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Gastein Valley invests in off-piste ski options

Gastein, AustriaThe Gastein Valley in Austria, home to four ski resorts including Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein, is investing in off-piste options for the 2012-13 season.

As well as a new ski route offering off-piste conditions, the Austrian valley will also benefit from new avalanche resources.

Across the resorts in the Gastein Valley, some 50 cable cars and ski lifts along with 220km maintained slopes currently provide skiers and snowboarders with a wide variety of slopes. From family runs to deep-snow moguls runs, carving hills and off-piste, the Gastein Valley caters to all abilities.

A new ski route

Named “Katstall”, the new ski route offers skilled skiers and boarders an experience between a standard pisted run and off-piste. The route has no snow making machinery and is not groomed, allowing snow to build up to reach the deep powdery conditions of off-piste areas.

The Katsall route will be accessed from the top of the Kasereben chairlift (situated between Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein) and will run down to the small resort of Angertal, effectively offering skiers and boarders an off-piste experience in the middle of a patrolled ski area.

Ski slopes in Gastein, Austria

Freeride Info Base

The highest of the Gastein Valley resorts, Sportgastein, is becoming a “freeride competency centre”. Courtesy of the Gastein lift company and the specialists of Programat, a Freeride Info base has been built close to the ski lift station at Sportgastein. Off-piste skiers will be able to check current avalanche reports, and a terrain map with ski routes clearly marked. Electronic equipment to check that your avalanche locator device is working correctly and is switched on, along with up-to-date information and safety pointers will also be provided.

Wolfgang Egger, head of the Gastein lift company, said:

“Sportgastein, which spans almost 2700 vertical meters, offers perfect off-piste opportunities set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Hohe Tauern mountains. The very latest information and safety alerts for our 3 ski routes are intended to guarantee our guests the maximum freeride enjoyment possible. It is for this reason that we decided to establish the Freeride Info Base in Sportgastein.”

Avalanche Rescue Practice Area

Also up at Sportgastein, a new training area for avalanche search and rescue practices is being constructed. Here, skiers and boarders can practice for worst-case-scenarios, hunting for previously buried locator transponders.

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This post was written by Tess Bowles for Crystal Ski.

Images courtesy of http://www.gastein.com

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