Lech. Powder snow and the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

I have been skiing in Austrias Arlberg since 1980´s, but never stayed in Lech. When I was younger it was just too “quiet” place for a 20-something student. I didn’t know what happened behind the curtains. Place was and is still known for its royal (even though Prince William has changed to Verbier Switzerland to make his ”dad dancing moves” ) and bourgeois guests, who want to live discreet life on holiday.

Lech is  also a favourite of the well-heeled Finns and if you belong to that society, it means a lot of chit-chat and cheek kissing during your holiday. I don’t have anything against other Finns, but I would rather be the only “Pekka” (nickname for a Finn) in the village. It makes me feel less like a tourist (what an illusion…).

New Flexenbahn connects St. Anton and Lech skiing areas.

But if you need to travel in week 8, which is the school holiday week of southern Finland, it is pretty difficult to be the only Finn in any good skiing resort, at least in the European Alps.

So here I was with my family in Lech, finally. I must say that I tried to book an apartment in St. Anton, on the cheaper side of the Arlberg, but to my surprise I found a perfect, newly renovated big and stylish place from Airbnb and it was situated in the Lech.  So, what the hell, I thought. Let’s see what the discreet life of the bourgeoisie look like.


Haus Tannegg. A hidden gem, until now.

The apartment we got was really a find. A hidden gem. Bang for a buck. Describe it however you like, but 400 euros per night for a two bedroom, 80 sqm flat with highest standards is not what you are used to pay in the upscale places. Especially if the house is just renovated.  The Post Hotel in Lech charges 1000 euros per night for a better double room, which I think is insane. But the one who asks, is not the stupid one and there seems to be lots of people willing to pay it.  But if you are ready to prepare your own breakfast and it is ok for you that the towels are changed only once in the week, check out Haus Tannegg.

Screenshot 2018-03-01 12.30.18
Dining and living room in Tannegg.

I can strongly recommend it. It is owned by a warmhearted Gerda Spanring, who will take care of you during your stay.  Haus Tannegg is very conveniently situated just hundred meters from the Schlosskopf ski lift. Which means that with good snow conditions you can practically ski in and out from Tannegg. It is a place that you would really keep as a secret for just for yourself, but as I am not going to in Lech next  year, I think Anaresor´s readers should be the first ones to know Tannegg.

A moment before. View from House Tannegg at 7 a.m. The village still sleeps.


Too easy slopes? Not true.

The other thing that is often said is that the slopes in Lech are too easy, “wide blue airfields”, not decent pistes. Well, I don’t know what you are looking for, but if one of the steepest prepared pistes in the world is on your menu, you will find it here. It is called Langer Zug and it starts from the Rüfikopf Gondola Station. It has an 80 % descent, which does not mean grades, but 80 % of  the 45 ° angle. So that gives still a respective 36° piste (for comparison Mont Fort in Verbier is 38°).


And if you are willing to ski off piste or ski routes, you really have places to go. Especially if there is almost four meters of snow, like this year. The new Flexenbahn skilift connection makes also possible direct access to the slopes of St. Anton. That means that if you are a very fast skier, you can ski 18 000 altitude meters and 85 km of pistes in one day doing the Run of Fame, as it is called. On the other hand Flexenbahn means that the young crowds from St. Anton can now come to you hunting areas. Newly fallen snow is pretty fast marked…

Since my last visit in Lech, a new connection has been built to Warth, the other end of the Arlberg ski area. It is called Auenfeldjet. Warth-Schröcken is a compact area with four black runs (one is 70% deep) and few decent red ones. And as it is far away from St. Anton, it is not that crowded.  It is called Hochkrumbach in the map below, that shows my one skiing day´s activities.



Most infrastructure development is needed in Zürs. Many people ski the “Weisse ring”, a circular route from Lech -Zürs- Zug and back to Lech. Especially the old two-seater lift to Zürser See can draw long queues. And same goes to old lift in the Zug village station. Otherwise the lift systems works pretty well even in the peak season.


Beautiful valley of Muggengrat-Täli. Long long run Flexenpass.


