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Our mission was to get the hell out of Munich ASAP. Where we ended up, didn’t matter. Nearly a week had already gone by since Eric got robbed on our arrival day of his precious backpack possessions including his transceiver. ISPO had us cooked and we were losing it.

Our first stop was Garmisch where we stopped in for a couple beers with our friend Hans from Conrad Sports. We shared our ambitions and he geared us up for the adventure ahead including some ABS cartridges and a fresh transceiver for Eric. From there it was off to Austria, final destination, Pitztal – the famous valley known for early and late season glacier access and long cut lines in the trees through pillow country.

Unlike our visits before to this region, we wanted to go around the backside, to a bigger, steeper resort area called Kaunertal. This place was fluted and stuffed with snow to the point where our skis were often only seen at the top and the bottom of the run. I think, no I’m sure of it, that I had the deepest turn of my season there and it was merely feet from the switchback road that we gained the alpine lodge we later called our home.

There’s something about living in the parking lot of ski resort above tree line that is unlike anything else. Just as you are ready to call the night, the mountain comes to life. We witnessed star constellations that rivaled those you’d find camping in the Utah desert. We went from a breath of wind to 50 MPH gusts back to a breathe in an hours time. While we slept to the roaring grunt of piston bullies grooming the slopes for another day of shred, we dreamed of a foreign peak with pinnacle spires and steep skiing. We awoke however to a completely different place. The turns we worked long and hard to capture on film the day before were now as if it never happened. The alpine freshies were no more and so we were forced to move on.

Later in the trip we indulged in the cut lines we spotted near the reservoir at its valley base. It was here where over in the Pitztal valley we found our most impressive conditions in the past. Although again the Austrian Alps proved to be lucious with pillow popping terrain, the alpine conditions we had the day before are what only old timers up at Alta could relate to and it was all ours.

A fast and furious trip and one which I will never forget.


Matt Sterbenz

Special Thanks to those who helped make this happen: Hans at Conrad Sports, Thomas Briel, Richard Schuerf, Tony Brey, Franz Faltermaier, Markus and Sven from Alpean, Stefan at Pitztal, Hansi and Heiko from

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