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Trip Report Austria 2015

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Heinz, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thu Mar 19 - Fieberbrunn

    Ventuered across the border into Tirol to Fieberbrunn (still covered by the Salzburg super ski card). It is currently a relatively small resort - Small though only really in comparison with some of the mega resorts in the region. Next year though it gets linked to Hinterglemm to further extend that massive region. Will become a logistical excercise navigating your way around and back in time.

    We spoke to a few locals from both the Fieberbrunn & Saalbach sides, They were all keen on it, but did say there were some that were against - presumably losing their little resort to be overrun by tourists.

    Fieberbrunn is known for its freeride terrain and is part of the world cup cicuit for that. With no new snow and the current warm sunny conditions though there wasn't going to be much of that today. You could easily see that wet snow slides would be likely so it was another day mostly on the pistes.

    We concentrated on spring corn on a south facing area on the back side for most of the morning. Probably skied it at least a dozen times. As there was relatively little traffic on it the snow held up pretty well. Eventually though it did get heavier so we switched back to the front side.

    To finish we did the side where there were 2 of the set of 5 pulse gondolas back to back. The run down though was mostly a pretty uninspiring gentle trail so we were quite happy to call it a day after that.
     
    #51 Heinz, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  2. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    In the background in a clearing on the ridge you can see the top of one of the Saalbach lifts. A extra one will be installed on the near side to link the 2 areas.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fri Mar 20 - Maria Alm - Hochkönig

    Traumhaft schön. Herrlich!

    Another warm sunny day and excellent spring skiing condtions on uncrowded slopes. It dimmed ever so slightly during the partial eclipse in the morning.

    Did the circuit from Maria Alm over to Mühlbach and back. As an indication of the size of that the road distance between those 2 towns is 24km. Have been getting a bit of milage in this week even with some leisurely lunches with the help of no queues and mostly fast lifts. According to Josef we have been doing an average of around 10,000 vert m a day (not actually something I have ever taken note of apart from heliski days).

    But was all just really enjoyable skiing. When you do a ciruit like that you are always going to get a few slopes that are very firm and others that are very slushy, but for the most part it was great.

    Stopped off again at Almhäusl for lunch on the way back sitting on the terrace basking in the sun - love that place. Could easily have stayed longer but needed to ski back to Aberg and catch my bus back to Saalfelden & Leogang.
     
    #54 Heinz, Mar 21, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
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  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Didn't bother much with pics today having previously covered much the same ground earlier, apart from these.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hinterglemm had a different pass to Saalbach in the early 80s. There were mixed opinions about the merger but it boosted tourist numbers up to second highest in Austria after Vienna. The twolift company owners can be seen sharing a drink from time to time at the Stamperl bar.
     
  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Opened the curtains - clear blue skies again.

    Though looking at the wetter panorama on TV it looks overcast in Tirol to the west and is expected to move this way in the afternoon.
     
    #57 Heinz, Mar 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sat Mar 21 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang

    Started off fine today, but clouded over a bit earlier than forecast. Skiing was still good but after being
    spoilt by the fine spring weather of the last week we were a bit less enthused today. Started off the usual circuit but as the wind seemed to be picking up we opted not to go all the way through to Hinterglemm and instead slowly started working our way back to Leogang.

    So ended up back at Stöcklalm for a relatively early 12:30 lunch, so we were able to watch the World cup giant slalom on the big screen. Marcel Hirscher didn't have his best race only managing 4th but that was enough to build a 60 pt lead over Jansud and thus almost certainly claim his 4th consecutive world cup overall title. :woohoo:
    In theory it is not over but there is no chance that Jansrud can place top 3 in the final slalom tomorrow.

    The Stöcklalm was not suprisingly quite busy at the time so we shared a table with some Scotish pension owners and a couple of their Austrian guests, so there was a curious German/English dialogue mix. I was able to talk up NZ heli-skiing as well.

    Went for a few more runs after lunch and watched some guy on the flying fox go from just below Stöcklalm into the valley. Apparently meant to go to around 130kmh. Not something I was going to do. Then decided to call it a day early around 2:30.

    I had only last night been told about the skiline tracker website which tracks lifts used, vertical metres, distance skied from reading your ski pass at the turnstiles. Pretty good system. Had done just over 80,000 vertical metres over the previous 8 days. But there was no 10,000 vm day today, only 7,600 vm - our poorest effort of the week. We had done 11,345 vm at our day at Fieberbrunn which placed 24th for anyone at that resort this season.
     
