Montafon: Long desired, finally explored!
Montafon 🙂 – the name of a valley we came across sooo often in the past and which is known to be one of the most beautiful and versatile regions of the western part of Austria, more precisely of the most western canton Vorarlberg. Boardering Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and also a little bit of Lake Bodensee, Vorarlberg and also the Montafon valley itself can easily be reached from basically everywhere in Europe and beyond. From Munich it’s a less than three hours drive and still it somehow is right in the middle of the Alps!
Flanked by the famous Silvretta mountains, together making up the famous ski resort Silvretta Montafon, with Piz Buin as its highest peak it is a place we always wanted to go and explore. So when we were invited to explore this supreme destination on skis in winter 2019, we didn’t think twice – and here is what we found! 🙂
Montafon and the ski resort Silvretta Montafon itself shouts out to be the “most sportive” winter destination and that sounded about right to us. 🙂
Whenever we go to explore new places we love to do a variety of activities. In winter ranging from classic on-piste skiing to skitouring and freeriding. Since we learned skiing only two seasons ago, we really appreciate a mix of easy to intermediate, but also some advanced slopes/routes/mountains as we always seek for challenges but also still have to practice a lot. 🙂
Our program in Montafon consisted of one day piste skiing, a very special Montafon experience (see below :-)) and an unexpected skitouring and powder skiing day!
Endless (powder) skiing & freeriding!
Our days in Montafon start early: A great buffet breakfast at Silvretta Montafon Sport Hotel in Gaschurn and a quick walk to cable car Hochjoch I we’re straight transfered to Kappelalpe. More than 140 kilometres of slopes, including the longest valley run in Vorarlberg covering 1700 meters, in altitude are in front of us. Needless to say we have to check the valley run – twice! 🙂
From Schruns via Hochjoch it is easy to connect to St. Gallenkirch from where a whole new side valley up to Gaschurn is accessible. Altough it is (thankfully! :-)) snowing heavily this weekend, the cable car and ski resort team is doing their best to keep the slopes well groomed and almost all lifts are open. We really enjoy the plenty options on all sides of the resort as well as some of the very well signposted and nicely located ski routes Didn’t know when we saw so much fresh and fluufy powder the last time! <3
With all the fresh snow and a okay weather forecast we wanted to go SKITOURING as well!
With an avalanche danger level grade 3 and medium visibility we unfortunately had to cancel oor plans to summit Piz Buin, but thankfully there are also plenty of skitouring options in Motnafon lower down close by the valley which are out of avalanche danger and still offer nice routes. 🙂
We choose to ski up to Lindauer Hütte at the end of beautiful Gauertal Valley, a small side valley from the main Montafon Valley close by Schruns. Starting from the village Latschau, covering roughly 700m in altitude and following a pretty river up to 1744m this is the perfect bad-weather-low visibility skimo tour. The climb to the hut is never really steep and is also done by many people with snow sledges and also snowshoe hikers. On our day there were almost no people and we even had some short fresh tracks.
Although we didn’t see much of the big mountains and great panorama surrounding Lindauer Hütte and the whole Gauer Valley, the pictures we saw from here are breathtaking and make us want to return to this place with better visibility and sunshine, snow or not we don’t care, badly!
The run from Lindauer Hütte back to Latschau is one of Montafons longest sledge tracks and must be a lot of fun too! 🙂
To get ready for another great experience in Montafon we spent our evenings quite chilled and relaxed at Sporthotel Montafon – no big Apres-Ski for us, although there would’ve been plenty of options around town – we still had the coolest thing in front of us! 🙂
Skiexkursion Gargellen – A unique Montafon experience!
Skiexkursion Gargellen is run through the Gargellner Bergbahnen and gives beginners the possibility to try skitouring in the safe and comfortable environment of a ski resort.
We take the last ride of Gargellens cable car up to the Schafberg plateau and arrive when the regular ski business closes. Empty slopes, no other people except our group and a beautiful sunny welcome by the surrounding mountains – can it get any better?
First we get an introduction on skitouring equipment and safety, go through LVS check and behavior off-piste before we ski down to learn something about snow production and how the ski business is handled througout the season. We get some insights in the background of how snow is made, how snow cannons work and realize that snow itself is quite an expensive good. Not to mention all the people in the background grooming slopes at night and working hours after hours to get the lifts going on time in the morning!
After the instructive part we finally got to ski uphill! On flat to medium steep terrain we get an introduction to kickback turns, how to choose the perfect route and which possibly dangerous signs to look for. We make our way up to the mountain station of Gargellens highest lift on the foot of beautiful Madrisa where a hot cheese soup in bread (For sure the best we had so far – sooo good!!!) and some hot tea awaits us.
When you just think it can’t get any better, it can! 🙂 After eating way to much soup and warming up we got to ski down the valley – only us and the shine of our headlamps, accompanied by the moonlight. This is truly a unique experience and the safety of the groomed slopes is great even if you’re not the most skilled skier yet.
Back at the valley station of Schafberg cable car there is another surprise waiting for us: A yummy Montafon liquor tasting surrounded by flickering torches. <3
We couldn’t have imagined any better way to end our stay here and there are so many other cool winter experiences to explore here, for example Lama Trekking and the Early-Bird Skiing “Hochjoch Totale” – and also in summer many unique moments can be booked, like climbing Via Ferratas and even summiting Piz Buin! <3
Montafon surely made up with the big expectations we had and our great time here even got topped with a loooot of freshies and awesome skiing!
Since we didn’t make it up to Piz Buin and definitely need to see the big mountains surrounding Lindauer Hütte and the whole Montafon Valley, we definitely want to return – so thanks so much Montafon for the invitation, we had a great time and would love to return anytime sooner or later to see and experience everything we might have missed! 🙂
P.S.: HERE is another article about the Skiexkursion Gargellen with some tipps and tricks and even more insights on the Montafon blog – have fun reading! 🙂