Totally different than usual: the Kick the Vik Eco Freeride Tour (EFT) planned an extraordinary even – a bivouac workshop with freetouring elements – in Tirol. In the words of Markus Boss, the founder of the EFT, ‘At the core of the EFT is a unique and sustainable experience in nature. Can there be a more intense way to experience nature than to build a bivouac in the snow and experience the forces of nature up close?’
However the flexibility and creativity in the management of the event were to be put to a test.
An event highly anticipated by the crew of the EFT. Bookable on the website, publicised via all the usual channels and by the EFT’s partners, and still no registrations were made: a fact hard to understand by the organisers.
But since the crew didn’t want to miss out on the adventure in nature, the plans were amended in short order.
True to the environmental commitments of the EFT the organisers chose the nearby Splügen pass to hold the event.
Before ascending to the Splügen pass from the Tanazhöhi – in the Splügen ski resort – on Friday, the team explored the freeriding potential of the ski area. A real insider’s tip.
Unexpectedly friendly weather with sunny spells made it easier for the participants to orientate themselves in the terrain and to find an ideal spot for the bivouac. Not letting themselves get intimidated by the roaring wind, around lunchtime the team got prepared for the ascent. After about an hour they reached a large powder bowl bordered by tall cornice. Probing the cornice confirmed that the snow mass was over 3 metres deep. ‘This natural wall of snow offered ideal conditions for building our bivouacs’, said Markus Boss. Shovels were laid ready, and after a quick snack the fledgling bivi-builders dug out the entrance area of the night’s camp.
After the first few shovels of snow it quickly became clear that a real digging strategy was necessary to efficiently move the snow masses necessary to build a three-person bivouac. On the lee side of the cornices the crews prepared a slightly inclined funnel to the entryway to act as a slide for the excavated material. The skis, placed with their running surfaces up acted as an improvised sliding surface so that the dug out snow didn’t block the entrance. Iced up layers and extremely compact snow made the endeavour extremely time intensive and arduous. Probing into the ever-widening hole confirmed that the diggers were on the right way.
Blue skies and pleasantly warm, and the sun’s pleasantly warm first rays in the midst of a breath-taking mountain vista let the crew forget the previous day’s toil. Quickly the team got out of their cave and soaked in the quiet, wintry mountain landscape. Breakfast tea was already steaming, and nuts, bananas and the last chocolate reserves acted as breakfast. Soon the bivouac was struck and the crew enjoyed the untracked powder slopes down to the Splügen pass. The adventure would continue for two more days by ski and skins to Madesima and back over the Splügen pass. This experience will remain dear in the hearts of the organisers for a long time to come.