Looking for Snow in the Sellrein

Sunshine!
Sunshine!

The word is…winter is coming.

No – this isn’t one of those Game of Thrones memes…..its just that from the looks of the weather report, we should be getting some snow soon. Which is good – cause I went out yesterday and got completely shut down in the Sellreintal.

For those who don’t know – the Sellrein is a geat place for touring. Just one valley over from the Stubai Valley, which is maxed out with infrastructure, this little place is one of my go-tos for unspoiled human-powered skiing and boarding. There is very little lodging, but whats there is quite good, and the spot holds onto snow very well. It’s a great choice for first-timers to Europe – but you’d better have your skills down. Some of the tours are quite long, and in some cases, you’ll be crossing glaciated terrain for the big stuff.

I thought I’d find snow back there – but I hadn’t really decided on the valley until I noticed a break in the dismal-looking weather back there. So I pointed my car to the bright spots in the sky and parked all the way at the back by the Gasthaus Lüsens.

There's the sun!
There’s the sun!

I took the route up towards the Schöntalspitze, because I thought that would have some snow in it, and its not steep enough to slide (at least at the top) so I thought it would be a good choice for me, on my own.

The start was snow-free. I mean completely.

The snow-covered Alps. Whatever.
The snow-covered Alps. Whatever.

I thought it would get better over the crest of the bottom part of the hill – but as I ascended, it looked worse and worse, so I followed the summer path around instead of going up through the woods as you normally would, into the next side-valley, by the Westfalenhaus. Back by that hut, you can usually count on some snow.

this is the opposite side of the valley. Should have been a clue.
this is the opposite side of the valley. Should have been a clue.

As I crested the round – I saw a lot of nothing. All the snow there was was deep in the back of the valley and was either glaciated, or steep – so it was clear I was not getting and turns.

Keep in mind that I was well above 2000 meters and this is December!

Groan!
Groan!

I trecked most of the way to the hut – but turned back because it was getting kinda dark. I really ought to get some friends together for a weekend to that hut. Its got a winter room, and there are four really nice tours that you can do from there. Its far enough away that its not super-busy, but not so far away that getting there is a battle.

Can you spot the fat Gams?
Can you spot the fat Gams?

On the plus side of a low-snow start to winter, I saw a bunch of chamois back there. They do well here, away from the disco-snow-bars, but these looked particularly plump and happy. I suppose the mild weather is letting them eat themselves silly. If the hunters don’t get them, they’ll die of a heart-attack or something.

Tomorrow's another day!
Tomorrow’s another day!

I got back to the car as night fell (early right now!) and was glad to get my boots off after a couple thousand meters up and down in them.

So – Here’s hoping for some snow soon! We need it.

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