Austrian Dreaming - Dec/Jan Trip Report

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
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 ?
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.

I was able to download the GreenCheck app, but it doesn't recognise the Australian QR cert.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
Good detailed report.

Your first up experience at the SB (self service) restaurant is probably another reason to opt for one with Bedienung (service). Find a table, sit down, there will usually be a menu there, if not ask the waiter (Speisekarte bitte). The bigger places will normally have english descriptions included. Most will also include a Tagesmenu ie. Daily special, which is often a soup and a main and sometimes desert which can be very good value, also makes ordering easier if it looks like it is what you want.

Re tipping, yes it is generally expected though nothing like the USA. Somewhere around 10% is fine, I usually just do a rough rounding up of the bill (especially when using cash).

The Kasspatzen you mentioned comes in various forms and regional variations in Austria (Kasnocken, Käsespätzle), basically small dumplings in cheese which as you observed can be quite filling.
 

DidSurfNowSki

One of them
Ski Pass
Jan 19, 2014
13,942
29,717
813
Canberra, ACT
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.

I might need a holiday in Zurich !
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
Have you signed up to Skiline? It is a great website which can track your daily vertical. All you need to do is register, then enter your ski pass number and it updates based on you scanning on entry to each lift. It covers most resorts in Austria including Alpbach. If you have a multi-day pass you only need to enter it once and it keeps tracking whenever you use it. Gives you a nice graphic display also.
eg. This is from my last ski day in Austria (sadly 3 seasons ago :( )
1640390528123.png
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
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!

No idea about this, except to say it certainly isn't the done thing. Sometimes you just get these sort of people.
One thing I have noticed in Austria is that it is common courtesy in restaurants to acknowledge people at the next table with a quick Grüss Gott or Guten Abend on arrival and auf Wiedersehen when leaving, though not so much in ski resorts.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
The Christmas Miracle
We had our family Christmas back on the Surf Coast on the 18th and 19th of December before we left. So Christmas Day in Austria was always going to be a little bit weird for us and the kids. You throw covid into the mix and it is of course even more so. Our original intent was to go to Innsbruck to see the Christmas markets at some point but I believe these have been cancelled due to covid so we simply stayed in Alpbach and enjoyed a wonderful day on the snow.
321.jpg


Christmas appears marvellously understated here, in fact so much so that you could drive around and barely even know it was that time of year. Many homes have a small tree on their balcony decorated with yellow lights (no coloured lights spotted at all yet) and very occasionally a yellow or white star or some icicle style yellow lights. Nothing like the garish displays of lights and tackiness we get in places like Australia, the UK and the US. It's refreshingly simple and very, very pretty with the snow around on the ground at the moment.

Anyway, we had got the kids very small gifts but these were still in the Lufthansa ether with our suitcase so they didn't even have any gifts to unwrap which they took with good grace and humility. Our kids do get a lot, but we try to teach them to acknowledge the things that they get and to be humble and grateful along the way as well. I did however pay $15 for Number 5 to get some extra currency in his ipad Zoo building game so he could get the dolphin enclosure he so desperately wanted built instantly rather than having to wait 15 hours for it. This appeared to please him greatly and be the greatest gift man had ever bestowed to child. Five year olds, so easily bought off!

The last two days we have had lovely pink tinges of colour behind the mountains at sunrise and I vowed to get a timelapse of this on my camera today. Propping my new phone against a one litre milk bottle on the top floor balcony I set up the action and waited. And waited. And waited. No pink, just a dull start to the day. The video was very disappointing but when we returned later in the day I tried again with slightly better results, albeit no pink. Hopefully the video works for people:


With the suitcase still not arriving we had a chat with Andreas and Julia who run the farm and exchanged Christmas pleasantries. They also showed Sam where the chickens lived, the location of which had eluded him until now. This knowledge and also learning the names of the horses, bunnies and dog also made for a solid start to an animal loving child's Christmas Day. We also finally managed to extract from them the time that they had booked our Christmas meal for and with a 6pm kickoff this happily left the full day for skiing!

Then to Alpbach to extend the rental on our skis before hitting up the mouthful of letters that is the Wiedersbergerhornbahn. The weather was better today with the sun regularly poking out from behind some light clouds and great visibility most of the time. Winds again were virtually non-existent. This made for excellent photo opportunities at times.
311.jpg


The snow is still plentiful up high but just starting to show a bit more wear down low. We started to get our first real scratchy areas and icy runs today together with the occasional bit of vegetation showing through the piste down low. We have been very lucky this early in the year I think. There were also many more people on the slopes today although I imagine way less than normal for Christmas Day.
306.jpg

Sam's skiing has been going from strength to strength and the 110cm Fischer RC4s that he's rented seem to really suit him. Despite being highly ambivalent about skiing he has always been an awesome technical skier from a very young age. But he is not a fast skier and doesn't like to let himself go like some kids. He can ski literally anything on the mountain parallel such is his edge control but he would never win a race against other kids as he seems to have inherited my skiing cowardice when it comes to straight lining! But this trip we have already seen a step change in his approach which is thrilling for us as it unlocks the trip a lot when he really seems motivated to ski - and he barely holds us up now, even on the faster runs. I'm not sure if it's the skis, him growing up or a bit of both.

We hit the kids run with the speed gun a few times which I can tell you that you take your life in your hands with on busy days. Its a loopy, windy, narrow trail with rollers, hoops to ski through, foam arms to punch and then a speed gun at the end. The big kids and adults also love doing this to check their speed and the combination of slow kids learning in groups, beginners stacking the rollers and young twentysomethings wanting to mack through it at maximum velocity to get to the speedgun is not ideal! The run is just a blue run but the rollers are fairly pronounced and to get the best score on the speed gun it's a balance between absolutely fanging it and also controlling your air off the rollers!

Daughter has top scored with 48kph so far and I am on 46kph. Sammy Number 5 was in the the low 30s but at the end of the day he got into tuck pose the whole way down and smashed out a 40 which pleased him immensely! I argued that daughter's 48 was not legitimate as she was on her backside after the last roller where she took some fairly massive air. She has argued that if you bumslide at high velocity but recover without having stopped then it's not a stack. The jury is out.

We went through the kids terrain park a few times and after some parental encouragement Little Miss 8 decided to have a crack at the 360 on the box. She loves the park and has put a lot of time and effort into improving so we were delighted to see her land a supersmooth 360. Apologies for the shameless parental boasting!


She progressed to the big terrain park at Buller this season and has been taking some serious air on the jumps which is always slightly scary for mum and dad. Her back protector is still in transit so we're trying to keep her feet on the ground for now! I have however booked her a full day of freestyle tuition at Kitzsteinhorn with their freestyle school in a week or so and I'm therefore hoping the back protector arrives sooner rather than later. They are meant to have a half-pipe which has been on her radar for a while and is causing some significant excitement.
312.jpg


We went over to the horn which is an area I like although very open. The scenery is stunning with a massive panorama from the top. There are so many mountains in Austria! We stopped for a drink at the Horn Alm at the top which was lovely (although annoyingly smoky). This guy greets you at the door:
310.jpg


I had removed the security pattern to open my phone as it was a pain if I wanted to take a picture on the fly while skiing. What I hadn't realised was that this wipes all of the credit cards on my Google Pay! It makes sense when you think about it but it was fairly embarrassing when I had to go out and get my wife's phone to pay after mine repeatedly shat it's pants at the bar...

The view is awesome - I took a panorama but I'm not going to post it as it just didn't do justice to the breadth of the mountain view. Instead I give you this brilliant part of that view which seemed to be another resort over the valley. There's a town at the base, a resort mid-picture and an amazing mountain range at the top. Ticks all of the key skiing boxes! I looked later and I think it may be Spieljoch? I love this picture though.
309.jpg


On our way back down from the horn we got to see how much the snow had drifted on this part of the mountain. In surfing terms I think we'd call it overhead for Miss 8 and probably time and a half for Number 5.
308.jpg


We did a couple of laps of the horn area and we noticed a red chopper buzz overhead. As we tried to return to the main part of the resort the chopper landed on the access trail much to the excitement of my son. The trail was closed by ski patrol and they looked to be wrapping someone up on a stretcher to take away to hospital. Question that was posed - does the stretcher go in the helicopter or get strapped to the outside? Surely not the latter?? But it didn't look like there was space for it in the chopper.
304.jpg


This took some time and we therefore lapped again before returning to the Gmahkopf. The injured skier had thrown our plans to take early lunch into disarray, so thoughtless. We'd figured Christmas Day would be busy so get in early. Anyhow we hit up the Hornboden which was quite busy but a great spot with awesome views. The staff were friendly and efficient and very cheery for people working on Christmas Day! Number 5 had been showing signs of fraying at the edges. His legs have been through a lot in the last three days and I'm not surprised he was tiring, I certainly was!

We ordered a margherita pizza for him and his mum to share which is one of about only three things he eats, daughter had a schnitzel and chips and I lashed out on a Tiroler Schlutzkrapfen which tasted a lot better than it sounded. We were trying to go minimal as we had a four course Christmas dinner booked at 6pm back in Rossmoos but it's hard not to eat in Austria! In order to save me from myself I selflessly donated the salad to my wife.
303.jpg


This was a great spot and cheap as well, definitely going back. Once outside we got pelted with snowballs by some delinquent Austrian teenagers. However we were saved by an Austrian skier who gave them an absolute serve and they ran off. The German language really is very well suited to telling people off it has to be said, I don't know what she said but I was fairly crapping myself just standing near her!

We were trying to stretch Number 5's day but he was seriously struggling now. In his grumpy state things came to a head when we went through the speedcheck and he got stuck behind a ski school group and only clocked 14kph. This was compounded when daughter came through directly behind at 45kph and then proceeded to utterly fill him in with snow as he stood waiting at the end of the run. Sibling love!

Through the tears we skied down to the mid-station of the Wiedersbergerhornbahn which was by now very icy. There's a great long red run down to the bottom station but Number 5 asked if we could download the gondola instead. Being the amazing parents we are we told him that you weren't allowed to download the gondola which was a blatant lie but he seemed to accept it on the premise that daughter went in front of him and didn't try to bury him again. To make sure everyone in the family remained happy I therefore allowed her to hone her skills using me as a target on the way down.


We all had a hot drink and a pretzel at the cafe by the base station and headed for home, another great day on the slopes and the weather had been very kind to us. What a way to spend Christmas.
314.jpg


On the way home we got stuck behind a horse and cart. I'd mentioned earlier how Andreas and Julia have two ponies and a buggy but this wasn't them so I can only surmise this is quite commonplace. This was certainly not Nora and Nina pulling the buggy much to Sam's disappointment. It is amazing how this area combines the ancient and the modern so seamlessly. The apartment has all mod cons and excellent wifi and yet the people live a largely traditional life and drive around in horse and carts when they fancy it. I love it.
322.jpg


When we got home and after the usual animal petting I unloaded the car. Julia bailed me up and told me that a suitcase had arrived at the Gasthof over the road for us. I was delighted and made my feelings of happiness clear in both German and English! On Christmas Day of all days! Fresh pants! Ski bindings! A back protector! A helmet! My wife's makeup! All of these things that hold such importance! And in that order! IT'S A CHRISTMAS DAY MIRACLE!

