That feeling when you wake up to this

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Can you describe it?

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MG Snowtrip 2017

There is a snowtrip that more or less seems to mark the end of the snow season in recent years. The MG Snowtrip usually takes place around Easter holidays and for most Portuguese snow-lovers it’s a ‘see you next year’ kinda thing (see me going all sentimental about it here). This year’s edition was way bigger than 2016 and I was invited to write a story about it in the local magazine Algarve Informativo. You can read the result from page 46 onwards, enjoy!

(Even if you can’t read Portuguese, the photographic work from professional action sports photographer Joe Mann / GOT IT Shootings is surely enough to dazzle you…)

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Resort review: Kühtai

Nestled in the Sellrain valley and a mere 35km from Innsbruck lies the resort of Kühtai. Unlike many other snow resorts in Tirol, which usually stem from already established villages, this seems to be a purpose-built ski town. Or almost, as it is home for no more than 10 (ten) inhabitants. In fact, Kühtai is one of the smallest localities in Tirol and was established as a farm in 1288 AD. Later in the 17th century it was transformed into a hunting château and in the mid 1900s the ski fever came to take over the slopes of the nearby mountains.

Kühtai is a unique destination for several reasons: for example, its air is considered so pure that is recommended for people with allergies and asthma, probably due to its high altitude: nothing less than 2020m above sea level. So guess what: it’s the highest resort base in Austria.

The high altitude provides for reliable snow cover, but also for the relatively barren landscape as the tree line falls below most of the pistes. The full 80 km of runs are divided in two domains: Kühtai and Hochoetz. Although they are not connected by piste, there is a free skibus to make the transfer between the two.

As always in Austrian resorts, the staff performs an impressive and impeccable work: the pistes are smooth, wide and kept in perfect condition. Almost too perfect for the fun-seeking snowboarder, as there seemed to be few (if any) ‘natural’ features in the runs and therefore no side-hits in sight when we visited. Still, it’s super fun to ride, carve and butter through these slopes.

However, the freestyler within each one of us can surely be pleased with one of the main attractions of this resort: the KPark. Oh boy.

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(photo by Kuehtai.info)

Take the Alpenrose draglift or Hohe Mut Bahn chairlift and you’ll reach the park. Again, the modules are perfectly shaped and maintained by the park crew. Kudos for the guys. The slopestyle area has all it takes to keep riders entertained, with medium and advanced lines for jib and kickers that will keep you repeating the word ‘Sick!!’ over and over again. However, the star of the park is the ridiculously spot-on superpipe. Seven meters high, 140m long and 20 m high, this crisp work of art has been ridden by pros such as Shaun White or Terje Haakonsen and is the venue for many competitions.

An added value for the all visitors of the park, from the average Joe to the super pro, are the regular Public Shootings: professional photographers from Got It spend the day shooting the riders, and all the pictures are posted later in their website, free of charge. Who doesn’t like to have their photos taken by professionals?

(photos by Got It)

When it comes to freeriding, the snow conditions when we visited didn’t allow for much more than mindsurfing the lines we could see from below. Rumour has it, though, that with the right conditions you can get epic descents from the peaks of Küthai. As always when you venture to the backcountry, make sure that you are equipped with the right safety gear and good judgement before you go out.

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To summarize, Kühtai is an excellent choice to enjoy a day if you are based in Innsbruck, especially if you like to enjoy a wide open high-alpine landscape, or if you are into freestyle snowboarding or skiing. To enjoy tree-lined pistes, head out to Hochoetz. Guaranteed fun!

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(photos by The Perfect Winter unless stated otherwise. Thank you to Kuehtai Tourism and Got It shootings.)

The Perfect Winter map

Finally, here it is! All the resorts visited during The Perfect Winter campaign are now on Google Maps. The secret spots are carefully left out – it’s so much more fun to find them yourself!

Click on the image to explore the map and find roads, lifts and slopes. So many possibilities!

Quite a lot of mapping, driving, hiking and sliding down faces of mountains. How I miss those days. Fortunately this winter is already at the doorstep and it’s looking promising!

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The Perfect Winter timelapse

When I first imagined spending a winter in the Alps, the image that immediately popped into my mind was not speeding down a slope, or jumping off a kicker. It was simply waking up every morning in the silence of the mountains, opening the window and seeing the white powdery stuff covering everything. The quiet, the calm, the Zen. This is essentially what I came to Tirol for. So every morning (well, almost) from January to March 2016 I took a picture from my window in the mountain hut in Gerlosberg. This is the result.

I don’t know about you, but this gets me pumped to go shred as much as any Red Bull super production video. Just sayin’.

Winter is coming, or so they say

Although we’re coming into October, there’s no sign of winter here in the South of Portugal. Not only have we been having temperatures around the 30º C, waves have been pumping in the south coast – best summer ever for surfing, I dare say. Look at this photo from yesterday:

 

Not only there are surf vibes everywhere, the  warm weather forecast will keep pushing us to the beach for the next weeks. No wonder it’s hard to change into the Winter gear. Not even the world premiere of Travis Rice’s “The Fourth Phase” on October 2 is really appealing the snowboard mode.

Nonetheless, we’re making plans to hit the mountain roads. We’re aiming high – 3200 m high, to be exact. Stubai Gletscher, here we come.