We didn’t care, we have all skied and boarded a lot over the last 20 years or more and we had just experienced the best 3 days skiing of our lives, and we were so exhausted we could hardly walk. And all those people heading out to find some fresh powder would find that someone had been there before them. Thanks Klaus.
We all agreed we have to this again next year……