A group of highly motivated splitboarders came together in the beautiful Stubai valley in March 2020 to explore the versatile backcountry of Stubai Glacier, that definitely deserved it´s title as the „kingdom of snow,“ showing off with bluebird and fresh snow that weekend. No wonder, that after two days of excellent mountain guiding, short hikes, long powder runs and an adrenaline rushing 50-meter abseiling action, everyone involved went home with great memories and a big smile all over their sun-kissed face.
Stubai Glacier sits enthroned high on 3.210 metres above sea level – and above beautiful Tyrol in Austria. The glacier´s Powder Department is quite popular for it´s short hikes and long decents away from lifts and slopes and lucky are those, who go out to explore Stubai Glacier´s backcountry together with local mountain guides from Stubai Alpin – like the Choice Adventure Company did in the middle of March 2020. And so it happened, that a mixed group of splitboard enthusiasts gathered at the Hotel Stubaierhof in Neustift to check in at Sepp & Hanni´s Suiten im Dorf. After the first wellness round, all demo/test boards from Jones and Never Summer were handed out and the splitboarders were busy, adjusting Karakoram or Spark R&D splitboard bindings on their individual setup. And after the backpacks were packed up with Kohla touring skins, Jones touring poles and Ortovox safety gear, the riders were ready for an action-packed weekend. In the evening, the participants got to meet their mountain guides Christoph and Marco from Stubai Alpin at the lobby. Finishing the tour planning, everybody was frothing for the delicious 5-course dinner at Stubaierhof and the splitboarders were off to bed early, looking forward to an exciting weekend ahead.
On Saturday, the group left the hotel right after breakfast to meet the mountain guides at Eisgrat mountain station on Stubai Glacier. After the transceiver check, the snowboarders went for some laps on the slopes to get used to their new test gear. Taking the Rotadl and then Daunjoch chairlift, they quickly made it up to 3.000 metres above sea. From the top station, they started boot packing and reached the entrance of a long and versatile run into Glamersgrube within no time. After some great turns in fresh and untracked powder with bluebird and an amazing view over Stubai´s glacier world, the group stopped to change their boards to „touring mode“ and started splitboarding across „großer Seeferner“ to the frozen „Mutterberger See“ (2.483 m) heading north-west to „Mutterberger Seespitz.“ Clouds started moving in and out and when the explorers ended up in a total whiteout, the mountain guides decided to stop at about 2.750 m, change back to riding mode and make it all the way down to Mutterberg valley station. The run was so much fun, that some of the riders decided to take the gondola back up to Gamsgarten und snowboard down „Wilde Grube“ to Mutterberg valley station again. It´s been a very versatile first day: from bluebird and sunshine to misty magic and absolute whiteout, from fresh and untracked powder, to tracked and bumpy spring snow, but at the end of the day everybody was happily looking back on 300 height metres of ascent and over 3.500 height metres of descent. That´s only possilbe at Stubai Glacier!
On Sunday, the way was all up, taking the gondola to the top of Schaufeljoch mountain station on 3.100 metres above sea and then Wildspitz chairlift. At the very top, the group started traversing into the backcountry towards Stubaier Wildspitz and Daunkogl. At the end of the traverse, they stopped to change the splitboards to hiking mode and toured under blue skies and burning sun through enchanting alpine nature all the way to the start point of the infamous „Jakobsleiter“ on 3.200 metres above sea.
At the entrance of Jakobsleiter, the splitboards were fixed to the backpacks and the mountain guides gave a short instruction on rapelling techniques. Said and done! High on adrenaline, the riders started rapelling down the 50-metre steep south-west face one after one. After a short and well-deserved lunch break, the participants changed their boards to riding mode and the following decent into Warenkar delivered fresh powder turns and perfect spring conditions under the blue Stubai skies. Stopping at 2.700 metres, they decided to take a break and change the splitboards back to hiking mode. Touring back up across Windachferner, everybody was sweating hard under the burning spring sun, kick-turning their way up to Eisjoch on 3.116 metres. To end another incredible weekend, the group could not stop cheering while riding all the way down „Wilde Grube“ and back to Eisgrat valley station parking. What a weekend and what an amazing season ender!
Special Thanks goes out to Stubai Glacier and the Hotel Stubaierhof Neustift with Sepp & Hanni´s Suiten im Dorf for the great support. Another big shout out to Christoph Stern, Marco Span and Harald Gleirscher from Stubai Alpin for their amazing job and their unstoppable motivation! „Two days of splitboarding are definitely not enough to explore the vast number of touring options on Stubai Glacier. And the food and accomodation at Stubaierhof were just too good! There´s no doubt, we will definitely be back in 2021!“
Pia Schroeter, founder of the Choice Adventure Company and organizer Choice Splitboard Camps
Choice Splitboard Camps partners: Jones Snowboards, Never Summer Snowboards, Karakoram, Spark R&D, Deeluxe Boots, Ortovox, Penguin Clothing, Smith Optics, SN Supernatural Merinowear, Protect our Winters Austria, Dana Beanies, Kohla Tirol
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