Austrian Dreaming - Dec/Jan Trip Report

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Austrian Dreaming - Intro

It's the trip they told me couldn’t happen. Its the trip that even I thought at many moments wouldn’t happen. But here we are sitting in Changi airport part way to Austria writing this.

I’m not able or wanting to compete with ElSpike's epic trip reports which I love reading but after a bit of an introduction I’ll do a description of the airport experience (for the benefit of others planning on travelling) and then I’m just going to post occasional photos and reports from the various places we visit. There are seven resorts in total. If you don’t like it then obviously don’t read it, if you’ve been there before then any tips and advice are very welcome!

Locations are Alpbach, Konigsleiten, Kaprun, Zell, Kitzbuhel, Saalbach and Kleinwalsertal.

Read on for airport experience...
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
I’m an Australian, get me out of here

We’ve been stressing about the airport and travel issues for some time. With such a rapidly evolving situation it’s pretty difficult trying to keep up with the constant regulation changes to depart Australia, transit through a mid-station airport, arrive in a European country and then drive into another European country. And you add two young unvaccinated kids into the equation and it obviously becomes exponentially harder.

Similar to my skiing I’m in the school of wanting to be prepared for what lies ahead so I’ve been glued to the internet for the weekly changes to the requirements. The adults being triple vaxxed is a big help, particularly for Austria now. But testing and mask wearing is also still a factor in the whole equation.

Our flights are from Melbourne to Munich via Singapore and Frankfurt. To get into Germany you don’t actually need to be tested if you are coming from Australia, you just need two doses of an approved vaccine. I’m strategically using my Australian passport to enter the EU. The status of my UK passport has dropped somewhat since brexit and the newly minted german definition of the UK as being an area of variant concern. If they try and test me out at passport control by asking what cricket team I want to win the ashes then I’m screwed as not only may they incorrectly consider denying me entry but if they actually knew anything about cricket they could also mercilessly mock me. But I digress, entry to Germany is at the moment seemingly the easiest part of the equation.

Getting to Germany via Singapore means we actually did have to be tested. To transit through Singapore you need an up to 48 hour prior rapid antigen or pcr test. We chose the rapid antigen for cost and practicality reasons. It’s a 30 minute turnaround on the antigen test and 90 minutes on the pcr.

So with a 1640 flight we rocked up at Melbourne Airport three hours early and fought our way through the non-existent crowds in the deserted international terminal to the Histopath testing site. I quickly realised that the reason no-one was at the check-in area was that they were all in the testing queue which snaked around the corner into terminal 3.

Amazingly Histopath at the airport do the tests for half the price of the other travel testing places around Melbourne and G-town. It was a mere $59 for the antigen and $79 if you want to impress your friends by getting a pcr. That said it became apparent to me later that the reason for this is that it’s pretty much amateur hour at Histopath so maybe you get what you pay for. But honestly, isn’t the general modus operandi that you charge more at the airport than anywhere else just because you can? Someone needs to send the memo to Histopath.

That said we had reached the front of the large queue in an impressive 15 minutes and then got directed into a smallish foyer area where there were about 5 or 6 testing stations. The four of us all got sent to the same station and we had prepaid and registered so there was no paperwork or money needing to change hands. We then went through a bizarre ritual where they tried to scan our passports and print out a sticker for each of our tests before they could invade our nasal passages. This seemingly simple task took four different nurses including one rookie being trained on the job and a considerable amount of time. We eventually spent more time waiting in the potentially covid-laden air of the shared testing room than we had queuing outside while they tried to print four postage stamp sized stickers. This made me wonder how the hell the original queue had been moving so fast in the first place.

With that rocket science undertaken the nose swabs were administered in a matter of seconds and our male nurse was on the more aggressive side of the ledger when it came to taking a covid sample I must say. I certainly wasn’t going to die wondering if I had covid after that test. And a mere thirty minutes later my phone got texted to say that not only were wife and daughter negative but son was negative twice! For reasons known only to Histopath they sent two certificates for my son and none for me. Concerningly as any mathematician worth his salt will know two negatives can in fact make a positive...

Despite our concerns that they had somehow cocked up the aforementioned rocket science of sticker printing for the four of us they claimed this was completely normal. Two for the price of one! But after a further wait of 30 minutes I eventually got a certificate as well and we were ready to check in.

We were by now getting a little short on time but mercifully check-in for our sold out Singapore Airlines flight had a queue of zero (yes, zero) people. So after having vax and still warm to the touch antigen test certificates checked by staff at the entrance to check-in we proceeded to the desk and had the documentation rechecked. This took quite a while but the staff were friendly and grateful that we had all the paperwork ready and waiting for them.

Bags also got checked in. We are allowed one bag each of 23kg. This consisted of a standard ‘ski bag with one pair of skis’, oops I mean four sets of skis and a snowboard stuffed into it. One suitcase was then filled entirely with ski boots. Leaving two suitcases for clothes, ski outerwear, snow boots and snowboard boots. This miracle of packing was performed by my wife. I know not how such sorcery is even possible.

With that done we breezed through xray and passport control. Literally. Only one xray machine working and only one was needed. No queues, through the lot in 5 minutes flat. Main duty free place absolutely deserted. Only other duty free shops open were Rolex with one bored salesman who looked to be playing solitaire on his laptop and Watches of Switzerland which lavishly had two sales staff to service their zero customers. In your face Rolex!!

20211221_154017.jpg


We did however pass this contraption and after my Histopath experience I did consider lying prone under this with my mouth open and saying ‘fill her up!’

20211221_153836.jpg


Other than that it was WHSmith, vending machines or bar pulpo. Everything else (and I mean everything) was shut. Frustratingly there is not a single currency exchange location open at the airport either landside or airside. Even the currency exchange ATMs are closed off. So if you want currency get it before you go to the airport. We now have no Euros and old mate in Alpbach wants paying in cash for our first stay! Just another curveball.

We were very quickly called for boarding and this consisted of just the usual passport and boarding pass checks. The only further hiccup at this point was that son preferred the Emirates 777 at the next gate and couldn’t quite get his head around the need to get on the A350 if we wanted to go to Singapore. Fortunately we are flying Emirates on the way back so I bought him off with this knowledge and a hastily produced Freddo frog.

On balance the airport process was very easy. If Histopath hadn’t been so crap and I’d instead shelled out for a test in G-town instead of being a tightarse it would have taken all of about 30 minutes from arrival at Tullamarine through to departure lounge. Just need to plan ahead and have all your documents ready. And be prepared that virtually nothing is open at the airport.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Singapore Transit
I used to love Changi. But after this visit I'm pretty luke warm on it. Covid has changed air travel from an experience to just a dour and lengthy aerial bus journey. Nothing is open at either end of the journey and the whole thing is a shadow of it's former self.

To say that all Changi could offer for food was a solitary overcrowded subway outlet and a 7-eleven store gives you an idea of how far the mighty have fallen. Every other food outlet we passed was closed and even Starbucks have shut up shop so you can't get a coffee (broad definition of coffee obviously...)

And to add salt into the wounds the only money changers open at the terminal don't accept credit cards. Wtf? So my hunt for someone who wants to sell me a thousand Euros will continue to Germany tomorrow...

No covid checks on arrival at Singapore, just walked straight into the terminal. No covid checks getting into our departure lounge. So from that perspective it has all been very, very straightforward. I'm quite hungry though!

Onwards to Germany. Hoping Lufthansa lay on a slap up dinner pretty pronto after take off...
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Entry to Austria and Germany
Sorry about the radio silence there but yesterday turned out to be pretty hellish all in all. The long and the short of it is our bags have been lost and we are not able to use our skis and have limited ski outerwear. Not happy Jan! But lets go first to the bit that people are probably most interested in which is the difficulty of travel...

Entering Germany:
This was so easy. They didn't even want to check our vaccination status which was extraordinary! Essentially we arrived at Frankfurt airport on our Lufthansa flight from Changi an hour late due to a late departure and strong headwinds. Lufthansa (my new least favourite airline!) had rebooked us some time ago from our SIN=>MUC flight to now go via Frankfurt and had left us with a 90 minute connection in Frankfurt. Being an hour late was not therefore ideal.

We got off the plane and went straight into the international terminal and were able to mingle with all other passengers in the terminal with no checks. We sprinted through the terminal following the signs for Terminal A and reached passport control. We were greeted by three polizei who looked at our passports, ran then through the scanner and did a few other small admin tasks, gave us the passports back and said carry on. At this point my wife pulled out our international vax certificates and said 'don't you want to see these?' to which Polizei number 2 said okay, had a glance and gave them back. Done. We were into Germany...

We sprinted through to the xray machines and queued for what felt like an eternity (probably 5 minutes in retrospect!). At this point we had 5 minutes to take off and were resigned to missing the flight, but you have to still try so we continued our pursuit. In an amusing British/German standoff the guy at the xray machine insisted that I retrieve each and every one of the eight trays that we had used for bags, devices, clothes etc and then feed them individually one by one into his little machine that takes them back to the start of the xray process. Dude, that's your only job! And you're making me do it when my flight leaves in 4 minutes and thirty seconds!! The joke was on him when we finally escaped and the airport had the temerity to leave one of those push button 'rate your experience' machines just round the corner, right in my flightpath. I'm not confirming that I may have nudged the red button with my elbow as I ran past but I may have... Hey, I was still sleep-deprived, angry and impulsive at the time in my defence...

That said, all of the other staff at the airport were lovely, all humoured our attempts at German and spoke excellent English which was very gratefully received by us.

In a final twist we sprinted through Terminal A in search of gate A1- which numerically at least sounded mercifully like it was very close to the xray machine. But as was the type of day we were about to have it turned out that the Germans number their gates from last to first so A1 was the furthest away of the A1-A14 part of the terminal. Come on you guys cut us some slack here! Anyway, the long and the short was we got there, they'd held the plane and we scampered on puffing and blowing, kids absolutely toasted and sat down on a virtually empty plane...

Frankfurt airport is practically operating normally and totally different feel from Melbourne and Singapore where nothing is open.

I shall miss out what happened at Munich and rant about that in a separate post away from the travel stuff!

Entry to Austria
No checks. We had a rental car, drove from Munich airport, round the ring road and down towards Kufstein. Stopped to get a vignette at a petrol station, zwei monate bitte, and carried on. Lovely scenery on that route, hard to concentrate on driving. On the border there was a polizei portakabin set up, speed dropped to 40kph but no-one there and honestly did not look like they enforced any checks on that border. My Austrian contact who I saw later that night told me she'd never seen anyone manning that border. So we got into Austria without need to provide any documentation. A word of warning though, I was told brits have now been blocked from coming to Austria due to the covid situation and it is unclear if the loophole of entering via Munich and driving is okay or not so they may tighten checks here if the Austrians wish to genuinely keep the brits out. Situation currently unclear.