Small elegant village

As said, Lech is a place known for its royal and upscale clientele. That is visible in the village. But not as visible as in St. Moritz, where people arrive to after ski in fur coats or men wear tuxedos at dinners.  But the hotels and houses are beautiful, traditional wood buildings and beautifully maintained. Here you won’t find a single Irish pub, which is quite uncommon in any other skiing resort. Instead you have 4 -5 – star hotels, whose guests enjoy mainly half board and party privately or in the night clubs. Just like in Klosters, where the village scene is very quiet in the evenings. Of course there are a few lively bars, but if you like pub crawling you should head to St. Anton, where people start pouring in Jägerbombs in bar Mooserwirt right after breakfast.

Discreet dining in Hotel Krone.

As we stayed in an apartment and decided not to prepare our meals, we tested the restaurant offering of  Lech every evening. Except one, when we made cheese burgers ourselves. And that was not a bad choice either as Herr Kuno Hagen at the Hagen´s Dorfmetzgerei really served us excellent ingredients for our dinner. Meat, charcuterie, cheeses, desserts. All that you need is available in his compact shop. The Hagen family has also a small restaurant in the back room of the Metzgerei. Open from the morning until 7 p.m. And it was said to be fully booked for every lunch and dinner for the whole week.


The Pekka-ratio in restaurant Bergkristall was about 50 %.

The most well known restaurant for the Finnish visitors is in Bergkristall Hotel in Oberlech. And surprise surprise, after landing to Innsbruck we first bumped to our Helsinki neighbors and found out they live in Bergkristall, so we agreed to have a lunch together. In the restaurant to the next table was seated another Finnish family, who also happened to be our friends. In addition to us there were a 15-person group from the Finnish Soldsidan, Kauniainen, so I guess  the Pekka-ratio in the restaurant was about 50 % of the guests.

Tomahawk steak of 1,4 kg. Cooked medium rare, served with two sauces and herb butter, pommes, vegatables and chipotle dip. Expensive but worth every cent.


About the food itself, Bergkristall serves excellent, maybe a bit overpriced food, but it goes in the line of the village price level. And nobody forces you to order a 1,4 kg Tomahawksteak for 135 euros as I did, but I must say it was truly delicious. I split the steak with my 14-year old daughter and we still managed to have chocolate fondue and tiramisu for dessert. Oh, and a dozen of oysters to start with. It is amazing how hungry skiing can make you.




Other fine dining lunch option on the slopes is the restaurant at the Schlegekopf  Lift station. House looks like a gray bunker but inside you find one of the grooviest restaurants of the village. Schlegekopf makes cooperation (as the village of Lech itself) with Sylt island from the west coast of Germany. For those who don’t know Sylt and its most famous (jet-set) village Kampen, it is a beach resort equivalent to most exquisite ski resorts. Read my earlier blog post . Specialities from Sylt like oysters and crab are found on the menu of the Schlegekopf. And also steaks from the charcoal grill and sushi (other co-operative village of Hakuba in Japan).

Sylt meets Arlberg. Kampen meets Lech. Crab sandwich.


Best fast food we had at was at the top of the Zug Lift in restaurant Balmalp. Here you get excellent pizza (parma ham -rucola or Hüttenpizza with salami etc) accomplished with loud lounge music and fancy drinks.

Place reminds a bit of El Paradiso in St.Moritz – not by the food but the ambient. I can imagine being 20 years younger and skiing down from here after too many glasses of good wine.  You are not in the hurry as no more litfs are needed to get back to village. But you need to stand on your feets…




Village dining

There can’t be a trip to Austria without a Wiener Schnitzel. For that we chose Hotel Posts Kutscherstube, an traditionally styled restaurant, where you can with really good imagination think the post coach drivers having their modest meals some two hundred years ago. Today top level schnitzel is served with lingonberry and parsley potatoes. I would rate the schnitzel 5/5. It was delicious and just what you could expect in one of the best hotels of the village. But still lacking the true wow-effect I have experienced eg. in the Zürich Kronenhalle. Or is it the combination with the side dish in Kronenhalle, that makes your taste buds really jodling: the German style vinegar potato salad? I must say, I haven’t really got in to the Austrian lingonberry thing.

In better restaurants lemon is packed in a yellow cotton bag in order to prevent the seeds end up to your plate or juice to your eyes.