We immediately went over the road to the Gasthof while I practiced saying, Guten Tag, wir wohnen in Bauernhaus Rossmoos und unser Koffer wurde Heute hier geliefert. We went to reception but it was empty, save for our suitcase sitting tantalisingly behind the counter! We went to the restaurant and found a lady who looked like she worked here. I delivered my rehearsed line in my best hoch deutsch and she smiled and replied in perfect English of course! it has been here since yesterday! WHAAAAAAT??? We've been busting Lufthansa's balls and living in four day old pants and it's been here since yesterday???

As it turns out it did arrive yesterday but the courier couldn't find the Bauernhaus so left it at the Gasthof. They didn't know who we were and didn't have anyone by our name in the hotel. It was only today that they made the connection that some Australians (and an English dad...) were staying at the Bauernhaus over the road. Whilst it would have been great to have the case yesterday it made me happy that an Austrian courier could also not find the Bauernhaus and went to the Gasthof. This is exactly the mistake I had made on that terrible arrival night a few days ago. I feel a little less stupid about that now.

We returned to the farm and I immediately changed my pants and set about putting the bindings on our skis. Our skis felt so good! I cradled them in my hands lovingly and enjoyed their fat all-mountain lines. Would it affect my skiing changing skis again? I'd just got used to these incredibily heavy Salomon skis and I was now heading back to my trusty Wingmans... Our skis on the left, rental skis on the right.
301.jpg


Andreas drove past in his tractor and appeared incredulous that a family of Australian tourists should need seven pairs of skis and a snowboard (which I also had out when he drove past). I don't think he had understood that our skis were inoperable without the suitcase...

To finish the day off we went for a slap up four course meal at the Gasthof at 6pm. It was lovely, a great vibe (although not particularly Christmassy) and very friendly staff and patrons. With our suitcase arriving there was much happiness in the air and after a salad, soup, main, dessert four course belly buster we even ordered a local schnapps to finish which was orangey/pink and in her limited English the waitress told us was something to do with a pine tree or similar. I happily drank it. And Junior also fell asleep in the restaurant and lay on his mum's lap throughout the whole meal. Skiing does that to you when you're five...

Tomorrow we may go to Niederau. It's small and not as much vertical but we'd like to check it out and shorten the skiing for Sam as he is getting pretty cooked.

Merry Christmas Everyone!
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Hyst

Enjoyer
Ski Pass
Nov 23, 2014
2,947
2,334
363
66
Copenhagen
www.ahmadjoudeh.com
The Christmas Miracle
We had our family Christmas back on the Surf Coast on the 18th and 19th of December before we left. So Christmas Day in Austria was always going to be a little bit weird for us and the kids. You throw covid into the mix and it is of course even more so. Our original intent was to go to Innsbruck to see the Christmas markets at some point but I believe these have been cancelled due to covid so we simply stayed in Alpbach and enjoyed a wonderful day on the snow.
321.jpg


Christmas appears marvellously understated here, in fact so much so that you could drive around and barely even know it was that time of year. Many homes have a small tree on their balcony decorated with yellow lights (no coloured lights spotted at all yet) and very occasionally a yellow or white star or some icicle style yellow lights. Nothing like the garish displays of lights and tackiness we get in places like Australia, the UK and the US. It's refreshingly simple and very, very pretty with the snow around on the ground at the moment.

Anyway, we had got the kids very small gifts but these were still in the Lufthansa ether with our suitcase so they didn't even have any gifts to unwrap which they took with good grace and humility. Our kids do get a lot, but we try to teach them to acknowledge the things that they get and to be humble and grateful along the way as well. I did however pay $15 for Number 5 to get some extra currency in his ipad Zoo building game so he could get the dolphin enclosure he so desperately wanted built instantly rather than having to wait 15 hours for it. This appeared to please him greatly and be the greatest gift man had ever bestowed to child. Five year olds, so easily bought off!

The last two days we have had lovely pink tinges of colour behind the mountains at sunrise and I vowed to get a timelapse of this on my camera today. Propping my new phone against a one litre milk bottle on the top floor balcony I set up the action and waited. And waited. And waited. No pink, just a dull start to the day. The video was very disappointing but when we returned later in the day I tried again with slightly better results, albeit no pink. Hopefully the video works for people:


With the suitcase still not arriving we had a chat with Andreas and Julia who run the farm and exchanged Christmas pleasantries. They also showed Sam where the chickens lived, the location of which had eluded him until now. This knowledge and also learning the names of the horses, bunnies and dog also made for a solid start to an animal loving child's Christmas Day. We also finally managed to extract from them the time that they had booked our Christmas meal for and with a 6pm kickoff this happily left the full day for skiing!

Then to Alpbach to extend the rental on our skis before hitting up the mouthful of letters that is the Wiedersbergerhornbahn. The weather was better today with the sun regularly poking out from behind some light clouds and great visibility most of the time. Winds again were virtually non-existent. This made for excellent photo opportunities at times.
311.jpg


The snow is still plentiful up high but just starting to show a bit more wear down low. We started to get our first real scratchy areas and icy runs today together with the occasional bit of vegetation showing through the piste down low. We have been very lucky this early in the year I think. There were also many more people on the slopes today although I imagine way less than normal for Christmas Day.
306.jpg

Sam's skiing has been going from strength to strength and the 110cm Fischer RC4s that he's rented seem to really suit him. Despite being highly ambivalent about skiing he has always been an awesome technical skier from a very young age. But he is not a fast skier and doesn't like to let himself go like some kids. He can ski literally anything on the mountain parallel such is his edge control but he would never win a race against other kids as he seems to have inherited my skiing cowardice when it comes to straight lining! But this trip we have already seen a step change in his approach which is thrilling for us as it unlocks the trip a lot when he really seems motivated to ski - and he barely holds us up now, even on the faster runs. I'm not sure if it's the skis, him growing up or a bit of both.

We hit the kids run with the speed gun a few times which I can tell you that you take your life in your hands with on busy days. Its a loopy, windy, narrow trail with rollers, hoops to ski through, foam arms to punch and then a speed gun at the end. The big kids and adults also love doing this to check their speed and the combination of slow kids learning in groups, beginners stacking the rollers and young twentysomethings wanting to mack through it at maximum velocity to get to the speedgun is not ideal! The run is just a blue run but the rollers are fairly pronounced and to get the best score on the speed gun it's a balance between absolutely fanging it and also controlling your air off the rollers!

Daughter has top scored with 48kph so far and I am on 46kph. Sammy Number 5 was in the the low 30s but at the end of the day he got into tuck pose the whole way down and smashed out a 40 which pleased him immensely! I argued that daughter's 48 was not legitimate as she was on her backside after the last roller where she took some fairly massive air. She has argued that if you bumslide at high velocity but recover without having stopped then it's not a stack. The jury is out.

We went through the kids terrain park a few times and after some parental encouragement Little Miss 8 decided to have a crack at the 360 on the box. She loves the park and has put a lot of time and effort into improving so we were delighted to see her land a supersmooth 360. Apologies for the shameless parental boasting!


She progressed to the big terrain park at Buller this season and has been taking some serious air on the jumps which is always slightly scary for mum and dad. Her back protector is still in transit so we're trying to keep her feet on the ground for now! I have however booked her a full day of freestyle tuition at Kitzsteinhorn with their freestyle school in a week or so and I'm therefore hoping the back protector arrives sooner rather than later. They are meant to have a half-pipe which has been on her radar for a while and is causing some significant excitement.
312.jpg


We went over to the horn which is an area I like although very open. The scenery is stunning with a massive panorama from the top. There are so many mountains in Austria! We stopped for a drink at the Horn Alm at the top which was lovely (although annoyingly smoky). This guy greets you at the door:
310.jpg


I had removed the security pattern to open my phone as it was a pain if I wanted to take a picture on the fly while skiing. What I hadn't realised was that this wipes all of the credit cards on my Google Pay! It makes sense when you think about it but it was fairly embarrassing when I had to go out and get my wife's phone to pay after mine repeatedly shat it's pants at the bar...

The view is awesome - I took a panorama but I'm not going to post it as it just didn't do justice to the breadth of the mountain view. Instead I give you this brilliant part of that view which seemed to be another resort over the valley. There's a town at the base, a resort mid-picture and an amazing mountain range at the top. Ticks all of the key skiing boxes! I looked later and I think it may be Spieljoch? I love this picture though.
309.jpg


On our way back down from the horn we got to see how much the snow had drifted on this part of the mountain. In surfing terms I think we'd call it overhead for Miss 8 and probably time and a half for Number 5.
308.jpg


We did a couple of laps of the horn area and we noticed a red chopper buzz overhead. As we tried to return to the main part of the resort the chopper landed on the access trail much to the excitement of my son. The trail was closed by ski patrol and they looked to be wrapping someone up on a stretcher to take away to hospital. Question that was posed - does the stretcher go in the helicopter or get strapped to the outside? Surely not the latter?? But it didn't look like there was space for it in the chopper.
304.jpg


This took some time and we therefore lapped again before returning to the Gmahkopf. The injured skier had thrown our plans to take early lunch into disarray, so thoughtless. We'd figured Christmas Day would be busy so get in early. Anyhow we hit up the Hornboden which was quite busy but a great spot with awesome views. The staff were friendly and efficient and very cheery for people working on Christmas Day! Number 5 had been showing signs of fraying at the edges. His legs have been through a lot in the last three days and I'm not surprised he was tiring, I certainly was!

We ordered a margherita pizza for him and his mum to share which is one of about only three things he eats, daughter had a schnitzel and chips and I lashed out on a Tiroler Schlutzkrapfen which tasted a lot better than it sounded. We were trying to go minimal as we had a four course Christmas dinner booked at 6pm back in Rossmoos but it's hard not to eat in Austria! In order to save me from myself I selflessly donated the salad to my wife.
303.jpg


This was a great spot and cheap as well, definitely going back. Once outside we got pelted with snowballs by some delinquent Austrian teenagers. However we were saved by an Austrian skier who gave them an absolute serve and they ran off. The German language really is very well suited to telling people off it has to be said, I don't know what she said but I was fairly crapping myself just standing near her!

We were trying to stretch Number 5's day but he was seriously struggling now. In his grumpy state things came to a head when we went through the speedcheck and he got stuck behind a ski school group and only clocked 14kph. This was compounded when daughter came through directly behind at 45kph and then proceeded to utterly fill him in with snow as he stood waiting at the end of the run. Sibling love!

Through the tears we skied down to the mid-station of the Wiedersbergerhornbahn which was by now very icy. There's a great long red run down to the bottom station but Number 5 asked if we could download the gondola instead. Being the amazing parents we are we told him that you weren't allowed to download the gondola which was a blatant lie but he seemed to accept it on the premise that daughter went in front of him and didn't try to bury him again. To make sure everyone in the family remained happy I therefore allowed her to hone her skills using me as a target on the way down.


