23 January 2015    

Romania is blessed with snow and our friends from Splitboard Romania were splitboarding there. A big thank you for the vivid description, the beautiful video and touring tips for this little known area.

For the past few days the snow was very kindly with us and we were waiting two days to have the perfect chance to try the fresh snow sprawled over the mountains. We came at a consesus that the winning days would be Wednesday and Thursday and here we are again, in Balea, Fagaras Mountains: Luca, Robert and me.

As a Romanian proverb says “Who wakes up early in the morning, can reach far”, but also sleep less. So we met at the crack of dawn in the train station of Carta village to start our trip deep into the mountains. Our desire to get to Balea was higher than the frost that made the car engine hardly to be started. After this  little challenge we made our car running and started straight away to Balea Waterfall. The Fagaras mountains were covered by shattered snow, a sign of a powerfull wind in the previous days. The weather forecast looked good for the next days and even when the snow was pressed by the wind we decided to head up to Balea Lake.

Auf dem Grat
Walking the ridge


Now we are waiting at the lift. Like our car the cabins are frozen as well and we have to wait for the sun to warm everything up. We are getting nervous, should we mount our splitboards and just skin it up to the Balea Lake, is the question. Just when we decided to do it the cable car starts running and we reach the settled place around 12pm.

The snow is amazing, so we mount the skins just after leaving the cable car. We leave our luggage quickly in the chalet and keep on going to the Goad Saddle. The ascent is untracked, the snow conditions changing from windblown to ice and some powdery sections. The way up is a bit exposed and with great fear (at least me) we reach the top of the saddle. From here we have to follow the ridge. The wind is blowing strongly and we have to store our boards at the backpack. Not the best combination, because the splitboards are like sails and we have to be very concentrated and well balanced not to be blown from the ridge by the next gust of wind. It is cold, we keep on going step by step, my buff already feels like a frozen sheet of flexible ice in my face, not very comfortable. After a while we reach our first point of interest, the Buteanu Saddle. From here our first rdescent starts, down to the next valley. After a quick change over into ride mode, Luca is the first one.

The drop in is not as I expected or better to say as I hoped. No it is just windblown and icy, but anyway it is just the first meters to get out of the wind affected area. Further down we have deep, bottomless. It feels like surfing in the snow, yea, I love this feeling. It is so much snow that after a little slam I needed 10 minutes to get out and keep on riding. You are right it is fucking deep today.


fagaras breathing in the sun
Sunbathing in the snow

As darkness is getting quickly over the mountains in the winter period, we speed up our riding to reach the chalet at daylight. I was expecting an unclouded sky, and this time I wasn't wrong. We take out our binoculars and do some sky whatching, well it is nice, but WOW now the moon comes out and everything is getting so clear and beautiful. Good for the descent from the Lady Saddle straight down to the Balea Lake. We don't have to use our headlamps and our fantastic downhill is lightened by the moon. Just perfect.


Reaching the Top

We fell asleep and the night was over very very quickly. The darkish morning and flat light doesn't help us to distinguish the obstacles on our next downhill. So the Lady Valley becomes a really challenge for all of us. It is like moving in a  bidimensional space (2d), everything happens on a white blank white paper.  Feel like lost the whole way down, but then, suddenly the sun comes out and we notice that we have already reached the Lady Lake. From here our way goes further down to the Laita Valley. No it becomes better than expected, the weather starts clearing up amazingly and everything turns just to a perfect blue bird day. We decide to do the next climb, with Paul our new friend. Big snow masses make our climb more difficult, the splitboards sink in the snow, but the descent again is unforgettable.


The Summit comes just before the descent

After a very quick meal, we decide to start the next climb. We have to get back to the Lady Saddle. From there we want to take a dale to the left which takes us back again to the Balea Valley. This climb is really difficult, hardly accessible area, no tracks anymore and no chance to head on skinning. So we fix our splitboards on the backpacks and continue climbing. What am I doing? All that effort to reach a hidden couloir and a fearsome descent?  Anyway just go on and keep calm. Reaching our  goal we are faced with an icy windblown descent again, but… yes just for a few meters and then we got rewarded with deep untouched, amazingly fluffy powder as seen in the movies.

It is late, we quickly pack our luggage and ride down all the way to the Balea Waterfall to reach our car.

Fazit: The snow was infinite, we had a great weekend out there in our beloved mountains of the Fagaras region. Thanks splitboarding.eu for the support and the publishing of our experience in your journal.


We give a big thank you to our friends Luka Robert and Marius from Splitboard Romania for this great trip report.

If you want to know more about Romania as a splitboard destination, check this article