local projects - update
It’s just before 9 and I trudge from the station through St. Anton - today I’m the only one carrying skis on my shoulder - which will probably be quite different next week with the start of the ski season. I have a busy week behind me and urgently need some fresh air. At the Galzigbahn lift I put on my skins and set off and in no time at all I'm progressing at my familiar pace, with only the hum and hiss of the snow cannons keeping me company - time to reflect on last week.
Monday - presentation of the Kitzbühel Freeriding Project with all stakeholders and a lot of celebrities in the Rasmushof. Last week Cordula, Franz and I were already here in discussion with the landowners. Most farmers have nothing against skiers but don’t want to be held responsible for freeriders’ accidents on their farmland. They’re also concerned that new rights of way might be created. The Chamber of Agriculture proposed that “farmsteads” be included as protected sites, though with attention drawn to particular sources of danger and with the understanding that passage is only permitted until further notice. This proposal was accepted by the majority after many questions. The full presentation of the plan by Cordula and Franz met, therefore, with general approval and numerous steps were agreed as to how we intend to allow skiers access to the agreed conservation areas this winter.
Tuesday - Sellrain working party - almost a home game - everyone involved knew one another and we were able to distribute the tasks for the coming winter among ourselves: who’s going to erect the signs on the ground, and where are the best positions at a few sensitive points to prevent inadvertent entry to feeding areas and black grouse habitats? How should the orientation boards look exactly? Which tours do we include and which do we leave out? We were soon agreed and everyone had a good feeling about what we’d jointly agreed. I'm curious how effective our actions will be in the winter.
Wednesday – establish locations for the LVS checkpoints in the Wipptal valley in the open country and erect poles - a joint project of the communities and Mountain Rescue, financed by a LEADER project. By the evening, thanks to the perfect organization (LEADER OFFICE + Mountain Rescue + communities) everything was signed and sealed. We hope we’ve made a contribution to safety and that the integrated counting stations will also give us information about ski tour frequency.
Wednesday evening - Presentation of the Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan in the Olpererblick Inn in Schmirn. The lounge was full, with more than 40 people having come: hunters, landowners, Alpine Association, mountain guides, mountain rescue, mayor. After my presentation lots of questions revolved around the concern that the conservation areas would create a forest of signposts outdoors. The Alpine Association and District Forestry Inspectorate were justifiably proud of the fact that the recent guidance measures using the targeted creation of aisles in the forest without signs have worked really well. I tried to make clear that the intention is to use signs sparingly in the area below the tree line and that, in the Sellraintal valley with more than 50 ski tours, we are deploying only guidance signs for only 6 ski tours. Even when I pointed out that notice boards are in no way obligatory if less intrusive guidance measures (car parks, aisles) can be equally successful, the critics were not completely convinced. With a few things on my mind, I made my way home.
I’ve now reached the Ulmer hut where there are no more snow cannons, the valley mist is also now beneath me and the mountains are bathed in radiant sunshine. By the time I reach the Schindlergrat ridge I‘ve achieved my goal for the day and change to “downhill mode". Covering the first trail onto the Schindlerkar is a special treat - in midwinter you succeed probably only very rarely. At all events, a successful start to this year's ski touring season