The 4th Choice Splitboard Camp at Kaunertal Glacier once again exceeded all expectations. Bluebird and sunshine – all weekend long – perfect splitboard touring conditions, a great crew of advanced level splitboarders and first tracks in fresh powder, no wonder that nobody could stop smiling after this mind-blowing experience. And on top of all this, a breathtaking rope-secured climb over an exposed ridge followed by an incredible run inbetween impressive crevasses. Freeride soul, what more could you desire?!
Far away from the crowds, Kaunertal Glacier counts amoung Austria´s most remote and beautiful freeriding resorts. And even the rather long journey is quickly forgotten, when overseeing over thirty mountain tops of more than 3.000 height metres. And at the far end of the Kaunertal he sits enthroned: the impressive Kaunertal Glacier!
All signs were positive for the 4th Choice Splitboard Camp at Kaunertal. Ten good-tempered advanced level splitboarders gathered at the Gepatschhaus on a sunny Friday afternoon. The oldest Alpine Club house ever is situated high on 1.928 metres above sea level and tenderly embedded into the beautiful Kaunertal national park. Landlady Luzia´s warm-hearted hospitality and her team´s amazing cooking skills provide that certain spirit and unique soul to the ancient mountain lodge. Even the simple rooms with shared shower and toilet in the hallway pour on the charme of glory old days. After the hardware distribution, everybody was equipped with splitboards from Jones and Amplid and has been adjusting Spark R&D or Karakoram Bindings on their setup. Ortovox safety gear and Jones touring poles, skins, crampons for everyone and all splitboarders were ready for two exciting days. After dinner, mountain guide and long-time Choice friend Simon Moest joined the group for the tour planning and a couple of beers. The freeriders were aware of the classic „spring situation“ and everybody knew, that only the early bird might be catching the pow this weekend. Said and done. Early in, early up for breakfast the next morning.
With the rising sun, the group started with a short but fun off-piste run from Kaunertaler Gletscherbahn downwards. Soon, they stopped to change the splitboards to hiking mode and go for a short, but spicy splitboard hike up to Weisseejoch summit on 3.046 metres above sea. After a summit break, the splitboards were changed to riding mode and nobody really knew what to expect. Until they saw mountain guide Martin Schranz making a big powder spray. That´s when everybody realized: this north face was full of untouched, fresh powder! Bingo! Every single rider celebrated his or her 650 hm run down Krumgampen valley. Full of endorphins, they decided to go straight up again and splitboarded another 250 hm up to Zollwachtlhuette. And once again, the efforts were more than rewarded with fresh and fluffy powder snow and a nice descent all the way to Ochsenalm valley station. While some happy fellows decided to call it a day and have their first after-ride beer, the others did not get enough of the incredible conditions and went for a couple more slope runs with the lift. Back at the Gepatschhaus, people quicky disappeared to chill in their rooms and escape the sun. Even after dinner, the house got calm early and all lights were switched off by 10.00 p.m.
Sunday was another early one! With the first sun rays, the group was ready to start touring up the slopes, long before the lifts started running at Kaunertal Glacier. To the joy of everyone, Choice Adventures co-founder Aline Bock and local mountain guide Mathias Ragg, a good friend from Kaunertal, joined the adventure on Sunday. After splitboarding up the slopes from the parking, the group entered the open alpine area, heading towards Noerderschartl. At the bottom of the ridge, they strapped the splitboards to their backpacks and went boot-packing along the exposed ridge, while everyone was being secured by the rope. The challenging climb was rewarded with a first-class foresight over the large Gepatschferner glacier. After a nice and chilled summit lunch break in the sun, the splitboarders prepared for a long and exciting 1.300 hm descent over Gepatschferner and along impressive crevasse landscapes all the way down to Fernergries. What an amazing experience!
Tired and happy, the splitboarders finally sat down at the glacier restaurant for a last meal together. With the demo/test release of the Ortovox Avabag, all eyes on the sun terrace were on the backpack with the big red balloon. What a weekend! No single cloud and only perfect touring conditions! There is still so much to explore at Kaunertal and the adventure has to be continued!
Thanks Kaunertal Glacier, see you for the next Choice Adventure 2020!
Partners of the Choice Splitboard Camps: 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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