    #58 Heinz, Mar 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The change since those days is staggering and it continues. We had a look today from Reiterkogl above Hinterglemm to the run we were skiing a couple of days ago at Fieberbrunn in Tirol which will be linked next year. Then there is talk of linking Zell am See with Saalbach - we saw the Saalbach lifts from Schmittenhöhe. That is massive! It then becomes an excercise in logistics trying to work out how far you can go before you need to turn back before lifts close, otherwise catch buses or a taxi. I wonder if they will extend the ski or Postbus service between Leogang & Fieberbrunn - currently it is a bit limited.

    And even if you can't ski from one to another you can still ski a huge number or resorts with the Salzburg super pass (There is another one for Tirol - Star pass I think it was - not quite as extensive but not too far off).
     
  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    And so concludes my skiing in the Pinzgau region. Tomorrow it is off to the Pongau region (still in Salzburg).
     
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  11. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah The talk of Zell link has been going around for years but its a big distance and covers several different land owners.The best looking scope for expanding is over the back of Seekar lift ,,, lots of steep terrain and higher altitude.
     
  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Transit day today, weather overcast so a good day to travel. Turned out a pretty good one. :)

    This was also the last day the ski world cup series. Watched the first run of the men's slalom at my pension in Leogang just before leaving. Neureuther made an error and lost time which left Marcel Hirscher in a position to challenge for the slalom title as well as the overall which he claimed yesterday.

    Had a wait in Saalfelden so missed the first run of the women's giant slalom where Anna Fenninger led Tina Maze in their battle for overall honours.

    Had another long stopover in Schwarach-St. Viet station which turned out alright. First the 2nd run of the slalom which Marcel won and as a result take that title as well as the overall title which he clinched yesterday. Then the 2nd run of the womens GS. It was going to be touch and go go as to whether I would see it all before I had to catch my next train. 10 mins to go and still the last 4 to start. But fortunately was able to see Anna in the end cross the line in first place to narrowly claim the overall as well as the GS titles, then grabbed my bags, down, up to platform 3 just as my train was coming in.

    So a great result for the Austrian ski team. :thumbs:
     
  13. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Now in Bad Hofgastein, quite a contrast to Leogang. This is a resort town which some pretty fancy looking resort hotels, but I am staying in a pretty reasonable pension not much more than about 50m from Kaiser Franz Platz in the centre of town for €36 with breakfast. So I don't have any spa facilities - oh well.
     
  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    On the way - Zell am See
    [​IMG]

    View from my balcony towards Kaiser Franz Platz
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    Kaiser Franz Platz
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    #64 Heinz, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
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  15. skimax

    skimax Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks Heinz, enjoying reading your reports !
     
  16. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Northerly winds and snow Thurs night.....:)
     
  17. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    About 6 weeks ago I had lunch in a restaurant directly behind the guy in the green shirt !!

    Looks very different now, snow everywhere then !

    How many days are you skiing the Gastein Valley ?
     
  18. moz

    moz Hard Yards

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    Loving the report. :)We are thinking about Austria next year. Thanks Heinz
     
  19. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was there last night. Here for 5 days.
     
  20. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've said this before but I'll say it again. If you want a relaxed skiing atmosphere, fine weather, uncrowded slopes, no queues, lots of lunch options on the mountain with terrace seating and still plenty of great skiing with a huge amount of terrain options come to Austria in March. The one downside is that there is less likelyhood of powder although still possible.
     
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  21. luvthabumps

    luvthabumps A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    March - the month of awesome TRs

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mon Mar 23 - Bad Hofgasten, Badgastein

    Another fine spring day. The bus system in the Gasteinertal is quite complex with various loops linking the towns & resorts in the valley. Today kept it fairly simple by just heaing to the Schlossalmbahn - a funicular railway.

    There was a dusting of about 2cms of new snow the night before. Nothing to get excited about but it did open up a few offpiste options, which made for a nice change. Needed a bit of caution though - had little idea of what was underneath those 2 cms - generally wasn't too bad though - a bit lumpy at times, but at least avoided rocks.

    After a few runs above Bad Hofgastein, crossed over to Angertal and Badgastein where I found the better offpiste options. Was going to continue to Sportgastein but then found that it was only connected by bus so left that for another day.

    Crossed back later to the Bad Hofgastein side again, stopped for a quick lunch and a few more runs before heading down. The talabfaht wasn't exactly in prime condition, but was at least still skiable and should still be for a while, just a bit heavy going.

