Recap: 2. Choice Splitboard Camp Kuehtai – 08.-10-03.2019

Without any doubt, the Kuehtai belongs to the best touring resorts of the Austrian Alps. No wonder, that it deserves a fixed date in the Choice Splitboard Camps schedule. In early March 2019, a group of highly motivated splitboarders and splitboarding newbies came together at the cosy Zirmbachalm for the first basic splitboarding beginner camp of the season. As usual, mountain guide „Snoppy“ aka Christian Eberherr did not take the levels too seriously, so the camp happened to be a bit more challenging than level 1. But as we all know – and that´s what the Choice Splitboard Camps are famous and popular for – the magic happens outside your comfort zone! In the end, everybody was super happy and that´s what matters, right?

 The Kuehtai is Tyrol´s freeriding pearl. Only 35 kilometres away from Innsbruck and situated high up on 2.000 metres above sea level, the small resort attracts freeriders with its great touring opportunities, especially in spring. A dozen splitboard fans and splitboard newbies gathered at the Zirmbachalm on Friday, 8th of March, to share some splitboarding adventures over the weekend. After a funny adjustment-party, everybody was fully equipped with the latest Amplid and Jones Splitboards, Jones touring poles, Spark R&D or Karakoram splitboard bindings and Ortovox safety gear, if required. And latest after Traudl´s welcome Schnapps and a great dinner everybody felt just like at home at the cosy Zirmbachalm.

With the first rays of sun, the group started into their splitboading adventure on Saturday morning. After changing to hiking mode right at the Issalm parking, everybody was ready for the first steps on a splitboard. The access began quite challenging right in the forest. Between little streams and trees, the use crampons turned out to be a wise choice. Everbody was battling bravely to reach the upper Issalm and stop for a first well-deserved coffee-break. From here, a nice little track in breathtaking scenery lead to the back of Woergetal. Passing Knappenhaus, the splitboarders divided into to groups. While the advanced level riders went for a steep chute and all the way up to „Hintere Karlesspitze“ on 2.641 metres above sea level, the beginner group took it with the Wetterkreuz on 2.250 metres above sea.

Even the splitboarding newbies mastered a 860 height metres climb on their first day. Since it was quite uncomfortable at the summit due to strong winds and passing cloud fields, everybody agreed to quickly change back to riding mode. A steep entry was followed by a nice, mellow cruise over fresh powder fields and the riders were stoked about the long and well-deserved run. To get back to the starting point, they had to get through the infamous forest passage again, which turned into a challenging boardercross drift. Everybody coped the situation brilliantly. To finish an amazing day, the happy splitboarders went for an after-ride drink at Kuehtai. After dinner, guide Christian Eberherr presented the basics of avalanche safety, snow textures and risk management on the screen.

With strong winds and rain up to above 2.000 metres, Kuehtai appeared moody on Sunday. Lifts were not running, but this could not damp the splitboarders´spirits. Instead of waiting at the Drei-Seen-Bahn for lifts to open, the group changed to skinning mode and started hiking right from the bottom station. Sperated in two groups, they were heading towards the great dam wall and enjoyed beautiful nature views away from the slopes. Reaching the dam wall of Finstertal Speicher, the visibility got really bad and the groups decided to turn around. Quickly changed back to riding mode and off they went! All the way down the dam wall and further through the woods and a nice valley back to the bottom of Drei-Seen-Bahn.

Now it was finally about time to practice the case of emergency: avalanche training for everyone! From right emergency behaviour to proper handling of safety devices and up to searching probing, shoveling and rescuing, all campers had the opportunity to practise the worst case scenario under professional suveillance.

Happy and content the choice friends finished an action-filled weekend on Sunday in the late afternoon. Even though the weather was not 100 percent, Kuehtai has so much to offer and there´s so much more to explore.

A special thanks goes out to Kuehtai for the support and Christian Eberherr for perfect tour planning and first-class guiding. Big shout out to the partners who made the Choice Choice Splitboard Camps possible in 2019: Amplid Splitboards, Jones Snowboards, Karakoram, Spark R&D, Deeluxe Boots, Ortovox, Penguin Clothing, Smith Optics, PallyHi , Protect our Winters Austria

Pia Schroeter – The Choice Company

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