Freeriding in the Innsbruck region is fantastic! There is so much available in such close proximity. I headed up to Axamer Lizum with my touring gear, filming kit and fellow freeriders Neil Williman, Manuela Mandl and Nico Metz to film the next episode of Epic Innsbruck in the mighty Kalkkögel Mountains.
Epic Innsbruck: Freeriding in the Kalkkögel
Watch the full episode here – enjoy!
Behind the scenes: freeride filming at Axamer Lizum
Axamer Lizum amazes me every time I’m there. Not only for the Olympic history that’s embedded in its mountains and the ski resort infrastructure, but the beauty of the rock formations.
You don’t have the venture far to feel like you’re on a different planet. The couloirs tower high above you like prehistoric skyscrapers – it’s absolutely epic up there!
It was difficult to bring everyone’s diaries together as both Manu and Neil had Freeride World Tour commitments.
I met up with Neil the day before filming to check things like the avalanche report and the terrain – where the riders go and where the best positions for myself and Max Boschi (Drone Project) to film from were.
It’s easy to get to Axamer Lizum – 50 minutes by bus (L1) from Innsbruck’s main station or 20-30 minutes by car.
Lift-access then hike and ride
We went up on the old skool Olympiabahn furnicular train from the bottom of the ski resort up to Hoadl Haus.
From there we filmed the intros and some b-roll of the setup, like checking transceivers and other avalanche safety kit – a must before every tour.
Manu and Neil headed to the first line, while Nico and I followed and splitboarded to the camera positions.
We then repeated this, before the last line, where Nico headed to a very icy face while I positioned myself in the trees (the first pic above).
The snow conditions were not perfect, but we had a lot of fun and hit some epic lines. I was happy that I just about made the last train back to Hoadl Haus. We wanted to get one more line in where the shadows of the rocks looked epic.
From here is where Max and I enjoyed the sun setting behind the mountains.
Then we captured the unbelievable colours of the sky with the full moon beaming down on us.
Neil Williman is from New Zealand and lives between London and Innsbruck; you might know him from Freeride movies such as Working Folks Freeride, which was also shot in Axamer Lizum, or his commentary on the Freeride World Tour.
Manuela Mandl was the Freeride World Tour champion in 2018. She is from Vienna and now lives in Innsbruck. She is also featuring in my next movie that will be released this Autumn, so look out for that one.
Nico Metz is the founder of Delayon Eyewear and is part of the Avalanche Commission in Tirol. Originally he came from Hamburg and now he lives in Innsbruck.
Spring = ski touring season!
Winter is not over, so get your touring gear and get exploring! We still have a really good snowpack here around Innsbruck, and this year it’ll be possible to ski tour in the Kalkkögel well into May or even June!
Remember to take care when going off-piste. Make sure you have as a minimum: avalanche knowledge, shovel, probe, transceiver, helmet and airbag. Never go alone, and check the conditions of the area before you go. For Innsbruck, check the local Avalanche Report.
All photos © Ashley Wiggins, unless otherwise stated.