We all had a hot drink and a pretzel at the cafe by the base station and headed for home, another great day on the slopes and the weather had been very kind to us. What a way to spend Christmas.
314.jpg


On the way home we got stuck behind a horse and cart. I'd mentioned earlier how Andreas and Julia have two ponies and a buggy but this wasn't them so I can only surmise this is quite commonplace. This was certainly not Nora and Nina pulling the buggy much to Sam's disappointment. It is amazing how this area combines the ancient and the modern so seamlessly. The apartment has all mod cons and excellent wifi and yet the people live a largely traditional life and drive around in horse and carts when they fancy it. I love it.
322.jpg


When we got home and after the usual animal petting I unloaded the car. Julia bailed me up and told me that a suitcase had arrived at the Gasthof over the road for us. I was delighted and made my feelings of happiness clear in both German and English! On Christmas Day of all days! Fresh pants! Ski bindings! A back protector! A helmet! My wife's makeup! All of these things that hold such importance! And in that order! IT'S A CHRISTMAS DAY MIRACLE!

We immediately went over the road to the Gasthof while I practiced saying, Guten Tag, wir wohnen in Bauernhaus Rossmoos und unser Koffer wurde Heute hier geliefert. We went to reception but it was empty, save for our suitcase sitting tantalisingly behind the counter! We went to the restaurant and found a lady who looked like she worked here. I delivered my rehearsed line in my best hoch deutsch and she smiled and replied in perfect English of course! it has been here since yesterday! WHAAAAAAT??? We've been busting Lufthansa's balls and living in four day old pants and it's been here since yesterday???

As it turns out it did arrive yesterday but the courier couldn't find the Bauernhaus so left it at the Gasthof. They didn't know who we were and didn't have anyone by our name in the hotel. It was only today that they made the connection that some Australians (and an English dad...) were staying at the Bauernhaus over the road. Whilst it would have been great to have the case yesterday it made me happy that an Austrian courier could also not find the Bauernhaus and went to the Gasthof. This is exactly the mistake I had made on that terrible arrival night a few days ago. I feel a little less stupid about that now.

We returned to the farm and I immediately changed my pants and set about putting the bindings on our skis. Our skis felt so good! I cradled them in my hands lovingly and enjoyed their fat all-mountain lines. Would it affect my skiing changing skis again? I'd just got used to these incredibily heavy Salomon skis and I was now heading back to my trusty Wingmans... Our skis on the left, rental skis on the right.
301.jpg


Andreas drove past in his tractor and appeared incredulous that a family of Australian tourists should need seven pairs of skis and a snowboard (which I also had out when he drove past). I don't think he had understood that our skis were inoperable without the suitcase...

To finish the day off we went for a slap up four course meal at the Gasthof at 6pm. It was lovely, a great vibe (although not particularly Christmassy) and very friendly staff and patrons. With our suitcase arriving there was much happiness in the air and after a salad, soup, main, dessert four course belly buster we even ordered a local schnapps to finish which was orangey/pink and in her limited English the waitress told us was something to do with a pine tree or similar. I happily drank it. And Junior also fell asleep in the restaurant and lay on his mum's lap throughout the whole meal. Skiing does that to you when you're five...

Tomorrow we may go to Niederau. It's small and not as much vertical but we'd like to check it out and shorten the skiing for Sam as he is getting pretty cooked.

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Kids and skiing - that was a great time for us as well, you writing makes me remember. However getting older she disappeared for 2 years in Japan for skiing and rafting one day after graduation at high school.

If I would show such happiness over wifes makeup arriving with lost baggage, I am sure she would shout
"what do you mean by that" and most likely rip off my head" :out:

Great writing I could never do.:thumbs:
 

Skifahrer

Addicted
Feb 6, 2021
478
168
113
Dahoam
The view is awesome - I took a panorama but I'm not going to post it as it just didn't do justice to the breadth of the mountain view. Instead I give you this brilliant part of that view which seemed to be another resort over the valley. There's a town at the base, a resort mid-picture and an amazing mountain range at the top. Ticks all of the key skiing boxes! I looked later and I think it may be Spieljoch? I love this picture though.
309.jpg
Another great report. I am already looking forward to the continuation.

Yep, Spieljoch, Fügen. Spieljoch is linked to Hochfügen and Kaltenbach, via a short ride with a bus.

I believe that you will also ski in the Zillertal?
If you are in the Zillertalarena, you can make the valley descent from the Übergangsjoch to Zell. That's 2.000 meters in altitude. Since you are good skiers, the black valley descent should not be a problem. After the next few days it will be very warm, there are certainly problems with the snow at lower elevations.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Another great report. I am already looking forward to the continuation.

Yep, Spieljoch, Fügen. Spieljoch is linked to Hochfügen and Kaltenbach, via a short ride with a bus.

I believe that you will also ski in the Zillertal?
If you are in the Zillertalarena, you can make the valley descent from the Übergangsjoch to Zell. That's 2.000 meters in altitude. Since you are good skiers, the black valley descent should not be a problem. After the next few days it will be very warm, there are certainly problems with the snow at lower elevations.
Hey skifahrer and anyone else who knows the area. We are skiing Ski Juwel again tomorrow and then on the 28th we drive to Konigsleiten. Given it may be wet and warm after the 28th we thought we might stop in somewhere on the 28th on our way to Konigsleiten to get a day trip ski in before the weather deteriorates. Is there anywhere you can suggest we might stop along the way (or nearby)? Reith looks fairly small but maybe worth it for a quick ski? Anywhere else on your radar? It doesn't have to be big as we will only have one day and probably a short one at that.

Any advice welcome!
 

Skifahrer

Addicted
Feb 6, 2021
478
168
113
Dahoam
As I understand it, you have the Salzburg Supercard. Of course, this limits the selection of areas. Spontaneously I would think of Skiwelt and even better Kitzbühel with the Streif. But that is both quite a detour.
Or you can drive to Zell and ski the front part of the Zillertalarena. This is directly on the way.
Before you go skiing in Reith, I would spend another day in Alpach.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Hyst

Enjoyer
Ski Pass
Nov 23, 2014
2,947
2,334
363
66
Copenhagen
www.ahmadjoudeh.com
Kaltenbach would be on the way, but wilh children i would look at Hintertux, or if you want to keep that for warmer days - try Fügen even though it is small it is a nice nature.

I understand you will go to Kitzbühel/Skiwelt area later!?

On big traveling days there can be quite a que to get in/out of Zillertal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Thanks Hyst and skifahrer, I do like the idea of going to Fugen as we saw it from the top of the mountain a few days ago and it really appeals to me. But I'm thinking maybe we might go to Zell and ski the front of the arena as that would be included in the superski pass and would also leave us a shorter drive after skiing. Will wait and see what the weather does but thanks for the great suggestions.

Out of interest, on a good day is it feasible to ski from Zell to Konigsleiten? Are they actually fully linked by lifts? Not thinking of doing it I just looked at the maps and it looks almost possible so it was just a point of interest really!
 

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
55
121
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
Hey skifahrer and anyone else who knows the area. We are skiing Ski Juwel again tomorrow and then on the 28th we drive to Konigsleiten. Given it may be wet and warm after the 28th we thought we might stop in somewhere on the 28th on our way to Konigsleiten to get a day trip ski in before the weather deteriorates. Is there anywhere you can suggest we might stop along the way (or nearby)? Reith looks fairly small but maybe worth it for a quick ski? Anywhere else on your radar? It doesn't have to be big as we will only have one day and probably a short one at that.

Any advice welcome!
What ski pass do you have? If you've got something for Tirol, try Mayrhofen, especially the Horberg side (and the Tappenalm for lunch). You can then drive from Gerlos to Konigsliten via the pass (and use your lift card at the toll booth to save EUR10).

If your pass is a superski one, then try either the Soll / Scheffau or Kitzbuhel / Jochberg areas. Both are classic ski areas although a little low in elevation. A half day trip to the Krimml waterfall is also worth it on a rest day (largest in Europe & should be frozen).
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Hyst

Enjoyer
Ski Pass
Nov 23, 2014
2,947
2,334
363
66
Copenhagen
www.ahmadjoudeh.com
You can do that, but there might
Thanks Hyst and skifahrer, I do like the idea of going to Fugen as we saw it from the top of the mountain a few days ago and it really appeals to me. But I'm thinking maybe we might go to Zell and ski the front of the arena as that would be included in the superski pass and would also leave us a shorter drive after skiing. Will wait and see what the weather does but thanks for the great suggestions.

Out of interest, on a good day is it feasible to ski from Zell to Konigsleiten? Are they actually fully linked by lifts? Not thinking of doing it I just looked at the maps and it looks almost possible so it was just a point of interest really!
Yes, that is possible - but with 5 years may be not such good idea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
55
121
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
Out of interest, on a good day is it feasible to ski from Zell to Konigsleiten? Are they actually fully linked by lifts? Not thinking of doing it I just looked at the maps and it looks almost possible so it was just a point of interest really!

Yes you can ski and it is a lovely trip but you need to begin the return by 2pm at the latest to make it home before the lifts close (and don't do it on a windy day as the connecting lift closes first). The snow park at the Kreuzwissen is excellent for the kids and even has an airbag jump. Tuesdays is a free shredschool (or was before COVID).

The alternative is to drive to Gerlos or even Zell. If you park at Zell, don't ski the last part of the talabfahrt beyond the Wiesenalm with Mstr 5. Gondola down from the middle station as it's a very steep black at the end.

If you do have the legs though, Arena Stadl to Zell car park is a continuous 10km red/black of over 1900m vertical.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Sheer Terror in Niederau
After partially sleeping off a four course meal and schnappsfest we were woken at 5am by a child that had slept through dinner the night before and was now fully rested and primed to reap revenge on a pair of mildly hungover parents. Over pre-6am coffee and omelettes we perused the trail map and zeroed in on Niederau, a smaller ski area in the next valley that was still part of the Ski Juwel group and therefore still available on our superski passes.

Whilst it boasted significantly less vertical and altitude than the primo Ski Juwel mountains it still had a gondola, a toboggan run and a number of lengthy looking red and black runs. We have skied most of the pisted terrain on the big ticket mountains now and while I would happily do it again and again I do love exploring new terrain. Add to that the need to keep the kids interest and also to give Sam's legs some respite with a shorter day and it seemed a decent option.
412.jpg


I was also fascinated by the prospect of a toboggan run that the trail map preposterously suggested ran from the top of the chairlift at 1621m to the very bottom at 828m (see wiggly purple line above). The brochure went further and indicated that this mythical sled run had a total length of 6km and a vertical drop of more than 730m. This is almost Buller top to bottom twice, and on a toboggan FFS! Talk about taking the piss!

I must confess that I feel like I know more than your average guy about tobogganing and therefore I was highly skeptical that such a toboggan run could exist. When I was a kid and we got snow in England my friends and I would pull out our toboggans and use a heavily sloped farmer's field nearby to master our craft. In fact it was actually two fields with a very spikey hawthorn hedge bisecting them and a narrow gate in the middle. The trick was to launch from the top and be sufficiently good at steering to get through the open gate at the mid-point of the run just as you reached peak velocity. Failure to navigate through this 4m wide gap meant slamming head first into the hawthorn hedge and the simultaneous removal of significant volumes of skin and pride. All up the vertical on this run would have been about 50m at best. So you can imagine my skepticism when some Austrian tells me they do toboggan runs in excess of 700m vertical...