I love the autobahn, it's really not that different from the motorways in the UK to be honest, it's the difference between the Aussie freeway and the euro motorways that gets you. In Aus the speeds are mandated a lot lower and 99% of people drive within about 5% of the speed limit due to enforcement. This makes overtaking very slow and the need for lane discipline is not really there as the speed differential is so small. You all know all this already I realise but it's still always interesting to see the difference after a long time away. You get to Germany or the UK and when you hit the entry ramp you just floor it to get up to speed ASAP and then you need to constantly monitor your mirrors to know who's coming at what speed! Picking gaps to move across lanes is way more critical as gaps can disappear real fast if old mate in his BMW is doing 150 in the outside lane!

All good though, despite my epic lack of sleep we finally reached Alpbach and eventually found our accommodation. Will describe more in the next post.

Final word on travel - get the right documentation early, follow the rules and it really was not much more difficult than normal travel. Most of the things that went wrong for us weren't because of the covid stuff, just normal travel issues.

And MASKS: Melbourne airport, singapore airlines flight to singapore and singapore airport itself they did not care what sort of mask you wore as long as you wore one. Singapore airlines offer you a surgical mask but are happy with whatever mask you already have. However, Lufthansa make you wear a surgical mask (they provide one). In addition, the rules in Bavaria are also different and you must have an FFP2 mask in the airport and anywhere else where a mask is required in Bavaria. They are happy to let you fly into Bavaria with a surgical mask but then you need to buy FFP2 masks at the airport in Munich - easily available in the shops for a couple of euros each.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
28,576
14,731
1,063
Adelaide
A word of warning though, I was told brits have now been blocked from coming to Austria due to the covid situation.

Yes, that came into effect yesterday following a national summit. Entry for Brits as well as Dutch, Danish & Norwegians restricted. They now require a 10 day quarantine. Otherwise 2G rule applies. After Christmas a 10pm closing for bars and restaurants will also be applied including NYE.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
28,576
14,731
1,063
Adelaide
Sorry to hear about the baggage dramas. I've had my issues previously also with Lufthansa back in 2013 with skis not making connection from Frankfurt to Munich. Though that was largely due to the extreme cold and snow at the time. Much time wasted on call centers, eventually got my skis delivered to Austria a few days later.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Ranty McRantFace
Okay so yesterday was pretty crappy. Although born in Australia I have always felt English (parents English and grew up there) so I do love a whinge as much as the next man, it's just in my DNA... But I'd like to think I give praise where it's due to balance my whinging. Unfortunately when you have had no sleep for 36 hours, you're trying to keep two sleep deprived young kids from spontaneously combusting and you've meticulously planned things and gone to great effort to streamline a process and make it as easy as possible it's very annoying when it all goes wrong! Therefore I shall rant on this post and if you'd rather skip to the next post for the ski stuff then please feel free...

I was suspicious when we made it onto our flight at Frankfurt Airport and the captain announced we were about to depart and he just had to offload two bags for passengers that hadn't made the flight. I wish I'd looked out the window in case those were our bags and I could have alerted the crew. We just assumed that it was bags of other passengers from the Singapore flight who didn't have our legspeed to make the flight. Or were maybe still stuck at x-ray feeding the trays into Herr Jobsworth's little tray machine (see post above).

Anyway, we flew to Munich in what is a crazy short flight. Just enough time to drill the complementary water bottle and chocolate. Kids by the way (5 and 8 years old) were pretty toasted by this point. They had behaved beautifully the whole way - yeah all parents say that about their kids - and had each had a couple of hours sleep on the Singapore to Frankfurt flight. But they were way over-tired and asking how much longer until we get there. We re-assured them with tales of being at Alpbach by lunchtime which in retrospect may have been a mistake...

Landed at Munich, acquired FFP2 masks at pharmacy and simultaneously ensured our credit cards worked in Germany on our phones - all good. Went to baggage carousel and waited. Virtually empty baggage hall and I estimate maybe 20 people on our flight. Ski bag came out first and I grabbed that. Then our second suitcase came out - all good. About five people left at the carousel and then the machine stopped and the screen blinked 'çompleted'. Bollocks.

It can't be unusual as they have a very highly staffed baggage tracing centre nearby so I lined up, explained to the very polite staff what had happened and they set up all of the report and said they could see it was in Frankfurt and could be sent on the next flight. Sadly the next flight was 5 hours away arriving at 110pm which I found quite surprising for Frankfurt-Munich but I guess everyone uses the train. She said they could send it on to our accommodation or we could wait. I chose to wait as the bags contained all of our ski boots, ski bindings for three sets of skis, snowbaord boots and bindings and a lot of the adult clothes, helmets and ski outerwear. I'm a frother, I wanted to ski tomorrow, I'd wait and make sure we got the bags and we had everything so we could ski.

So, five hours in Munich airport with two ratshit kids who thought they were almost at their beds an hour ago... Hmm, next stop rental car. Didn't want to be hit with a late pickup fee. They were very nice, said we should just do the admin now, could put our luggage in the car and leave it in the car park until we got our lost luggage. All good.

By God it was cold in Munich, bone-chilling cold. And we had no jackets for the adults. I was wearing a jumper that I gave to my wife as an extra layer and spent the rest of the day in a t-shirt. The looks I got... The rental car was located in the bowels of Pluto in a dark underground car park that was so cold it could have doubled as a freezer. We got a Hyundai Tucson - the booking was Jeep Compass or similar and I'd been hoping for similar. The Tucson turned out not to be ideal from a practical point of view but I hate Jeeps so I was glad we got the 'similar' option. The back seats were a 60/40 split bu the 40 was on the drivers side and the ski bag wouldn't fit with the seat down. So had to remove all of the skis and slide them individually down the side next to the drivers seat. Grrr. By the time I'd put the luggage we had in the car I couldn't feel my hands and we retreated back to the terminal for baked goods.

We waited for what seemed an eternity. Have you ever tried waiting at an airport with feral kids for five hours when they've already been going for an Aus-EU triple flight combo? They were great about it but tempers were fraying all round. We went for lunch in the terminal and used the Grune Pass that we had got via the Swiss loophole to prove our 2G status. Worked fine so that was a win. Got myself a dark Erdinger to numb the pain and warm up my hands. Wife got a prosecco and in the act of telling the kids not to knock over their bottle of drink knocked her glass over and it smashed on the floor. The German staff were great about it but tempers in our camp continued to fray. It was okay though, I'd get the luggage at 130 and we'd be round the ring road before peak hour and in Alpbach before dark. Or so I thought.

We went to the supermarket at the airport and stocked up on stinky cheese, bread, milk, cereal and a bottle of red. The thought of a cheese-fest and a bottle of wine in the apartment in a few hours kept us going.

Ah yes, and my money changing problems continued. There was a travelex in Frankfurt but we had no time there as we were sprinting for our flight. I didn't find one in Munich (there may have been but I was beyond caring). So I just got the cash out of an ATM on my savings card. I knew it would hurt but I was really beyond worrying about it. I had to do two 500 euro withdrawals, one on NAB, one on Commbank as there is a $1000 daily limit on each account. Got slayed on the exchange rate and an extra $29 withdrawal charge. Did not care. But note to self to get that organised before the airport next time.

Finally we got to 1pm. Still had no snow chains or booster seat as the europcar staff were understandably reluctant to go down into the freezer to get the equipment and told us someone would be there at some point in the day to help us (thanks guys, I think!). I found a German customer down there muttering about the lack of staff several times as well and we conversed in broken English/German about how annoying it was. The international language of whinging!

I went through to baggage claim and waited. Wife went to try and procure snow chains and booster seat from the freezer with the kids. We'll be out of here by 2pm...

130 cam and went, flight not showing on the board or on the Franfurt or Munich airport websites for some reason. Went to counter, yes sir flight is delayed, should be here in next half hour, good news is I can see both bags are on board. Score. Happy to take the hit. Wife then texts to say europcar staff are getting shitty with her. Gave her chains and seat and have told her to get the car out of their car park now. Has told them she can't as I am trying to get our last bags. Kids are upset. I can't help as I can't afford not to get these bags! I told her to sit in the car, turn engine and heater on and make it look like we're about to leave.

2pm comes and goes. No flight, no bags. Finally the flight lands and people eventually troop through. Baggage comes out about 220pm. Yes! The ski boot bag come out. I excitedly text wife. She tells me europcar have again told her to leave the car park. She's never driven on the right before and it's also a manual which complicated things when you are used to the gearstick on the left! I tell her to try and buy time and I should be back in 20 minutes or so.

I wait, seething quietly as bags have stopped coming out now but carousel is still moving. Some people still there. Monitor still says it's in progress. I wait, getting crosser. I text wife to say I'm not confident. And then it happens, the monitor says completed. Bollocks! I rapidly return to the tracing centre, just in time as a huge queue also builds up behind me. There are two lovely ladies there who helped me earlier but I get grumpy man who hates his job and spends the entire time tutting and huffing and puffing at me. Lots of keyboard tapping, lots of grumbling. Do you know where it is? No. Wasn't it scanned onto that flight? I don't know. Helpful! Time is now 3pm. No idea if wife has had car clamped yet or id driving aimlessly around the airport on the wrong side of the road.

Guy says if they find it they will send it to our accommodation. Grumpily takes details. Sends me away. Mate, we are unable to ski without that bag and it also has our jackets in, if we rent some equipment can we claim the cost of that back? This really set him off although I thought it was a reasonable question. After another ten minutes he thrusts a complaint form into my hand (not what I was after, I just wanted to know if we file a claim online or I needed a form for this before we left the airport) and basically told me to bugger off. I'd been polite and friendly the whole time so no idea why he was such an asshat but hey I would probably be like that too working in that job!

Anyhow, with the time now around 330pm I texted wife to explain, said I was on my way and told her to keep stalling. Got there, jumped in car, kids both crying and I thought to myself - international travel! So joyful! So relaxing!!!

In the cold light of day I look back and think it's just a lost bag, it happens. It's just a fact of travel. But when you are tired and the kids are losing their crap and you have to wait around for an extra six hours it is easy to see how people lose their cool. I didn't lose it with any of the poor staff - I was just internally seething. I was most annoyed because we now can't use our skis (bindings in the bag) we have no helmets and gloves and most of our clothes are also missing. I'd planned it all meticulously to be cherry-ripe for a first day ski on the 23rd at Ski Juwel in the sunshine. The best laid plans...

And it wasn't quite over. We headed off in the car, all okay but little things continued to conspire against my already poor mood. Sun was almost down so while I was familiarising myself with a right hand gear-stick, driving on the right and German drivers on teh Autobahn I had the sun directly in my eyes on the skyline and heading into early peak hour traffic! The joys! I'd planned the whole day to avoid this originally.

Got round the ring road, stopped for vignette. Got into Austria feeling a lot better. Dark fell and it all got a bit intimidating when we got off the freeway. Once you get onto the arterials the real fun starts as you have to start concentrating on being on the right side of the road, giving way to the correct side and using roundabouts in the right orientation. It's easy once you've had the first day but when your first crack is in the dark at peak hour and you don't know where you're going it's pretty ordinary. Anyway we go through to Reith and started climbing to Alpbach. Very narrow roads - which I am used to from the UK - but again in the dark with a wall on one side, snow and ice on some parts of the road and speedy gonzalez behind you right up your backside with his headlights in your mirrors it was non-ideal.