If you want to experience alpine modernism  in restaurant settings, you need to walk a bit uphill the Lech village to reach newly renovated hotel Hinterwies. This boutique style ski lodge /hotel would be my other pick for staying in Lech (as long as I can afford paying for the bigger room at  Hotel Post). Hinterwies has a stylish, modern décor in the restaurant and only three choices on the menu per day as a main course. We had lovely Polpo (octopus) salad, Salmon spinach tagliatelle and Chocolate mousse with mango. And did not leave hungry…



There is only one original Italian pizzeria in Lech. It is called Don Enzo and it serves a good crusty bottom pizza. Plus several other Italian foods including home made pasta. The other place serving good pizza in the village is called Schneggerai. It is a ski hut in the end of the slopes, an after ski place that converts to loud eatery in the evening. Fun and ok meals at communal tables. Though here we had the most peculiar service experince. It started overwhelmingly and ended up to total ignorance. I guess the waiter in some point draw conclusion that we are not big spenders – or tippers. But if you pay 35 euros for an average steak, the salary of the waiter should include in that, not in the tips.



Here, if you need to buy ski boots, is the home of the Strolz. The most famous hand made skiing boots of the world. You can read more about buying these boots in my earlier blog post (sorry only  captions in english). Otherwise shopping in the village doesn’t seem to be the main thing like in Gstaad or St. Moritz where main streets are full of high end design shops like Prada and Louis Vuitton. In Lech you have Strolz that has everything and a few watch and jewellery shops.  If you don’t want bring your own skis, you can rent 6 star skis from the Strolz ( like Stöckli or Kästle, which is by the way from Lech). Local Intersport serves you a bit cheaper, if you are not looking for utmost top skis.

Freeride Worldchampion Lorraine Huber is from Lech Zürs am Arlberg. As are Kästle skis.


The end


Everything has an end (except the sausage that has two) and we  also had to pack our car and drive to the airport. And here comes the final benefit of Lech. It is only 1,5 hours´s drive to Innsbruck or 2,5 to Zürich. At least to Innsbruck there were no staus (queues) on the road. The Innsbruck  airport itself is small and a bit chaotic, but on the other hand waiting times in the lines were not bad. Of course if the weather is terrible, everything changes. An alpine airport is vulnerable if there is heavy snow fall and even the village of Lech itself could be isolated because of the snow. When we arrived it was snowing quite a lot and I was happy to have a four wheel drive. The road to and from Lech goes through the high altitude (1773 meter above sea)  Flexenpass, which is closed many times every winter. But if you have to stay a few more extra days in Lech, would that really be so bad? If the village just doesn’t run out of beer…




Verbier revisited


Anaresor’s Antti Einiö returns to Verbier after 33 years from his first visit and discovers there is still some retro charm left.

I am driving up a serpentine road with a Tesla. The road is not as scary as I remembered. Maybe the cars have gotten better or maybe I have just get used to serpentine roads. In 1984 I came with bus, all the way from Finland, at this point of the trip deeply moved, impressed by the Alps and also influenced by tax-free drinks. Yes, I was 20 and it was my first trip to Alps and right to the best of the places, Verbier.

Pette Halmes Tesla Transfer is smooth way to travel from Geneva airport.

In year 1984 Verbier was a quite small, but very lively village. Swiss franc rate was more favorable and prices were not in general regarded as high by the Finns. Village was full of ski bums. Or young people around the world just spending their winter there, some worked at bars or cleaned chalets, some just lived on their parents’s expenses. Nevertheless, it was the most fun place I had ever been. Great skiing, after-ski at Pub Mont Fort, Pizza at Fer A Cheval and disco time at Scotch. Again, again and again.

Standing at Place Central in 2017, the village looks still quite the same. You can´t really see the change, until you climb up to the mountain restaurant in the evening and look down to the village. Then you see how much Verbier has grown.  Lightspots fill the whole valley from Medran to Savoyleres lift station. That bigness you don’t feel in the center of the village, because all buildings are so low.

Much more lights than 33 years ago.

