Spring in Innsbruck is a dream come true for every enthusiast of alpine sports. Not only can one ski, snowboard, hike, bike, climb, klettersteig, and even play Rugby in the snow, but also Filgn at Nordkette. It seems regular mountain sports aren’t enough for Innsbruckers, so they invented this unique sport.
The best way to describe it is downhill snow-skating. Don’t expect this sport to debut at the Winter Olympics anytime soon. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s probably because it hasn’t spread outside of Tirol since being created by Emo Johann Heinrich in 1946. Figln at Nordkette is as Innsbruck as it gets. Once spring arrives, loads of people head to the mountain for sunshine and fun.
There’s a tight window between winter and spring that allows perfect conditions for the sport. Slushy snow and a steep slope, Norkette’s Hafelekar provides adrenaline seekers just that. Hafelekar is famous for being one of Europe’s steepest slopes, with a gradient of 70%. I’ve tried to snowboard down the Karinne route three times and each time it resulted gnarly tumbles that would have made good Jerry of the Day footage. As a result, my jacket and gloves were filled with snow. Those vivid memories instilled fear about trying a new sport on the same route.
Where To Rent:
Die Börse provided us with the Figln equipment for our adventure on the mountain; ski boots and two slits of sheet metal that click into the boots. Seems legit. Volker, at the rental shop, was very enthusiastic about my first time experience. In the light of my nervousness, he assured me that it’s easy and fun. Die Börse has two stores; one in town near the Triumphpforte and another conveniently located at Seegrube. When the time comes, make sure to phone ahead and reserve equipment because they go like hot cakes.
Figln at Nordkette:
After arriving at the top of Hafelekar, a hike awaits before the Figln action. Typical Innsbruck. Next up, a short slide on somewhat flat terrain follows. That’s the most difficult part of the entire experience, after that, it’s literally all downhill from there. Finally, you get to the launch point and just lean back, point the tips of the Figls to the ski and send it.
All photos by Carlos Melgar