Here's a picture from the marketing. Check out these guys, they look like they are having a great time! Nothing really says kook quite like sunglasses and a helmet does it. And note also the bank of snow along the the sheer drop at the edge of the run to stop errant tobogganers from falling to their death in the event of a minor steering error. I shall return to this point later.
413.jpg


But I digress, we quickly set sail for Niederau in the mighty Tucson. We made a very quick stop in Alpbach to drop off the now unrequired rental skis and to organise some ski lessons for our final day in Alpbach on the 27th. My request for private lessons for the kids was met with incredulity all round. In Australia this is a bread and butter request and ski school are selotaping your credit-card laden hand to the eftpos terminal before you can say mastercard. But in Austria it seems children do not have private lessons but must join a group of covid-riddled schoolkids for the day and be kept out of sight while the adults do the adult stuff. We got a straight no first up and at our second ski school a maybe. We were to return later when they had a clearer idea of instructor availability. If they ran out of adults then maybe a child might be considered. I sensed that my request was actually going into the 'special filing cabinet' once more...

After one of the best family driver-navigator team efforts in a long time we arrived safely in Niderau. The weather was dull and threatening and we overshot the gondola car park and ended up in the chairlift slash toboggan car park which I think it's safe to say is where the real action is at. Further irritation occurred at the lift turnstiles when I was refused entry and realised that in my haste to leave I had forgotten to transfer my superski card from my snowboard jacket to my freshly arrived ski jacket. Bugger. I resigned myself to buying a day ticket and went to try and give the nice man 52 euros for my troubles. My Grune Pass then shat itself and went all weird again and I had to show him my international vaccine paperwork and my drivers licence. Finally he was happy with this and then my phone refused to pay and I remembered how I had wiped all my credit cards from Google Pay yesterday. This was not going well. Whilst I thought about offering my first born child I ended up simply pulling out some old fashioned cash and sloping off to the turnstile again in an embarrassed fashion.

To add insult to injury it then started to rain as we went up on the chairlift. Our pain soon turned to pleasure though as the rain switched to snow soon after as we ascended the very steep chairlift. The chairlift ride did give me the chance to eyeball the aforementioned toboggan run and I have to say it was impressive. Yes, literally top to bottom, winding it's way through the steep cliffside with numerous switchbacks, good snow coverage and a host of screaming and rather shell-shocked looking punters. Trying to ignore this we unloaded and set off skiing in the light snowfall.
407.jpg


We took down a very nice red run over to the top of the gondola. The snow was soft but not slushy and on the fresh grooming it was a joy to ski on. The Wingmans (wingmen?) were performing admirably and I was very happy to be back on my trusted servants. We then went straight down the guts on a very long and quite steep in parts red run that was just one of those runs that has a great pitch and shape to ski on. We all really enjoyed it and to say it was quiet on that run was an understatement.
406.jpg


Finally reaching the bottom it was to our horror that we came upon something that we had not seen since our arrival in Austria. This thing appeared to be composed entirely of people standing in a line trying to access something further downstream. Yes my friends, this was a queue for the gondola. Initially we were unsure what to do but eventually we realised that if you join the back of said queue you eventually reach the gondola and get to ride in it. So we did, but we also did manage to avoid sharing the lift with anyone else - a feat which we have managed 100% of the time to date due to the very sparse numbers.

Reaching the top we headed towards what looked like a very quaint looking church on a hill which was slightly random. There seems to be a great many churches and crosses in this part of Austria. This one was sitting randomly on the hill just near the gondola and made for a great picture.
405.jpg


We hit up an access trail which had some good 'high trails' in the side wall which daughter enjoyed taking. The arrival of our luggage has also returned to us the kids camelbaks which I freely admit I frowned upon at first. But they have been amazing and the kids actually love them. Sam in particular absolutely drills the water in his and has to be the most hydrated child on the planet when we go skiing. So much so that when we had an emergency situation later in the day and a toilet closure at the ticket office facilitated the need for a bush wee by the car he was so hydrated that the snow in the blast zone was left entirely uncoloured by his aberration! A stealth wee!
408.jpg


We then took down black run 24b which was in that same domain of could be a red run but we want a black on the map. It was still a heap of fun and frankly we are more than happy as skiing these marginal blacks boosts Sam's confidence and mine!
420.jpg


A couple more laps followed including our first gondola sharing with an elderly German-speaking couple with adults fully ffp2'd up. Daughter decided to fire out her full repertoire of German which didn't seem to impress them that much. Started well with name, age, where I live. Ended badly with something along the lines of 'ich habe nicht covid aber ich habe durchfall'. Never leave an eight year old alone with an ipad and google translate.

We visited the aforementioned church after another pull yer own T bar arrangement and I have to say even though I am not religious it was a great piece of scenery. I'm not entirely sure if it's a church but it seems plausible.
401.jpg


It was so good I felt compelled to take another photo from a different angle.
402.jpg


After a couple of laps we stopped for chips and a very nice beverage which calmed my nerves in advance of the toboganning. Food today was a minimal and simple affair after the excesses of yesterday. Whilst in the food hut an English speaking dad who had ordered a cheeseburger and chips behind me berated his son for not thanking the staff and made him say thank you. Whilst I admired his manners I felt the least you could do if you aren't going to at least attempt to order in German is say Danke rather than thank you. Surely that is the minimum level of effort required when overseas.
403.jpg


We were headed back to the car park to psyche up for the toboganning. Brutally, there is no way back to the chairlift car park other than a schuss followed by a very long black run. This was okay for us but could be a bit painful if you weren't a particularly confident skier! It also gave us a chance to use the rope tow - something I thought only existed in history books and Mount Buller...
409.jpg


We hit the access trail and headed down an excellent black run that skirts the far edge of the resort. This was another great run and although Niederau has only a limited number of runs I have to say that I found them all to be really skiable and fun to do. We were very happy with our day's skiing.

Back at the car I knew the time had come. I hit up my friend in the ticket office and he informed me that toboggans (or sleds as we discovered Austrians call them during our staggered English/German conversation) could only be rented at a shop 'just round the corner'. This turned out to be partially true. It was around the corner. But not just. I eventually got the thing and man was it heavy. It was like carrying an ox on your back from the shop to the lift. It was a pretty nutsed up sled though. Proper shiny metal runners, solid wood frame and stretched canvas seat. Tidy.

Mum and son had no interest whatsoever in getting one of these deathtraps and I was left to accompany over-confident daughter on this suicide mission. The lifty hung the sled on the chair in front of us and we headed up the hill. Jeez the chairlift was steep. Yes, the toboggan run winds down with a limited pitch but if you go over the edge you're on a one way ticket to the krankenhaus. And that's if you're lucky.
410.jpg


This is daughter prepping at the start of the course at about 1500m altitude. In a massive lapse of judgement I had opted for the beanie instead of the full crash helmet. Christ, even sunglasses guy in the marketing knew to wear a helmet! It is safe to say from the moment I sat on the sled behind my daughter to the moment I got off 6km later I was shitting myself. This has to be the most dangerous sport ever invented.

It's basically an almost unsteerable missile with brakes that function only sporadically (and not at all if you get up to proper cruisng speed) fired down a hairpin winding trail with no barriers and a 730m drop-off. I mean what could go wrong?? How they have never lost anyone I will never know. Maybe they have. Maybe that's what all the crosses all over the mountain are for!

And remember those banks of snow on the edge of the run in the marketing? I think they must have been photoshopped because they weren't there now. In fact if anything I reckon the run was cambered towards the edge! Absolute lunacy. I will happily pull out my phone to take a video of Sam while skiing down a black run but there was no chance I was getting it out for a video going down this puppy on the death machine. No chance whatsoever!

When we reached what I felt was the safest moment (and that term is relative) I managed to loose off one round on my phone but otherwise my hands were welded to the base of the sled and not letting go for anyone.
411.jpg


It tells you something that this was the nicest view that I saw in the entire half an hour. This is us hurtling towards a hairpin bend with no barriers and a massive dropoff at the end. Look closely. There's a ****ing cross on the corner! What does that tell you!

I honestly thought we were going to be ended. Look on the left of that picture where the 730m drop off is. Snowbank? Barrier? Er, no, we don't need those in Austria... Daughter continually berating me for not taking my heels out of the snow. I tried once and we shot off like a cannonball. It was horrendous. After what seemed like an eternity we rounded the final corner and I lay gasping for air and ready for a bottle of Fireball. Daughter turns round and goes 'that was amazing Dad, lets go again!

In. Your. Dreams.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
As others have said options will in part depend on what sort of ski passes you got. From what I can tell it appears you have the Salzburger Super ski card which certainly makes sense, but does limit your options in the Zillertal. When I was there I had a Zillertal pass so skied several of the areas in the valley. My favourite was definitely Hochfügen which is linked to Hochzillertal accessed from Kaltenbach but not on the Salzburg pass. Hochfügen is mostly ungroomed and I had a couple of great powder days there. May not be the best option for the 5yr old though. Hochzillertal though is big wide groomed runs.

But assuming you do have the Salzburg pass I would agree with doing the western part of the Zillertal Arena either from Zell am Ziller or Gerlos. When I skied Zillertal Arena I did it as a day trip from Kaltenbach. Caught the train to Zell, then skibus to the mountain, skied via Gerlos over to Königsleiten, where I then turned back and returned to Zell, so it is easily possible. But if you are heading to Königsleiten later I would just to a circuit of Zell to Gerlos and back.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
Another good daily update. :thumbs:

The crosses on the peaks and little chapels are quite common in Austria. You have to remember that most of these areas are traditional mountain farming villages that existed long before the ski areas were developed.

Liked the Zillertal Weissbier. :)

I've always stayed clear of the sledding. Feel much more at home on skis.
 

Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
24,605
30,421
1,063
Canberra
My advice is to check all the webcams in the morning ( Tuesday). Check the lift status also. The Hochkrimml link from Zell to Gerlos may be closed in poor weather ( this is common ).
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,010
3,289
363
We did the Big Pintenfritz on Jungfrau in Switzerland when our boys were not much more older than yours. It’s 15km of terror that starts at 2850m. There was a moment where I had barely made it with the eldest helping tip us onto our side, round a right angle corner coated in ice. I sprinted back up the hill and dived to help stop my wife and the youngest going over a sheer cliff. (She was much more competent than I was and didn’t need the help in the end). I am convinced Sledging with children in Europe is a form of population control!
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Yes you can ski and it is a lovely trip but you need to begin the return by 2pm at the latest to make it home before the lifts close (and don't do it on a windy day as the connecting lift closes first). The snow park at the Kreuzwissen is excellent for the kids and even has an airbag jump. Tuesdays is a free shredschool (or was before COVID).