    Then as per the complex bus system mentioned previously found that it is not a good idea to jump on the first bus that looks to be going the right way - need to note the numbers. So got a bit of a tour of the valley before eventually getting home. :doh:
     
    #72 Heinz, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    From Schlossalm above Bad Hofgastein
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A little further up at Hohe Scharte
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    After crossing to the Badgastein side looking back at Bad Hofgastein.
    [​IMG]

    The trail down to the cross over point in Angertal does get a bit narrow towards the bottom but achieves the purpose, otherwise the option is to catch the bus.
    [​IMG]

    Badgastein gondola
    [​IMG]

    There are quite few non skiing tourists in the valley that come up. This is one of the things provided for them.
    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Shiefe (= crooked) Alm
    [​IMG]

    View of Badgastein
    [​IMG]

    Was able to have a bit of a play offpiste in this area. Nothing special, just a nice change from piste.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Another view of Bad Hofgastein
    [​IMG]

    Lunch stop
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    Final run to the valley to Bad Hofgastein (it was still reasonably good to this point)
    [​IMG]
     
  27. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Heinz, thanks for the great report. There was more snow when I was there early Feb, as you'd expect, but you'll probably get the better weather with 4 of the 5 days being sunny and probably some snow on Thursday I see. For me there were 3 out of 6 great weather days, and the other 3 barely ski-able with bad vis and wind. My first good day was basically what you did yesterday. The following day I did Dorfgastein-Großarltal, which I enjoyed just as much, and the other good day was Sportgastein.

    I was travelling by myself and skiing for just over 2 weeks and did some googling to try and find a one week organised tour. I'd had the Gastein Valley on the radar since I bought a ski Austria book in the late 80's, so a one week organised trip staying at the Palace in Bad Hofgastein with a group of English people fitted the itinerary.

    My only serious gripe about skiing Austria is how unbelievably backward their smoking policy is. In Australia the smokers are ostracised, in Austria it's still the non-smokers. When catching a taxi from the Bad Hofgastein train station to the Palace I asked the driver if there are any non smoking bars in town. He thought about it for a while and then said no.
     
  28. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh yeah, Sportgastein. I'd recommend going there the first chance you get on a good weather day. Being the highest lifted point in the Ski Amade it's quite often only open to the mid station. Don't go there unless it's open to the top of the mountain because the mid station is probably not even a quarter of the way up the mountain ! The bus trip up from Badgastein is even a good way to start the day.
     
  29. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Plan is to head to Sportgastein today after closely studying the bus timetable last night.
     
  30. Rush

    Rush Pool Room

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    Looking pretty sweet for the end of March :thumbs:
     
  31. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hopefully the gondola is open to the top station.
     
  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re the smoking - can't say I've really noticed. Though haven't been in many bars - too busy doing these reports. It is also probably a little quieter around the place as well.
     
  33. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    there is a great off piste decent from the molltaler glacier down to sportsgastein that some mates rave about, 3100 meters down to 1400 hundred or so.

    Great report an area that i would really like to check out.The thermal baths would be an awesome substitute for an onsen.

    Any cheap public baths heinz?
     
  34. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tue Mar 24 - Sportgastein

    Got the bus out to Sportgastein which takes around 40mins from Bad Hofgastein. Scenery comimg up from Badgastein is pretty good. Have to pass through a few tunnels as well.

    Day started off fine but cool with the extra altitude, but cloud started to roll in late morning. Actually saw the same thing happening yesterday when looking across from Badgastian. Could see the cloud roll over the ridge from the south and it sat there for the rest of the day which is what happened today.

    Sportgastein is the highlest lifted part of the Gasteinertal with top station over 2600m, so all alpine. Has just 2 lifts, a gondola & a Tbar, but plenty of open terrain which would be great with fresh snow. I had a couple of runs offpiste but found it was mainly refrozen old snow so pretty crunchy underfoot. Was starting to soften a little lower down, but then the weather worsened and light was a bit flat. Snowed very lightly for a period in the afternoon as well.

    So was mainly doing runs on the piste, doing top to bottom runs from the gondola which were around 1000m vertical. Start of the day the pistes were all hard and fast, but did slowly soften up.

    This week had to go back to coming up with my own plans after a week of just following Josef around. Was getting a bit tired by 3pm and conditions weren't improving so called it day and got back on the bus. Suspect quite a few had gone earlier. A whole bunch of people got on in Badgastein in the morning so the first gondola was busy, but they then all dispersed, some to the huts and some home. Very few people still around when I left.

    Noticed quite a few more Russians today - would have been staying in Badgastein. Hadn't seen too many before today. In the Pinzgau it was mostly Austrians, Germans & Dutch. Not too many English either. Met a few Scots who were staying the season. They were happy to talk about the cricket.
     
    #84 Heinz, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
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  35. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pics are mostly from the morning before the cloud rolled in.

    [​IMG]

    Top station
    [​IMG]

    Plenty of terrain
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Had a bit of a look at some off-piste.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    View down to Badgastein.
    [​IMG]
     
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  37. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not familiar with the Mölltaler glacier trip. Had to google it. Haven't seen any reference to it here so don't know what the logistics would be. Today's weather weather wouldn't have been suitable for it.

