I posted this back in January of 2009, during one of my early Europe trips, covering Dynafit and Austrian ski culture. I had the honor of skiing with and getting to know Manfred Barthel, father of Fritz Barthel, inventor of the tech binding. Manfred ski toured until just a few years ago, when his health rapidly deteriorated and led to his passing last week. Manfred liked nothing better than being out on the snow, clocking off another classic Austrian ski tour in the mountains around Kitzbuhl and Innsbruck. He was a sweet man. Generous, smart, loyal to his family. He’s now clocking off those same tours in the sky. Farewell Manfred! (I left a few appropriate comments from the older post. You can find another Manfred post here. His life stats: July 28, 1934 – January 11, 2019 at 84 years. Due to health issues he stopped ski touring at about 79 years age.)
(Original 2009 post follows)
Ski touring is supposed to be fun. So, if the avalanche danger is nil I’ll take it and smile like a waiter realizing they just got a 50% gratuity on an eight person meal, with wine. Today was like that here in Austria. Sure, Steinbergstein is a simple tour with just one climb of 3,600 vert and the subsequent descent of a mellow peak. But. The sublime weather. The historic Alps. Companionship of one of the area’s masters. We even saw wildlife — and did eat pastries.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.