The alternative is to drive to Gerlos or even Zell. If you park at Zell, don't ski the last part of the talabfahrt beyond the Wiesenalm with Mstr 5. Gondola down from the middle station as it's a very steep black at the end.

If you do have the legs though, Arena Stadl to Zell car park is a continuous 10km red/black of over 1900m vertical.
Tell me more about Kreuzwissen. I couldn't find it on the map, where is it near? As mentioned before daughter has been working hard in the terrain park and just before we left for Austria had been practicing her 360s at the water jump. Kreuzwissen therefore sounds right down her street! Acknowledging that with covid and potential rain it may not be operating of course.

 
  • Wow
Reactions: Hyst

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
And just for clarity as I don't think I've made it clear at any point we have the Salzburg and Kitzbuheler SuperSki pass. Absolutely unbelievable value even when we are only here for a third of the season. Our friend in Kitzbuhel got it for us at the earlybird price with a refund if we couldn't make it over.

And on our list of booked accomodation is Konigsleiten, Kaprun, Zell am See, Kitzbuhel, Saalbach and Kleinwalsertal.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
Tell me more about Kreuzwissen. I couldn't find it on the map, where is it near? As mentioned before daughter has been working hard in the terrain park and just before we left for Austria had been practicing her 360s at the water jump. Kreuzwissen therefore sounds right down her street! Acknowledging that with covid and potential rain it may not be operating of course.


Action Park Kreuzwiesen is on the Zell am Ziller side.
1640584546239.png



 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Awesome, thank you! Weather permitting there is now a high likelihood we will be getting Karspitzbahn 1 and 2 straight up there on the morning of the 28th I would think!

After seeing your map I have been able to find the website for the park and it seems like the free shred sessions are on Tuesdays which conveniently is the 28th. I'm not sure if they are running this year, if the language barrier can be surmounted or even if Miss 8 will be happy to participate or too shy but we will go and have a look!

 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
And just for clarity as I don't think I've made it clear at any point we have the Salzburg and Kitzbuheler SuperSki pass. Absolutely unbelievable value even when we are only here for a third of the season. Our friend in Kitzbuhel got it for us at the earlybird price with a refund if we couldn't make it over.

And on our list of booked accomodation is Konigsleiten, Kaprun, Zell am See, Kitzbuhel, Saalbach and Kleinwalsertal.

All of the above as well as Alpbach are included in the list of skiline resorts I mentioned earlier https://www.skiline.cc/resorts
So you just need to register https://www.skiline.cc/register then enter you ski pass number once and you should have a track of all your ski days.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
All of the above as well as Alpbach are included in the list of skiline resorts I mentioned earlier https://www.skiline.cc/resorts
So you just need to register https://www.skiline.cc/register then enter you ski pass number once and you should have a track of all your ski days.
I've not been able to get this to work so far, I get an error when I click on the confirmation email link. I'll keep trying each day and see if I can get into it as it sounds great.
 

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
55
121
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
If driving, parking at Karspitzbahn is easier than Rosenalmbahn although it's one big carpark between them. From the top of the Karspitz, drop right and you are at the park. Lots of options including a timed run, kids line and adult jibs & kickers.

Lunch at the Kreuzwiesenalm (spinatknodl for a something different & kaiseschmarrn for the win) or a schnitty at the Schnitzelhutte on the Karspitz 18 run. Finish with an obstler (perferably hausgebraut) for Dad.
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
So much great information, thanks everyone. Fingers crossed the weather is okay tomorrow. No-one likes hitting the terrain park in zero visibility!!
 

davekinkead

Hard Yards
Mar 29, 2015
55
121
83
dave.kinkead.com.au
Sheer Terror in Niederau
After partially sleeping off a four course meal and schnappsfest we were woken at 5am by a child that had slept through dinner the night before and was now fully rested and primed to reap revenge on a pair of mildly hungover parents. Over pre-6am coffee and omelettes we perused the trail map and zeroed in on Niederau, a smaller ski area in the next valley that was still part of the Ski Juwel group and therefore still available on our superski passes.

Whilst it boasted significantly less vertical and altitude than the primo Ski Juwel mountains it still had a gondola, a toboggan run and a number of lengthy looking red and black runs. We have skied most of the pisted terrain on the big ticket mountains now and while I would happily do it again and again I do love exploring new terrain. Add to that the need to keep the kids interest and also to give Sam's legs some respite with a shorter day and it seemed a decent option.
412.jpg


I was also fascinated by the prospect of a toboggan run that the trail map preposterously suggested ran from the top of the chairlift at 1621m to the very bottom at 828m (see wiggly purple line above). The brochure went further and indicated that this mythical sled run had a total length of 6km and a vertical drop of more than 730m. This is almost Buller top to bottom twice, and on a toboggan FFS! Talk about taking the piss!

I must confess that I feel like I know more than your average guy about tobogganing and therefore I was highly skeptical that such a toboggan run could exist. When I was a kid and we got snow in England my friends and I would pull out our toboggans and use a heavily sloped farmer's field nearby to master our craft. In fact it was actually two fields with a very spikey hawthorn hedge bisecting them and a narrow gate in the middle. The trick was to launch from the top and be sufficiently good at steering to get through the open gate at the mid-point of the run just as you reached peak velocity. Failure to navigate through this 4m wide gap meant slamming head first into the hawthorn hedge and the simultaneous removal of significant volumes of skin and pride. All up the vertical on this run would have been about 50m at best. So you can imagine my skepticism when some Austrian tells me they do toboggan runs in excess of 700m vertical...

Here's a picture from the marketing. Check out these guys, they look like they are having a great time! Nothing really says kook quite like sunglasses and a helmet does it. And note also the bank of snow along the the sheer drop at the edge of the run to stop errant tobogganers from falling to their death in the event of a minor steering error. I shall return to this point later.
413.jpg


But I digress, we quickly set sail for Niederau in the mighty Tucson. We made a very quick stop in Alpbach to drop off the now unrequired rental skis and to organise some ski lessons for our final day in Alpbach on the 27th. My request for private lessons for the kids was met with incredulity all round. In Australia this is a bread and butter request and ski school are selotaping your credit-card laden hand to the eftpos terminal before you can say mastercard. But in Austria it seems children do not have private lessons but must join a group of covid-riddled schoolkids for the day and be kept out of sight while the adults do the adult stuff. We got a straight no first up and at our second ski school a maybe. We were to return later when they had a clearer idea of instructor availability. If they ran out of adults then maybe a child might be considered. I sensed that my request was actually going into the 'special filing cabinet' once more...

After one of the best family driver-navigator team efforts in a long time we arrived safely in Niderau. The weather was dull and threatening and we overshot the gondola car park and ended up in the chairlift slash toboggan car park which I think it's safe to say is where the real action is at. Further irritation occurred at the lift turnstiles when I was refused entry and realised that in my haste to leave I had forgotten to transfer my superski card from my snowboard jacket to my freshly arrived ski jacket. Bugger. I resigned myself to buying a day ticket and went to try and give the nice man 52 euros for my troubles. My Grune Pass then shat itself and went all weird again and I had to show him my international vaccine paperwork and my drivers licence. Finally he was happy with this and then my phone refused to pay and I remembered how I had wiped all my credit cards from Google Pay yesterday. This was not going well. Whilst I thought about offering my first born child I ended up simply pulling out some old fashioned cash and sloping off to the turnstile again in an embarrassed fashion.

To add insult to injury it then started to rain as we went up on the chairlift. Our pain soon turned to pleasure though as the rain switched to snow soon after as we ascended the very steep chairlift. The chairlift ride did give me the chance to eyeball the aforementioned toboggan run and I have to say it was impressive. Yes, literally top to bottom, winding it's way through the steep cliffside with numerous switchbacks, good snow coverage and a host of screaming and rather shell-shocked looking punters. Trying to ignore this we unloaded and set off skiing in the light snowfall.
407.jpg


We took down a very nice red run over to the top of the gondola. The snow was soft but not slushy and on the fresh grooming it was a joy to ski on. The Wingmans (wingmen?) were performing admirably and I was very happy to be back on my trusted servants. We then went straight down the guts on a very long and quite steep in parts red run that was just one of those runs that has a great pitch and shape to ski on. We all really enjoyed it and to say it was quiet on that run was an understatement.
406.jpg


Finally reaching the bottom it was to our horror that we came upon something that we had not seen since our arrival in Austria. This thing appeared to be composed entirely of people standing in a line trying to access something further downstream. Yes my friends, this was a queue for the gondola. Initially we were unsure what to do but eventually we realised that if you join the back of said queue you eventually reach the gondola and get to ride in it. So we did, but we also did manage to avoid sharing the lift with anyone else - a feat which we have managed 100% of the time to date due to the very sparse numbers.

Reaching the top we headed towards what looked like a very quaint looking church on a hill which was slightly random. There seems to be a great many churches and crosses in this part of Austria. This one was sitting randomly on the hill just near the gondola and made for a great picture.
405.jpg


We hit up an access trail which had some good 'high trails' in the side wall which daughter enjoyed taking. The arrival of our luggage has also returned to us the kids camelbaks which I freely admit I frowned upon at first. But they have been amazing and the kids actually love them. Sam in particular absolutely drills the water in his and has to be the most hydrated child on the planet when we go skiing. So much so that when we had an emergency situation later in the day and a toilet closure at the ticket office facilitated the need for a bush wee by the car he was so hydrated that the snow in the blast zone was left entirely uncoloured by his aberration! A stealth wee!
408.jpg


We then took down black run 24b which was in that same domain of could be a red run but we want a black on the map. It was still a heap of fun and frankly we are more than happy as skiing these marginal blacks boosts Sam's confidence and mine!
420.jpg


A couple more laps followed including our first gondola sharing with an elderly German-speaking couple with adults fully ffp2'd up. Daughter decided to fire out her full repertoire of German which didn't seem to impress them that much. Started well with name, age, where I live. Ended badly with something along the lines of 'ich habe nicht covid aber ich habe durchfall'. Never leave an eight year old alone with an ipad and google translate.

We visited the aforementioned church after another pull yer own T bar arrangement and I have to say even though I am not religious it was a great piece of scenery. I'm not entirely sure if it's a church but it seems plausible.
401.jpg


It was so good I felt compelled to take another photo from a different angle.
402.jpg


After a couple of laps we stopped for chips and a very nice beverage which calmed my nerves in advance of the toboganning. Food today was a minimal and simple affair after the excesses of yesterday. Whilst in the food hut an English speaking dad who had ordered a cheeseburger and chips behind me berated his son for not thanking the staff and made him say thank you. Whilst I admired his manners I felt the least you could do if you aren't going to at least attempt to order in German is say Danke rather than thank you. Surely that is the minimum level of effort required when overseas.
403.jpg


We were headed back to the car park to psyche up for the toboganning. Brutally, there is no way back to the chairlift car park other than a schuss followed by a very long black run. This was okay for us but could be a bit painful if you weren't a particularly confident skier! It also gave us a chance to use the rope tow - something I thought only existed in history books and Mount Buller...
409.jpg


We hit the access trail and headed down an excellent black run that skirts the far edge of the resort. This was another great run and although Niederau has only a limited number of runs I have to say that I found them all to be really skiable and fun to do. We were very happy with our day's skiing.

