Anna Pilz

From a family adventure to a free-ride adventure

My board on my back feels heavier than usual. I dare to look down and then decide very quickly to look back up at the two lads who I have only known since this morning.  I feel the twelve meters which lie between my boots and the snow in the pit of my stomach. Nevertheless, I keep my chin up and take the next rung. But let me start at the beginning…

A special adventure awaits me today. For Christmas, I received a Ski amadé – made my day Package as a present from my loved ones. From all the exciting offers that they had on offer, they had chosen the “Dachstein Adventure” for me, which has a lot of very special highlights, as I am about to find out. 

Excited like a small child on Christmas morning, I had already woken up before our “little crumb” had the chance to wake me up. I got ready, packed my things and then a short time later, my wife, the little crumb and I were ready to leave. I had read online as to what was expected of me: various backpacks with Alpine emergency equipment are packed, avalanche location report has been checked and I have put on the best outfit. As it is still particularly frosty this morning and according to the weather report, the biting cold is set to stay throughout the day, we spontaneously decide to take MiniMe to Grandma’s and then, full of anticipation, we make our way to Ramsau am Dachstein. There we meet the other participants and our guide in front of the “Alpine Center Dachstein”.  After a very nice meet and greet, we all check our equipment, whereby our experienced ski guide equips many of our crew with modern avalanche searching devices and probes from the Alpine center – Safety First!

Then it is time to go to the bottom station, Türlwand. There, we all get into the first panorama cable car. After a short time, the atmosphere in the group becomes more relaxed and amicable and I am not the only one who feels impatient like a child. 

Once we get onto the glacier, we take the opportunity to go onto the “step into nothingness“ and take some photos – the view is out of this world!  Then we head off into the panorama restaurant, where we enjoy a delicious and very sumptuous breakfast – but there is still so much to do. Subsequently, we take a short route through the snow to the ice palace in which we discover a secret world of ice and snow deep inside the Dachstein glacier. It is fascinating what they have created here. Unfortunately, my wife then leaves us to go and get our little crumb from Grandma’s, but the anticipation of what lay ahead takes my mind off this. 

For those of us that remain, the real adventure was about to start. We take a short Parkrun and hiked to an approx. 15 meter high ladder to the “Rosmarinstollen“ tunnels. From below, I skeptically look up at the vertical wall. Luckily, I am not phased and therefore follow the others, rung for rung. We are secured to a rope, but the further up the ladder I get, the more uncomfortable I feel – The climb takes all my concentration, but what an experience it is. You should be sure of foot and bold for this tour, a challenging run down through the terrain should also not pose a problem, but then one is rewarded with an adventure deluxe. 

Having got to the top, a stunning panorama awaits me. Then we head straight off again through the tunnels to the other side of the mountain and I see for the first time, one of the longest and most beautiful Freeride runs of the Alps which I have ever seen. Once again, I feel a hint of nervousness and I am happy that the Premier on the Dachstein Glacier will be guided by a guide. We talk about our lines, the order we will go in and the safety stops, and then the first one drops down into the slope. We tease one another and I feel very well prepared and safe. Therefore, I know I can thoroughly enjoy this sporting highlight of the winter. 

Then it is my turn. I start my first run over the ”Edelgrieß“ in the direction of Ramsau town. We are in luck and find some powder alongside these excellent snow conditions. It starts off steep and with rocks often protruding, but then it really opens up and offers untouched fields of snow, which we plough up one by one.  Every spray and every powder-slash, which the snow allows, is cheered and photographed. To watch the others, was nearly as much fun as doing it myself. It is an indescribable feeling and the highlight of the day, when it is my turn to go first and to take the first turn, leaving my tracks on the exposed slope. From safety-stop to safety-stop, we of course take turns so that everyone has a go at leaving their tracks in the virgin powder snow. 

Having got down to the bottom, I say goodbye to my comrades, give them a fist pump and we swap telephone numbers, so that we can all swap the photos we have taken. My comrades end the day with a relaxed Aprés Ski in the Hohenhaus Tenne in Schladming. I myself head home and look forward to ending the day by sharing the experiences of the adrenalin filled day with my small family on the couch.

Anna Pilz

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