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Sport Gastein

Sport Gastein

or journey through hell to freeride paradise

Insert: 20.11.2011
Many people will ask question why a journey through hell? The explanation is simple. After you ride out the whole Gastein valley, through the centre of Bad Gastein you get to the way to Sport Gastein itself and the valley begins to narrow. Already in that moment you ask yourself where you are going, what can I expect and suddenly you ride into first tunnel.

    We’re all used to perfectly enlightened and labelled tunnels in Alpine countries, but here is just a hole to the ground, just here and there some concrete and you can see how difficult were the workers digging through the rock. In really occasionally appears like way to “hell”. Here comes next and one more tunnel, from which you come to beautifully ranging plain in the middle of the mountains. It’s a strange feeling, which grabs every single rider, because the mountains are here really steep and rocky, but it appears magically. Approximately 300 metres from the end of the last tunnel are parking places and the base station of the cabin cableway. It has to be meant that the Sport Gastein centre got its name legitimately. There’s just that one cabin cableway and one platter lift. Someone would ask – what can we do here, there’s just one cabin and nothing else. We also reacted like that for the first time, but subsequent discovery calmed us down. The base station of the cableway is located in the valley of Goldberg, where usually go many cross-country skiers to local well prepared trails, heading around the whole area. You’re enough high, the bottom of the center is in altitude of 1600 metres and the cableway leads up to 2650 metres. The travel in the cabin from the bottom to the top takes 15 minute, you ride through a middle station which is above the forest.

    Thanks to fact, that there are not any more cableways or lifts was the attendance of the centre much lower than in Bad Gastein. It’s also because when there’re a lot of people, there are also long queues, mainly in the middle station, where you have to step into cabins from the base station, in which are already some ride-hungry skiers. It has to be meant that if you go by car, on the beginning of the way there’s a toll gate and if you don’t show ski-pass there it costs you 4 euros. 

We got here for the first time last season when we started to discover the beauties of Salzburg. It was a coincidence that we get up to Sport Gastein, because we couldn’t find any good parking place in Bad Gastein, where it’s really badly labelled so we were driving still farther and farther anywhere we could. And that was the parking place at Sport Gastein. After looking to the map of the centre came to my head not only strong words from our group - where did I take them, but there came also some gash on the helmet from the sticks. But after the journey with the cableway, when to our cabin stuffed some three “skiers” and we’ve been there like sardines, the whole beauty of the centre showed up. The overview from the upper station is impressive and you can see the whole valley of Gastein, opposite you there’s high wall with the top of the Mölltal iceberg and the panorama is perfect with the massive of Dachstein on the horizon.

First ride was a familiarization from the slope, after that on a blown plain and to the forest. The forest is not very thick - here it’s sort of the bushy forest. It’s really rangy with huge amount of big stones with beautiful cushions on them. There’s really lot of these powder cushions and it’s really entertaining also thanks, that the hill is quite steep.

Our next discoveries of the centre were more careful. We noticed that some group of skiers with wide skis goes to the marked downhill (in map no. 4), which starts just a bit from the cableway. In front of the dry valley alerts you a big banner which says that you are located in area, which is intended to experienced skiers – alpinists and that the centre doesn’t take responsibility for you, if you get injured. After a short moment we understood why there’s the banner. The entrance is for less experienced skiers really cruel. It’s a narrow ride over a rock into a widening manger, ending by really huge plain. The plain is then really flat, but if it’s enough of powder you can ride left and right by huge anchors, but you have to hold the traverse heading right – back to the centre.   If you miss this for only a bit, it usually ends with long walking – in the better case by the particular cross-country trails.

Another nice downhill is from the ridge heading to the slopes, these are out of range, so you don't cross any by the way down (no. 3 in the map). Here take turns steeper downhills with flat crossings, but when it's enough snow, you can ride pretty good here. You can ride through the forest till the bottom cableway station or you make the way shorter and get to the middle station.

If there's fog in the centre it's usually bad visibility from the middle station, so I recommend to ride the forests in the lower part, what's more you'll have an advantage – you won't have to stay in the queue for the lift beneath, because really most people don't ride all the way down (in map no. 1 and 2).

But the next days we were discovering the other side of the centre and that are big downhills to Mautstelle (toss gate). The first day we didn't want to, because we didn't know where do those trails lead and how would we get back to the centre. But after looking for every bus trail we discovered that near the toss gate there's a bus stop and there goes every approximately every 30 – 45 minutes a bus up. After precise examination how does the whole valley look in 3D Google Earth map we scheduled a few downhills and we really looking forward to the next day. After getting uphill by the cableway we put skis on, did necessary avalanche prevention by controlling our beacons and went to the other side of the centre. By traverse we get above a huge plain heading down. It’s really long ride down with high elevation and incredible possibilities. It’s not here churned up right away like in other centres because we do this ride down 3 or 4 times a day and even though there ride more people, it’s not anything wholesale. In the lower part you must avoid rough stream and choose some nice ride down through the forest up to the forest way, which takes you to the toss gate and the bus stop.

The whole grounds of Sport Gastein centre is really appropriate place how for beginning freeriders, so for advanced freeriders, because everybody can find here his “line”. There are many rocks to drop and also really steep and challenging rides down. After a challenging day you can let off steam in spa in the middle of Bad Gastein, though the 19€ for enter, but it’s really nice to lie in hot natural water and watch the mountains above the valley. I recommend to everybody to visit this beautiful valley, which ends by the way into hell with the freeride paradise.


Attachment : Maps of Sport Gastein mapa-sport-gastein.pdf   |  
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