The drive through Alpbach and out to Rossmoos was just a wing and a prayer. If we'd met oncoming traffic it was going to be annoying with no rear visibility due to luggage and ice everywhere. Fortunately we winged it to the village and pulled up to have a deep breath. It was pitch black and no-one was about. I went into the Gastehaus Rossmoos and eventually found someone in the restaurant. In very fast German she told me I was in the wrong place and gave me rapid instructions to leave and go over the road. I scampered and we tried over the road where we'd parked (also called Rossmoos). No-one in. It seems everyone in the village is called Rossmoos which makes identifying the correct accommodation in the dark somewhat more challenging.

Kids now asking to get back in the car as it's so cold. Told them to go back to the car and I'd look around. It's just a sprinkling of a few houses outside Alpbach so no-one I caould ask. Looked at google maps and did some googling. Bauernhaus Rossmoos not showing up on the maps. However Ferienwohnung Rossmoos seemed to be written on the booking and that was up a steep road covered in sheet ice. No way was I driving the Tucson up there even with snow tyres. It was solid ice, I couldn't even stand on it without sliding. And even then the building at the top did not look like what we were wanting. Grrr, might just go back to Munich and fly home I am so over this right now! What else is going to go wrong??

This was quickly answered when we managed to find a small side-track that went up avoiding said sheet ice and my wife found the owner of the place (it's actually a working farm with a holiday apartment so no signage) and she told us where to park. I then opened the boot and our only alcohol, I repeat our ONLY alcohol rolled out of the boot and smashed on the ground into a million pieces of glass and a frozen puddle of Rioja. JESUS!

Finally, finally the pain stopped there. She was very friendly and in broken English/German she showed us the apartment which is at the very top of the farmhouse and is enormous and beautifully furnished. And the kids were overjoyed - it had wifi! Such a must have for the youth of today... There are cows all in stalls below which my son will love and the place is amazing. So after all that we took the remains of our luggage up and we live to fight another day.

In a good end to the day our friend drove all the way from Kitzbuhel to bring us our Superski season passes and even bought Kirchdorf hoodies for the kids. Even better - she bought three beers!!! Yes! That beer tasted so good... We ate cheese, drank beer, used wifi and then exhausted collapsed in bed.

Daughter and I woke up at 4am which I thought was not a bad result. We looked out of the window and this is what we saw. We may have no skis, no jackets, no clothes, no wash bag, no sanity, but here, officially ends my ranting...

2.jpg


1.jpg
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,008
3,238
363
You write really well. Thanks for the detail. Sorry Changi isn’t at its best at the moment. It is very efficient still though!
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
You write really well. Thanks for the detail. Sorry Changi isn’t at its best at the moment. It is very efficient still though!
A 9pm arrival probably not great for everything being open in Changi in retrospect. Airport was fine, just understandably not at it's peak. Still one of the best. Hope you guys are having a great holiday and enjoying the snow. Will read up on your reports later today!
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,008
3,238
363
A 9pm arrival probably not great for everything being open in Changi in retrospect. Airport was fine, just understandably not at it's peak. Still one of the best. Hope you guys are having a great holiday and enjoying the snow. Will read up on your reports later today!
Sending good vibes that the last of your troubles are over. Just remember that almost everything can be solved with a credit card and that paying for it is future @blueandwhite’s problem LOL
 

Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
23,577
28,706
1,063
Canberra
Alpbach has a surprisingly big scope for offpiste skiing. Also some good mild less intimidating terrain near the pistes for those wanting to learn to ski powder without going too far out. Have fun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
Ski Pass
Mar 3, 1999
69,575
45,962
1,563
Coastal suburban boonies.
Ranty McRantFace
Okay so yesterday was pretty crappy. Although born in Australia I have always felt English (parents English and grew up there) so I do love a whinge as much as the next man, it's just in my DNA... But I'd like to think I give praise where it's due to balance my whinging. Unfortunately when you have had no sleep for 36 hours, you're trying to keep two sleep deprived young kids from spontaneously combusting and you've meticulously planned things and gone to great effort to streamline a process and make it as easy as possible it's very annoying when it all goes wrong! Therefore I shall rant on this post and if you'd rather skip to the next post for the ski stuff then please feel free...

I was suspicious when we made it onto our flight at Frankfurt Airport and the captain announced we were about to depart and he just had to offload two bags for passengers that hadn't made the flight. I wish I'd looked out the window in case those were our bags and I could have alerted the crew. We just assumed that it was bags of other passengers from the Singapore flight who didn't have our legspeed to make the flight. Or were maybe still stuck at x-ray feeding the trays into Herr Jobsworth's little tray machine (see post above).

Anyway, we flew to Munich in what is a crazy short flight. Just enough time to drill the complementary water bottle and chocolate. Kids by the way (5 and 8 years old) were pretty toasted by this point. They had behaved beautifully the whole way - yeah all parents say that about their kids - and had each had a couple of hours sleep on the Singapore to Frankfurt flight. But they were way over-tired and asking how much longer until we get there. We re-assured them with tales of being at Alpbach by lunchtime which in retrospect may have been a mistake...

Landed at Munich, acquired FFP2 masks at pharmacy and simultaneously ensured our credit cards worked in Germany on our phones - all good. Went to baggage carousel and waited. Virtually empty baggage hall and I estimate maybe 20 people on our flight. Ski bag came out first and I grabbed that. Then our second suitcase came out - all good. About five people left at the carousel and then the machine stopped and the screen blinked 'çompleted'. Bollocks.

It can't be unusual as they have a very highly staffed baggage tracing centre nearby so I lined up, explained to the very polite staff what had happened and they set up all of the report and said they could see it was in Frankfurt and could be sent on the next flight. Sadly the next flight was 5 hours away arriving at 110pm which I found quite surprising for Frankfurt-Munich but I guess everyone uses the train. She said they could send it on to our accommodation or we could wait. I chose to wait as the bags contained all of our ski boots, ski bindings for three sets of skis, snowbaord boots and bindings and a lot of the adult clothes, helmets and ski outerwear. I'm a frother, I wanted to ski tomorrow, I'd wait and make sure we got the bags and we had everything so we could ski.

So, five hours in Munich airport with two ratshit kids who thought they were almost at their beds an hour ago... Hmm, next stop rental car. Didn't want to be hit with a late pickup fee. They were very nice, said we should just do the admin now, could put our luggage in the car and leave it in the car park until we got our lost luggage. All good.

By God it was cold in Munich, bone-chilling cold. And we had no jackets for the adults. I was wearing a jumper that I gave to my wife as an extra layer and spent the rest of the day in a t-shirt. The looks I got... The rental car was located in the bowels of Pluto in a dark underground car park that was so cold it could have doubled as a freezer. We got a Hyundai Tucson - the booking was Jeep Compass or similar and I'd been hoping for similar. The Tucson turned out not to be ideal from a practical point of view but I hate Jeeps so I was glad we got the 'similar' option. The back seats were a 60/40 split bu the 40 was on the drivers side and the ski bag wouldn't fit with the seat down. So had to remove all of the skis and slide them individually down the side next to the drivers seat. Grrr. By the time I'd put the luggage we had in the car I couldn't feel my hands and we retreated back to the terminal for baked goods.

We waited for what seemed an eternity. Have you ever tried waiting at an airport with feral kids for five hours when they've already been going for an Aus-EU triple flight combo? They were great about it but tempers were fraying all round. We went for lunch in the terminal and used the Grune Pass that we had got via the Swiss loophole to prove our 2G status. Worked fine so that was a win. Got myself a dark Erdinger to numb the pain and warm up my hands. Wife got a prosecco and in the act of telling the kids not to knock over their bottle of drink knocked her glass over and it smashed on the floor. The German staff were great about it but tempers in our camp continued to fray. It was okay though, I'd get the luggage at 130 and we'd be round the ring road before peak hour and in Alpbach before dark. Or so I thought.

We went to the supermarket at the airport and stocked up on stinky cheese, bread, milk, cereal and a bottle of red. The thought of a cheese-fest and a bottle of wine in the apartment in a few hours kept us going.

Ah yes, and my money changing problems continued. There was a travelex in Frankfurt but we had no time there as we were sprinting for our flight. I didn't find one in Munich (there may have been but I was beyond caring). So I just got the cash out of an ATM on my savings card. I knew it would hurt but I was really beyond worrying about it. I had to do two 500 euro withdrawals, one on NAB, one on Commbank as there is a $1000 daily limit on each account. Got slayed on the exchange rate and an extra $29 withdrawal charge. Did not care. But note to self to get that organised before the airport next time.

Finally we got to 1pm. Still had no snow chains or booster seat as the europcar staff were understandably reluctant to go down into the freezer to get the equipment and told us someone would be there at some point in the day to help us (thanks guys, I think!). I found a German customer down there muttering about the lack of staff several times as well and we conversed in broken English/German about how annoying it was. The international language of whinging!

I went through to baggage claim and waited. Wife went to try and procure snow chains and booster seat from the freezer with the kids. We'll be out of here by 2pm...

130 cam and went, flight not showing on the board or on the Franfurt or Munich airport websites for some reason. Went to counter, yes sir flight is delayed, should be here in next half hour, good news is I can see both bags are on board. Score. Happy to take the hit. Wife then texts to say europcar staff are getting shitty with her. Gave her chains and seat and have told her to get the car out of their car park now. Has told them she can't as I am trying to get our last bags. Kids are upset. I can't help as I can't afford not to get these bags! I told her to sit in the car, turn engine and heater on and make it look like we're about to leave.

2pm comes and goes. No flight, no bags. Finally the flight lands and people eventually troop through. Baggage comes out about 220pm. Yes! The ski boot bag come out. I excitedly text wife. She tells me europcar have again told her to leave the car park. She's never driven on the right before and it's also a manual which complicated things when you are used to the gearstick on the left! I tell her to try and buy time and I should be back in 20 minutes or so.

I wait, seething quietly as bags have stopped coming out now but carousel is still moving. Some people still there. Monitor still says it's in progress. I wait, getting crosser. I text wife to say I'm not confident. And then it happens, the monitor says completed. Bollocks! I rapidly return to the tracing centre, just in time as a huge queue also builds up behind me. There are two lovely ladies there who helped me earlier but I get grumpy man who hates his job and spends the entire time tutting and huffing and puffing at me. Lots of keyboard tapping, lots of grumbling. Do you know where it is? No. Wasn't it scanned onto that flight? I don't know. Helpful! Time is now 3pm. No idea if wife has had car clamped yet or id driving aimlessly around the airport on the wrong side of the road.

Guy says if they find it they will send it to our accommodation. Grumpily takes details. Sends me away. Mate, we are unable to ski without that bag and it also has our jackets in, if we rent some equipment can we claim the cost of that back? This really set him off although I thought it was a reasonable question. After another ten minutes he thrusts a complaint form into my hand (not what I was after, I just wanted to know if we file a claim online or I needed a form for this before we left the airport) and basically told me to bugger off. I'd been polite and friendly the whole time so no idea why he was such an asshat but hey I would probably be like that too working in that job!

