On the road with Sophia.
Winter magic on the Ofenpass
It is already after 9.30 a.m. when we reach the Buffalora stop on the Ofen Pass, but the thermometer only shows a frosty -20 °C. The cloudless sky promises a dreamy winter day. The cloudless sky promises a fantastic winter day, we just have to be patient. Putting on the snowshoes is about as difficult with and without gloves, but finally we are ready for the ascent, which should bring our cold feet, hands and still slightly sleepy faces up to operating temperature. Initially still in the shade, we head up to Alp Buffalora and continue through dense forest to a small alp. Here the terrain becomes flatter and the first rays of sunlight appear. The fresh snow that fell the day before yesterday is like a powdery dream, the silence is complete.
The temperature jump is immediately noticeable and with the sun on our faces we trudge east past Munt Buffalora, observing the avalanches on its slopes and crossing the wide Jufplaun plain. What you don't suspect in winter is that beneath the thick layer of snow lies a vast marshy area. The few streams that are still visible at this time of year are all frozen and easy to cross. This wonderful fresh snow also has its disadvantage: the tracks cost a lot of energy - especially with short legs - and slowly but surely we start to sweat. A sip of warm tea with regular drinking breaks is just what we need. Across the sunlit plain, we climb past small pine trees that only stick their highest branches out of the snow cover, up to Döss dal Termel, a tiny hill that will serve us as a resting place. The view of Munt Buffalora on one side and Piz Daint on the other makes every winter sports enthusiast's heart beat faster. Apart from us, there is not a soul in sight, we have this winter paradise all to ourselves.
Now, at midday, the temperature has risen to an almost cosy -6° C and with the warming sun on our faces, it's good to have a picnic in the snow. We don't want to stay too long, however, as the days are short now in December and we still want to make our way back in daylight and as much sunshine as possible. So we walk back north at the foot of Piz Daint, again and again young trees sticking out of the snow - almost as if they also wanted to enjoy the sun as long as possible until the next snowfall sends them into hibernation until spring. From our current vantage point we have a wonderful view of the plain we crossed earlier: The Aua da Murtaröl meanders through the valley, our trail can be seen again and again in between, above us the steel-blue sky.
The last kilometres to the pass road are now steadily downhill, on the ascent path through the forest. Now we do meet a few souls who have also enjoyed this wonderful winter day, either on snowshoes or touring skis. The joy of what we have experienced is written all over our faces - we probably look just as satisfied, because it was a more than successful start to the snowshoe season!
Important to know
- Arrival: By post bus (Ofenpass line) to the Buffalora stop. A few parking spaces are available next to the Civil Engineering Office building.
- Duration: approx. 3.5 hours hiking time (may vary depending on snow conditions).
- Distance: 10 kilometres
- Ascent/descent: 400m/400m
- Difficulty: WT2
- Alternative: The trail can be walked in both directions, but the variant described makes better use of the position of the sun at various times of the day.
- Avalanche equipment
- Snow soes and ski poles
- Sturdy, warm shoes, warm and weatherproof clothing and gloves
- Sun protection
- Emergency first-aid kit
- sufficient drinking water and food (there are no refreshment stops along the way)
- Important note: Always check the current avalanche bulletin before the tour.
Sophia has been working as Product Manager Sustainability, Mineral Water & Health at the Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair holiday region since May 2022. In her free time, she loves to hike through the Engadin mountains on well-known and lesser-known trails.