Nordstau for president!
Whenever the snow is coming from the North, Easterly direction, Upper-Austria and Styria gets the full load of fresh powder. These are the first peaks that the fully loaded clouds will encounter and forcing them to let go of their powder. So, when we look at the snow charts and the predictions, we start making plans to GO EAST!
The Upper-eastern part of Austria is a less known area to most (Western) wintersporters. This has to do with the fact that it is rather far away in the corner of Austria. The last time we were here it was about 4 years ago, with the exact same circumstances, so we knew we would be in for a powder treat.
Most snow is expected on Saturday and the night from Saturday on Sunday so we leave Friday night after work and drive for 3,5 hours to have a head-start. It will be a short trip due to business engagements so we decide to bring our dog Scotty. We spend the night in a forest in the Siebengebirge where it is very moist and misty. Scotty is happy though, running around in the forest.
We have not decided where to go yet as we are still watching the snow charts what would be best bet. Some villages on our shortlist are: Hochkar, Hinterstoder, Wurzeralm, Tauplitz and Krippenstein. We have been to Tauplitz before so we decide to go there as it is nice when you know the area a little during a whiteout.
We are happy with our Sprinter 4×4 as we are driving in rather deep snow upon arrival. We find the perfect spot on P3 in Tauplitz and there are no signs that campers are prohibited, nice!
We go for a walk with Scotty and look for a restaurant, and end up in a very charming old place with traditional food. We have a nice dinner with drinks for less than € 50,-. That is also the charm of this area, it is much cheaper than the fancy resorts in Austria, let alone Switzerland.
After dinner we walk Scotty around the village and go to bed early, tomorrow is POWDER DAY!
After a good and quiet night we dress up, go for a walk with Scotty, have a quick breakfast and are ready to rumble! It stopped snowing but visibility is still poor, so hopefully we will be able to find some good spots for freeriding.
When we arrive at the lift station there are already a lot of people waiting for the chairlift to open! Only freeride ski’s, we have come to the right place. We buy lift tickets and get in line. Once the lift opens it is only a 5 minute wait before we get in the chairlift.
When we get up it gets colder and the wind is still blowing very strong. There is almost no snow on the trees, all blown away. We find some nice spots off-piste and have our first face shots of the day, although the snow is mostly wind pressed.
After lunch we decide to pick-up Scotty and go skiing with her! We carry her in a bagpack and go up the mountain. Amy spots a hiking trail where we can let her run and play in the snow, without risking her to be skied over, which could happen on a slope with other skiers. Scotty really likes it and is enjoying it immensely! Although no powder skiing for us this afternoon we love every minute of it.
Tauplitz is fun but we have Krippenstein on a shortlist for a very long time now. About 5 years ago we crossed the Dachstein Glacier on touring ski’s and ended up in Krippenstein. That is when we ‘pledged’ that we would return on a powder day. Krippenstein had almost 100 cm. of snow over the last days, it should be good!
So, we drive to Obertraun (village of Krippenstein) and have dinner in a restaurant. The cook turnes out to be Dutch and he prepares a special and free desert for us: brownies with ice cream and mousse, very yummy.
We park at the ski station, go for a walk with Scotty and turn in.
We get up early, buy our skipasses and go up in the Gondola. It is still cloudy but it promises to be a beautiful day with good visibility. And that is very important in Krippenstein, especially when you do not know the area. It is rocky, lots of dolines (holes in the rocks) and steep terrain, in other words: very tricky.
We decide to go for the Angeralm descend as this is supposed to be the best larch-tree-skiing in this part of Austria. And to be honest: yes, it is fantastic. It is an enchanting fairytale forest, but you have to watch where you are going as there are many terrain traps and cliffs, lots can go wrong.
As it is Austria, January 2022, FFP2 masks are mandatory in all lifts, even in the chairlifts. Furthermore you can only buy a skipass when you are full vaccinated including a booster. The same goes for restaurants or any public place. Compliance is strict.
Although the terrain is hostile it is also really beautiful. We have been to many, many ski areas but the Dachstein area is one of the most beautiful we have ever seen. That’s is probably why this area is also a Unesco World Heritage site.
We decide to have lunch in the same restaurant ‘Gjaid Alm’ where we came across when we did the Dachstein crossing 5 years ago. It is a bit of a hike to get there, and especially getting back to the piste. It is definitely worth it as it has rustic mountain charm in spades, great hospitality and the food is good too.
We do another run and call it a day as we have a long drive back to The Netherlands. We drive along the village of Hallstatt which had around 10.000 visitors a day before COVID-19 because it is an instagram hit. It is a beautiful village at a lake and surrounded by hills.
We find a nice camper parking in the city of Roth (Germany) and have dinner in a charming Greek restaurant. The next morning we drive home so we are able to be online for work in the afternoon.
The North-East of Austria is not the obvious destination. It is authentic, charming and relatively cheap. Snow is often very good, especially with a Nordstau. Tauplitz is a very good family destination but when its dumps freeriders can have a lot of fun too.
The Dachstein area is simply stunning. It is harsh and hostile terrain but at the same time extremely beautiful. We fell in love with Krippenstein. When the powder is fresh it ticks all the boxes, especially the enchanting forest of Angeralm.
We will be back, that’s for sure!