Anyhow, with the time now around 330pm I texted wife to explain, said I was on my way and told her to keep stalling. Got there, jumped in car, kids both crying and I thought to myself - international travel! So joyful! So relaxing!!!

In the cold light of day I look back and think it's just a lost bag, it happens. It's just a fact of travel. But when you are tired and the kids are losing their crap and you have to wait around for an extra six hours it is easy to see how people lose their cool. I didn't lose it with any of the poor staff - I was just internally seething. I was most annoyed because we now can't use our skis (bindings in the bag) we have no helmets and gloves and most of our clothes are also missing. I'd planned it all meticulously to be cherry-ripe for a first day ski on the 23rd at Ski Juwel in the sunshine. The best laid plans...

And it wasn't quite over. We headed off in the car, all okay but little things continued to conspire against my already poor mood. Sun was almost down so while I was familiarising myself with a right hand gear-stick, driving on the right and German drivers on teh Autobahn I had the sun directly in my eyes on the skyline and heading into early peak hour traffic! The joys! I'd planned the whole day to avoid this originally.

Got round the ring road, stopped for vignette. Got into Austria feeling a lot better. Dark fell and it all got a bit intimidating when we got off the freeway. Once you get onto the arterials the real fun starts as you have to start concentrating on being on the right side of the road, giving way to the correct side and using roundabouts in the right orientation. It's easy once you've had the first day but when your first crack is in the dark at peak hour and you don't know where you're going it's pretty ordinary. Anyway we go through to Reith and started climbing to Alpbach. Very narrow roads - which I am used to from the UK - but again in the dark with a wall on one side, snow and ice on some parts of the road and speedy gonzalez behind you right up your backside with his headlights in your mirrors it was non-ideal.

The drive through Alpbach and out to Rossmoos was just a wing and a prayer. If we'd met oncoming traffic it was going to be annoying with no rear visibility due to luggage and ice everywhere. Fortunately we winged it to the village and pulled up to have a deep breath. It was pitch black and no-one was about. I went into the Gastehaus Rossmoos and eventually found someone in the restaurant. In very fast German she told me I was in the wrong place and gave me rapid instructions to leave and go over the road. I scampered and we tried over the road where we'd parked (also called Rossmoos). No-one in. It seems everyone in the village is called Rossmoos which makes identifying the correct accommodation in the dark somewhat more challenging.

Kids now asking to get back in the car as it's so cold. Told them to go back to the car and I'd look around. It's just a sprinkling of a few houses outside Alpbach so no-one I caould ask. Looked at google maps and did some googling. Bauernhaus Rossmoos not showing up on the maps. However Ferienwohnung Rossmoos seemed to be written on the booking and that was up a steep road covered in sheet ice. No way was I driving the Tucson up there even with snow tyres. It was solid ice, I couldn't even stand on it without sliding. And even then the building at the top did not look like what we were wanting. Grrr, might just go back to Munich and fly home I am so over this right now! What else is going to go wrong??

This was quickly answered when we managed to find a small side-track that went up avoiding said sheet ice and my wife found the owner of the place (it's actually a working farm with a holiday apartment so no signage) and she told us where to park. I then opened the boot and our only alcohol, I repeat our ONLY alcohol rolled out of the boot and smashed on the ground into a million pieces of glass and a frozen puddle of Rioja. JESUS!

Finally, finally the pain stopped there. She was very friendly and in broken English/German she showed us the apartment which is at the very top of the farmhouse and is enormous and beautifully furnished. And the kids were overjoyed - it had wifi! Such a must have for the youth of today... There are cows all in stalls below which my son will love and the place is amazing. So after all that we took the remains of our luggage up and we live to fight another day.

In a good end to the day our friend drove all the way from Kitzbuhel to bring us our Superski season passes and even bought Kirchdorf hoodies for the kids. Even better - she bought three beers!!! Yes! That beer tasted so good... We ate cheese, drank beer, used wifi and then exhausted collapsed in bed.

Daughter and I woke up at 4am which I thought was not a bad result. We looked out of the window and this is what we saw. We may have no skis, no jackets, no clothes, no wash bag, no sanity, but here, officially ends my ranting...

2.jpg


1.jpg
The good news is that, after a day of skiing, some good food and a few (quite a few) glasses of wine the horror fades and it just becomes a (rather horrific) war story.
 

Skifahrer

Hard Yards
Feb 6, 2021
367
130
63
Dahoam
I was involved in the commissioning of the baggage transport system of Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. I can tell you everything about the baggage sorting.

Since then I always take all important things in my hand luggage. When my son and I flew to Japan last year to go skiing, we put our ski clothes and helmets in our hand luggage. We could have rented skis and ski boots on site in case of emergency.
I wish you a great vacation despite the difficult journey.
 

DidSurfNowSki

One of them
Ski Pass
Jan 19, 2014
13,031
27,637
813
Canberra, ACT
Need some English humor and understatements in this thread ;)

(Appears you made each flight connection, the aircraft didn't have any incidents or was diverted, you could actually get from the airport to your destination by car, the airline accepted your tickets, the flights weren't cancelled and your gear kicked off, you didn't have to trawl through the lost baggage)... gawd I miss it.

I give this TR 4 stars out of 5 on the DSNS tripometer. :p
 
Last edited:

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
28,576
14,731
1,063
Adelaide
I was involved in the commissioning of the baggage transport system of Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. I can tell you everything about the baggage sorting.

Since then I always take all important things in my hand luggage. When my son and I flew to Japan last year to go skiing, we put our ski clothes and helmets in our hand luggage. We could have rented skis and ski boots on site in case of emergency.
I wish you a great vacation despite the difficult journey.
I was going to make a similar comment. When I travel to a winter destination I make sure to include a warm jacket in my hand luggage in case there is any delay in my checked luggage.
 

Hyst

Enjoyer
Ski Pass
Nov 23, 2014
2,850
2,236
363
66
Copenhagen
www.ahmadjoudeh.com
And look at the bright side, at least you drive on the right right side of the road now. :cool:

You have car - Hintertux Glacier you can take a walk down into the ice.

Or when coming to Kitzbühl a night on the top of the mounatain (if they have space).
by ski of course.

 
Last edited:

DVP

Addicted
Aug 14, 2002
411
167
113
Reading, UK
So unfortunate about the lost bags.... I had my ski bag not arrive in Japan a few years ago and sadly the next flight wasn't for 24 hours! A German guy I spoke to had a good way of looking at it when I said it was first world problems; everyone on the planet has a finite amount of time and so no matter how much money we have, when time is robbed from us we have the right to feel aggrieved!

Great story-telling if it makes you feel better! Enjoy the first day of skiing :)
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Skiing Fixes Everything
When you wake at 4am it's a solid wait until breakfast. It's worth it when you get to see the first light from the window of a place you arrived in when it was dark though.
3.jpg

The apartment is amazing. The views are exceptional from all three sides and exactly how I'd imagined postcard Austria to be. It's hard to envisage that anywhere else can live up to this to be honest. The snow on the ground is a total bonus this time of year and makes it look very pretty.

The place itself is a working farm and the farm building (of which the apartment is part) was built in 2013. I've seen a few similar buildings which suggests it's quite a traditional design. The front is the living quarters and when it was built the owners clearly decided to also tack on a rental apartment right at the top for a bit of extra cash. Given the location and the views why wouldn't you. The top floor is ours and it's a massive three bedroom arrangement with cute balcony and a floor area that Melbourne property developers could probably squeeze five units into!
4.jpg

Behind the living area and hidden from view is the massive barn with multiple levels. It's a real piece of work with cows on the bottom level and then multiple levels above it for hay, some other animals and an assortment of other planes, trains and automobiles.
4a.jpg

The owners also have horses (and a buggy that they pull) rabbits, chickens and who knows what else! There was a hand written sign in our apartment offering milk, eggs and home-made cheese for sale. We duly obliged and ordered 2 litres of milk, 10 eggs and a kilo of cheese (the minimum quantity of cheese available!). Later that day the goods magically appeared outside our unit, and I can already tell you that the cheese is absolutely delicious!
12.jpg

The horses, cows and bunnies are a total bonus for my son who loves animals and has been able to pet them relentlessly. The bunnies are total mutants - like us I think they may have been eating the cheese in one kilo portions.
16.jpg

But I digress, back to the skiing. With our skis bereft of bindings and out of action we grabbed our boots and cobbled together what outerwear we could before setting sail in the mighty Tucson for Alpbach village to procure rental equipment. Despite skiing I was clad in a snowboarding jacket (the horror!) and also had to wear yesterday's pants (UK definition) and a pair of my wife's ski socks due to our Lufthansa-induced clothing shortage. Not sure if this trend is going to catch on.

The driving is a whole lot easier in the light when you can see where you are going and we quickly picked up skis, poles and helmets and bought new gloves for my wife as hers are currently somewhere in Germany. We parked up at the base of the gondola and validated our ski passes by showing the ticket office our Grune Passes. This is now required on the first day of each resort you visit although it can be done online using an app as well if you can't be arsed with the ticket office visit.

We however needed to go to the ticket office to see if the 5 year old needed a pass to get onto the lifts. He goes free at most resorts but we were told he may need an rfid card to get onto the lifts. Not at Ski Juwel though - he's fine, just get him to duck under the barriers they said! So he spent the rest of the day limbo-ing the turnstiles with varying degrees of success which seemed like a bit of a weird system!

We hopped on the gondola, resplendent with FFP2 masks and enjoyed the lengthy ride to the top of the Gmahkopf. The FFP2s are highly annoying. I'm totally on board with using masks but if you are wearing a helmet it's a ballache of the highest order removing your helmet to get your mask on every time you reach a lift. If someone can invent a buff that incorporates an FFP2 mask they are going to absolutely clean up in Austria. On a practical level the go seemed to be FFP2 masks on gondolas and hooded lifts and buff sufficient on normal chairlifts. Compliance was fairly high although we didn't share a lift or gondola for the entire day so it was all a bit pointless from that perspective. However the views at the top were pretty epic and the weather was weak sunshine with zero wind which as I would have said in my youth was lush. Or probably even worthy of a gert lush given our day yesterday.
6.jpg

We then spent the day smashing out as many blue and red runs as our legs would allow. The snow was fun without being spectacular. The dump of snow from a while back has been through a few freeze-thaw cycles and the off-piste was baked solid so it was on piste only although that suits us down to the ground. The pistes were solid with plenty of loose granular stuff on top so heaps of grip, very fast and only a few icy/scratchy sections. This is bread and butter stuff at Buller so we lapped it up.
7.jpg

The resort has loads of kids stuff with a small terrain park, speed guns, a snow tunnel and hoops for the kids to ski through. That said, those runs aside there is not much other blue stuff and there's a lot of red. Again, the proliferation of red runs suited us perfectly but for beginners it might be a bit limiting. Number 5 might not have enjoyed it if we had come last year when he was Number 4 but his skiing has really improved over the last Buller season so on balance last year's cancellation has probably been a win for us all!
9.jpg

We skied top to bottom a couple of times and it's a solid ask on the legs on hard-packed red piste the whole way down. Number 5 has legs like a chicken so god knows what his legs felt like at the bottom, mine were cooked! We were particularly fond of Run 47 which we can see from the window of our apartment and takes you top to bottom on some pretty steep red piste the whole way down. The kids dubbed it the longest red run in Tyrol which I'm sure isn't factually correct but it sure felt like it on day 1 of the ski trip...

