Road tripping to La Grave and back

La Grave. At least once in a skiers life time you wanna go there and experience this special spirit there. La Grave is well known for its high-mountain ski area and attracts people from all over the world. I always wanted to go there and now there was the time to get there…

But why would you leave home, when you have good conditions here? Good weather was forecasted for the whole week, snow was good here and we knew that the conditions in La Grave won’t be awesome… Still, we wanted to go and give it a try…

Back to where it all started… Innsbruck. I met with my friend Andi, left my car at the mechanics because it needed to get serviced, loaded up all the stuff and then continued to drive with Andis’ Beauty, the red “Porsche”. On the road again – yes! 70km’s driving later, an extreme noise stopped the driving. What was wrong? The tail pipe – oh no! We somehow managed to drive to the ÖAMTC, where the Lady was already laughing at us because she could hear us coming from far away… Well, another hint to stay back home? The car would need to get serviced, would that be possible? And would we get to France and back with “Beauty”?

This is Beauty...
This is Beauty…

Instead of going back home with the train, I made a call to my good friénd Toni at the Arlberg. It was much closer than going back to Innsbruck, so he was so kind and organized us a place to stay at the Arlberg – thanks Toni! It was cool to spend the day in Pettneu, meeting some familiar people back from the days where I worked there as a ski coach…

The car got repaired within the next day, so we left Landeck around noon. It was an odyseee of driving, we took the Italian Highway, lots of toll stops inbetween and spending some time asking people the right way. A tunnel? 45 Euros? Sh… We went into the wrong direction… That happens when you’re road tripping and you are not well prepared – so we paid our dues ;-) Won’t happen again – for sure! But it made this trip even more unforgettable ;-)

But going back through this horrific expensive tunnel? No, we tried a different way. My Gps showed us a different mountain route with a mountain pass inbetween. We gave it a try. One hour driving and then just frustration – the pass is closed. Why couldn’t they write this down earlier? Hahhahaha… Well, I guess sometimes just shit happens…
So back the same way, through the tunnel and just before midnight we arrived in La Grave, at the Gite le Rocher. If you visit La Grave you should stay there! Cool hostel, nice people and I guess the weirdest decor I have ever seen…

The next day – blue sky, exploring new Terrain. The worlds’ famous Telepherique brings us up to 3200 meters. You don’t wanna be stressed riding this cable-car. It reduces the fast pace, you have to slow down… That is what I think is very special about La Grave, nobody is stressed out, everybody is taking it easy and slow…

Skiing on hard packed snow, enjoying the day out. While skiing, a crevasse collapsed and made us aware of being out skiing on a glacier…

I’ve seen quite a bunch of videos about La Grave. If you like steep skiing, it is a cool place to be. The terrain offers many options. At this time to less snow and some of the classics haven’t been skied by the locals, so we made most out of it and took it easy…

One Video is worth watching as it gives an insight of this place. Here we go:

One of the classics. To the left skiing down the glacier. To the right - the Y colouir. Not enough snow there...
One of the classics. To the left skiing down the glacier. To the right – the Y colouir. Not enough snow there…

Strolling around town later on…

One more day of quite good weather. So Andi and me decide to drive up to Col du Lautaret and see what’s possible there. Many options, after some discussion which one to choose, we decided to hike and ski this nice mountain…

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A bad weather front moved in the next day, brought some fresh snow to the mountains again, still to less but it’s a reason to go back there and definetely stay longer!

8 hours later, we are back home. Beauty brought us back safely… A short, long trip, opening the eyes to see what’s possible to do there – a beautiful place that needs to get explored…

Thanks Andi for the memorable trip! Hopefully Beauty will survive for much longer…

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Bergans Photo Shooting week

Where to go, to get the perfect photos for climbing and skiing on just one day?

Well, tooo many options around Tirol but I had to decide because I was the local. Hans Kristian Krogh Hanssen, photographer of my clothing Sponsor BERGANS of Norway put the responsibility on me.
So after driving to Kühtai and Seefeld (the conditions didn’t look inviting there) we ended up at the Pitztaler glacier, hiking up to Wildspitze. It was the perfect decision, as the weather was great and we were all by ourselves.
Up to 3400 meters also the temperature was okay, cold but alright to handle but it all changed with the heavy winds up on top. Suddenly we had to deal with -20 degrees and still had to get some photos in. For me it was marginal, climbed up just a few meters below the Wildspitze but nearly were blown off by the wind. So we decided to turn around…
Hans saw another good spot while skiing down, so I hiked up for this money shot. It was definetely worth it but I was freezing my backside off and had to crawl up on my hands and feet, otherwise the wind would have blown me away;)

Picture taken from Hans' camera...
Picture taken from Hans’ camera…

It started to dawn and I knew we had to be down from the glacier until it got dark. We made it up to Pitztaler Jöchl. From there I had to guide Hans and me all the way down to the valley. As I knew the way, all was good but still it was a Mission. Guiding in the dark, with just my mini headlamp, well quite a challenge ;-) But we managed it to get down safely and went back to Fiss…

 

Next day – Location change. Three more days at the Zauchensee Resort. We were lucky as it was heavily dumping while we were moving to Altenmarkt. So two more perfect powder days with some great photos for Bergans.

Photographer: Hans Kristian Krogh Hanssen
Photographer: Hans Kristian Krogh Hanssen

 

And: we got to ski with former ski Champion Michael Walchhofer! He was chasing us through the forrest of his home Resort. My legs were burning but we had a great time with him! Thanks for the photo :-)

:-)
:-)

We got some money shots and Bergans is happy with the Output :-)

Great week on tour with photographer Hans Kristian Krogh Hansen! Takk for turen!

Line of the year Awards

Kitzbühel, January 2015

It’s been the first year that the Line of the year Awards were held in Kitzbühel, Austria.  The two Austrian Freeride Pro’s Matthias  Haunholder and Matthias Mayer brought the Idea to Austria and organized the Event.

The aim was to honor the best female and male film lines throughout the past two seasons. I was happy that I also have been selected for my Solo Fletschhorn Mission and made it to the top 5 women.

Here is an impression of how the whole North Face looked like in May – unfortunately you don’t see it in the short trailer. People told me that they missed this…  Makes a difference to climb and ski a 600 altitude meter long, up to 55 degree steep North Face on not the best snow conditions and not on powder ;-)

Fletschhorn Nordwand
Fletschhorn Nordwand

 

If you are interested in reading the Story behind the Mission here is my blog entry:

https://meltirol.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/film-mission-fletschhorn-nordwand-solo/

The public voting counted 50%, for the other 50% a highly selected expert Jury was in charge. It was an exciting evening with a great come together of lots of Freeride Pro’s and friends.

My friends Sandra Lahnsteiner and Pia Widmesser took the first and second place, Aline Bock got third, Janina Kuzma fourth and Mel fifth or last place ;-) hahahaa… Congratzzzzz Girls!!!! Happy for you!!!!

In the mens category Fabi Lentsch won, before Tobi Tritscher and Max Zipser – awesome guys!!!!

Congratzzzz everybody and thanks everybody for voting :-)

 

Melissa Presslaber *** Professional Freeskier / Freeski Mountaineer ***

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