Lots of chalets, less hotels

Many alpine villages have changed a lot in recent years. For example St. Anton has upgraded by one star if you look at hotel offering. Style in renovations is what I call Alpine modernism, using lots of flat stone walls and light wood. Interiors have metal furnitures covered with lamb skin furs. Chandeliers are made of fake stag horns. I kind of miss the old very simple and genuine interiors with traditional wooden chairs and tables. For decades alpine villages used to be places where time stood still. You went there and could live in a place that seemed to be totally separated from the surrounding world.  Then the snakes started to creep into the paradise. Wok and sushi bars, new design hotels, ambient lounge music with never ending songs… I just hated the change. Or maybe I was just getting old and angry, because somebody had stolen my youth paradise.

Old school classic.

So here I am looking if there are any old things left in Verbier. We start our stroll from Place Central. Standing there you can spot lots of familiar names. There is Hotel De Verbier and there Farinet, Hotel de la Poste, Bristol…

We walk up the road towards Medran and I start to see changes. There used to be Hotel Les Quattre Vallees and there Hotel Rosalp with its excellent kitchen.

We come to Medran lifts. Scenery here is pretty far from what it  was in 1984. Lift system is new – which is just positive- , but behind the lift complex  things have changed radically. What was earlier a big parking lot,  is occupied by the W Hotel buildings. I am not sure if I like it or not.  Building is wooden and nice as everything in Verbier, but do we need chain hotels in Alps? At least Madonna and celebrities need, she is now somewhere inside that hotel…

Most celebrities tend still to prefer luxury catered chalets, like the one Richard Branson leases for 217,900 CHF a week for the New Year time. It is for 18 guests and of course you get your Land Rover transports and unlimited bubbly, but this all doesn’t bring life to village.  People party privately. It is totally different you see for example in the Ischgl.

The strategy of village officials has led to situation where Verbier is full of empty luxury chalets, but it is very difficult to find a decent four star hotels. There are only few left, like Vanessa or Nevai. Go to Zermatt and the offering is huge.

Good old Pub Mont Fort

We walk to Pub Mont Fort which seems to be still the place to have good after ski and fun. It has also changed, both the terrace and interior, but I can still recognize few areas, like the Pekka corner, where all the Finns gathered in the old days. I look to the wall behind the bar counter. There used to be a photograph taken by two Finnish guys in early 80´s for the Pub. One of them was jumping with skis holding a beer mug in both hands. The legend says they had to brought 48 pints of beer to the mountains before they got a picture they were satisfied. The legend doesn’t tell how many glasses went broken or were drunk before that…

There is always a happy Finn at the Pekka corner.

We find – of course – a Finn at the Pekka corner. Seba is an old ski bum who has settled to Switzerland. He lives down in the Rhone valley, but has an apartment in Verbier and skis here whenever he can. “There are quite a many old ski bums who have stayed here permanently or came back when getting closer to retirement years”, he says. Two of them, George and Berndt stand behind Seba and nod. Guys are pushing sixty. They tell that they have been ice skating today because of the poor snow conditions. Ice skating? I bet 30 years ago these guys would have instead been drinking beer until the next snow shower…


There is always a happy Finn at Pub Mont Fort Pekka corner and a happy Swiss in every souvenir shop.

Nendaz summit

Next day we ski to the Nendaz and stop there for lunch at the Chalet des Alpes. We bump there into Sebas old friend Andrea and as all people over 50 years age, we start to talk how things were better in old days.

Chalet Des Alpes. Highly recommended.

Andrea is from Torino and tells that he and his friends had found Verbier during 80´s and bought a chalet from here later. Verbier was so wild and free minded after the conservative Italia 30 years ago. Or maybe the reason was a strong Scandinavian community that existed in Verbier already there, blond women and great parties. And of course good skiing. It seems that Verbier is and has been a relaxed mecca for party people in otherwise conservative Switzerland. Still today, the New Year’s eve party gathers thousands of people to Verbier and most of them are not skiers. They come from surrounding cities and even from Geneva.

Something in the village atmosphere is different from the whole Switzerland or many other alpine villages. It is still very sporty and relaxed. But becoming more and more expensive. Though the feeling is different than St. Moritz or Megeve: you don’t really see many fur coats here.

But settling to Verbier takes money today. Lots of money. Those who didn’t buy their chalets before the turn of century, find it very hard to do it now. The house prices are ridiculous, double as high as in the other end of the Four Vallees like Haute Nendaz for example. There is a risk that Verbier is getting too expensive to hold lively community of fun people round the year in future.