We stopped for lunch at a big restaurant mid-mountain. It was very quiet on the slopes and in the restaurant but I very much enjoyed my curry sausage and chips and a beer. When I was at school learning German the textbook used to have a couple of phrases that would constantly come up each year. How do I get to Saarbrucken? My lights have stopped working. Where is the town hall? I would like a curried sausage please. All eminently useful in the right context and yet amazingly none had been used in anger in my post-school life. So here was my chance and despite the more glamorous other culinary offerings I felt compelled to order the currywurst. It was delicious and certainly lived up to the German textbook hype from the mid 1990s.

Wife had a barley soup which appeared to have more bacon than barley in it but either way was also very tasty. And on the eating/drinking topic I am looking for advice. The beer fridges seem to be stocked with a confusingly large range of beers. What does the man about town in Tyrol choose if he doesn't want to look like a total kook or a tourist? Happy to drink regular beer although I love the dark beers. Is there a local or regional brew that I should be drinking?

After lunch we headed over to the Weidersberger Horn. Daughter decided to do the entire access trail backwards obviously. And I thought I was the one that had been drinking.
11.jpg

It's very open over that side and has massive potential for powder skiing on the right days - but obviously not at the moment.

It was super-quiet everywhere and you have to feel for the tourism operators. The kids runs were busy with ski school groups but the red pistes were virtually empty. Amazing for us but it was tinged with sadness for the operators and the local economy.
10.jpg

I'd also forgotten that on the last day of the Buller season I'd had new inners moulded for my boots as the old ones were fubar'd. I got the ones where they blow foam into the inner to mould to your foot and the first day of skiing is agony as your foot arch fights a losing battle against the solid foam that's been pumped in under it. My arches will ultimately win the war but day one is brutal. And this was day one! I had to take my boots off in the gondola a couple of times but by the last few runs I feel like I'd got the foam on the run and was making solid inroads into its front line. Or maybe it was the beer talking. Or maybe my wife's ski socks cutting off the circulation half way up my calves. Either way, at about 2pm we high-tailed it down for a last top to bottom and headed for home. We'd all had a blast but the golden rule is not to go too hard on day one for the sake of the adults legs and the kids froth levels.
17.jpg

But what a day. Could scarcely have been a better tonic after yesterday's debacle. It was absolutely magic. We all went home happy and after a quick stop in the Spar for beers, wines and bread products we headed home to pat the animals. Couldn't be happier and already loving Austria.

Bag Update: Lufthansa reckon they have the bag and it went to Vienna and then to Innsbruck today. They say they will deliver it to Alpbach but realistically it's Christmas Eve tomorrow so I doubt we will see it for a few days. My rental skis today were okay but I miss my own skis! And I'm not sure how many more days I can keep this one pair of pants going either.
 

Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Sep 29, 2010
13,054
9,536
813
Ranty McRantFace
Okay so yesterday was pretty crappy. Although born in Australia I have always felt English (parents English and grew up there) so I do love a whinge as much as the next man, it's just in my DNA... But I'd like to think I give praise where it's due to balance my whinging. Unfortunately when you have had no sleep for 36 hours, you're trying to keep two sleep deprived young kids from spontaneously combusting and you've meticulously planned things and gone to great effort to streamline a process and make it as easy as possible it's very annoying when it all goes wrong! Therefore I shall rant on this post and if you'd rather skip to the next post for the ski stuff then please feel free...

I was suspicious when we made it onto our flight at Frankfurt Airport and the captain announced we were about to depart and he just had to offload two bags for passengers that hadn't made the flight. I wish I'd looked out the window in case those were our bags and I could have alerted the crew. We just assumed that it was bags of other passengers from the Singapore flight who didn't have our legspeed to make the flight. Or were maybe still stuck at x-ray feeding the trays into Herr Jobsworth's little tray machine (see post above).

Anyway, we flew to Munich in what is a crazy short flight. Just enough time to drill the complementary water bottle and chocolate. Kids by the way (5 and 8 years old) were pretty toasted by this point. They had behaved beautifully the whole way - yeah all parents say that about their kids - and had each had a couple of hours sleep on the Singapore to Frankfurt flight. But they were way over-tired and asking how much longer until we get there. We re-assured them with tales of being at Alpbach by lunchtime which in retrospect may have been a mistake...

Landed at Munich, acquired FFP2 masks at pharmacy and simultaneously ensured our credit cards worked in Germany on our phones - all good. Went to baggage carousel and waited. Virtually empty baggage hall and I estimate maybe 20 people on our flight. Ski bag came out first and I grabbed that. Then our second suitcase came out - all good. About five people left at the carousel and then the machine stopped and the screen blinked 'çompleted'. Bollocks.

It can't be unusual as they have a very highly staffed baggage tracing centre nearby so I lined up, explained to the very polite staff what had happened and they set up all of the report and said they could see it was in Frankfurt and could be sent on the next flight. Sadly the next flight was 5 hours away arriving at 110pm which I found quite surprising for Frankfurt-Munich but I guess everyone uses the train. She said they could send it on to our accommodation or we could wait. I chose to wait as the bags contained all of our ski boots, ski bindings for three sets of skis, snowbaord boots and bindings and a lot of the adult clothes, helmets and ski outerwear. I'm a frother, I wanted to ski tomorrow, I'd wait and make sure we got the bags and we had everything so we could ski.

So, five hours in Munich airport with two ratshit kids who thought they were almost at their beds an hour ago... Hmm, next stop rental car. Didn't want to be hit with a late pickup fee. They were very nice, said we should just do the admin now, could put our luggage in the car and leave it in the car park until we got our lost luggage. All good.

By God it was cold in Munich, bone-chilling cold. And we had no jackets for the adults. I was wearing a jumper that I gave to my wife as an extra layer and spent the rest of the day in a t-shirt. The looks I got... The rental car was located in the bowels of Pluto in a dark underground car park that was so cold it could have doubled as a freezer. We got a Hyundai Tucson - the booking was Jeep Compass or similar and I'd been hoping for similar. The Tucson turned out not to be ideal from a practical point of view but I hate Jeeps so I was glad we got the 'similar' option. The back seats were a 60/40 split bu the 40 was on the drivers side and the ski bag wouldn't fit with the seat down. So had to remove all of the skis and slide them individually down the side next to the drivers seat. Grrr. By the time I'd put the luggage we had in the car I couldn't feel my hands and we retreated back to the terminal for baked goods.

We waited for what seemed an eternity. Have you ever tried waiting at an airport with feral kids for five hours when they've already been going for an Aus-EU triple flight combo? They were great about it but tempers were fraying all round. We went for lunch in the terminal and used the Grune Pass that we had got via the Swiss loophole to prove our 2G status. Worked fine so that was a win. Got myself a dark Erdinger to numb the pain and warm up my hands. Wife got a prosecco and in the act of telling the kids not to knock over their bottle of drink knocked her glass over and it smashed on the floor. The German staff were great about it but tempers in our camp continued to fray. It was okay though, I'd get the luggage at 130 and we'd be round the ring road before peak hour and in Alpbach before dark. Or so I thought.

We went to the supermarket at the airport and stocked up on stinky cheese, bread, milk, cereal and a bottle of red. The thought of a cheese-fest and a bottle of wine in the apartment in a few hours kept us going.

Ah yes, and my money changing problems continued. There was a travelex in Frankfurt but we had no time there as we were sprinting for our flight. I didn't find one in Munich (there may have been but I was beyond caring). So I just got the cash out of an ATM on my savings card. I knew it would hurt but I was really beyond worrying about it. I had to do two 500 euro withdrawals, one on NAB, one on Commbank as there is a $1000 daily limit on each account. Got slayed on the exchange rate and an extra $29 withdrawal charge. Did not care. But note to self to get that organised before the airport next time.

Finally we got to 1pm. Still had no snow chains or booster seat as the europcar staff were understandably reluctant to go down into the freezer to get the equipment and told us someone would be there at some point in the day to help us (thanks guys, I think!). I found a German customer down there muttering about the lack of staff several times as well and we conversed in broken English/German about how annoying it was. The international language of whinging!

I went through to baggage claim and waited. Wife went to try and procure snow chains and booster seat from the freezer with the kids. We'll be out of here by 2pm...

130 cam and went, flight not showing on the board or on the Franfurt or Munich airport websites for some reason. Went to counter, yes sir flight is delayed, should be here in next half hour, good news is I can see both bags are on board. Score. Happy to take the hit. Wife then texts to say europcar staff are getting shitty with her. Gave her chains and seat and have told her to get the car out of their car park now. Has told them she can't as I am trying to get our last bags. Kids are upset. I can't help as I can't afford not to get these bags! I told her to sit in the car, turn engine and heater on and make it look like we're about to leave.

2pm comes and goes. No flight, no bags. Finally the flight lands and people eventually troop through. Baggage comes out about 220pm. Yes! The ski boot bag come out. I excitedly text wife. She tells me europcar have again told her to leave the car park. She's never driven on the right before and it's also a manual which complicated things when you are used to the gearstick on the left! I tell her to try and buy time and I should be back in 20 minutes or so.

I wait, seething quietly as bags have stopped coming out now but carousel is still moving. Some people still there. Monitor still says it's in progress. I wait, getting crosser. I text wife to say I'm not confident. And then it happens, the monitor says completed. Bollocks! I rapidly return to the tracing centre, just in time as a huge queue also builds up behind me. There are two lovely ladies there who helped me earlier but I get grumpy man who hates his job and spends the entire time tutting and huffing and puffing at me. Lots of keyboard tapping, lots of grumbling. Do you know where it is? No. Wasn't it scanned onto that flight? I don't know. Helpful! Time is now 3pm. No idea if wife has had car clamped yet or id driving aimlessly around the airport on the wrong side of the road.

Guy says if they find it they will send it to our accommodation. Grumpily takes details. Sends me away. Mate, we are unable to ski without that bag and it also has our jackets in, if we rent some equipment can we claim the cost of that back? This really set him off although I thought it was a reasonable question. After another ten minutes he thrusts a complaint form into my hand (not what I was after, I just wanted to know if we file a claim online or I needed a form for this before we left the airport) and basically told me to bugger off. I'd been polite and friendly the whole time so no idea why he was such an asshat but hey I would probably be like that too working in that job!

Anyhow, with the time now around 330pm I texted wife to explain, said I was on my way and told her to keep stalling. Got there, jumped in car, kids both crying and I thought to myself - international travel! So joyful! So relaxing!!!

