Catch up post from our hütte stay in December 2021.
It’s December 2021. Masha and I had just got married in October. Six months out we booked a week to ourselves high in the Alps. Much like our Scuol Hütte trip in 2020 but this time no drunk dudes and more us.
Nervously checking the webcams we prayed for snow during the weeks leading up the trip. Rolling into St. Martin am Tennengebirge we extatic to be met with snow. Not exactly powder, but still snow!
The hütte was a mix of rustic and modern elements. Warmth radiated from the central wood stove creating a cozy environment in the main room. Keeping it stocked with fresh logs was my job. On the modern side in the kitchen there was warm running water and each bedroom had individual heating.
We cooked each night and enjoyed dinner and card games together. This trip being in Austria we learned a new Austrian cardgame Schnapsen.
Before heading back country we took the first day to ski the near by resort of Dachstein.
The snow was pretty icy which was not a great sign of conditions to come. Though we still had a lot of fun.
Leaving from the hütte we walked up a dirt road past an old farm house to a snow covered trail.
Plop plop, the skins on the skis hit the powder snow. Click click, the toe piece clicks into place. Off we go on a mountain adventure.
Snap, oh wait the front binding didn’t properly connect and the one of the skis pops off. Fiddley things ski touring bindings. So back on and then ten leg lifts rotating the small metal pegs in the toe connection to clean it out before tightening it the rest of the way.
The light breeze swept snow crystals up into the air. Nice powder snow, probally best of the trip.
Onward and upward we left the soft snow and crossed over the concrete hard snow of an old avalanche.
On the way back we found a different path along a summer hiking trail back to the hütte. Not all of it was skiiable but we still enjoyed and also scoped an area for a nice snow shoe tour.
One of my former colleges joined with his family for an overnight. We played a game with the kids were we buried a beeper (ski touring saftey device) then practiced finding it.
They gifted us a fun game called rummy. It’s a tile game but similar to the gin rummy card game I use to play with my family.
After some research of nearby routes we drove to down to the base of the valley for our next ski tour. We found parking in town where the snow conditions were quite good, then headed out. Once we toured 100m up a forest road the snow faded away and were left with gravel. This is pretty common in the Alps because the cold air sinks preserving the snow.
We decided to turn back and drive as far up the road as we could. Forest road driving / parking very much at your own risk sort of arraignment.
Eventually the snow came back and we could go back to touring again.
I remember the weather being windy and we were glad to take refuge along side of a hütte only accessed in summer.
Coming up the last one hundred meters to the ridge the wind picked up and the visibility dropped. From where we stopped the summit of Schober could be only reached on foot and we were more for skiing down at that point.
Overall great tour.
This trip we decided to rent snow shoes from DAV. Was both of our’s first time trying them.
While I imagine snow shoes perform best in more powder snow conditions they made winter hiking near the hütte super fun.
I was surprised how fun they were. Like ski touring they let you access normally inaccessible winter terrain. Snow shoes even more because you can more easily move through tight gaps in trees or up super steep sections.
After this experience I would considering getting some of our own.
I hope we continue to visit mountain hüttes for years to come.