Dreaming of a White Christmas 

Looks like a dream is all I’m gonna get.

Not just in Colorado…..

We’ve had almost no natural snow in the Zillertal, so the only touring is on the piste at the local ski resorts. While this is hugely popular, I’ve stopped doing it. The numbers have increased even compared to last year, and my opinion is that it’s getting a bit out of hand.

I know many won’t agree with me. That’s OK – but I am a resort skier with my kids too, and the current trend has become a distraction, and if I’m being honest, a bit of an annoyance. I don’t have a problem with practice per se, but the numbers are such that on a few days, there are more going uphill that down. BTW – before getting out your knives to cut me to pieces, keep in mind that I also am of the opinion that the profilation of high-speed quads (6,8…10s?) leads to a dangerously overcrowded piste as well. Nobody remembers standing in line for the lift anymore, and it sucked, but it also meant that at any given time, there were far fewer poeple actually on the slope. The trend towards uphilling exacerbates this. 

An obvious solution would be for dedicated uphill tracks, and a few places have them, but even there, it seems like an awful large percentage of people don’t stick to them, so the plan is kinda moot. In Bavaria, the law says that ski tourers can’t be restricted. There was a court case a few years back that settled this pretty definitively. While I’m generally in favor of free access, I think in this case, prudence and a willingness to co-exist should reign the day. In Tyrolia the law is different, and it’s fairly certain that if the resorts wanted to ban the practice outright, they probably could. If things continue as they have, they may well do so.

Back to ski-touring. I mean: not at a resort. I’ve seen some reports from over towards Stubai saying something might go there, but it is a no go in my neck of the woods. The forecast is calling for a rainy Christmas- so I’m loading up on booze for a remarkable New Year’s Eve party. Make lemonade, you know.

If you’re a tourist headed out for your Christmas ski vacation, the good news is that the pistes are in remarkably good shape. The snowmaking guys have done an excellent job and most every piste is open and well grippy – so you can have a bunch of fun zipping down the slopes and dodging the tourers – or being dodged, as the case may be.
If you’re about on New Years and you see some guys with a ginormous outdoor disco-dance floor complete with lights and disco ball, playing Schlager and wearing Björn Borg costumes – then say hello. That’ll be us.

4 thoughts on “Dreaming of a White Christmas ”

  1. Just back from Alta Badia. No snow off piste, but the trails were in great shape. Also, excellent weather (and food, and…) We skinned on-piste two days and were warned of “police” but everyone who passed us on their way down waved, smiled and seemed very happy we were out and about. Skied for ten days and saw no other skinners.

    1. Surprised you didn’t see anybody else. You just missed the snow. Fairly well dumping here on the north side of the alps. Finally.

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