Spend a month or so in a small ski town and you'll probably get to know everyone, or at least so I thought. I had met my favorite ski touring friend on a tram one day and asked him if he spoke English. It turns out he does speak English, or at least some form of it, having been born in Manchester. I met my roomate on facebook on a Nordic forum. Neither of us are Nordic, though we might look the part. I worked at a snowboard shop that partnered with the local ski school. How could I possibly not know everyone?
Yet, when I planned to meet Lee and Jan as they descended the Spannort I found I was in need of a skiing partner. I thought I knew everyone in town, and they were all too busy. As it often turns out, I was wrong.
Despite having been in the Ski Lodge a few times, I had not yet met Killian, a friend of Lee's, employee at Ski Lodge and someone who would turn out to be a great ski touring partner. After a brief intro that included a conversation that went something like, "you like ski touring?" Yeah, you too?" "We should totally hang out." We planned to ski the Schlossberglücke, an ascent of just under 1,300 meters.
We started the day with the first bus out of Engelberg, already putting ourselves behind schedule since we didn't arrive at Fürenalp until 09:30.
The day began with a 5 minute tour above the Fürenalp gondola station, leaving Engelberg behind us for the solitude of the Surenental.
After a 30 minute traverse we arrived at the bottom of our objective. We were warned it was steep, and steep it was.
While touring the temperatures ascended faster than we could. We scoped out our intended descent, and it looked like hot garbage. It had slid due to warm temperatures and then been side slipped by more than a couple of people. Possbily a heard of elephants. So, we adjusted our goal.
I had seen the Ortflue from having snowshoed in the Surenental. The moment I saw it I knew I wanted to ski it. A completely north facing line, it is protected on the east by the Schlossberg and the West side by a small rock wall. I knew the snow would be cold, but it had actually held some powder. After two turns we were both hooting and hollering our way down the Ortflue.
So, instead of riding choppy hard snow we ended up with boot deep pow and an amazing day. The snow seamlessly turned from cold pow to spring slush as we turned into a more sun exposed slope. A small river crossing brought us on to the north side of the Engelberger AA river and 30 minute traverse back down to Fürenalp.
We never caught up with Lee and Jan. They ended up taking a different descent and we couldn't get ahold of them until 16:00 when they were about to make their final turns.
Cheers for a great day skiing Killi!