Trip Report Austria 2015

Heinz

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This one is about to start with a late night departure tonight with Emirates to Vienna via Dubai.

Been in holiday mode since Friday night with another awesome Womadelaide festival long weekend.

Today is a recovery, packing & preparation day. Though wasn't actually feeling as tired today as other post Womad days (though certainly helped not having to get up early for work).

My northern hemisphere ski trips are scheduled around Womad which is fixed in my calender. So either winter trips back in time for early March (as they were the previous two years) or a spring trip like now.

So now packed , online check in done, pretty much ready to go.
 

Heinz

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A few more comments on Womad. Weather was much milder this year. Rather than the 35-40C days and balmy nights, it was pleasant mid 20C days and cool evenings. Which just meant you had to bring an extra layer along for the evening. Brief shower Monday, but that was quickly forgotten and the afternoon cleared up nicely.

And musically it maintained its very high standard.

On Friday night enjoyed Bombino, Buena Vista, Fanfare Ciocarlia and the first part of Public Service Broadcasting which was surprisingly good.

Saturday enjoyed Robert Forster, CW Stoneking, Meeta Pandit and Buena Vista again but favourite was Toumani & Sidiki Diabate on the Kora.

Sunday though was when things for me really started going. Malawi Mouse Boys were fun, loved Mista Savona accompanied by an old school and new school Jamacian vocalists. Able to relax after that with another father - son Kora session. Back up again for another session with the Romanian brass band. Then a very lively session with Che Sudaka which did catch me by surprise. I had been long requesting that they get Manu Chao out here without luck, but these guys were in that same mould so loved that. Was happy to relax again after that listening to First Aid Kit and then enjoy a very professional performance from Youssou N'Dour back after many years.

Monday was good also, a southern Italian group were quite good, had to of course see Che Sudaka again as well as Bombino, sampled bits and pieces of a few others. At the end had a choice between Sinaed O'Conner or some Korean group Jambinai that I had heard a couple of good reports on. Took a punt on the Koreans and was more than happy with that. Probably the strangest performance but most enjoyable. The sort of thing that Womad continually delivers which I love.
 
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Heinz

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Previous Europe trips have been largely based in Austria with side trips to several European countries. This time though the plan will be to stay in Austria. Still quite a few places there I haven't been to so no real reason to go elsewhere. Bobus this time around is that I am able to fly directly into Austria as the first point of call in Europe.
 

Research101

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Looking forward to your informative posts regarding this trip
Hope it all goes well
I am looking towards Austria / Italy family trip next season so all the info is fully taken on board
Bon Voyage
 

Heinz

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Now sitting in Dubai airport after a 13 hr flight. Took quite some time here before they displayed the gate number for the Vienna flight. Next leg only 5 hours though.
 
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Heinz

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Now in Vienna where it is raining lightly. Flight to Dubai not the most comfortable, saw nothing of Dubai - arrived in the dark and it was covered in a dust cloud when I left. Dubai airport is supposedly the busiest in the world but it isn't the best organised. I've also had better service than I had on Emirates but they got me to Vienna on time and with my bag and skis so that counts as a big win. Flight to Vienna was more enjoyable, firstly half the length, then in daylight so had a view of the mountains in western Iran and southern Turkey before cloud coverage over Romania while I also enjoyed the new Dub Colosus album.

Was doubly nice being able to land directly in Vienna rather than one of the bigger hubs (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris). From getting off the plane it probably took about 2 mins to get to passport control, 1 min in the queue and maybe about 10 secs to get processed - welcome to Austria. A bit longer to baggage especially as mine were probably first loaded and last unloaded, but after a few anxious minutes they both appeared. I was then on the bus heading to the city about a half hour after landing. :thumbs:
 

Heinz

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Didn't do much this afternoon/evening. It had stopped raining but was a bit windy. Wandered up Mariahilferstrasse for a while to get some fresh air. Hard to believe it is 2 years ago since I was here last. Ended up eating at one of the same cafes I visited back then with rels.

Price of beers has gone up - was €4.10 for 0.5L tonight which coupled with a worse exchange rate works out to around $6, still much cheaper than in Australia.

Jetlag kicking in now.
 
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Research101

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A beer is always good anywhere
A wine can be good or bad but a beer always goes down well, even after a bad day Skiing / Golfing the beer always tastes good
Cheers
 

Heinz

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Now arrived in Leogang after a pleasant train trip via Salzburg. Nice to see the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof redevelopment completed - the last couple of times I've been through there is has been under construction. Will be nice to see the Wien Hauptbahnhof finally completed as well. From what I saw on the way past that shouldn't be too far off - should be good by my next visit.

