The voice in the back of my head:
“The Covid pandemic is forever!”
“The war in Ukraine means you’ll never be able to visit Russia!”
“The economy is going to crash!”
Maybe those things are all true 🤷♂️, maybe not. One thing I know is when I’m in the mountains I can’t hear that voice. The howling wind flapping the hood of my jacked as I press my skies into a steep wall of snow, covers it up. But so does the chirping of birds on a calm sunny spring day as we tour over the soft wet snow. Nature prepares for the spring thaw but there is still skiable snow, if you know where to look.
Touring is a great stress relief but it still takes planning. When I’m not feeling ambitious I reach for my Bayerische Alpen guide book.
My favorite feature of the book is the recommended date range. For the Schöttelkarspitze route: March through April. Perfect, even with a safety buffer I like to add for global warming it should be nice.
The route sets off from a trailhead we also visit in summer. If fact the day started much like a summer day with hiking. We did the first ~600m with skis on the packs.
After a while we took a break to snack and look at the map. Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the guide book. So we are winging it!
Now before anyone was thinks “woh Travis how irresponsible”. We were in not in danger. The avalanche fordcast for the day was as safe as it gets, the main trail is easily marked, and I downloaded the offline topo maps of the area.
One hundred after our snack break I looked back at Masha. A look she knows well by now. It says you know this trail we are on that 1000’s of skiers this year have tamped down in there race to the summit of Schöttelkarspitze? We could go leave it behind and rough it? The usual responce 🙄 followed by 😁 and we started the real adventure.
Sun coming through the trees onto the cold powdery snow created a winter wonderland.
The plan, as can been seen in the gps recording, was to follow one of the higher summer trails around Ochsenstaffel to Schöttelkarspitze. After a nice ascent through the forest according to the map we had reached this trail. It was more of a gap between the trees then a trail. Even in summer is suspect its a pretty wild path. By the lack of tracks we seemed to be the only visitors all winter, except for a few rabbits.
We were fortunite for good snow conditions. The northern facing slopes provide a shady micro-climate of skiable snow.
Following the trail we reached a ridge line. Beyond the mountain turned eastward where the warm sun thinned the snow. Thick bruch above conviced us to enjoy our lunch here and turn back.
After gearing up to go down and triple checking everything I stopped for a moment. The voice in my head was back had new things to say:
“Are you really about to do this?”
“Do you even remember how to ski?”
Looking down the face my stomach was tight. I was nervous. It had been a few weekends of snowboarding since I last skied. Had to remind myself, you’ve done steeper more exposed descents, you’ll be fine.
Sure enough the line down was amazing. The powder turns through the forest were a dream. I stopped off by a tree on the way down to rest and calm my nerves.
We made it back to the main trail and from there down. Ending the tour with a walk in sneakers back the car.
What a great snow adventure! March skiing has a lot to offer and I encourage my friends here in Munich to get out there. Ski season is not over just yet!
Until next time stay safe out there ⛷.