In the cold light of day I look back and think it's just a lost bag, it happens. It's just a fact of travel. But when you are tired and the kids are losing their crap and you have to wait around for an extra six hours it is easy to see how people lose their cool. I didn't lose it with any of the poor staff - I was just internally seething. I was most annoyed because we now can't use our skis (bindings in the bag) we have no helmets and gloves and most of our clothes are also missing. I'd planned it all meticulously to be cherry-ripe for a first day ski on the 23rd at Ski Juwel in the sunshine. The best laid plans...

And it wasn't quite over. We headed off in the car, all okay but little things continued to conspire against my already poor mood. Sun was almost down so while I was familiarising myself with a right hand gear-stick, driving on the right and German drivers on teh Autobahn I had the sun directly in my eyes on the skyline and heading into early peak hour traffic! The joys! I'd planned the whole day to avoid this originally.

Got round the ring road, stopped for vignette. Got into Austria feeling a lot better. Dark fell and it all got a bit intimidating when we got off the freeway. Once you get onto the arterials the real fun starts as you have to start concentrating on being on the right side of the road, giving way to the correct side and using roundabouts in the right orientation. It's easy once you've had the first day but when your first crack is in the dark at peak hour and you don't know where you're going it's pretty ordinary. Anyway we go through to Reith and started climbing to Alpbach. Very narrow roads - which I am used to from the UK - but again in the dark with a wall on one side, snow and ice on some parts of the road and speedy gonzalez behind you right up your backside with his headlights in your mirrors it was non-ideal.

The drive through Alpbach and out to Rossmoos was just a wing and a prayer. If we'd met oncoming traffic it was going to be annoying with no rear visibility due to luggage and ice everywhere. Fortunately we winged it to the village and pulled up to have a deep breath. It was pitch black and no-one was about. I went into the Gastehaus Rossmoos and eventually found someone in the restaurant. In very fast German she told me I was in the wrong place and gave me rapid instructions to leave and go over the road. I scampered and we tried over the road where we'd parked (also called Rossmoos). No-one in. It seems everyone in the village is called Rossmoos which makes identifying the correct accommodation in the dark somewhat more challenging.

Kids now asking to get back in the car as it's so cold. Told them to go back to the car and I'd look around. It's just a sprinkling of a few houses outside Alpbach so no-one I caould ask. Looked at google maps and did some googling. Bauernhaus Rossmoos not showing up on the maps. However Ferienwohnung Rossmoos seemed to be written on the booking and that was up a steep road covered in sheet ice. No way was I driving the Tucson up there even with snow tyres. It was solid ice, I couldn't even stand on it without sliding. And even then the building at the top did not look like what we were wanting. Grrr, might just go back to Munich and fly home I am so over this right now! What else is going to go wrong??

This was quickly answered when we managed to find a small side-track that went up avoiding said sheet ice and my wife found the owner of the place (it's actually a working farm with a holiday apartment so no signage) and she told us where to park. I then opened the boot and our only alcohol, I repeat our ONLY alcohol rolled out of the boot and smashed on the ground into a million pieces of glass and a frozen puddle of Rioja. JESUS!

Finally, finally the pain stopped there. She was very friendly and in broken English/German she showed us the apartment which is at the very top of the farmhouse and is enormous and beautifully furnished. And the kids were overjoyed - it had wifi! Such a must have for the youth of today... There are cows all in stalls below which my son will love and the place is amazing. So after all that we took the remains of our luggage up and we live to fight another day.

In a good end to the day our friend drove all the way from Kitzbuhel to bring us our Superski season passes and even bought Kirchdorf hoodies for the kids. Even better - she bought three beers!!! Yes! That beer tasted so good... We ate cheese, drank beer, used wifi and then exhausted collapsed in bed.

Daughter and I woke up at 4am which I thought was not a bad result. We looked out of the window and this is what we saw. We may have no skis, no jackets, no clothes, no wash bag, no sanity, but here, officially ends my ranting...

2.jpg


1.jpg
That experience is worth rant for sure, oh, and the smashed bottle of Rioja is the coup de grace.
Also, with so little air traffic and baggage movement how can they lose a bag?
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
How long will you stay there and where to next ?
We are here until the 28th and then go to Konigsleiten for the new year. We went for more altitude as I'm aware it's early season - I think it's at about 1900m. As it is there is heaps of snow on the ground right now but I note there may be a lot of clear stuff coming...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hyst and elSpike

Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
23,577
28,706
1,063
Canberra
We are here until the 28th and then go to Konigsleiten for the new year. We went for more altitude as I'm aware it's early season - I think it's at about 1900m. As it is there is heaps of snow on the ground right now but I note there may be a lot of clear stuff coming...
There are conflicting forecasts regarding temps. if it rains on lower slopes go over to Hoch Krimml area. You will like the Konigsleiten area. Plattenkogerl is the least busy part.
 

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
48
113
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
What does the man about town in Tyrol choose if he doesn't want to look like a total kook or a tourist?
- Zillertaler Märzen from the valley next door (they also do a schwarzes / dark)
- Steigl Radler with grapefruit on a hot day (the local sports drink of choice)
- Lumumba / heiße schoco mit stroh in the skihütte on a cold day
 

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
48
113
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
Also, try the Tiroler Gröstl at the Asthütte (a bit before the kids forest run / abfahrt 4 - you may have already been there).

And the Kaiserschmarrn at the Kreuzwiedlalm Schmankerlhütte is worth the trip when you are in the Zillertal Arena (although that might be a little far from Krimml with a 5yo).

Basically avoid self serve places in favour of sitdown restaurants ... they are the same price but normally have better food and atmosphere (sorry ... I'm missing Tirol & the food reading your posts!)
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
28,576
14,731
1,063
Adelaide
- Zillertaler Märzen from the valley next door (they also do a schwarzes / dark)
- Steigl Radler with grapefruit on a hot day (the local sports drink of choice)
- Lumumba / heiße schoco mit stroh in the skihütte on a cold day

Each region, valley, town almost have their own local brewery. I usually just order whatever they have on tap (am Fass) in the Almhütte I'm in. I'm less familiar with the Tiroler beers other than the Zillertaler ones which appear to be the one of the main ones in Tirol. I'm quite partial to a Weissbier and Zillertaler have their version of that which I have enjoyed.

Stiegl is the main Salzburger brewery. A Radler is what we know as a shandy ie. basically beer & lemonade, not sure I would call it a sports drink.
 
Last edited:

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
28,576
14,731
1,063
Adelaide
Also, try the Tiroler Gröstl at the Asthütte (a bit before the kids forest run / abfahrt 4 - you may have already been there).

And the Kaiserschmarrn at the Kreuzwiedlalm Schmankerlhütte is worth the trip when you are in the Zillertal Arena (although that might be a little far from Krimml with a 5yo).

Basically avoid self serve places in favour of sitdown restaurants ... they are the same price but normally have better food and atmosphere (sorry ... I'm missing Tirol & the food reading your posts!)

I don't know Alpbach at all, but Tiroler Gröstl is a pretty regular fare. Was in a gondola with a bunch of schoolkids in Leogang once and they were trying to make the big decision about what to have for lunch - Kaiserschmarrn oder Germknödel? (both sweet options).

Definitely agree with opting for sit down huts rather than self self (SB = Selbtsbedienung). Grab a seat (outside if weather is good) and get table service.
 
  • Like
Reactions: elSpike

Jacko4650

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 15, 2014
3,720
7,610
363
Enjoying the trip reporting immensely; missing a summer trip into the region myself . . . . . . sigh . . . . love your writing style, very easy going and entertaining.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Number 1's and Number 2's
Thank you for all of the beer and food suggestions, very helpful for someone like me who tends to revert to chips when faced with a difficult menu translation. I shall definitely try some of these out as soon as is practicable. Which reminds me of an amusing moment when we visited the lunch spot on our first ski day which was a large self-service spot called the Kafner Ast. They had a menu on an electronic display above the counter which I personally thought was a bit McDonalds. Every twenty seconds or so the menu would disappear and be replaced by a snowy ski scene which no doubt interested the locals but to me was like a total landmine that I knew from the outset would cock up my already feeble ordering abilities.

I stood waiting for a few minutes whilst others were being served, desperately trying to memorise the German for our four meals but knowing deep down that when the key moment came the menu would be electronically ripped from my grasp and I would be left a blubbering mess with only my memory to work from. And so it came to pass that when my turn came I confidently greeted the lady behind the counter in German and then as casually as I could looked to the electronic heavens as if I was cheating in a school maths test. Mistakenly I went for the easiest order first involving a simple bowl of pommes for my son. What a prat! I should have done the barley soup while the going was good and the electronic gods were smiling on me! Seconds later my worst fears were realised and any hope of victory was stolen from me by the idiotic picture of two blokes carving down the number 47a piste. Bastards. I shamefully ordered a second and unwanted round of pommes to stall for time and then got helped by a sympathetic bilingual local for the remainder of our order. The humiliation still lives with me 36 hours later...

Back to today. And we started with another cracker of a dawn.
201.jpg


There was no rush to get out there given the firmness of the pistes yesterday so we had breakfast and headed off after a quick round of cow, horse and rabbit petting. My feet were once again adorned with my wife's ski socks and the pants issue has also not yet been adequately resolved. Fortunately we have a washing machine in the apartment so the story is not quite as bad as it could be but I sense that if the missing suitcase doesn't turn up soon we might need to consider travelling further afield on a clothes shopping trip.

After a thorough stalking of the piste map last night we had resolved to take Junior over to the Schatzberg side of the valley which we hadn't touched as yet. The highlight of todays tour would be the ability to sample a further two gondolas which seems to carry a high level of importance when you are five years old. We therefore drove to InnerAlpbach, parked up and walked over to the snow. Annoyingly our first attempts at entry to the resort were blocked when our superski cards upset the turnstiles and we had to go back to the ticket office to once again be verified as covid friendly. I had been told that this would only need to be done on the first day of each resort and the kind lady in the ticket office sorted our cards and said we should be good for the season now. I will believe it when I see it!

As a footnote to that our Grune Passes stopped working today for some reason. They still come up on our apps but both my wife's phone and mine showed up with a message along the lines of 'unable to prove 3G status, no internet connection' which the lady in the ticket office picked up on immediately. Very odd as we both had full 4G signal and could access the internet in every other way. Either way both she and the restaurant later accepted our Australian paper-based Vax certificates. They seemed to be happy to know we were triple vaxed and made a point of checking. But all good in the end and the app appears to be working again tonight.

Onto the skiing. It was high cloud and light winds today which was great for the skiing but led to some fairly dull photos. Not that I'm complaining, the snow seemed better than yesterday with slightly softened pistes and plenty of loose snow on top without being slushy at all. The walk from the ticket office to the Verbindung gondola (which goes up to Schatzberg) was about 50m horizontally and about an uphill of 1m vertically. Having a 5 year old we decided to do the smart thing and take the Poglbahn from next to the ticket office up 850m of vertical and then ski all the way back down to get to our destination 50m away. This represented about forty times the distance required to walk there but was a whole lot more fun and also incorporated an additional gondola ride into the day's proceedings. Dad, you're the best.

