alan little’s weblog

Stubai Glacier ☆☆☆☆

1st January 2009 permanent link

Times visited:three or four
Last visited:March 2001
Rating:Very good

I generally like glacier boarding - I like the high mountain atmosphere and scenery. I know some other people find it bleak and prefer to be down in the trees where it’s prettier. Each to his own.

Stubai has a lot going for it: it’s big, it’s high up and therefore has totally reliable snow conditions. It’s near Innsbruck and easy to get to, but since the area is huge I’ve never found it overly crowded or had a problem with lift queues. There are miles of straightforward blue runs, with a few steeper bits and plenty of interesting off-piste possibilities in between. There is a run all the way down from the highest lift station at 3210 metres to the car park at 1750 metres. It’s not the greatest run I’ve ever done, but at 10 kilometres and 1500 metres of descent it’s certainly the most tiring and quite an experience.

You’d be foolish to go to Stubai – or any other glacier – in the depths of winter when there’s good snow lower down. thinks it's going to be minus 33 (Celsius) at the top of Stubai on Saturday afternoon. Minus 46, taking windchill into account. I suspect they’re exaggerating somewhat: according to Stubai’s own website it’s minus 10 at the moment, and the generally totally reliable Austrian radio mountain weather forecast (click on “Bergwetter”) is predicting minus 14 at 3000 metres on Saturday. But still: the top lift station at Stubai is situated in a little pass where the wind howls through. A friend of mine said he was up there in December once, and it really was a matter of doing your bindings up as quickly as possible without taking your gloves off, then getting the hell out of there and off down the hill before you lost any vital body parts to frostbite.

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