It’s (near impossibly) hard to say goodbye to winter 2018/19

We tried! Most of our team headed to Sölden a couple of weeks ago in the expectation that we would be riding the sunny slopes of the Ötztal, enjoying a Jägermeister in front of the Electric Mountain stage and bringing winter to a close. Winter had other ideas and we left the SPF in the car and pulled on the ABS backpacks.

Statisticians will no doubt pore over the snow accumulations that fell during the 2018/19 winter. February was in fact reasonably dry. January not and during our key month for corporate ski trips, the snowfall was truly remarkable. Described as a 1 in 30-100-year weather event, we had clients stranded in Sölden in January. All credit to them for seeing the positive in extending their stay by a day. At the other end of the Tirol, Jochberg near Kitzbühel had its power cut off to the carnage wrought by the unprecedented snowfall. The day before our marketing executives arrived, hotel guests were dining by candle light, on food cooked over open grills. But then, bingo, the skies cleared, the ploughs ploughed and out of the Saturn-like storm arose a Kitzbühel valley that was near computer generated.

Despite the dry(ish) February, the snowpack was such that March corporate clients were still ducking under chairlifts and descending precipitous snow steps to hotel entrances. Then it began snowing in March and powder days were the norm once again. April was little different with snow still falling on the higher ski areas right now at the end of April. Lifts are closing each weekend, but nothing is happening to replace the action – the summer biking, hiking and whatever else season is on hold as the mountains take an eternity to rid themselves of the 2018/19 snowpack. At the beginning of the winter, it was generally expected that nothing would come close to the 2017/18 winter. At the end of this winter, there is the feeling that nothing could deliver that the same quantities of snow that fell across the Alps in January, March and April.

We discussed our personal winter 2018/19 highlights over lunch in Sölden. For Matt it was the open-jawed experience of watching a Karaoke rendition of Baby Shark in Kitzbühel, performed by a team of high-flying marketing executives – eye-opening stuff! Janina, born and raised in the beauty of the Bavarian Alps joined her first event in Chamonix and was utterly spell-bound by the scenery. She returned with memory cards rammed with scenery. Manuela ate what she described the greatest kaiserschmarrn she had tasted in 30 years, in a hut above Kitzbühel during a March event whilst Michelle marvelled at the spirit of thousands of revellers who fought through the blizzard to party at the Electric Mountain Festival in Sölden.

On the theme of the never-ending winter, take a look at the conditions on the Stubai Glacier, 2 days ago:

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