It also allowed us to hit the favoured piste 47 again and locate our lodgings on the other side of the valley:
204.jpg


There was definitely more people today than yesterday which was not surprising as it's Christmas Eve. I was expecting it to be packed. But in honesty it was still pretty quiet, and over on the Schatzberg side even more so. We took the fabled gondola up to mid-station whereupon it smashes out a total right angle before heading up to the top. The right angle turn only further enhanced the Verbindung's standing with my five year old. The day had started very well indeed.

It's very open up at the top area of the Schatzberg and it was great for trying to improve ski technique which I could do with plenty of. I reckon it could be brutal up there on a windy day but under the dull skies we had it skied beautifully and we smashed out as many of the runs as we could.
209.jpg


It is all red runs with a single black run at the top and we coerced Number 5 into doing the black run which he managed with aplomb. It was a token black run in my humble opinion and I'll happily admit that I'm not very brave when it comes to skiing - which may also explain why I'm so keen for the rest of my pants to turn up at some point. But seriously, I find generally the Austrian red runs are typically steeper than an Australian blue run. In this case however I feel like they just wanted to say they had a black run up there and picked one of the steeper reds to rebadge. Maybe they let it mogul normally or something but it was nicely groomed today and eminently rippable even for one of my moderate ability!

Having heard that many places would close early due to Christmas Eve we resolved to eat and drink early and headed to the Gipfo Hit near the summit of Schatzberg for some lunch. As locations go it's pretty up there.
202.jpg


Dave and Heinz above mentioned the need to avoid self-service and go for the sit-down option. I hadn't read those comments at the time but this now seems like sage advice as not only was this place cheaper than yesterday but the food was better and you get service! It was so much cheaper I even sent Junior over with a ten euro Christmas tip for the waitress who seemed very happy about this and blew him a kiss! By the way, what is the go with tipping in Austria? Expected? Optional? 10% of meal value? Any advice?

Anyhow, the waitress was great. She let us try to speak German and helped us in English if we cocked it up! And also didn't pick me up on the occasional der/die/das or ein/eine/einen slip-up. I mean I get it must be really annoying to a German speaker but is it really necessary to pick us up every single time we get that wrong? I suspect I will be told the answer is yes! Moving on, we ordered with the traditional pommes for Junior, a schnitzel for daughter and I and a Kasspatzen for the wife. I jazzed it up by going for a schnitzel with bacon and a large amount of oozy cheese wrapped inside. For that Christmas vibe it also came with a jar of cranberry sauce.
206.jpg


Still not exactly adventurous but I'm too scared of the cabbage to order most of the other stuff. I've got the whole of January to work my way up to it. Anyhow it was stellar and I finished very satisfied indeed. The wife's kasspatze was also good, although in keeping with much Austrian food that we have encountered it was very high on the stodge factor - and I mean that as a compliment. This seemed to be doughy balls in a rich cheese-based sauce which was very tasty but just unbelievably filling. By the time my wife and I had both given it our best shots there was still some left. I was trying to envisage a situation in which I might be able to eat the entire bowl of this in a single sitting and I could only come up with a scenario in which I'd been out at the pub for ten pints of lager and the kebab shop had been closed on my way home! Once again, this is a compliment to the dish I can assure you.

We were then unceremoniously turfed out by a very rude family who sat down at our table surrounding me and my son without asking or even so much as eye contact and began talking very loudly across us while I was still finishing my beer. I was not impressed. Maybe that is the done thing in Austria but I wasn't used to it so I left the place grumbling!

With a pint of strong ale and about three loaves of cheese-laden bread trying to escape from my stomach I was ready for anything and we headed off to the only unridden gondola on the hill, the Schatzbergbahn. My son was determined that we should ride said gondola from bottom to top and there should be no talk of piking out at the mid-station. This was a decision that my legs would later regret but which brought so much joy and happiness at the time.

Piste number 2 takes anyone game from the top to the mid-station and this was essentially a massive long fairly steep red run with virtually no change in pitch and no change in direction the whole way down. It was pretty epic for team carving (of which I am still learning I should point out) and we hammered down it like there was no tomorrow. My helmet is still in the care of Lufthansa so in retrospect this was sheer lunacy for someone going Euro on the headwear front and of my ability range - but a dad who's been on the beers cannot afford to let a cocky daughter beat him to the bottom. I'm sure you all understand.
210.jpg


Said cocky daughter is also very fond of spraying me with snow when I get to the bottom first and has been teaching younger brother how to achieve this with greatest effect which he has spent today perfecting. I told him if the snow's not hitting me at least at shoulder height then you're not doing it right son.
205.jpg


We got to the mid-station and mercifully were afforded a short flat section through the trees before the piste turned into number 1 and again descended at solid pitch for a further very lengthy leg-burning descent down to the village of Auffach. This really was a solid run and eclipsed even the heights of piste 47 from the other side of the valley. As we took the gondola back up I was asked to provide an accurate statistical analysis of whether piste 1 and 2 were in fact longer than piste 47. Personally I go by the vertical rather than the horizontal as that's what burns your legs and really anyone can do a 10km schuss around the edge of the mountain.

The stats say that Schatzberg to Auffach is 1900 to 875 which is more than a kilometre of vertical in a leg sapping red-fest with only a short tree-lined let-up in the middle. Piste 47 from Gmahkopf to InnerAlpbach is 1900 to 1050 which is just a paltry 850m. And there you have it, case closed.

Buller has a vertical of around 400m and you can't really do that all in one go anyway. So whilst I acknowledge that there are places in Europe and North America with much greater vertical that really was an absolute brute for us. Honestly, most Austrians must be walking around with legs like Ollie Wines - sorry not sure what the Rugby League equivalent is for those playing at home in New South Wales and Queensland...

On that topic the standard of skiing is outstanding around the resort. I assume this is because the resort is full of Austrians and not many holidaymakers this year? Maybe it's just always that good. I got passed by a guy doing some lovely carving at high speed and as you do when you are learning you try and follow their lines and copy the motion to try and improve. With a bit of early straight-lining I managed to get into his slipstream and mimic his carving albeit not as stylishly. This was all going well until his skis started spitting snow up at me (mostly happens with twin tips but this guy was defo on race skis). Anyway it was like being in an aerial dogfight with the enemy rear-gunners peppering me with small fire as I went in for the kill!

After a quick run down to the terrain park which much to my daughter's disappointment currently didn't exist we hit the t-bar for a loop and headed back to the mid-station. I generously let my wife take the five year old up the t-bar. Anyone who has taken their young kids up a t-bar will know what I am getting at here! It was also pull yer own T's which made for quite an amusing couple of minutes. Old mate in his hut was not coming out for anyone, least of all a woman trying to help her five year old onto the lift!

Back to the gondola, up to the top, smash out the very lengthy red run down towards InnerAlpbach and download the bottom half of the gondola as there are no runs down there. Massive day, massive pain in legs, massive smiles on faces. Back for our modest selection of cheese, salami, beer and wine. Job done.
211.jpg


Bag Update: Still no bag, still no clear indication if it has reached Innsbruck or been picked up by delivery agent. Obviously it's Christmas so not really expecting to get it for at least another three days now. Called Lufthansa anyway and they were also unclear why we hadn't got it. They think Captain Grumpy at Munich airport may have forgotten to properly remove the bag that we did finally get from the system so the delivery agent in Innsbruck may be waiting for a non-existent second bag to materialise before doing his pick up. Marvellous. Guy said he'd send an 'urgent email' to let them know that we already had the other bag. Sounded a bit like he was going to put it in the special filing cabinet if you know what I mean to be honest.
 

Apiraclubby

Hard Yards
Jul 14, 2015
53
60
68
Number 1's and Number 2's
Thank you for all of the beer and food suggestions, very helpful for someone like me who tends to revert to chips when faced with a difficult menu translation. I shall definitely try some of these out as soon as is practicable. Which reminds me of an amusing moment when we visited the lunch spot on our first ski day which was a large self-service spot called the Kafner Ast. They had a menu on an electronic display above the counter which I personally thought was a bit McDonalds. Every twenty seconds or so the menu would disappear and be replaced by a snowy ski scene which no doubt interested the locals but to me was like a total landmine that I knew from the outset would cock up my already feeble ordering abilities.

I stood waiting for a few minutes whilst others were being served, desperately trying to memorise the German for our four meals but knowing deep down that when the key moment came the menu would be electronically ripped from my grasp and I would be left a blubbering mess with only my memory to work from. And so it came to pass that when my turn came I confidently greeted the lady behind the counter in German and then as casually as I could looked to the electronic heavens as if I was cheating in a school maths test. Mistakenly I went for the easiest order first involving a simple bowl of pommes for my son. What a prat! I should have done the barley soup while the going was good and the electronic gods were smiling on me! Seconds later my worst fears were realised and any hope of victory was stolen from me by the idiotic picture of two blokes carving down the number 47a piste. Bastards. I shamefully ordered a second and unwanted round of pommes to stall for time and then got helped by a sympathetic bilingual local for the remainder of our order. The humiliation still lives with me 36 hours later...

Back to today. And we started with another cracker of a dawn.
201.jpg


There was no rush to get out there given the firmness of the pistes yesterday so we had breakfast and headed off after a quick round of cow, horse and rabbit petting. My feet were once again adorned with my wife's ski socks and the pants issue has also not yet been adequately resolved. Fortunately we have a washing machine in the apartment so the story is not quite as bad as it could be but I sense that if the missing suitcase doesn't turn up soon we might need to consider travelling further afield on a clothes shopping trip.

After a thorough stalking of the piste map last night we had resolved to take Junior over to the Schatzberg side of the valley which we hadn't touched as yet. The highlight of todays tour would be the ability to sample a further two gondolas which seems to carry a high level of importance when you are five years old. We therefore drove to InnerAlpbach, parked up and walked over to the snow. Annoyingly our first attempts at entry to the resort were blocked when our superski cards upset the turnstiles and we had to go back to the ticket office to once again be verified as covid friendly. I had been told that this would only need to be done on the first day of each resort and the kind lady in the ticket office sorted our cards and said we should be good for the season now. I will believe it when I see it!

As a footnote to that our Grune Passes stopped working today for some reason. They still come up on our apps but both my wife's phone and mine showed up with a message along the lines of 'unable to prove 3G status, no internet connection' which the lady in the ticket office picked up on immediately. Very odd as we both had full 4G signal and could access the internet in every other way. Either way both she and the restaurant later accepted our Australian paper-based Vax certificates. They seemed to be happy to know we were triple vaxed and made a point of checking. But all good in the end and the app appears to be working again tonight.

