November has been a very unusual month in Austria. It’s been the warmest November ever recorded in weather history (in 240 years). That of course meant close to no snow at all in the mountains except of course on the glaciers and at higher elevations above 2500m.
So we have been waiting and praying for colder weather and snow. Temperatures have still been quit high but freezing level has dropped to about 2000m now in early December. On the 2nd of December it finally snowed a 10-15 cms mostly in the south western region of Austria. Most ski resorts that are situated at lower elevations have postponed their opening dates. Luckily there are a lot of resorts located at high elevations for example Obergurgl (lifts go up to about 3100m) situated in the Ötztal close to the Italian boarder.
Obergurgl received a good 10cms of great blower powder and we were really surprised to see that the backcountry above 2500m was in a really good state. Obergurgl has great backcountry access – hiking only for 15-30 min. Yesterday being a weekday there were barely any people on the mountain and we were above a thick layer of clouds in the sun. Leaving us a lot of work – tracking out the mountain.
We found some spectacular snow especially on the north/north-east facing slopes but all aspects above 2500m skied great. Lower down there was still a lot of sun affected crusty snow and quit a lot of uncovered rocks.
All in all we were positively surprised because our expectations were very low due to the general lack of snow in the region. Big sprays, faceshots, cliff-drops and smiles all day all the way until sunset.