    Re the baths - don't know but I suspect not. That aspect seems quite a bit different from Japan. I have seen several posters, ads, brochures for a number of thermal resorts but generally they seem to be like wellness theme parks - big centres with a whole bunch of stuff - fitnes centre, saunas pools, spas, slides etc. One here had entry for 4 hours for €24. As I said before there a several 'kur' (wellnes) hotels probably with stuff like that which you presumably pay for. Not really my thing.
     
  38. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    My one week tour with the English was in a 'kur' hotel. Didn't see one of our tour group of 20 or so in a dressing gown !

    As well as the drive from Badgastein to Sportgastein being different scenery than down in the valley, there were numerous frozen waterfalls in early Feb.

    We were supposedly staying in a 4 star hotel, yet they wouldn't do my laundry. Definitely a valley for people on a week or less trip from home, not catering for travellers like me. Still had Obertauern to follow before flying home, so definitely had to do some washing before flying home. After the the Palace 'kur' hotel refused to do my laundry I asked if there was a laundromat in Bad Hofgastein "No, there was one but it closed a couple of weeks ago" so I thought, no probs I never ski 6 consecutive days anyway, I'll guess the worst weather day and catch the bus to Badgastein, sounds an interesting town, and larger so bound to have a laundromat ..."No, the same guy who owned the Bad Hofgastein one also owned the Badgastein one, and he closed that one too ".. Our group tour had a tour guide, so I got her involved at this point, and she had no success, even phoning the most exclusive hotel in town"....no probs, Salzburg is probably my favourite small/medium city in the world and only a spectacular 80 minute train journey away, so on my bad weather non ski day I stuffed as much as I could into my day pack and went to Salzburg for the day to do my washing. Get out of the train in the great new looking Salzburg Bahnhof, find the tourist office....and bingo there's one laundromat in a city the size of Salzburg, and it's only a 20 minute walk away !

    So glad I went though, seeing Salzburg in the middle of winter. There's just something about that city, and it's much more than just the imposing fortress above the city and the character of the old town. The city has class without being pretentious or aloof...the Mozart factor, I guess.
     
  39. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    schareck is the name i was after for the run, would need a guide for sure.

    24 euro makes the thermal baths a bit unsustainable for a daily ritual, bummer.

    [​IMG]
     
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  40. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Washing clothes in the hand basin works for me.
     
  41. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bit different when you've got about 10 days worth stacked up and another week to go. Could've phoned where I was staying in Obertauern...didn't think of that.
     
  42. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've been 10+ days into this trip. Just wash jocks, socks, thermals every couple of days, no dramas.
     
  43. Summit

    Summit Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Different ways to travel I guess. I've been to far more off the track places than Austria and always been able to find somewhere to do the laundry every 10 days or so. When there's so much snow about, the bottom of the jeans need a proper wash every week or so. I just found the story amusing, but other than carrying around a lot of clothes for a day, I liked the idea of going to Salzburg on a bad weather day.
     
  44. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    We used to throw all our socks and undies in the spa bath ( all 4 of us ) add soap and put it on full thrust. It was dubbed undie soup.
     
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  45. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah for sure, different ways of travelling. There are many reasons to go to Salzburg. It would never have occurred to me though that looking for a laundromat would be one of them. ;)
     
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  46. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    All the cool kids...
     
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  47. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wed Mar 25 - Dorfgastein, Großarltal

    On a different bus today in the other direction - getting used to the system now. A similiar day weatherwise starting off with clear skies but clouding over late morning and staying that way, although no rain and light was still good.

    Dorfgastein - Großarltal is another linked region covering areas in two valleys. Started off with a talabfahrt on the Dorfgastein side while conditions were still firm, then headed up and over to the Großarltal side and down to the valley there as well, but on that side even at 10:30 it was already going quite soft down low. Stayed that side a while longer but higher up, then switched back to the Dorfgastein side.

    Conditions very good on piste on that side down to about mid-station so stayed around there most of the afternoon. Had a couple of looks offpiste but again not much good. Again very few people about.

    Then finished with a top to bottom run and with the heavier snow down low felt all of that 1200m vert.
     
    #97 Heinz, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  48. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Waiting for my town bus in the morning looking back to my pension.
    [​IMG]

    View of the valley from the Dorfgastein side.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bottom of the Talabfahrt.
    [​IMG]

    View from higher up
    [​IMG]

    From the gondola
    [​IMG]
     
    #98 Heinz, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
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  49. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    From Großarltal side

    [​IMG]

    towards the valley
    [​IMG]

    View of Großarl town.
    [​IMG]

    Interesting concept of outside seating top of the gondola
    [​IMG]
     
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  50. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    In Austria as well as knowing the status of runs and lifts it is important to know what mountain huts are open, which ones have table service and how to get there. The ones listed below are just for the Dorfgastein side. There would have been an equivalent number on the other side.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #100 Heinz, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
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