Winter swings through and leaves a thigh-deep stash |

Powder skiing is back vengeance following back-to-back powder weeks in Austria. The latest storm thundered through the alps with wild winds and big snow deposits across Austria and Switzerland.

Flying Prague to Innsbruck on Tuesday night was a bit of a white-knuckle experience. The plane felt like it was in a giant washing machine, yet the sight of a blizzard over Innsbruck on final approach was enough to remind me that it was all worth the aviation acrobatics.

The following days saw clouds, high winds and light snow, with Axamer Lizum, high above Innsbruck, the only resort to operate due to the high winds. I wasn’t planning to endure the sulks of my 10-year old, powder-obsessed son and rearranged his school day to fit in with a late morning of powder skiing that was unlikely to have been bettered this winter, 

So, it was into the iconic funicular to Hoadl (running due it being bombed proof and on rails) and a step into some biting winds and some brief interludes of clear skies. Changes weren’t just in the sky - I can't remember boilerplate ice turning into waist deep powder in a matter of metres. Luckily for me, I had spent way too many days in this special ski area to get stuck on the wind-swept ridges. So, it was into the forests around the Pleisenhütte where the trees had acted like wind-breaks and the masses of snow had settled to produce the deepest snow of the season. Entering the forests, there wasn’t a single track in sight, and we ploughed through tree run after tree run. A quick skip across a piste and it was underneath the out of service Schönboden chairlift for some epic descents. A prize we discovered later in the day was ski route 15, underneath the Olympiabahn funicular which had also caught the drifting snow. Sticking close to the elevated rail track, offered some orientation and then it was tips downhill and into some blind, thigh-deep powder turns.

Today the phone was pinging as friends around Innsbruck had scheduled a day off, at last-minute (how medical doctors can do this is a bit baffling) and wanted to see if I was free to join the action under blue, blue skies. Deadlines at work, a child in need of an education and an imminent trip to St Moritz meant the answer was no. They might have seen more than us, but nothing at all this winter has come close to matching the depth and quality of snow we found in Axamer Lizum, Innsbruck.

Person on skis half-buried in snow.
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