Discovered the station at Leogang isn't really a station but just a stop with no facilities and a fair walk from town. Fortunately had enough charge on my phone to call the Pension to pick me up. My mistake -should have let them know beforehand.
 
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Heinz

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Fri Mar 13 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang

is big...

It Was a warm sunny day. Joined up with a german speaking Polish guy who showed me the way from Leogang through to Saalbach on onto Hinterglemm and back. Basically every run and every lift was different. Took us about 3 hours to get from Leogang to the far side of Hinterglemm, returned to Hinterglemm for lunch, then took around another 2,5 hours to work our back to our start point of Leogang.

It was a day for skiing the pistes, firm in the morning, softening quickly on the south facing slopes down to Saalbach which became quite slushy in the afternoon, but good again returning on north facing slopes back to Leogang. So mostly pretty cruisy,but we did cover a bit of ground.
 
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Heinz

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Stop for lunch - the only decision was where and when - as usual in Austria there are options on just about every run. We opted to head down into Hinterglemm. Sitting outside with table service on a day like this was a no brainer.


Kasnocken mit Zwiebel


Some of the sloppier stuff heading down the south facing slopes to Saalbach on our way back.
 

Kletterer

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Try Gestreitalm. Trad Pinzgau food.The Alte Shmied at the top of Leogang Gondo is tops too. If its sloppy try Westgipfel and the west abfahrt to Hinterglemm.
 

Kimski

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Nice report Heinz. Tried Emirates for this first time on my most recent trip. I knew about the squeezy seats on their 777s but they were worse than I thought they would be, Especially on a 12 hour overnight flights. At least the A380 to a London was a good flight.

I really want to make it to Austria on my next trip to Europe (won't be until at least 2017 :()

Love all the on slope restaurants you get in Europe :cheers:
 
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Heinz

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Sat Mar 14 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang

Another fine sunny day and being a Saturday quite a bit busier. Met up with a friend Josef and we started off the circuit in similar fashion to yesterday but at a faster pace.

Skied a couple of corn runs down to Saalbach in the morning, but then worked the aspects better than yesterday to avoid the slush. Skied a few runs on Zwolferkogel including the world cup run, then headed over to Schattberg area for a few more all of which were pretty hard packed. Went for a bit of a slide on the Schattberg Nordabfahrt.

Then a long run down to Vorderglemm before working back to Leogang. A few more there then finally stopped for a leisurely late lunch at around 2:30 at the Stöcklalm which just left a valley run to complete the day.

Went for a bit of a walk in Leogang afterwards. Saalbach & Hinterglemm are both ski towns with plenty of fancy hotels (Hinterglemm especially) and plenty of the usual apres activity. Leogang by contrast is a quiet village and quite spread out at that. But that does make it cheaper as a result.
 
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Heinz

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Wifi down at the pension atm.
In short though - just another fine spring day.
 

Heinz

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Sun Mar 15 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang

Wunderschön. No powder in sight but when you have fine days and excellent spring skiing conditions da müss es einfach geniesen.

So another variation of the last couple of days. Met up with Josef again and a friend of his. Did another circuit this time doing a few extra runs on the südhänge in the morning while they were still in good shape before switching over to the 12erkogel for a couple of runs on the world cup course - which was still generally pretty firm a couple of weeks and several warm days after the world cup races.

Eventually crossed back again to the Leogang zone for another late lunch then a few more runs to finish a very good day.
 
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Heinz

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Much the same areas so didn't bother much with pics today. Just these from small sections of the World cup run.



 
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Heinz

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Mon Mar 16 - Maria Alm - Hochkönig

Caught a bus to Maria Alm and met up for a ski there. Maria Alm was actually the first place I ever skied in Europe 40 years ago on the Natrun area directly above the town. Had another day there 25 years ago somewhere on Aberg. Hardly recognise it now. The few discrete areas have largely been linked up with gondolas and chairs and expanded so it is now a huge area although not quite as big as Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang. The owner of the hut we visited at lunch suggested that there were also plans to link the Natrun area with the rest.

The weather was quite a bit different today - the Föhn wind was blowing and it was generally quite overcast although there were still several sunny periods. We worked our way from Aberg to Hintermoos, Dienten, Hinterthal & Mühlbach (and I've probably missed a couple). Then working our way back again, a late lunch and a few more runs before I caught the bus back home.

No new snow at all but what was there was in good condition at higher elevetions, usually getting sticky lower down. Slopes were pretty quiet now after the weekend.
 
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Heinz

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Looking towards Mühlbach.


Resorts of Flachau & Wagrain in the distance.


There are hundreds of huts in the mountains in Austria of varying types - way more than anywhere else I have seen. This is a smaller slightly out of the way one where we had lunch today. Bauerntoast was pretty nice.


A view of the Natrun area from Maria Alm. Where I first skied in Europe 40 years ago.
 

cookieman

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Thanks for sharing Heinz.
Photography and detail trip report is excellent as always from you.
We hope to do Austria next northern winter.
 

Heinz

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Tue Mar 17 - Maria Alm - Hochkönig

Similar plan to yesterday and similar weather. Bus to Maria Alm, meet Josef, did a similar circuit across to Muhlbach, on the way back drop down into Hinterthal. Was overcast, but visibility was good and sun tried to come out a few times. Conditions very good early and very few people about so could really let the skis run.

Had a very nice lunch stop at yet another awesome small hut, one of Josef's regulars with a bunch of friends.

After lunch the snow lower down was quite heavy and legs started to feel it, but it was timed to be a short session in time to make my bus back.
 
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Heinz

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This is what skiing in Austria is about - another day, another great little mountain hut.





Speckknödel mit Kraut
 

Heinz

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Is the low altitude snow cover on par for early spring?

Not sure, haven't been specially this region this time of year before. I suspect it may be slightly below average, but on north facing aspects it is still fine. The recent run of sunny weather has certainly impacted south facing aspects which is probably what you are seeing on a few of my pics. Apparently a week or so before I came some of these slopes had a metre of snow (quite a bit new though so unconsolidated). I think most places still expect to be running ok over Easter which is the last busy time of the season. Several places will close up soon after that anyway.
 

Heinz

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Another thing about some of the smaller huts I have seen is that they are still very much old school tech and recite what you had and write down and tally up with pen and paper. Most of the newer places the staff all have hand held devices to do all that which is all very efficient, but there is something about the old school that still appeals to me. Mostly it is extra personal engagement.
 

Heinz

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Forecast for the next 3 days is fine and sunny .. oh well ..
Looking at heading to Zell am See tomorrow.
 

Heinz

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Wed Mar 18 - Zell am See - Schmittenhöhe

Back to warm sunny weather today. Headed a little south to Zell am See and the mountain of Schmittenhöhe. An attractive resort with views of the lake, Kiztsteinhorn and Grossglockner. Spring skiing.

Started on Sonnenalm as that gets the early sun so was perfect around 10am. Worked our way around the hill getting wildly contrasting conditions depending on aspect to the sun. For the same reason figured if we were going to do the run down to Schüttdorf it needed to be early. We hit it before 12 but it was already getting heavy.

Had a go at the Trass run - 4km & 1000m vert. Was bit odd in that the middle section was quite heavy but the lower section which was in the shade of the forest was still firm. Did another top to bottom variation which was the best run of the day. More of it was in the shade so it was more consistent than the Trass run. We repeated this several times.

Then hit one of the runs that was still quite hard early on, but now had come good, so had a few goes of that. Kept going with a combination of these and the non stop top to bottom runs. Legs were feeling the pinch after that so happy to go for another late lunch.

In a real contrast to the small old huts of the last couple of days this was quite large and new. Included a Russian menu and had some of the prices to match. The pizzas though were reasonably ok - taste and pricewise. Then a final top to bottom run to finish the day and head back home.
 
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Heinz

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Views of the lake





Another Kitzsteinhorn view


View of a couple of the Saalbach lifts in the distance. There is some talk of linking Schmittenhöhe to Saalbach which along with Fieberbrun would make it massive.
 
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Kletterer

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Have spent almost 11 winter months in this region starting back in 1980 visiting rellos in Shuttdorf, Saalfelden and my brother who was teaching in Saalbach. Many amazing ski days have been had; uncles and aunties have passed but the mountains remain the same. Aberg was also my first day skiing in Austria. Your post makes me miss it incredibly. Danke dir thanks heinz. Enjoy the bauernshmaus
 
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Zimboo

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Thanks Heinz. Beautiful part of our world. Fond fond memories. Must go back.
 

Heinz

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Have spent almost 11 winter months in this region starting back in 1980 visiting rellos in Shuttdorf, Saalfelden and my brother who was teaching in Saalbach. Many amazing ski days have been had; uncles and aunties have passed but the mountains remain the same. Aberg was also my first day skiing in Austria. Your post makes me miss it incredibly. Danke dir thanks heinz. Enjoy the bauernshmaus

Explains why you seemed so familiar with the region. Appreciated your tips.
 

Heinz

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One tip I have for anyone visiting the Salzburg region and wanting to experience several areas is to get a Salzburg Super Ski card pass. Costs only a little more than a local multi day pass but as it covers a huge array of resorts in Salzburg as well as a few in Tirol it gives you great flexibility. I have had a 9 day pass in my wallet all this week and used it in 4 different regions. If you have 4 weeks or more get a season pass.
http://www.salzburgerland.com/en/ski-board/super-ski-card/salzburg-super-ski-card.html
 
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