Back at the car I knew the time had come. I hit up my friend in the ticket office and he informed me that toboggans (or sleds as we discovered Austrians call them during our staggered English/German conversation) could only be rented at a shop 'just round the corner'. This turned out to be partially true. It was around the corner. But not just. I eventually got the thing and man was it heavy. It was like carrying an ox on your back from the shop to the lift. It was a pretty nutsed up sled though. Proper shiny metal runners, solid wood frame and stretched canvas seat. Tidy.

Mum and son had no interest whatsoever in getting one of these deathtraps and I was left to accompany over-confident daughter on this suicide mission. The lifty hung the sled on the chair in front of us and we headed up the hill. Jeez the chairlift was steep. Yes, the toboggan run winds down with a limited pitch but if you go over the edge you're on a one way ticket to the krankenhaus. And that's if you're lucky.
410.jpg


This is daughter prepping at the start of the course at about 1500m altitude. In a massive lapse of judgement I had opted for the beanie instead of the full crash helmet. Christ, even sunglasses guy in the marketing knew to wear a helmet! It is safe to say from the moment I sat on the sled behind my daughter to the moment I got off 6km later I was shitting myself. This has to be the most dangerous sport ever invented.

It's basically an almost unsteerable missile with brakes that function only sporadically (and not at all if you get up to proper cruisng speed) fired down a hairpin winding trail with no barriers and a 730m drop-off. I mean what could go wrong?? How they have never lost anyone I will never know. Maybe they have. Maybe that's what all the crosses all over the mountain are for!

And remember those banks of snow on the edge of the run in the marketing? I think they must have been photoshopped because they weren't there now. In fact if anything I reckon the run was cambered towards the edge! Absolute lunacy. I will happily pull out my phone to take a video of Sam while skiing down a black run but there was no chance I was getting it out for a video going down this puppy on the death machine. No chance whatsoever!

When we reached what I felt was the safest moment (and that term is relative) I managed to loose off one round on my phone but otherwise my hands were welded to the base of the sled and not letting go for anyone.
411.jpg


It tells you something that this was the nicest view that I saw in the entire half an hour. This is us hurtling towards a hairpin bend with no barriers and a massive dropoff at the end. Look closely. There's a ****ing cross on the corner! What does that tell you!

I honestly thought we were going to be ended. Look on the left of that picture where the 730m drop off is. Snowbank? Barrier? Er, no, we don't need those in Austria... Daughter continually berating me for not taking my heels out of the snow. I tried once and we shot off like a cannonball. It was horrendous. After what seemed like an eternity we rounded the final corner and I lay gasping for air and ready for a bottle of Fireball. Daughter turns round and goes 'that was amazing Dad, lets go again!

In. Your. Dreams.
Rodeln is one of the best bits of Austro ski culture. That said, it is surprisingly dangerous (but most injuries seem to be from rodeln drunk).

> More than 2,200 people are injured in toboggan accidents in Austria every year. On average, annually two accidents are fatal. In the 2019/20 toboggan season, as many as five people died. Collisions with stationary obstacles such as trees are among the most frequent causes of death.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Rabid K9

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
Rodeln is one of the best bits of Austro ski culture. That said, it is surprisingly dangerous (but most injuries seem to be from rodeln drunk).

> More than 2,200 people are injured in toboggan accidents in Austria every year. On average, annually two accidents are fatal. In the 2019/20 toboggan season, as many as five people died. Collisions with stationary obstacles such as trees are among the most frequent causes of death.

Haha, I do like their liberal approach to OH&S. Australia would very quickly have regulated this activity out of existence! I think Thredbo already has.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sli1

Skifahrer

Addicted
Feb 6, 2021
478
168
113
Dahoam
Awesome, thank you! Weather permitting there is now a high likelihood we will be getting Karspitzbahn 1 and 2 straight up there on the morning of the 28th I would think!

After seeing your map I have been able to find the website for the park and it seems like the free shred sessions are on Tuesdays which conveniently is the 28th. I'm not sure if they are running this year, if the language barrier can be surmounted or even if Miss 8 will be happy to participate or too shy but we will go and have a look!
Good idea to go to Zell. After all, 4 hours of sunshine are announced.

Another option is the Snow Park Gerlos. This is easier to reach from Königsleiten.

This year is much less busy, but I could imagine that the parking lot at the Karspitzbahn can already be full. But there are other parking lots at the Rosenalmbahn. But that is then a little further to go.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

Skifahrer

Addicted
Feb 6, 2021
478
168
113
Dahoam
Three serious accidents on the same toboggan run

On Sunday, three people were seriously injured on the Gaislachkogel toboggan run in Sölden in the Ötztal valley. They were unable to brake their toboggans in time for bends and crashed into a secured tree or the side board wall.

Late in the morning, a 47-year-old French woman was tobogganing on the 7.3 kilometre long Gaislachkogel toboggan run in Sölden. In a slight left turn, she tried unsuccessfully to brake her rented toboggan. She got to the edge of the toboggan run, crashed into a tree secured with padding and sustained injuries of an undetermined degree.

Less than two hours later, a 48-year-old Dutchman crashed his rented toboggan into the wall of boards in a sharp left-hand bend on the same toboggan run. He suffered serious injuries.

Injured were flown to Zams hospital
And only a few minutes later, a 53-year-old Hungarian woman was on the toboggan run. She was unable to brake in time in a right-hand bend and also hit a wall of boards. She was also seriously injured. All three injured persons were flown to Zams hospital by emergency helicopter.


 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
A Day of Two Halves
Our last full day in Alpbach. What a stay it has been. Unless we get some serious snow at some point I find it hard to believe we are going to better this first week. We have absolutely loved this place. The accommodation is perfect and is our only self-catered place on the trip - I wish we'd booked more now. The hosts have been friendly without being intrusive, the animals have been pettable and the skiing has been pretty great up until now.

The views and the weather aren't bad either.
509.jpg


The sky was blue and the wind was light this morning. We had a great view across the valley to the Gmahkopf.
508.jpg


As we were about to leave to head out we got chatting to our hosts and they invited Sam into the inner sanctum of the farmhouse to see the baby calfs. This was like a dream come true for him and we got to look around the large area under the main barn where the cows were kept. Andreas has 70 cows and sells milk to Tirol Milk from whom a tanker arrives every two days. How the hell the tanker navigates the roads around this area I will never know, I can barely get round some of the corners in the Tucson.
503.jpg


The calfs were 2-3 weeks old and unbelievably cute. Sam was delighted. I think the ponies are still his favourite as they talk to him whenever he gets near the stables, but the cows are now a close second.

With the animal magic complete we set off for our final ski. As soon as we arrived at the gondola station it was clear that today was different to everything that had gone before. Previously we had no problem parking in the car park directly adjacent to the gondola but today this was full and we ended up three car parks away. We got one of the last parks available and thanked our lucky stars. Later in the day our ski instructor would tell me that there were 2,000-3,000 people on the mountain today. But in a normal year he said it would be more like 6,000-7,000. Heaven knows where they all park!

Despite the mass of cars there was no queue for the gondola so resplendent in our ffp2 masks we headed up to the top. It felt busy. The high traffic areas were buzzing. The snow was already getting scratchy and it was only mid-morning. We did a few of the favoured runs and all agreed that snow conditions were sub-optimal. It was that scratchy, icy surface where you can very easily lose an edge when you turn and you are desperately scanning for a small pile of loose snow somewhere that might afford you sufficient grip to get a decent turn in. The really good skiers simply weren't turning, but where you get the confidence to do that I simply do not know. I was hoping to find out in the lesson that we had booked for this afternoon.
501.jpg


In the absence of grip on the majority of the pistes we opted for the terrain parks for the morning. This is more the domain of my daughter but my son's confidence is skyrocketing at the moment and he also wanted to have a go at a couple of the small jumps.

Earlier in the week - and despite being quite experienced in the park - my daughter had hit the bigger jump too slow and landed short in the flat section, hurting her ankle in the process. We had talked about the need to carry more speed into the jump in order to land on the sloped back ramp and I think it's fair to say she listened to me. But we may have turned the dial a little too much!


This did not appear to bother her though and later in the day she spent much time in the park with an instructor doing grabs and the like and also trying out different things on the boxes.
510.jpg


With bones and egos intact we decided to head for an early lunch to beat the crowds. Earlier in the week @Skifahrer had suggested the Boglalm and I was keen to follow up this lead. This required a lengthy descent to InnerAlpbach which was very scratchy and not that pleasant. We took the gondola up to the mid-station and were rewarded with an outdoor table on the terrace in the sunshine which was superb.

Originally I had planned to follow skifahrers Tiroler Speckknodel suggestion but outside and very near our table they were cooking a Tiroler Grostle which smelt amazing and looked even better.
505.jpg


The wafting smell of cooking Grostle paired with an outdoor bar meant I was unable to make it into the building to order menu-based food and felt compelled to get the Grostle offering and a very nice accompanying beverage.
506.jpg


It was a taste sensation, I was impressed. I've not had this before but it is slap bang in the middle of my radar right now.

Full to the gunnels we fired down to the gondola on a very nice run that seemed to be underutilised and therefore still have some snow on it. With confidence high we headed to the meeting place for our lessons. You may remember that I was having some trouble convincing the ski school that my children were worthy of private lessons. Arms had eventually been sufficiently twisted and lessons procured. Originally for 10am but later changed to 1pm after a panicked evening phone call from the ski school. It wasn't ideal, Number 5 isn't at his best in the afternoon if we have skied all morning - but I hoped his instructor would be game enough to keep him going. The kids learn a hell of a lot from their one on one lessons, and the adults have never had any lessons so this was going to be interesting!

We met at the top and after a quick discussion around the kids abilities we split up and hit various parts of the mountain. Daughter got a young female instructor who had some park experience and ended up working on carving, short turns and big air which seemed to tick all of her boxes. Son had a dutch guy who managed to keep his attention and even elicit some rare enthusiasm from him about the lesson afterwards which was also a score. I suspect the Dutch guy knows a hell of a lot more about gondolas, lift infrastructure and farmyard animals than he did at the start of the day right now but that is by the by.

And the wife and I got a nice Austrian guy who spoke English like Hugh Grant and had a well rehearsed set of exercises for us to do for the two hours. The guy must have eyes in the back of his head as I never saw him look back once but after each exercise he had detailed feedback for both of us which was extraordinary! At the end of each exercise and feedback session he would say 'Perfect! Follow me to the lift!', or 'Perfect! Lets go this way now!'. And each time in my head I am thinking that wasn't perfect, that was in fact a ****ing long way from perfect.

It was hard work on the ice. He seemed to be able to get some edge on his highly tuned race skis but wife and I were sliding all over the shop on our all mountain steeds. He did ask me at one point how often I got our skis serviced and I said normally just once. He said really when conditions are like this once a week isn't going to be enough and I might want to think about getting the edges done twice a week. Shame, I had actually meant once a season!