They say most of the new chalets are owned by investment bankers and they are more or less empty most of the time. They are being used only during holidays. True or not, the streets are pretty quiet during evenings compared to what I remember from 80´s.

Where is the snow?

The morning of 1 st of January. No queue at the Medran at 9.00. We step to funicular to Les Attelas.  There is very little snow. Last snowfall has been 19th November. Snow wasn’t the problem on 1980`s. Or was it?  I only remember those good days when Tortan skiroute was in excellent condition.

Frosty morning gondola.

The biggest change in skiing in 30 years is artificial snow making. Snow cannons are everywhere, but the newest and most efficient ones are found in the other end of the Four Vallees, says Seba, who has come to quide us. Not that I couldn’t remember the places, but with this bad snow situation he has promised to show us where  the best skiable slopes are.

First we have to head to Tortin. I ask if we can you ski the Tortin piste down with this snow. “Yes, but you can´t fall. Too many stones”, he replies. We decide to take the cabin down.

Rocky road at Tortin.

Tortin cabin in 1984 was the infamous coffin. It was a tin can that was closed from the outside. Now it is a modern 8-seater.

As Seba promised, snow machines are working on full speed at the Siviez and Nendaz. Newest technology makes better snow from less water. The snow even feels quite real under your skis. And the skiing is better as it is not so crowded as in Verbier´s slopes.

Haute Nendaz. Less lift queues, more snow.

We end up eating lunch at Chalet La Maya at Les Collons. Price level here is much lower than in Verbier.  You just have to be careful not making the lunch too long. If you miss the last lift, taxi ride will cost you hundres of francs…

The famous Verbier Tart

Compared to German speaking ski area, Verbier and other French-speaking areas have one big advance: pastries. Instead of Appfelstrudel you get huge variety of pastries. My favourit is made of frambois, rasberries. I found Confiserie de la Poste still in the same place it used to be in old days and the offering haven’t change, thank God! I step in the shop and order a slice of tart framboise. “Mangee maintenant, silvous plait”, I explain with my fluent French. No need to pack it. I will eat it in three bites.

I come back next day and repeat my tradition, eat the tart right away. On the third day I don’t have to say anything anymore. “Bonjour Monsieur, mange tout a suite, bien?”

Creme de la creme. Et frambois.

No Asian fusion at the Alps, please!

What about dining? Have sushi bars and Asian noodle factories taken over the classic Swiss treats? Do not be afraid. You can still get good hearty alpine food here.

But restaurants of course come and go. Most I miss Rosalp where I had my first Michelin star dinner. That restaurant haven’t been operating for years and now the building is being converted to private apartments.

This time we travel with kids and look more after the perfect pizza that fine dining.

Fer a Chevals pizza used to be the best in 1984. I still like it a lot, but newcomers (or places I cant remember from 80´s) like Chez Martin and La Pergola serve you well also. But Fer a Cheval has the same good atmosphere as it used to have. You can do a bit time travel there.

Fer A Cheval. Best pizza and almost like in 80´s interior.

For finer dining option, we find other old classic: La Grange and its excellent grilled meats. Truly warm service. This is certainly the high light of our dinners.

Rib eye -beef at Le Grange.

And the most 1984  retro place of them all is…

Finally, what is the place that has changed less? I dare to say it is mountain restaurant Le Namaste. There I begin to feel the year now could be 1984. I happened to see recently a Swedish film Sällskapsresor II from 1985, which had many scenes shot at Namaste. I even spot the same old wall telephone inside and interior is quite the same. Food is great and probably the fondue is best in Verbier. Strong recommendation is the trio of fondue: normal cheese, truffle and mushroom from one pot. And the bread is served in slices, which is the real local way. As it has always been. And should. No changes. My kind of a place.

Trio of fondue at Le Namaste.

Anaresor TOP 3 Fondue

Namaste, Chez Dany, Le Caveau

Anaresor TOP 3 Pizza

Fer A Cheval, La Pergola, Chez Martin

Anaresor TOP 3 Mountain huts

Namaste, Chez Dany, Carrefour

Strolz – Kannattaako ostaa maailman parhaat monot?

Koska jalkani eivät ole enää vähään aikaan kasvaneet ja tuskin kasvavat tulevaisuudessakaan, päätin vihdoin panostaa monoihin, joista olen haaveillut koko ikäni.

Miehelle, joka kulkee J. Cheaneyn kengissä ei jää muuta vaihtoehtoa kuin hiihtää Strolzin käsintehdyissä monoissa. Lesti on vuoltu jalan myötäiseksi, ulkokenkä levitelty muhkuroiden mukaan ja nappanahkainen sisäkenkä on kursittu kokoon 170 käsinpistellyllä tikillä.


Best ski boots in the world since 1921.

Strolzin monoja on tehty Lechissä ja Zürsissä vuodesta 1921. Paikallinen kilpalaskija ja kyläsuutari H. Strolz aloitti bisneksen, joka on jatkunut kohta sata vuotta. Suuri käsityön osuus mahdollistaa istuvan monon tekemisen, vaikka ämpärinpohjan muotoiselle jalkamallille.

Minulla ei onneksi sellaista ole, mutta jokaisen hiihtoreissun päälle vaivaisenluut törröttävät ja jalat ovat puutuneet solkien puristuksessa. Ei siis kuin hankkimaan monoja, jotka istuvat jalkaan kuin hansikkaat.

Monojen ostoprosessin suureksi näyttämöksi valikoituu Strolzin liike Itävallan Zürsissa, 20 hotellin pikkukylässä keskellä kuuluisaa Arlbergin hiihtoaluetta. Olemme liikkeellä huhtikuun lopussa ja kauden viimeiset päivät ovat käsillä. Henkilökunnalla on aikaa paneutua asiaani kunnolla. Vaikka ympärillä on kauden loppumisen vuoksi alennusmyyntikylttejä, monot eivät ole alennuksessa.

”They never are, Herr Einiö. We make them year around”, saan ystävällisen vastauksen kysymykseeni.

The style is classic.

Mestariksi esitykseen saapuu Herr Hansjörg, vahvasti vuoristokiipeilijän näköinen mies, joka osoittelee lyhyesti ja ytimekkäästi mitä minun tulee tehdä, jotta jaloistani saadaan kunnon mitat ja kuvat monon tekemistä varten.

Luen etukäteen netistä, kuinka tärkeä lopputuloksen kannalta hyvä monontekijä on.

En ole asiasta kovin huolissani, sillä olen teettämässä monoja firman alkulähteillä Zürsissä, enkä New Yorkin tai Lontoon franchising-pisteessä. Kysäisen silti vaivihkaa jaloistani mittaa ottavan Herr Hansjörgin kokemusta, montako vuotta hän on monoja tehnyt?

Herr Hansjörg. The pro.

Hansjörg ei täysin sisäistä kysymystäni, mutta kertoo viettävänsä suksilla 300 päivää vuodessa, ilmeisesti tänäänkin hän käy lounastunnilla tikkaamassa muutaman rinteen. Jätän enemmät kyselyt sikseen ja annan hänen jatkaa rauhassa työtään.

Strolzin monomallit ovat muuttuneet hiljakseen ja ne eivät edusta nyt tai koskaan avaruusajan kustomoitua monoteknologiaa, joissa monoissa vilkkuu ledejä kuin raketissa konsanaan.

Sen sijaan monot ovat täynnä kokeiltuja ja hyväksi havaittuja yksityiskohtia. Monoon ruiskutettavan vaahdon koostumus on pitkän testailun tulos. ”Ja vaahto on tosi kallista. Meidän kaltaiselle pienelle firmalle sitä ei joka vuosi vaihdeta, koska minimiostomäärä on säiliöautollinen”, kertoo Hansjörg.

En ole asioista pahoillani. Pidän Alpeista sellaisena kuin ne ovat ja vielä enemmän sellaisina kuin ne olivat 80-luvulla, joten pieni retrohenkisyys monon ulkonäössä on vain mieleen.


Vaihe 1: mittaus ja mallinnus.

Itse monon tekninen valmistaminen on sitten vahvasti tätä päivää. Olen saapunut klo 9.00 liikkeeseen, jossa tehdään mittaukset monon valmistusta varten. Istahdan sovituspaikan penkille ja jalkojeni alta liukuu sivuun luukku. Sen alta paljastuu lasi ja skanneri, jonka päälle nousen seisomaan. Jalkani kuvataan ja sen jälkeen Hansjörg ottaa vielä manuaalisesti mitat ja merkitsee muistiin, missä kohtaa jalkaterääni näkyy  haasteellisia kohtia. Vanhemmiten jalka tuppaa leventymään esimerkiksi vaivaisenluun kohdalta. Näille kohdille laitetaan merkit, joiden perusteella muutaman tunnin kuluttua monontekijä vuolee puusta jalkani mukaisen muotin. Sen avulla taas monon ulkokuorta levitetään niin, että se ei paina jalkaani mistään.  Hansjörg valitsee minulle pituuden, painoni ja kyykkytreeninen kehittämien jalkalihasteni perusteella racing-kuoret, vaikka toppuuttelen olevani laskijana mukavuudenhaluinen ikämies.

Scanning the feet.

Paiskaan kättä Hansjörgin kanssa ja lähden päiväksi hiihtämään vanhoilla monoillani. Sovimme, että palaan klo 16 sisäkengän sovitukseen ja vaahdottamiseen.

Hiihdän päivän monojani kiristellen ja löysäillen, pohtien niinköhän moni asia tulee muuttumaan vai saanko ainoastaan monot, joilla on näyttöarvoa varakkaan väen After Ski -baareissa. Tosin siitäkään ei ole haittaa näissä jet-setin suosimissa lounasravintoloissa, joissa pöytävarauksella ei ole merkitystä, jos jonon kärkeen astelee huomattavasti rahakkaamman oloisia hahmoja.


Vaihe 2: sovitus.

Sovittuun aikaan palaan Strolzin liikkeeseen. Mononi ulkokengät odottavat valmiina ja Hansjörg ottaa niiden rinnalle malliksi monon, jonka lesti on normaali. Ero on selkeä.

Red Ski boot with widened body.


Sitten Hansjörg esittelee sisäkengän. Vaihtoehtoja on 16 erilaista. Kaikki ne ovat käsintehtyjä, nappanahkainen kenkä on ommeltu kasaan 170 pistolla. Sisäkengissäni on huomioitu sekin, että vasen jalkani on sentin oikeaa pitempi.


Riisun sukat jalastani ja Hansjörg alkaa leikata vaahtomuovilevystä paloja, jotka hän liimaa jalkaani sellaisiin kohtiin, joissa sisäkengässä kaivataan tilaa ja ettei sinne kohta ruiskutettava vaahto myöhemmin paina jalkaani. Palasia kertyy lopuksi kymmenkunta per jalka.

Making extraroom for the inner boot.

Palojen päälle vedetään sukka sekä suojapussi vaahdottamisen ajaksi. Kiskon monot jalkaani. Lyön kantapään tiukasti lattiaan, jotta se asettuu kunnolla monoon. Tämä on Hansjörgin mukaan oleellinen asia hiihtämisen kannalta jatkossa. Jos kantapää nousee monossa, menetetään paljon hiihtotuntumassa.

Get ready to foam!

Seuraavaksi seuraa monojen istuvuuden kannalta niin ikään erittäin oleellinen vaihe, jonka onnistumisesta joudun kantamaan vastuuta myös itse. Hansjörg käskee minun astella alustalle, jonka molemmin puolin on kaksi kauhukahvaa. Samalla kun hän ruiskuttaa sisäkenkiin niitä jäykistävää vaahtoa, painan kaikin voimin jalkapohjiani alaspäin ja tehostan liikettä pitämällä kahvoista vastaan. Lisäksi katse täytyy pitää tiukasti eteenpäin, jotta jalka ei liiku sivusuunnassa ruiskuttamisen aikana.


Vaihe 3: vaahdotus.

Nyt alkaa monontekemisen ainoa hieman piinallinen osuus. Vaahto ruiskuaa sisään monoon kahden ilmakehän paineella ja alkaa puristaa jalkaani. Vedän samalla kahvoista ja painan jalkapohjiani alas sekä yritän seistä mahdollisimman suorana.

Feet under pressure.

