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The best Freeride run on the Arlberg

Skiing in the powder snow is a passion that is not to be let go of. Freeride pro and local man, Martin ‘McFly’ Winkler lives for that perfect moment in the snow and tells us about his best runs in the Arlberg

You get powder snow days like these more frequently in Warth-Schröcken. The Nordstau weather system regularly provides an abundant snow supply. A dream for freeriders like me.

Growing up on the snow.

The location of the ski area in Warth-Schröcken has been decisive in my life and always will be. I grew up with so much snow. The classic Nordstau weather system provided us with plenty of powder snow each and every winter. My father, a keen deep snow skier, took me with him as a young boy to the slopes of the Ochsenkopf and taught me the basics about skiing in free terrain, what we know today as Freeriding. On countless occasions I listened excitedly to old stories about how, when the snow was metres high, he and my uncle jumped over the ski bus on the Hochtannbergstrasse. In hindsight it is little wonder that I made my passion for skiing a job.

There are numerous lovely wide slopes as plenty of undulating terrain tempting us Freeriders out to play.

MARTIN "MC FLY" WINKLER

What us ‘youngsters’ took for granted at the time has been research and confirmed from many different aspects: Warth-Schröcken is the most snow-abundant ski area in the Alps! Last winter a total of 9.25 metres of new snow fell in the ski area. It is not just because of the plentiful snow, but also the variety-packed terrain that, in my opinion, makes Warth-Schröcken and the entire Arlberg area ideal for freeriders. There are numerous lovely wide slopes as plenty of undulating terrain tempting us Freeriders out to play – and everything always a fresh covering of new snow.

Thanks to the various film projects in front of and behind the camera, and my job as a commentator at the Freeride World Tour, I have the pleasure of travelling across the globe. Yet I appreciate all the more the time I have left over in the winter to head back to my home and enjoy our most popular runs with friends and family.

Especially when there is a day with my "Freeride buddy" Alois Bickel, when we are at our best. What we like to do best is hit the slopes between the Salober and Jägeralp. Or we head out on the runs beneath the Warther Horn. In the main, the north-facing area has the best snow and even days after the last snowfalls, there are still hidden lines. I also enjoy the fun terrain, with lots of undulations, little gullies and different cliffs that you can jump.

Be aware however that choosing the wrong route may result in you quickly ending up right in front of a 40m cliff. At first glance these are perhaps only very short runs, the majority of the ski area is located between 1500 and 2050 metres altitude, providing the advantage that you can start direct from the mountain station without any hiking.

When the conditions suit, I even like to start the day in Auenfeld. In the morning the sun is already on the slopes there and when there is the option of choosing the direction to the Auenfelder Horn, you are right up to skiing temperature after a short hike. Many variants pass unusual rock formations, which have been the setting for some of our photo shoots. Even if access to these runs is somewhat easy, you should never lose sight of the fact that you are in an open, uninspected skiing area. Experience, the right equipment and the knowledge of how to use it is required.

I adore the route to Auenfelder Horn really early in the morning. The descent to Lech and back through the Klemm later in the afternoon is in scenic terms, one of the loveliest freeride runs on the Arlberg.

‘For me the Klemm is, in scenic terms, one of the loveliest freeride tours in the entire Arlberg area’ Martin ‘McFly’ Winkler

The Klemm is an absolute favourite in this regard. A freeride tour that starts from Lech on the Mohnenfluhsattel, and finishes in Schröcken village centre. A spectacular ski run, covering over 1000 metres altitude. In my opinion this is, in scenic terms, the loveliest freeride tour in the entire Arlberg area and is an experience that every freerider should have at least once. Particularly practical for me: The run finishes almost directly at my doorstep in Schröcken and for many years it was just my way home. However the tour is very demanding in spite of its scenic charm and is peppered with high Alpine risks. For that reason I can only recommend this tour is done with a local ski guide.

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