However, I think we all got something out of the lessons. Kids came back happy and talking about massive air and secret forest trails and I came away thinking I was a crap skier but with lots of things to think about when I'm skiing in future... On a further odd footnote one of the older Austrian instructors at the ski school had worked at Mount Buller for 20 years and had recognised daughter's race club jacket that she wore before our suitcase arrived. Small world!

We headed back and I suggested we download the gondola to avoid what I presumed would be a very icy village descent. No point ending the day badly when we were on a high.
504.jpg


We headed back to the ranch and then out for Pizza in Alpbach, followed by our first Apple Strudels of the trip. We are going to miss this place, it has been a brilliant place to stay and to ski, I can't recommend it highly enough.
507.jpg
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
The Best Laid Plans
After a late night packing to ensure an early getaway I slept in until 7am which threw my original plans to get en route by 8am into disarray. We eventually managed a creditable 9am departure which is not a bad effort when you have to oversee two kids, a truckload of ski gear and a lengthy tearful farewell to the full gamut of farmyard animals.

I had feared that we may not fit all of the luggage into the mighty Tucson given that our errant missing suitcase had never entered the Hyundai's cavernous boot space before. Fortunately my world class boot packing strategy ensured that this was not a problem.
610.jpg


It was a dull and dreary day with a suggestion of potential moisture in the air. We drove back through Alpbach, Reith and Brixlegg and headed westwards. After some excellent Schloss spotting we took a left and headed into the Zillertal Valley. This involved going through our longest tunnel yet which was literally a hole through the bottom of a mountain. Son was very excited by this particular adventure. Personally though I couldn't help thinking how many years of planning and how much money it would take to build such a tunnel in Australia. I work in traffic engineering and I can tell you the answer to both questions is 'a bloody lot'...

It's always quite a shock coming out of Alpbach and driving elsewhere as your illusion of all Austrians living in chocolate box houses with cows underneath and horses and carts gets rather shattered. The Zillertal valley was no exception and I found it fairly industrial compared to what we had become used to. Nonetheless we reached Zell am Ziller in good time and found a park spot. I'm not going to lie, our park wasn't very close to the gondola. In fact it was quite a long way away. Clearly today was a popular day to be out skiing.
601.jpg


With our warm-up complete we jumped into the gondola. Our passes worked just fine without any additional validation at this resort and Sam continued his efforts to limbo the barriers all day as was required by Austrian resorts. We had originally hoped to get the Karspitzbahn directly up to the terrain park so daughter could join the Shred Session which is a freestyle workshop put on by the resort for no cost. However, with a solid almost half kilometre walk in ski boots already under our belt we opted for the closer Rosenalmbahn. This ended well as the Rosenalmbahn actually crosses under the Karspitzbahn just after the midstation and again my son was enthralled by this feat of engineering genius.

At the top we skied down to a six seater chairlift with a reasonable length queue and headed to the top. A quick blast down the 'fun run' with it's twists and turns and rollers and we came across the Shred Session basecamp. We were the first punters there and it was basically a couple of timber shacks frequented by about five chainsmoking snowboard dudes who were chilling out and talking smack. I timidly asked if the shred session was 'nur fur snowboard' as there were no skis to be seen anywhere. In between puffs on his home made dart the dude told me that skiers were welcome and despite not having any ski instructors today my daughter could still hang with them and do the jumps and boxes. They were all friendly and we waited around until their motley crew had assembled.
602.jpg


Unfortunately for daughter it was all snowboarders, almost all guys, mostly much older than her and all German speaking. Totally fine of course but maybe not if you're a shy, English speaking eight year old girl on skis... She said she'd give it a crack and they even said Sam could tag along and do some stuff with them too. So we let them do a couple of laps and followed from range.

The lift was pretty busy so they were walking back up to the jump each time and Sam tapped out after a couple of jumps which I had expected all along. What surprised me though was that my daughter also wanted to stop soon after. I was a bit disappointed as we'd put a lot of effort into getting her here in time to do it. The coaches were great and very friendly and told her she could come back anytime. She can be quite shy in a group situation and I think she just got freaked out by it all and maybe also by all the German being spoken! She does give a great "Jawohl!" now if she does a good jump though...

I was already grumpy about the cricket and this early quitting only served to darken my mood leading to a standoff couple of hours between daughter and I. I told the kids to do what they wanted and I would follow so we ended up doing the flipping speed check about 15 times. She got a 76kph which is decent (saw a few adults get 80+) and Sam excelled himself and got a 63 which is a great effort for a little guy. I got a pathetic 74 although I maintain I wasn't really trying. Here I am below making a schoolboy error and washing off speed before I got over the finish line. I'll never make race club.
608.jpg


I finally managed to coax daughter out of her freestyle funk and she hit a 180 off the jump and we got some air off the side of the dude hut.
603.jpg


Consequently and much to my annoyance we barely got to see any of the resort really. We spent about three hours on the one lift lapping the terrain park area which I will admit had a heap of stuff for the kids to do. This included a head to head race with flags and a movie setup, the speed check, the park features and the fun run.

We finally managed to get out of the park and with the weather being very up and down we headed down the middle of the resort to get a late lunch. The snow was a bit better than Ski Juwel yesterday although still plenty of slippery, icy patches. The piles were proper snow rather than dust though which meant if you avoided the regular ice patches you could still get some decent turns in.

I took the picture below when the sun poked out and it looks back down the valley from whence we came this morning. Great scenery everywhere at this resort. It also amazes me how little people go off piste in Austria. I get that there are days where the snow in the foreground is frozen solid and awful to ride on but honestly, if that was Buller that snow would be a total mess within one hour of lifts opening on the day it fell.
604.jpg


With everyone grumbling we just got a self-serve for lunch which was highly average but got the job done. And then, finally, came the best part of the day. We needed to head back to get the car and head to our next location as I didn't want to drive to Konigsleiten in the dark. So I suggested we have a Top Gear style race from the gondola mid-station to the bottom. Son and mum would travel in the Karspitzbahn and daughter and I would ski the much-feared number 10 black run. The winner's would be the team that reached the bottom first.

This idea came to me as I heeded @davekinkead's suggestion in a previous post that Number 5 might not enjoy this particular black run. I respected this advice and I am glad I did as although he would happily have got down here, the very last section is quite steep and has nothing at all to stop you sliding top to bottom should you fall. With the current icy conditions that would not have been a good end to the day...

Here we are at the start line with the gondola just having come out of the mid-station:
609.jpg


And here is a still from a video taken by mum in the gondola part way down:
607.jpg


I had insisted that daughter wait for me at every crest which she was deeply unhappy about. As you can see above she absolutely torches me on this terrain. Remember those people I was telling you about yesterday that have such confidence in their ability and their equipment that they don't need to turn no matter how steep and icy the run? Yup.

My legs were on fire. Each crest I got to daughter would shoot off again and I'd have to follow with zero break for my blazing thighs. A look to the right would show the relentless gondola moving down the hill. The gondola does not get sore thighs, nor does it stop for breaks. When we eventually reached the final and steepest section daughter took it down with all of about two turns and pulled out a massive ski jumper's hockey stop on the run-off just short of the road. By this time I was into about my twenty fifth turn and about a quarter of the way down this brute.

I put down the hammer for a final pathetic show of force about ten metres from the bottom and looked across to the gondola station. No sign of the other team. I think we'd done it. As we walked over with our skis they came out of the gondola station. Wife told me that daughter had comfortably beaten them. I was apparently marginal! I'm going to take that as a team win though.

Overall it was a nice resort (what we saw of it). It wasn't our best day due to some 'internal family politics' between daughter and I and the early quitting of the shred session. But I would love to go back one day and explore the rest of the terrain. It is a much more commercial feeling operation than Ski Juwel and that probably worked a little against it. The parking by the freeway and walking to the gondola also wasn't a great 'vibe' but I concede that it is school holidays and a busy period. The scenery once you are up the top is spectacular though. Awesome mountain views everywhere you look.
605.jpg


We jumped the car and hit the Gerlos pass. It's a fun drive (in the light!) and we passed through quaint villages and towns and also a few cool sites where they have a little cable car that crosses the valley carrying cargo of some sort. Eventually arriving in Konigsleiten we navigated the narrow streets up to the hotel and checked in. The hotel is great, modern and attractive. It was a bit random as I was really struggling to find a New Year booking that would take a non Saturday to Saturday booking and this hotel popped up. Prior to that we were staying at the Joggler Village at the base of the Karspitzbahn in Zell am Ziller. Having seen the vibe there today I'm kind of glad we ended up in Konigsleiten to be honest.

We left the kids in the room and went down to park the car in the underground car park (such luxury!) and to bring the luggage up. After round one of suitcase moving we went back for a few last things including four bottles of Zillertal's finest. Extraordinarly as we walked up the car park ramp the bottom of the beer carry case fell out and all four beers ejected onto the car park floor, smashing into smithereens and leaving a foamy, glassy mess on the ramp.

I don't think I have ever broken a bottle in my life before and now I have done it twice in a week! And both times on arrival at our accommodation. I'm thinking of phoning ahead to the Pension St Georg at Kaprun to let them know they might want to leave a dustpan and brush and a squeegee outside when we arrive on the 2nd.

Final thoughts for the day. Having stayed in self catered accommodation up until now it is amazing how exposed you feel (to covid) when staying in a hotel. We wear masks when in the hotel but you sit down for dinner one metre from the next table and masks are all off for an hour or so. And after dinner we went to the pool (or the covid incubation centre as I like to call it) and spent time there with no masks. I know it sounds rather germphobic but when you've ponied up for a massive once in a lifetime holiday you will do whatever you can reasonably do to avoid getting it ruined by covid! We didn't have our vax status checked at checkin or at the restaurant which is a bit of a concern. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
I'm not going to lie, our park wasn't very close to the gondola. In fact it was quite a long way away. Clearly today was a popular day to be out skiing.

This may be one of those occasions where there is a benefit of using the free ski bus system that is common through Austria. The ski bus will always drop you off close to the ski lift. Probably less so in your case with the family and that you were continuing on up the valley afterwards, but maybe something to keep in mind.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueandwhite

blueandwhite

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 26, 2016
1,162
3,796
363
TQY
The Sexy Fitness Salad
We woke to the sight of a modest layer of white stuff on our balcony. It appeared to have snowed overnight, much to our pleasure. Only a little snow, but given we were yet to see more than the occasional flurry on this trip we were happy to take it. Resplendent in my hotel bathrobe I strode out onto our balcony and scooped up a handful of wet, Buller-pow to put in a glass so my son could make a snowcone. Such small but selfless acts are what lubricates the moving parts of the family machine and keeps little ones motivated and happy to ski.
717.jpg


Our room does not look out over the Konigsleiten ski area but it gives a great Panorama of the HochKrimml mountain on the other side of the valley. Whilst we went to the covid melting pot that is breakfast I constructed a veritable leaning tower of patio furniture in order to set my phone up to take a timelapse from the balcony.