Vaahto etenee monossa ja vihdoin sitä tulee ulos monon etuosasta työntyvän letkun päästä. Tämä vaihe on ohi muutamassa minuutissa, mutta vielä pitää odottaa kymmenisen minuuttia, jotta vaahto kovettuu niin paljon, että monot voidaan irrottaa jaloista.

Juttelemme niitä näitä.  Hansjörg esittelee minulle hyllyllä olevia jalkamalleja haasteellisemmista mononteoista. Näkymä on kuin kiertävän vahamuseon kauhukabinetista. Pääsen siis kuitenkin melko vähällä, vaikka jalat alkavat puutua pahemman kerran vaahdon kovettuessa. Minulle tarjotaan hermostusryyppyä paikallisesta paloviinavalikoimasta, mutta tyydyn lasilliseen vettä.

Happy to have an almost normal feet.

Vihdoin Hansjörg katsoo kelloaan ja vapauttaa minut monoistani. Monot ovat tuntuneet ahtailta paitsi vaahdon paineen vuoksi, myös siksi että jalkaterien ympärille on laitettu sovituksen ajaksi suojaavat kotelot. Ei ole tarkoitus, että joka paikkaan luikerteleva vaahto muovautuu myös varpaanväleihin.

Hansjörg irrottaa sisäkengät monoista ja leikkaa ruiskuttamiseen käytetyt letkut niistä irti. Sen jälkeen koitamme monoja uudestaan. Nyt ne tuntuvat juuri sopivan kokoisilta. Eivät paina mistään ja kun nojaan hieman eteenpäin varpaiden kärkien kohdalla on juuri oikea määrä tilaa.

Removing the foam tubes.

Hymyilen hämmentyneenä ja mietin, millaista monoilla on huomenna hiihtää. Aiemmat kokemukseni vaahtomonoista eivät ole hyvät. Vika tosin oli oma. Ostin – 70 % alennuksesta kilpamonot, jotka monontekijä vaahdotti vielä kilpamalliin kivikoviksi. Ne monot lensivät sen kauden päätteeksi roskiin, mutta näillä uskon laskevani pitkään (monoihin ruiskutettu vaahtokin on pehmeää). Hansjörg lupaa monoilleni käyttöikää 2-3 viikon vuosittaisella hiihtämisellä noin 15 vuotta. Strolzin huolto ja takuu on kattava. Monot voi koska tahansa lähettää korjattavaksi.

Käymme lopuksi läpi vielä monojen kiristys ja hoito-ohjeet. Sitten monot pakataan Strolzin lämpöeristettyyn monokassiin, jossa niiden on hyvä viettää kesänsä vinttikomerossani helteiltä ja pölyltä suojassa.

My new ski boots. Definitely worth of their price.

Mitä kaikki sitten maksoi? Monoille tuli hintaa ilman ortopedisia pohjallisia 780€. Kaudenlopun alennusmyynti ei tähän tuotteeseen ylety. ”Valmistuskapasiteetti on rajallinen ja kaikki myydään mitä ehditään tekemään, myös kesäaikaan”, kertoo Hansjörg ja uskon häntä. Vertailun vuoksi markkinoiden parhaat ”vakiomonot” maksavat noin 500 euroa ja vaahdottamisella hinta nousee vielä.  Brändillä lienee tässä arvonsa ja varmasti joku toinen malli tarjoaa todellisille experteille enemmän vastinetta rahalle, mutta silti kaupasta ulos kävellessäni en tunne tehneeni tyhmää hankintaa.


Tunne vahvistuu seuraavana aamuna, kun pääsen mäkeen uusilla monoillani. Ne istuvat jalkaan täsmällisesti, eivät paina mistään ja ulkokengän jäykkyys tuntuu minulle juuri sopivalta. Hiihtäessä jalanliikkeet ja painonsiirto välittyvät suksiin välittömästä ja vaivattoman tuntuisesti.

Seison ylhäällä vuoren laella. Katselen alaspäin laaksoon. Kevätaurinko on pehmentänyt yöpakkasten jälkeisen rinteen pinnan sohjoiseksi, mutta pinta kantaa edelleen. Jalassa on uudet monot ja edessä on pitkä lasku rinnettä, jota kukaan ei ole vielä tänään ehtinyt jäljillään sotkea. Edessä on talven paras lasku.