Friday thought #61 The fun of exploring a new place, on skis!

Moving somewhere completely new can be terrifying, but exploring it can be so much fun! What better way to meet people and explore your new home than through sport? It really does bring people together, makes finding friends so much easier, and instantly gives you so much to talk about and share. Skiing has really been the key for us here in Innsbruck, it’s something we already love, and has provided us with some great friends after such a short time here. Once you’ve shared a powder day, sat and had lunch up a mountain in front of a beautiful view, and laughed your way down a gully that didn’t quite lead where you’d hoped it would, it’s time to sit back and be pretty happy with your decision to take a risk.

This week we’ve been exploring the Nordkette; a huge, south facing ‘freeride’ mountain range separating Innsbruck from the Karwendel National Park. There are 2 cable cars and 2 chair lifts, allowing it to pose as a small ski area, but in reality it is simply there for the off piste, and my oh my is there a lot of it! Fantastic snow, hardly any people and above all, simply breathtaking views all combine to make this a very special place to ski. I think we’ll be spending a lot of time up here!

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Looking across Innsbruck city towards the Brenner Pass and Italy
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What a place to ski…
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Steep couloirs are ok when the snow is good…!
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The clouds make it so atmospheric
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I wonder where this goes…? Let’s find out!
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Friday thought #54 The good weather just keeps on coming…!

How does the saying go? Make hay while the sun shines? Well at the moment I’m very happy to keep climbing while the sun shines, and shining is exactly what it’s doing in Innsbruck right now, day after day. Traditionally November in Europe should be a pretty dreary, fairly miserable month; arguably the worst month of the year. But this year seems to be an exception (well certainly in Innsbruck!) and I am absolutely loving it. With a perfect forecast for the weekend we made the bold decision to head up in to the Karwendel National Park, just outside of Innsbruck, take on a 2 day via feratta, and bivvy (yes, sleep outside!) up in the mountains – on 31st October! Bags packed we headed off in the sunshine, excited about yet another new place to explore, and it didn’t disappoint.

Waking up outside at 2000m, watching the sun creep over the mountains on 1st November was certainly a first, and felt pretty cool. The views were spectacular, the sunrise and sunset stunning, and over 2 full days we saw perhaps only 15 other people. There is nothing like being out in the mountains, especially when it’s wild and virtually empty. It’s a perfect escape from daily life, somewhere you can feel completely free and happy. Plus, a full day out leaves you tired, content and fully ready for a big feed in the evening; very satisfying!

The views down to Hall in Tirol below
The views down to Hall in Tirol below
The 'bridge' on day one. Just 30 minutes before this we watched someone being helicoptered off after being terrified on the bridge
The wire ‘bridge’ on day one. Just 30 minutes before this we watched someone being helicoptered off after losing her nerve on the bridge
One of the remarkable 'stuck blocks' that the route traverses
One of the remarkable ‘stuck blocks’ that the route traverses
Sunset from our privileged view point at 2000m
Sunset from our privileged view point at 2000m
Perfect
Perfect
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Looking back at the ‘klein’ peak en route to the ‘grosse’! It’s big, wild country out there, apparently the largest uninhabited area in the Alps.
My first sighting of wild animals since arriving in Austria!
My first sighting of wild animals since arriving in Austria!
It was a long old descent and our legs were certainly feeling it by the time we got to the bottom. But of course another beautiful sunset made it all worthwhile...
It was a long old descent and our legs were certainly feeling it by the time we got to the bottom. But of course another beautiful sunset made it all worthwhile…