(Powder) skiing returns to Austria

Another step closer to normality yesterday, with the return of skiing to the Austrian glaciers. And what a day it was, just a few days before June and there was a morning of powder skiing for those who had refused to give up hope.

The Austrian government sanctioned the re-opening of the ski areas, starting yesterday, in a bid to draw a line under the misery of the last 10 weeks. What unfolded were some of the best May snow conditions imaginable, to coincide with the opening day on the Hintertux Glacier.

The signs on the weather apps were good with cold, wet weather across the region late this week, but even the most optimistic of the few boarding the gondolas yesterday morning couldn’t have believed the gift that awaited. There was fresh snow just above Hintertux base station, which got progressively deeper and deeper the higher up the mountain. The clouds were thick and the visibility about an arm’s length, that was until the Gletscherbus 3 gondola when the lift suddenly pierced the clouds and there was a searing blue sky to illuminate the dazzling white carpet. With a good-sized ski area open down to the Tuxer Fernerhaus the slopes were near deserted and had some 20-30cm of powder snow on the surface. Immaculately groomed in anticipation of the re-opening, the piste powder skiing was ridiculously easy on the perfectly flat base.

The Hintertux Glacier normally opens 365 days a year for skiing (2020 is no normal year!) with the chance to get anything from spring snow to powder snow throughout the summer. Glacier skiing in the summer is just one of the action sports that are available in this part of the Alps. Mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting, kayaking, wake boarding, kite surfing, mountain carts, canyoning, river surfing and so much more, are all possible in the areas close to the glacier skiing. Whilst powder skiing can't be assured every day of the year, yesterday was a reminder that the high alpine doesn’t always follow the script of the seasons. 

Fresh snow and the Olperer on the Hintertux glacier.
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