For the second time the Val Senales in South Tyrol was the venue for the Kick The Vik Eco Freeride Tour (EFT). Due to stormy conditions the EFT struck their base camp in the valley instead of the Bella Vista Schutzhütte (Mountain Hut) as is usual. The blue skies promised an ideal background for the planned photo and film workshop, with the wind making it even more interesting.
The base camp for the second stop of the 2014/2015 season tour is second to none in the eight year history of the EFT:
Access to the Bella Vista Hütte is only possible using the cableway at the rear of the Val Senales ski resort. However, because of the strong winds on the day of arrival this was out of operation. There was also a new ban on ascents along the piste. This meant that access to the hut was impossible. But manager of the hut and Knödel (dumpling) icon Paul Grüner soon found a solution: his 4 star hotel in Karthaus, the Hotel zur Goldenen Rose.
The weakened north east wind allowed the cableway to resume operation on Friday. The second stop of the tour started with a slightly amended programme under brilliant blue skies at the Lauzan chair lift. Since there were not enough entries for the contest, the photo and video workshop was extended and opened up for all participants.
The days in the Val Senales were characterised by bright sunshine and an ever decreasing wind. Our participants explored the versatile ski areas in search of the perfect snow. Each slope proved a challenge: everything from wind-pack to soft powder snow was to be found. Strange, fiercely shaped snow drifts and sugar-strewn wind lips offered thrilling photo and film opportunities. These all demanded special skills from the skiers.
For the practical part of the workshop, focus was put on different lines such as steep gullies, tree runs with pillows, moulded snow cornices and sugar-strewn wind lips. Many were able to learn from experienced Freerider Marco Tribelhorn how to achieve a photogenic spray in difficult snow conditions.
In the outdoor film and photo workshop, participants were offered hints and tricks by photographer Jonas Blum and cameraman Markus Boss. Markus proudly described his own invention for mounting a sun shade over a variable ND filter: by simply splitting the sun shade and adjusting the ND filter with a piece of cardboard. One doesn’t get this sort of advice in a conventional photography course.
The Val Senales lived up to its gastronomic promises. The participants were spoiled everywhere; at the Bella Vista Schutzhütte, the Lauzan-Hütte and in the Hotel zu Goldenen Rose. From the classic Knödel, to the juicy Wienerschnitzel to delicate medallions of venison, every meal was a feast for the palate.
After a substantial buffet breakfast on Sunday, all the participants and the team took their leave of the charming couple, Paul and Stefania Grüner. A stimulating event in a congenial Val Senales, full of fine cuisine and impressive mountain ranges, was at an end.
The team of organisers is looking forward to the next tour stop at the traditional Maigehls Hütte next to Andematt-Sedrun with the familiar Freeride action and a fascinating orientation workshop with Suunto.
You can find more information about the region and accommodation here:
You can find more information about the Eco Freeride Tour, further tour stops, pictures and videos here: