So I have dipped a toe into ‘winter adventures other than skiing’ and have to say the experience did not go all over too badly. While the weather tossed us some curveballs, we had an entertaining and educational weekend snowshoeing to the Spitzmeilen hut, tested out my gear in the winter for the first time, tried our hand at navigating, and checked out the WinterRoom hut scene.
It turns out if the forecast looks borderline on a computer screen, it probably means its shit in the mountains, and the forecasted snowfall is not so important as the forecasted cloud altitude; we had white out conditions the entire time we were over 1,900m which was pretty much the entire time we were also off the ‘groomed’ winter trails. We did okay navigating the second day, but the first day we should have paid much more attention to where we were on the map before we lost the visuals so that we were better prepared when we did lose them.
The snowshoeing itself went okay with the bum hip and knee, which was nice because it took a total of 12 hours instead of 6. Bit of a difference. I need to get better at stopping and telling German Boy we need to eat, he can power through hours of snowshoeing in knee high powder with a pack but it really kicked my ass. I spent the whole next week eating everything in sight and sleeping ten hours a week. It’s always fun to notice ‘ah yep, we have switched into burning fat now’ mode, much different from the ‘eugh woman we have no more glycogen left what are you thinking’, and I was quite proud of my ability to keep powering away. I’m not allowed to run and I find extended stationary bike rides mind numbing so it’s been tough to log as many endurance training sessions as I would like.
Also got to try out the gear in winter conditions, well, light winter conditions. The soft shells definitely won’t cut it without a layer underneath, but I have a nice hardshell layer I can try out too. So the only part of me which felt the cold was my legs which turned bright red under my soft shells, and my face which didn’t appreciate the wind so much. My sunglasses kept fogging up which was extremely annoying, and prevented me using my balaclava like a real one instead of a neck warmer. I am definitely going to check out some ski goggles instead on my next trip. All in all, not too shabby for a girl who is usually cold, on a first non-summer overnight!
The winter room at the Spitzmeilen hut is super modern, indoor toilets with lights, nice wooden floor and ceiling, lots of space for drying, I think it spoiled me a bit for winter rooms. It was at capacity, and the other group was 6 so we got ever so slightly shunted aside often, which was frustrating, but they were quite nice about sharing when we pointed out we did in fact want to also eat at the table and not in bed J. However the body heat from 8 instead of 2 was amazing and we could share the water boiling and fire making, and we did take advantage of their GPS the day before (er who had an epic, not us!), but I was freezing most of the time in the hut. I had just got a new ‘city’ jacket and was trying out the puffy layer but it was totally inadequate for the mountains, and I have invested in a down layer which will double as a belay jacket. I pick it up at Christmas so I am looking forward .-).
All in all, toes are wet (metaphysically, my boots did wonderfully), and I have to say I am still bit by that bug!