With breakfast consumed we kitted up and grabbed our skis. This hotel is great and has pretty much everything you'd need on a ski holiday. My only gripe is the size of the bootroom which appears to have been constructed for a hotel half the size of this one. I don't know but I'd have thought having adequate storage for skis and boots would not be an unreasonable ask for a hotel located 50m from the main gondola station.

The hotel marketing team have also taken on board the word 'love' and have plastered it everywhere around the hotel with additional words in English following it - dependent upon each individual location. Despite 99.9% of their clientele being German speaking the gym is monikered with 'love...fitness', the restaurant is 'love...dining' and outside our room it is naturally 'love...my room'. This totally uncool use of the English language by German speakers is of course a well-known phenomenon to we brits and in fairness if I tried to tag a fictitious hotel in Blackpool with German language taglines I'm sure I would make an equally bad fist of it and be just as uncool. But in fairness I wouldn't try for this exact reason and I'm never quite sure why German speakers love to use English words in everyday language so much when they have perfectly good German words for everything anyway.

It was nonetheless highly tempting to put a sign on the door of the bootroom saying something along the lines of 'love...a bigger bootroom', but that would of course just be highly childish...

Out into the snow. And at village level it was a Buller-esque wet mess of close to freezing sludge, but it was white! We walked the 50m to the gondola and set sail for the upper echelons of the Konigsleiten ski field. I did a quick check with the ticket office to see if I could get Sam an rfid card but they insisted that he continue to limbo all of the barriers rather than join the rest of the ski fraternity in walking through upright. In a couple of cases where lift staff had been a little too fastidious with their shovelling he was reduced to crawling through under the barriers. I therefore maintain that this is a somewhat discriminatory system for the 5 and unders!

The first excitement of the day was when we discovered that the Dorfbahn in which we were riding did in fact go directly over the Gipfelbahn which as usual got pulses racing.
715.jpg


This was to be the first of numerous occurrences of multi-layer lift engineering and I have to say that the lift infrastructure in the Zillertal Arena as a whole is nothing short of brilliant. So many lifts, so well connected, so many heated seats, so many gondolas. We set a new record with I think five different gondolas in the one morning and we could easily have gone more! The days of waiting at the Horse Hill chairlift at Buller for one of the ten gondolas to eventually come around seem but a distant memory!

We stepped out to find a nice layer of 5cm of fresh snow on the ground and it was much drier up the top than down at village level. The snow was still lightly falling and was swirling around in a moderate breeze on the peaks but it was fairly calm lower down. We smashed out a couple of red runs including a speed check and had a great time along the margins of the pisted runs in the fresh snow.
714.jpg


After taking a very nice red run down in the Gerlos direction we got our third gondola of the day back to the top (the Falschbach) and spotted a few people coming down a decent black run with powder ahoy on either side. No second invitation was required and we shot over to it from the top of the gondola and enjoyed the spoils of war.
713.jpg


This was absolutely gold. The weather was starting to clear up, visibility was good and although the piste had been well tracked by the early birds there was plenty of gold left for these snow pirates still to plunder. Mum and son took down the middle of the piste with son enjoying the occasional launch off the piles of fresh snow heaped up by the early birds.
712.jpg


Daughter and I went off piste and tried to gobble up some fresh lines. The powder was a little deeper here but as you might expect you could feel the base at times. Inexperienced as I am in these conditions I took an excellent stack in the early stages where I cracked through the lower layer and my rails got stuck under the base layer. Riding on my backside in a straight line I felt sure that I could avoid this particular incident being called a stack and pull myself upright again. But alas it was not to be and when I had picked up sufficient speed to start getting worried I aborted and accepted my fate. My abs aren't what they used to be it seems. Son thought it was hilarious. Fortunately daughter was so far ahead she never knew. And doesn't need to. She had bigger fish to fry anyway.
711.jpg


It was a brilliant run and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Later in the day we looked back from the Gerlos side to see the run in all it's glory.
718.jpg


After that descent we hit up the Gerlos area in earnest with some great red and black runs followed by a simple lunch at a great spot called the Rossl Alm.
709.jpg


With my waistline in mind we have started downscaling lunches a bit and soup was therefore the order of the day. I had a broth with noodles and wife had a tomato soup which I tasted and was comfortably the greatest tomato soup I have ever eaten. I will be getting that next time. Naturally it was accompanied with some of Zillertal's finest.
710.jpg


We have generally found that English is a lot less spoken in this area. Typically waiters and staff will now always speak to us in German and only drop in the occasional word of English if and when they decide we need help to understand a critical point. I quite like this but it has definitely upped the ante on the need to increase our vocabulary fairly quickly!

The scenery in this area is sensational. Every direction you look in has stunning mountain ranges and views and with the cloud lifting we were treated to the full panorama which was pretty epic.
707.jpg


704.jpg


We took down the park at Gerlos a few times. Sam is getting much braver and will now follow my daughter over the small jumps and the very simple boxes which is a big step for him. Daughter is always keen to try something new and we had never seen one of these before so we had to give it a go.
708.jpg


At this point we started to field some complaints of blisters and sore feet from the female side of the crew which is not what we wanted to hear given the length of our trip. As it transpires daughter has lost some skin from her heel which is not good news and we are now quite concerned about this becoming a major issue going forward. We therefore attempted to get back to base even though it was only early afternoon. We could have downloaded the lift to the valley between Gerlos and Konigsleiten, uploaded three lifts and then downloaded more lifts back to base but does anyone on holiday really want to do that?

Instead we took on a black run of epic proportions to get back to the Konigsleiten side. The number 36a and 36 runs were a massive long descent from Gerlos to the valley between the two resorts and whilst fairly steep their main feature was the length of the descent and the combination of ice and piles of powder on the piste. This made for a leg burning descent that cannot have been fun with raw blisters on heels, it certainly wasn't fun for my quads. The kids finished way ahead of the adults but we all re-convened eventually in time for a triple lift ride to the top of Konigsleiten comprising two chairs and a gondola. We then descended all the way back down on some fairly mogulled runs (which we really haven't seen much of yet in Austria) to get back to the hotel. It's a long run top to bottom on moguls, of that I can assure you.
705.jpg


Once home we tended to wounds, dropped the adult skis in for a service and hit the Spar for supplies, not least to replace the four smashed beers from last nights problematic arrival at the hotel. Konigsleiten is a really nice village with heaps of old style houses and hotels. It has a lovely vibe about it and you feel like you are isolated up in the mountains in the village. Why then they decided to plonk the below aberration right in the middle of it all I will never know.
703.jpg


I mean what in god's good name were they thinking?? I love that the gondola is there and that the cabins are so modern and fast. But really, they couldn't clad the building or construct it to be slightly less, er brutal? Maybe you don't notice it so much when it's covered in snow. Or maybe you just look at this view out of your window and forget about it.
702.jpg


After a lengthy trip to the covid incubation centre for a swim we headed out for dinner. We'd booked a table at a big bar/restaurant/hotel 100m down the road and I had gone into reception earlier to make the booking. At the time she asked me to write down my name and number for the booking. When I did this she announced that I was from the Netherlands and tried to change the +61 from the start of my number to +31. Er, no it's an Australian number. She looked at me as though I had just beheaded her pet chihuahua. This is not possible, Yes, it is. We have come from Australia in search of your snow and Grostl. Wait, what???

Eventually she bought my story and when I returned at 6pm with the rest of my made up Australian family she even remembered me and said, ah the Australian. Yes, go through to the restaurant. Oddly however when we entered the restaurant there was no record on their list of our booking. The whole thing was very odd.

But odder was still to come as we perused the extensive menu provided by Dragan our very rapidly speaking waiter. I'm sure lots of people come to Austria who don't necessarily love Austrian cuisine so it was no surprise to find a wide range of options on the menu. But I must say I was surprised to find not one, not two but three different Indian curries on the menu. I love curry as much as the next man, maybe more so, but I'm not here to eat a chicken tikka masala. At least not when there's a Sexy Fitness Salad on the menu!

Yes my friends, the Sexy Fitness Salad is a real thing. It may sound like something made up by Borat but there it was, bold as brass in black and white on the menu at the AlpenWelt Hotel. Every other menu item was in German, yet the Sexy Fitness Salad was above it all and had to be in English. This piece of marketing genius gives you a basic chicken salad dressed up as a pulse-raising culinary journey that will make you sexier, fitter and presumably lighter of pocket and stomach.

This appeared to me to be another rather bold yet blundering attempt to use the English language to jazz up what might be a rather ordinary meal. I mean can chicken salad really be sexy? Lingerie is sexy. Pole dancing is sexy. Chicken salad is not. I challenge you to find a dinner menu in Australia or the UK that has the word sexy in it. I just don't think that would happen although I am happy to be proved wrong!

Anyway, my wife was in a quandary. She loves chicken salad but she just wasn't sure she could hit Dragan up for the item in question without some level of embarrassment. Could she just ask for the chicken salad? Or would that make it too obvious that she was trying to avoid the word sexy when ordering? We drank more wine and I insisted she go through with it. So when Dragan came to take our order I couldn't hide my mirth when she eventually mumbled the words to our unsuspecting waiter. Imagine my merriment when Dragan asked if she'd like the Sexy for a starter or a full main course! The nerve of the man! Ice cold!

Despite this, dinner was very nice and we were soon on our way back to the ranch. And to make things even better it was puking big fat wet flakes of snow on the way home.
716.jpg
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
29,289
17,001
1,063
Adelaide
Good work again!

1. Use of English words
This is becoming more common. In some cases it sort of makes sense like with stuff related to new modern technology where there was no previous definition or with global events eg. Covid, they often adopt commonly use global used terms rather than German. eg. 'home office'. I find it disappointing though when this extends to words that do have a proper German equivalent.

2. Lift infrastructure
All of the major Austrian resorts are big on this. Winter tourism is critical for Austria, so a huge amount is invested in this as well as snowmaking to keep the visitors coming back. You may have noticed heaps of snowguns also? Covid of course has largely killed this. Ischgl has a 28 seater gondola with ceiling ski racks. This was to deal with the huge bottleneck of skiers heading up the mountain in the morning. When I was there I did an afternoon valley run and rode one of these on my own - luxury. I do recall when I was in Königsleiten there was that peak where there are 3 gondolas all meeting up at the top.

3. Blisters
I've had blisters a few times from ski-touring after a few days of skinning, but never from skiing itself. Boots were probably a bit too loose. You could look for some Compeed patches or else just some tape at the local supermarket or Apotheke.

4. Fitness salad
Not sure about the sexy bit, but you probably would have noticed a few 'Fitness-teller' options on the lunch menus.

5. Lack of English
One thing I have read and noticed is that the Brits tend to largely stick to certain pockets where they set up their own infrastructure with catered chalets etc. In the Zillertal this is largely focused on Mayrhofen which you would have passed through on your way. So English would be very common in Mayrhofen but when I was in the Zillertal only passing through Mayrhofen I encountered virtually no English.

6. Netherlands
By far the biggest source of ski tourists in Austria are the Germans (you may have noticed). But after them come the Dutch, so I guess when the staff heard you weren't local or German just guessed you were Dutch. Australians are well down this list.
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass