The Entire World of Skiing In a Single Run

Over the years I have struggled to explain to Dee why skiing in Europe is always challenging. In the US, ski resorts are usually built along a ridge. The typical run is off of a single lift and goes top to bottom but usually only covers 1000 or 1500 vertical feet. US resorts pride themselves on consistent grooming that will yield a homogeneous skiing experience across the resort and within a run. In Europe, most of the resorts are built from the valley (village) to the peak and typically cover no less than 3000 vertical feet but in extreme cases up to 9000 vertical feet. This change in elevation causes highly variable ski conditions top to bottom. In almost every area we’ve skied at the temperature change from the top to the bottom is 5 to 10° C and the snow conditions change from light and fluffy dry snow at the top to practically water skiing at the base. You between the peak and the base one gets to experience almost every imaginable condition.

8” of new snow at 1600M

Today’s ski adventure encapsulated the experience perfectly: we had a foot of wonderful light powder at the top of Muttereralm, some chunky packed powder in the middle, very heavy wet powder 2/3 of the way down and then, extremely sticky wet stuff at the bottom! The change in conditions required constant adjustments in posture, weighting, lean and body position.

Slushy, sticky and muddy conditions in the almost rain at Nue Götzens (part of Muttereralm)

The cool thing is to be able to experience an entire ski seasons worth of changes within a run; The challenge, of course, is to adjust to those changes and ski well. A very high bar!

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3 thoughts on “The Entire World of Skiing In a Single Run

  1. Sue Pickrell

    Glad you had some powder – even if only on top. Crystal has a 2500 Vertical top to bottom. We have had days snowing on top and raining on the bottom – and not known it until the end of the day. Crazy.


    1. dkschatzi

      Hi Geo, Thanks for your message. We definitely want to hear about YOUR ski adventures in Canada! Talk soon, xo.


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