Spiterstulen to Glitterheim, 17 km.

The day’s skiing started with a steep ascent that I personally found quite unpleasant. Those of us who had no climbing skins did some last minute shopping at the hut at Spiterstulen and bought skins. An absolute necessity on the steep, icy slope, and a new experience for me.

Skis with skins on behave quite differently from skis without skins, which is of course the whole point, but it also means that a different technique is required. You have to plant each ski strongly and deliberately to get the best grip, and make a conscious choice for each step of a traverse, depending on the conditions – edge or skin?

Higher up the trail got flatter, but the weather worsened again. Yet more blizzard, with winds reaching gale force today, and gusts of over 20 m/s. Visibility was so bad that we were forced to stay almost within touching distance, so as to not risk losing anyone. For the strongest gusts of winds, everybody stopped, planted their poles and braced. If you didn’t, you’d either be blown off course, or bowled over, plain and simple.

And again I enjoyed this experience, despite everything. Definitely more than I enjoyed the seemingly endless, frustrating ascent in the morning.

The inclement weather only had two downsides, really. (a) no views and no photos, and (b) instant chill as soon as we stopped. As long as we kept moving, I was warm with my two thin layers. When we stopped, the warmth was sucked away instantly. I resorted to sheltering behind the gentlemen in our group.