Onto the skiing. It was high cloud and light winds today which was great for the skiing but led to some fairly dull photos. Not that I'm complaining, the snow seemed better than yesterday with slightly softened pistes and plenty of loose snow on top without being slushy at all. The walk from the ticket office to the Verbindung gondola (which goes up to Schatzberg) was about 50m horizontally and about an uphill of 1m vertically. Having a 5 year old we decided to do the smart thing and take the Poglbahn from next to the ticket office up 850m of vertical and then ski all the way back down to get to our destination 50m away. This represented about forty times the distance required to walk there but was a whole lot more fun and also incorporated an additional gondola ride into the day's proceedings. Dad, you're the best.

It also allowed us to hit the favoured piste 47 again and locate our lodgings on the other side of the valley:
204.jpg


There was definitely more people today than yesterday which was not surprising as it's Christmas Eve. I was expecting it to be packed. But in honesty it was still pretty quiet, and over on the Schatzberg side even more so. We took the fabled gondola up to mid-station whereupon it smashes out a total right angle before heading up to the top. The right angle turn only further enhanced the Verbindung's standing with my five year old. The day had started very well indeed.

It's very open up at the top area of the Schatzberg and it was great for trying to improve ski technique which I could do with plenty of. I reckon it could be brutal up there on a windy day but under the dull skies we had it skied beautifully and we smashed out as many of the runs as we could.
209.jpg


It is all red runs with a single black run at the top and we coerced Number 5 into doing the black run which he managed with aplomb. It was a token black run in my humble opinion and I'll happily admit that I'm not very brave when it comes to skiing - which may also explain why I'm so keen for the rest of my pants to turn up at some point. But seriously, I find generally the Austrian red runs are typically steeper than an Australian blue run. In this case however I feel like they just wanted to say they had a black run up there and picked one of the steeper reds to rebadge. Maybe they let it mogul normally or something but it was nicely groomed today and eminently rippable even for one of my moderate ability!

Having heard that many places would close early due to Christmas Eve we resolved to eat and drink early and headed to the Gipfo Hit near the summit of Schatzberg for some lunch. As locations go it's pretty up there.
202.jpg


Dave and Heinz above mentioned the need to avoid self-service and go for the sit-down option. I hadn't read those comments at the time but this now seems like sage advice as not only was this place cheaper than yesterday but the food was better and you get service! It was so much cheaper I even sent Junior over with a ten euro Christmas tip for the waitress who seemed very happy about this and blew him a kiss! By the way, what is the go with tipping in Austria? Expected? Optional? 10% of meal value? Any advice?

Anyhow, the waitress was great. She let us try to speak German and helped us in English if we cocked it up! And also didn't pick me up on the occasional der/die/das or ein/eine/einen slip-up. I mean I get it must be really annoying to a German speaker but is it really necessary to pick us up every single time we get that wrong? I suspect I will be told the answer is yes! Moving on, we ordered with the traditional pommes for Junior, a schnitzel for daughter and I and a Kasspatzen for the wife. I jazzed it up by going for a schnitzel with bacon and a large amount of oozy cheese wrapped inside. For that Christmas vibe it also came with a jar of cranberry sauce.
206.jpg


Still not exactly adventurous but I'm too scared of the cabbage to order most of the other stuff. I've got the whole of January to work my way up to it. Anyhow it was stellar and I finished very satisfied indeed. The wife's kasspatze was also good, although in keeping with much Austrian food that we have encountered it was very high on the stodge factor - and I mean that as a compliment. This seemed to be doughy balls in a rich cheese-based sauce which was very tasty but just unbelievably filling. By the time my wife and I had both given it our best shots there was still some left. I was trying to envisage a situation in which I might be able to eat the entire bowl of this in a single sitting and I could only come up with a scenario in which I'd been out at the pub for ten pints of lager and the kebab shop had been closed on my way home! Once again, this is a compliment to the dish I can assure you.

We were then unceremoniously turfed out by a very rude family who sat down at our table surrounding me and my son without asking or even so much as eye contact and began talking very loudly across us while I was still finishing my beer. I was not impressed. Maybe that is the done thing in Austria but I wasn't used to it so I left the place grumbling!

With a pint of strong ale and about three loaves of cheese-laden bread trying to escape from my stomach I was ready for anything and we headed off to the only unridden gondola on the hill, the Schatzbergbahn. My son was determined that we should ride said gondola from bottom to top and there should be no talk of piking out at the mid-station. This was a decision that my legs would later regret but which brought so much joy and happiness at the time.

Piste number 2 takes anyone game from the top to the mid-station and this was essentially a massive long fairly steep red run with virtually no change in pitch and no change in direction the whole way down. It was pretty epic for team carving (of which I am still learning I should point out) and we hammered down it like there was no tomorrow. My helmet is still in the care of Lufthansa so in retrospect this was sheer lunacy for someone going Euro on the headwear front and of my ability range - but a dad who's been on the beers cannot afford to let a cocky daughter beat him to the bottom. I'm sure you all understand.
210.jpg


Said cocky daughter is also very fond of spraying me with snow when I get to the bottom first and has been teaching younger brother how to achieve this with greatest effect which he has spent today perfecting. I told him if the snow's not hitting me at least at shoulder height then you're not doing it right son.
205.jpg


We got to the mid-station and mercifully were afforded a short flat section through the trees before the piste turned into number 1 and again descended at solid pitch for a further very lengthy leg-burning descent down to the village of Auffach. This really was a solid run and eclipsed even the heights of piste 47 from the other side of the valley. As we took the gondola back up I was asked to provide an accurate statistical analysis of whether piste 1 and 2 were in fact longer than piste 47. Personally I go by the vertical rather than the horizontal as that's what burns your legs and really anyone can do a 10km schuss around the edge of the mountain.

The stats say that Schatzberg to Auffach is 1900 to 875 which is more than a kilometre of vertical in a leg sapping red-fest with only a short tree-lined let-up in the middle. Piste 47 from Gmahkopf to InnerAlpbach is 1900 to 1050 which is just a paltry 850m. And there you have it, case closed.

Buller has a vertical of around 400m and you can't really do that all in one go anyway. So whilst I acknowledge that there are places in Europe and North America with much greater vertical that really was an absolute brute for us. Honestly, most Austrians must be walking around with legs like Ollie Wines - sorry not sure what the Rugby League equivalent is for those playing at home in New South Wales and Queensland...

On that topic the standard of skiing is outstanding around the resort. I assume this is because the resort is full of Austrians and not many holidaymakers this year? Maybe it's just always that good. I got passed by a guy doing some lovely carving at high speed and as you do when you are learning you try and follow their lines and copy the motion to try and improve. With a bit of early straight-lining I managed to get into his slipstream and mimic his carving albeit not as stylishly. This was all going well until his skis started spitting snow up at me (mostly happens with twin tips but this guy was defo on race skis). Anyway it was like being in an aerial dogfight with the enemy rear-gunners peppering me with small fire as I went in for the kill!

After a quick run down to the terrain park which much to my daughter's disappointment currently didn't exist we hit the t-bar for a loop and headed back to the mid-station. I generously let my wife take the five year old up the t-bar. Anyone who has taken their young kids up a t-bar will know what I am getting at here! It was also pull yer own T's which made for quite an amusing couple of minutes. Old mate in his hut was not coming out for anyone, least of all a woman trying to help her five year old onto the lift!

Back to the gondola, up to the top, smash out the very lengthy red run down towards InnerAlpbach and download the bottom half of the gondola as there are no runs down there. Massive day, massive pain in legs, massive smiles on faces. Back for our modest selection of cheese, salami, beer and wine. Job done.
211.jpg


Bag Update: Still no bag, still no clear indication if it has reached Innsbruck or been picked up by delivery agent. Obviously it's Christmas so not really expecting to get it for at least another three days now. Called Lufthansa anyway and they were also unclear why we hadn't got it. They think Captain Grumpy at Munich airport may have forgotten to properly remove the bag that we did finally get from the system so the delivery agent in Innsbruck may be waiting for a non-existent second bag to materialise before doing his pick up. Marvellous. Guy said he'd send an 'urgent email' to let them know that we already had the other bag. Sounded a bit like he was going to put it in the special filing cabinet if you know what I mean to be honest.
Hey mate, did u guys set up the Grune pass back here in Australia or when u arrived and was it fairly easy to set up?
 
  • Like
Reactions: elSpike

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
Hey mate, did u guys set up the Grune pass back here in Australia or when u arrived and was it fairly easy to set up?
Yeah we did it through the Swiss loophole where you make a booking for a hotel in Switzerland and then send the details of your booking to the weblink below along with your vax certificate. They send you a Swiss QR code that proves you are vaxed and which is accepted in europe. You could probably then just use that but you can also download the Grune Pass app and scan that Swiss QR code into it. This converts the Swiss code and saves it in the Grune Pass as an Austrian accepted QR code. Sounds convoluted but really wasn't.

Obviously once you have the QR code you cancel the booking in Switzerland.

 

Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
23,577
28,706
1,063
Canberra
You cant download the App from Australia. Can you just take your Oz Govt International Vax certificate and scan the QR on it when you get there ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: elSpike

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,125
3,559
363
TQY
I downloaded it from Australia. I'll try and find where I got it from.

The Oz QR code won't scan into the grune pass app. It's still not compliant. I tried again today and still gets rejected.
 

Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
23,577
28,706
1,063
Canberra
I’ve tried entering our Aussie international vax passport details in the app and I get doughnuts. Doesn’t seem very international
In any case I doubt that Austrian officials would not accept our Govt document and the certificate on your Medicare .
 

Apiraclubby

Hard Yards
Jul 14, 2015
53
60
68
Yeah we did it through the Swiss loophole where you make a booking for a hotel in Switzerland and then send the details of your booking to the weblink below along with your vax certificate. They send you a Swiss QR code that proves you are vaxed and which is accepted in europe. You could probably then just use that but Yeah we did it through the Swiss loophole where you make a booking for a hotel in Switzerland and then send the details of your booking to the weblink below along with your vax certificate. They send you a Swiss QR code that proves you are vaxed and which is accepted in europe. You could probably then just use that but you can also download the Grune Pass app and scan that Swiss QR code into it. This converts the Swiss code and saves it in the Grune Pass as an Austrian accepted QR code. Sounds convoluted but really wasn't.
Obviously once you have the QR code you cancel the booking in Switzerland.

In any case I doubt that Austrian officials would not accept our Govt document and the certificate on your Medicare .
I've always been a big fan of the, figure it out on the day method but, we are travelling via train from Zurich and I can only imagine my mood after 24 hrs of flying. God forbid a ski bag gets lost
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Apiraclubby

Hard Yards
Jul 14, 2015
53
60
68
Yeah we did it through the Swiss loophole where you make a booking for a hotel in Switzerland and then send the details of your booking to the weblink below along with your vax certificate. They send you a Swiss QR code that proves you are vaxed and which is accepted in europe. You could probably then just use that but you can also download the Grune Pass app and scan that Swiss QR code into it. This converts the Swiss code and saves it in the Grune Pass as an Austrian accepted QR code. Sounds convoluted but really wasn't.

Obviously once you have the QR code you cancel the booking in Switzerland.

The hot tips just keep coming, u my friend are breaking trail.
Thanks
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass