Innsbruck is different, especially when it comes to mountains. Many locals wait for spring, when the conditions are no longer ideal for skiing. This is known as 'Figlzeit' - the time for firngleiten - and is when they make their way to the Nordkette in groups loaded with equipment. This type of sport is undertaken when the snow is scarce and soft - perfect conditions for firngleiten, and a whole lot of fun!
Firngleiten on the Nordkette
'Figl' is the abbreviated version of the German word 'Firngleitern'. This type of sport involves short, ski-like boards perfect for spring snow conditions. A true Innsbruck discovery by mountain-lover Emo Johann Heinrich, who patented the sport in the mid-20th century. It means 'skiing' through the melting snows at the end of the season, and is a legendary highlight in the spring calendar.
Not much equipment is required to take part. Indeed, normal ankle-high walking boots and a 60cm-long board are enough, and these can even be hired. Then it's off, at speed across the remaining snows. Waterproof clothing is advisable, especially as firngleiten often involves getting your trousers wet - all part of the fun!