The Noctouring Society: tender is the night

Bruno Compagnet joined the crows Jörg Harrer and Stefan Schmitt for a night-time ski touring trip above Innsbruck.

Text : Jag / Compagnet
Photos : Mark von Roy / Downdays

At night, all corvids are grey. But with the light of a head torch, one can distinguish the bright colours of the latest black crow models. We are up above Innsbruck, the large town situated in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Stefan Schmitt is the leader of this group of night-time ski-tourers who have come to share a moment of after work conviviality and physical activity: « The aim of the Noctouring Society is to create a community via Facebook and to profit from possible night-time ski tours around Innsbruck. Black Crows supply the skis and a light meal in a mountain hut. The idea is simple and is visibly enjoyable. This first trip was a true success, » explained Stefan.

bruno compagnet skis : corvus Photo : Mark Von Roy /  Downdays

bruno compagnet skis : corvus
Photo : Mark Von Roy / Downdays

Amongst the first night birds was Bruno Compagnet who has come to perspire all the Munich beer he knocked back at the ISPO show. « It is a bit like when a friend takes you to an evening do where you don’t know many people… Night envelops the summits around Innsbruck and the bottom of the valley is lit up to remind us that Austria is a mountainous country. First surprise, there are a lot of people in the car-park. People are rapidly getting themselves ready in the light of their head torches. At a rough guess, I would say easily more than 200 people of all ages: men, women, dogs, split boarders, collant pipettes (those who wear lycra and use hydration packs) … Stefan is there with his girl-friend to test skis. There is also some red bull, water and energising bars in the black crows’ tent. Great organisation. »

Black crows Notouring Society photo : Mark Von Roy /  Downdays

Black crows Notouring Society
photo : Mark Von Roy / Downdays

« Then, everybody sets off for a good hour of skinning up the ski runs and through the woods. Behind us, the stream of light in the valley flows further and further away. It’s magnificent. We aren’t there to compete and everybody chats and gets to know one another on the way up. As is the custom in these parts where beer and sausages form the basics of the diet, we find ourselves in a mountain hut regaining our strength before throwing ourselves back into the night and the descent by the light of our head-torches. No alcohol test… frankly, it is a great idea in this period of warmth for both keeping in shape and keeping up the moral. Thanks to Jörg, Stefan and the others of Downdays. »

The Noctouring Society facebook

the noctouring society Bruno and a mountain tiger Photo : Mark Von Roy /  Downdays

the noctouring society Bruno and a mountain tiger Photo : Mark Von Roy / Downdays

Bruno Compagnet at the noctouring society Photo : Mark Von Roy /  Downdays

Bruno Compagnet at the noctouring society Photo : Mark Von Roy / Downdays