Austrian Dreaming - Dec/Jan Trip Report

blueandwhite

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May 26, 2016
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One Day - Two Countries
It will be a short report today as we were in a lesson all day and so photos were in short supply. It was another wonderful day of weather though with totally clear skies and not a breath of wind again. This seems to happen a lot in Austria! The morning view was again spectacular from our balcony and the moon also wanted in on the action.
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We had arranged a family lesson with Julia so she could help us with our skiing and show us around some of the resorts in the area. We started in the same place as yesterday (Mittelberg) and skied straight across to Heuberg on some crisp groomed runs and forest trails.
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A lot of planes seem to have flightpaths over the alps and as we traversed across the resort I spotted this one which didn't look the best.
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After a short time in Heuberg we moved across to Kanzelwand and Fellhorn which is a large resort just down the road. This did require a one stop bus journey of just a couple of minutes so the resorts are not seamlessly connected. But with buses running every ten minutes it was not too much of an inconvenience. You also unclipped your skis literally at the bus stop so walking was not an issue.

We rode the KanzelwandBahn up to 1,957m and Sam was pleased to be in a new and previously unridden gondola. The views were pretty good as we have come to expect.
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The resort sits astride the border of Austria and Germany and the kids had great fun standing next to each other but being in different countries. There is no border control that I can see between the two countries anywhere in Kleinwalsertal, let alone up on the mountain and to all intents and purposes there is totally free movement irrespective of the covid related issues (Germany has placed Austria on its high risk list).

Julia quickly identified the major faults in our skiing although I can't imagine this was too challenging! We then undertook numerous exercises to try and remedy these faults as we skied the various red runs around the resort. My major fault (although one of many...) was not putting enough pressure on my downhill ski. This is something I have been told before and I have not been able to fix but I have to say that by the end of the day I felt my skiing position had changed. Will it last though!

After a drink stop we took down the ski-cross course twice which the kids loved.
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And then it was down a black run and a red run doing more exercises all the way down to the German base station at Talschau for lunch. Our waiter had been to New South Wales three times and was very keen to talk to us in English which was different to what we have typically found in this area where the majority of people will speak to you in German irrespective of our very basic language skills (and fair enough too!).

After lunch it was back up the FellhornBahn gondola and more skiing and exercises. And of course time for a team photo in the sun.
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This resort was a lot busier than Walmendingerhorn yesterday and it is quite easily accessible from the large town of Oberstdorf which probably adds to its popularity. It was a fun resort with plenty of red runs and just a couple of blacks and a genuine 800-900 metres of vertical. There was also plenty of powder potential as well although today we stayed almost exclusively on piste.
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At around 3pm we skied back down to the Austrian base area in Riezlern and walked over a bridge back into Heuberg. Up a gondola and it was time to ski back to our starting point along some cruisy blue runs.
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We all learnt an absolute heap of new stuff and there really is nothing quite like getting a good instructor to teach you when you want to become a better skier. As I said before I found my skiing style had changed by the end of the day but it will be interesting to see if I can keep it like this or if I simply revert back to my lazy ways without and instructor to pester me!

Three days of skiing left. It's counting down so fast now...
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
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Jul 15, 2008
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The Big Reward
After yesterday's epic drive and arrival in Buller-like weather conditions in Kleinwalsertal we all slept very well. And when I woke up and drew back the curtains the full enormity of the view that we were sleeping with dawned on me. Wow.
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The view was epic and this wasn't the half of it, just the bit I could fit in the camera shot. For reference on the other side of that ridge is pretty much Lech. But it would take you an awfully long time to drive there as there is no road connection without going back into Germany and round. It was a stunning start to the day.

We were a bit slow starting as my suitcase packing system does change each time we travel and finding everything on the first morning is not that straightforward. But mercifully we made the 9.20 bus which isn't exactly early but could have been a lot worse! Julia had suggested we go to Walmendingerhorn for the first day as there was a good chance of powder there and the views would be good. So we took this advice and jumped on the bus.

Five minutes later we were buying ski passes and hopping on the WalmendingerhornBahn which I found to be quite the mouthful to say! This gondola is an old school tin can that gets hauled up to the summit with 40 or so frothing skiers inside it every twenty minutes. I took this photo of the gondola later in the day and I think you'd have to agree that she's a beauty!
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While we were in the gondola we bumped into Julia's dad who it turns out is also a gun skier - I mean you would be living here I think... He was able to give us some advice on where to ski and what to do and I understood at least 50% of it as we conversed in very slowly spoken German! It was great to have some tips at the start of the day as a new resort can be quite daunting on first arrival.

We stepped out of the cable car and out onto the sprawling balcony. Oh. My. God.
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The view was unbelievable. We have seen some incredible views on our trip at every turn but this was special. Amazing mountain vista, blue sky, mist in the valley, trees dotted amongst the foreground, freshly pisted runs in the background and a smooth powderfield right in front of us that some lucky bugger had taken down solo. This photo pretty much brought together all of the inidividual bits I have loved in other vistas, but all in one picture! If I could have squeezed a beer and a pan of grostl into it somewhere it would have been totally complete!

We skied the first corner and this revealed the view in the opposite direction (back towards Germany). Sheesh, where do I look next!
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Yeah, maybe here:
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Half way down our first piste we found a half-tracked powderfield to play in just dropping down to the next piste. Snow was maybe 10-15cm deep but so much fun. I know the boys in Saalbach have been having a field day up there with their fresh snow but this was more than enough for us and we all tucked in. Sam - with just his tender 5 years of age - surprised me and absolutely gobbled it up. This, I think, is how you are meant to do it:


And then it was down the piste to the bottom of the chair. Even the groomer photos were amazing on a day like this.
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We lapped the 4 seater chair a few times noting our surroundings and dropping a few red pistes - one of which I feel had been under-rated and could easily be a black which was a rarity to find on our trip. We also bumped into Julia's Dad who then dropped one of the steeper pistes like it was a Sunday Drive. Agggh, to be that good at skiing one day!

We spotted a good lunch hut and in the background noted that a few people were traversing around from the top of the chair to the powderfield in the background. Our fate was sealed!
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Daughter and I followed the goat track around the top of the bowl (including multiple inadvertent airs when speed could not be adequately retarded!) and worked our way across.
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The view before we dropped was quite something.
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So below us lay a powderfield, at the bottom of which was a mountain hut buried in snow. Didn't seem like the ideal spot for a hut if it was going to get buried every year but I'm not an expert on mountain hut construction and location. Either way it made a good ramp to jump off.
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This fieldtrip was so much fun we did it three times getting fresh tracks each time and with daughter launching the hut each time.
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With such frivolity behind us it was time for lunch! The food was good but the view was better and so the view got the photo gig.
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After lunch we skied down to the other lift in the resort, a two seater with a nice winding red run underneath it. This was a lot of fun and with that done Sam requested a crack at the traverse followed by the powder and hut roof drop. I agreed to take him and we set off in a party of three. Alana first cutting trail, Sam in the middle and Dad at the back picking up any potential pieces.

As it happens there were no pieces. Sam handled the goat track and the traverse with aplomb. Although I reckon if I'd been on 100cm skis I'd have done a better job of it too. Here are my two adventurers:
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We dropped the powder and daughter launched the hut while Sam and I tentatively dropped off the back. We all made it through unscathed and there was time for one final gratuitous mountain shot before we decided to hit the red trail home.
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The Walmendingerhorn is the best part of 2,000m and with the base at around 1,100m I suspect they will claim a 900m vertical. Realistically though all of the action is happening in the top 400-500m so really the vertical is more in line with an Aussie resort (although the mountains are somewhat more impressive!). But there is a single red run that connects the top part of the resort with a set of short beginner runs at the very base and it was that which we skied now.

It's a beautiful winding tree-lined trail down and although some of it was a little sparse on snow in places it was fun to ski. And even more fun when we stopped at Max's Hutte for drinks half way down. This cute little hut sits right next to the piste so you are almost getting sprayed by passing skiers as you sit in your deckchair. Unbelievable views from the hut as well of course.
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Eventually however it was time to set off for home again and we skied down the last part of the run. Not before I had taken a picture of this quintessential Austrian view on the way down though.
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We hit the bus and five minutes later we were back in Baad and walking up to the apartment. Everyone seemed happy with their days work as the sun went behind the mountain back at base.
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It had been an epic day with something for everyone and the most astounding scenery everywhere we looked. This morning I had captured part of the view from the balcony, but if you look in another direction you get another stellar view as well. It was almost obscene.
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We finished the day off with a pizza meal and a Limoncello (if you don't mind) at a local restaurant and went home very happy indeed. Tom, the CEO from the ski school even came in for takeaway while we were there and came over and chatted to us. Such a friendly place!

Tomorrow we have our family lesson with Julia and we are heading to the Kanzelwand which is another close by resort in Kleinwalsertal that straddles the border between Germany and Austria. I just can't help thinking of the Bond film Living Daylights when Bond and the girl escape over the border into Austria sliding on the snow in a Cello case. Although it may be a Limoncello case for us... Nothing to declare!

Thanks especially for this chapter. Have always wondered how that border locked corner was north of Warth & Lech, confirmed my firm suspicions.

Looks like a place you can really enjoy with the family & yet quite easily, dad can go & scare self shedless if need be.

Firmly on the list for next time, whenever that is.
 

blueandwhite

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Doing it for the Kids
Never thought I'd start a blog entry with a Robbie Williams song title. Embarrassing. But we move on.

The sun is out again today and in fact will be every day until we leave. Snowmageddon is on the forecast just after our departure - quelle surprise! But frankly we've done very well indeed with the sunshine and it's arguably better like this until Sam's legs have grown a bit longer...

Today we moved on to another of the resorts in Kleinwalsertal - namely Sollereck. It's about a 15 minute drive or bus from Baad where we are staying and is on the German side of the border. It's a small resort on the main road to Oberstdorf and is aimed pretty squarely at families although it was still a hell of a lot of fun. It is pretty much north facing so it's in the shade for most of the day. This is not great for photos but is excellent for snow retention and quality. The groomed runs were marvellous as a result.

Some serious money has been dropped into Sollereck in the last twelve months with a brand new 10 seater gondola and a spanking new 6 seater gamer chairlift mit hood. Both would be the envy of most Australian resorts and how these small Euro resorts afford to do these upgrades I will never know but it does make for a comfortable experience for the user! Here we are loading the SollereckBahn.
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Later in the day we found the previous two lifts that had run on this particular alignment and it's fair to say I'm quite happy that we came in 2022 and not earlier...
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The gondola I could have just about handled but the two sunchairs with the parasol that seemed to be pretty much taped together I might have struggled with. That badboy was running until 1997!! Probs must have lost a few small kids from that lift in the years between 1950 and 1997 I reckon.

Having reached the top we skied down a splendid short steep red run that was groomed to perfection and headed up the brand new chair to the top.
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The chairlift led to to the top half of the previous run. On skiers right of the chair was a red run and on skiers left was a black. They were both quite steep and pretty much identical save for the massive roller rather randomly located near the bottom of the first big drop on the black run. Who doesn't love a mega roller with a slingshot black to send you in! Ski patrol had placed a 'Langsam - Slow' sign on the crest, hehehe like that's gonna work!
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Launch.
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The ground angle on the photo doesn't do this thing justice, it's picking up the terrain in the foreground. I aired it accidentally first time at relatively low speed and crapped myself. It literally felt like your stomach was coming up through your mouth as you dropped! The back side of the roller was probably the steepest thing I have skied in the whole trip, albeit only 10 metres or so long before it returned to a sensible pitch again. That was my first and last rodeo on that gig, daughter happily did it on repeat though.

It must be a natural feature - who puts a roller this big half way down a black run! How do they even groom that with a winch running from the top??

We moved on to more sensible things and found a short racecourse with a timer where we could all challenge each other to get the best time.
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As I have previously stated I have got daughter on toast in a straight line but when you alter the terrain or need to turn at speed then I lose touch. This annoyingly played out again today with daughter winning with 14.79s, myself a distant second at 16.01s and Sam coming in with a creditable 18.31s. You know you're competitive when you are looking at the scoreboard even before you have crossed the line. I'm sure the race club coaches would have a fit if they saw that!
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The resort was pretty quiet. There were quite a few kids having lessons on the long blue run under the gondola but the reds and blacks were almost empty which was brilliant for us and the groomed runs stayed nice pretty much all day in the shade. The local race club even set up their flags for post-school training in the mid-afternoon - if you did that in Australia you'd be skiing in slush most of the time! No wonder they are so good at racing over here.

With about five laps of the race track and the accompanying T-bar done we shot down the long blue run to the bottom of the gondola and took lunch in the Alm at the base in the sunshine. The food was nice but quite expensive - yet another currywurst bites the dust.

Then we gave the kids an hour to have some fun in the kids park they have set up down the bottom. They have skied very hard this trip and they need a break every now and then to be kids! There is a wooden groomer set up with slides and a climbing wall together with swings and a few other fun things. It's a great setup for kids here.
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We also did the Allgau Coaster which was a lot of fun although moderately scary when I was instructed by kinder not to apply the brake at any point all the way down. We managed 40kph with Dad and daughter and 39kph with Dad and son. Doesn't sound like much but when you are smashing short-radius loops in just a flimsy piece of plastic and metal it sure feels pretty fast! No pictures from the run (for obvious reasons) but managed to loose this round off on the way back up to the top.
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We gotta get one of these things at Buller. They are always looking for ways to get more summer (and winter) visitors and these things are gold. I'm not sure it would pass the Aussie OH&S test though and it may of course disturb our wonderful mountain pygmy possums... But imagine flying through the snowgums at 40kph on one of these badboys! It would get you from the village square to the day car park way faster than the current bus! And all the day trippers who come up and don't actually spend anything at the resort when they visit would shell out for their kids to do this. It's a no brainer...

After the kids had their hour of fun we coerced them into a couple more runs and went back up the sparkly new gondola. There was more excellent signwriting fun in the new gondolas as well.
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So just to clarify (from top to bottom), no breakdancing in the gondola, no french miming in the gondola, and finally no number ones in the gondola but number twos are okay. Glad we got that sorted.

Having reached the top it appeared race club were setting up their flags on some of the runs and having foolishly not roped off the run we let rip. I know how much this annoys racers when randoms use their course but well, if you're not going to rope it off...
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The race club kids arrived a little later and I've got to tell you they were mighty impressive. I only watched their warm-up run but jeez it made us feel pretty small watching that!

We headed back down the blue run to the bottom and headed back to Hirschegg for coffee with Julia and Tom from the ski school. Tom worked at Buller for a number of years a long time ago and this year his son has just been accepted to work at Buller so he will be heading over for a big adventure - two generations of the same Austrian family working at little old Buller a few decades apart. Fantastic. I'm sure he will have a whale of a time, hopefully we get a good season for him.

We headed back to the ranch to freshen up and get ready for dinner. The pension is in a lovely spot by the church at the top of the village.
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We had booked the Alte Krone in Mittelberg for dinner and when we arrived I finally discovered how to use the 'night function' on my phone camera.
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We had a very friendly Indian waiter who had a brother who lived in Melbourne. The waiter only spoke four languages but he claimed his brother could speak six or seven! Impressive. He also knew Julia. Apparently Julia's dad's brother is the chef at the restaurant. You couldn't make this stuff up - Kleinwalsertal just seems to be that kind of place. Everyone knows everyone.

I couldn't resist the Farmer's Platter which came with two generous helpings of meat and the traditional sea of spaetzle. Delicious. I put the tomato on my wife's plate. No need for token salad with the Farmer's Platter I think.
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And that was that for another day. Two days left. Arghhhhh!
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blueandwhite

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T Minus Two
By god I don't want to go home. I just want to stay in Austria, ski my brains out, learn more German and generally get fat on beer and grostl. But alas we fly out in two days from Munchen and we have to prepare for that.

Theoretically we only need a rapid antigen test to get on the flight, transit Dubai and get into Australia. There are rather stringent requirements for the documentation required with this schnell test but we are hoping that these will be met as we have no way of knowing if the information the germans provide on the certificate will match that required by the Australian government.

Add to this that whilst the Australian media and the federal websites are saying an antigen test is now okay, the Victorian Department of Health website still says we need a PCR test to get back into Australia. This adds a fun element of danger into our return trip. I can already hardly wait to get stuck in Dubai airport when we get refused boarding to our Melbourne flight!

Meanwhile, back in Kleinwalsertal it was a decent morning...
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We had arranged for the kids to have a lesson with Julia today while mum and dad free-skied. The decision had been made to all go to Ifen which is the only remaining Austrian resort we had not visited in Kleinwalsertal - and one I was particularly looking forward to. Ifen sits below a massive slab of mountain and looked mighty impressive from afar.

We took the bus to Hirschegg and skied a blue run across to the bus stop for Ifen. The bus runs every ten minutes and you can see the resort clearly from the bus stop. Now THAT is a rock.
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Only part of the resort is shown in the photo. Behind the trees on the right the rest of the resort is hidden away and there is a deep valley splitting the two sides of the resort. It appears you can ski the valley floor and I saw numerous tracks but I wasn't game to go without a local as there were some pretty crazy dead ends with sheer rockfaces at the end which I would be pretty keen to avoid!

We went up the brand new ten seater gondola (the IfenBahn). This has a midstation but we went right to the top and I was glad we did. There is some pretty dramatic scenery when you step out at the top of this baby.
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You can hike up to get these lines and in fact they have even pisted a track part of the way. But in the wake of three or four days of solid freeze-thaw I figured it was best left to those who know. It looked mighty impressive though. What a slab.

At the top of the gondola we sent Sam off with Julia for a couple of hours of drills (lucky Sam!) and we hit the trails. Here's Sam and Julia heading off while Alana looks on.
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The remainder of our motley crew hit the pistes and found some really great trails with very different scenery to the resorts we'd skied in Austria to date.
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As well as the big slabs there were forest trails.
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Wide open pistes.
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And narrower gullies.
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The trail map didn't look that extensive but there was just a great variety of runs in the resort and with a decent 750m of vertical your legs knew you'd been skiing when you got to the bottom. There was a solid range of red runs with a few genuine blacks thrown into the mix as well. It was also easy to stop at the mid-station if you didn't want to ski all of the way to the base.
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We loved this resort, partly for the great runs but mostly for the scenery. All of the resorts in Kleinwalsertal are a bit different but Ifen really does stand out with it's massive rock shelfs and big boulders.
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After a morning of exploring we stopped at the Hutte at the mid-station for lunch. Wife had a sore knee and would take no further part in the day's activities (other than skiing down to the base) and this was the one downer on another great day.

Sam and Julia soon arrived and I managed to get a shot of the lesson as they headed down to the restaurant. That dramatic scenery again!
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Just for a change (!) I had a currywurst again. And this one surely takes the record for length if not girth. They probably need to think about investing in bigger plates.
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After a solid round of refreshments daughter headed off with Julia for the afternoon shift and I took Sam for a spin around the resort whilst wife made her way down to the base restaurant to rest her knee.

Sam was very keen to show me the drills he'd done with Julia and we immediately headed off down an access trail towards one of the black runs.
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He then proceeded to lead me - at speed - down the now very icy and scratched up black run whilst putting both hands on his downhill knee in each turn he made. This run was what I like to call a slider - that is you know if you go down you are sliding very rapidly to the very bottom of the run with no hope of stopping yourself... Fortunately he didn't even look like going down although the same cannot be said for me. The top half of this run I likened to Schattberg in Saalbach in terms of steepness. But at this stage of the day this was definitely more icy and scratchy than when I had skied Schattberg!

But we made it down and he immediately led me to the kids poma at the very bottom which is set up for children doing their first snowploughs. This is the ridiculous part of having a kid who can ski to a good level - they can smash the whole mountain but they still want to do the baby poma sometimes! Here is Sam on the left on the little poma with my nemesis, the slider, on the right hand side of the picture.
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After a couple of laps of the poma and the kids flags Sam decided he'd had enough and he wanted to go and chill with mum at the restaurant. This left me to peruse the mountain solo and I was keen to find daughter and Julia and see what they were up to.

I never found them but I have to say by this stage the steeper pistes were getting very scratchy and only the best skiers (ie not me!) were able to make them look easy. I did a few laps on the groomers which was fun but became more and more challenging.
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This came to a head when a medevac chopper landed at the top gondola station and carried someone away. At that point I decided it was probably time to pull up stumps...
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We all reconvened at the base at 330pm, jumped the bus (it's about a three minute bus journey) and then skied back to Hirschegg. We followed the day up with a visit to the great pizza restaurant - including obligatory limoncello with the bill - and called it a day.

I really rate the Ifen resort. The scenery is awesome and totally different from anything else we have seen in Austria. You could comfortably do all of the runs in a day but I found myself wanting to go back and do them all again as they are very interesting with lots of natural hits and features. The food offerings were good and the lifts - although only two key lifts - were super-modern and fast. Tick.

It was a little busier than some of the other resorts and I'm not surprised as it's a great package. Interestingly Tom has told me that since Kleinwalsertal has been exempted from the quarantine requirements for Germans visiting the rest of Austria the region is experiencing more tourism than some other areas right now. And good for them I say. We still never queued for more than a minute or two so I am hardly complaining!

Last day tomorrow.
 

Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

but a dream within a dream
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Jun 23, 2001
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re taking kids on o/s ski trips
in early 2004 I took my then-12 offspring to the Dolomites for a ski trip - first outside Australia for both of us
she has been to Tremblant, Hakuba and Zermatt since then but she still says the Italian trip was the best
so even if they whinge at the time, it’s a huge and wonderful experience
 

blueandwhite

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How did it come to this?
Our arrival in Alpbach on December 22nd without all of our suitcases seems a lifetime ago. But frankly I think I could happily stay in this country for a lifetime. It is now our last full day in Austria before we return home and I can happily say that I don't want to go home. It has been amazing and every day here has been an absolute blessing.

Today we had planned a fairly cruisy last day where we could have a ski, enjoy the weather, soak in the last of the atmosphere and - begrudgingly - pack our bags.

With wife's knee still playing up badly we decided to stay close to home and ski the Walmendingerhorn a second time. We had been to this mountain on our first day here and had enjoyed powder and piste along with the stunning views and weather. Sometimes they say you should never go back because it can never be as good again - but we went in with our eyes open knowing that this was the case and still had a great day. The snow is a lot scratchier and the off piste is now only for the brave but the views are still magnificent and the beer is still cold!

We headed up the old WalmendingerhornBahn and I was stationed at the back of the tin can with the large window fully dropped. I could have jumped out if I'd really wanted. Got to love old school gondola design! It did let me take a nice picture looking back to Mittelberg with it's lovely church though.
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Up at the top the views were just as great as we remembered them but today with just some hazy high cloud. There is a large viewing platform cum lift shaft at the top station that provides access back to the top from a two seater lift some 20 metres below.
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The view across the resort was looking splendid with nicely groomed pistes against the epic backdrop of the Alps.
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There is also a view down to the village of Baad where we are staying taken from the top of the Walmendingerhorn. On good snow days you can ski right down to the village. Max zoom needed on this photo from the summit!
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We headed down a few groomers and enjoyed the quiet slopes although wife was not having a good time with her twisted knee.
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After ascending the four seater chair daughter decided she wanted to do the 'jobby run'. This black run gets smashed by the sun and even at the start of the week we were pushing up soil going down it when it was soft and slushy. The groomers had done a great job keeping it open but the high moisture content from the slushy snow meant it was basically a solid sheet of ice now. And brown ice at that (hence the jobby run). Daughter scratched her way down it and then shouted back up to me from the bottom several hundred metres away 'no dad! don't do it!'. So I didn't I shamefully let her take the hit and I went and skied the nicely groomed black run on the other side of the lift!
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And not before Sam and I got a last day photo on the ridge. Nice snowploughs boys!
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Another lap of the four seater chairlift was taken and a descent of the sensible black run ensued.
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On the chairlift we had been bombarded with advertising for this curious sauna where the idea seems to be that you wear your goggles, skis, boots and saloupettes. I thought the general idea of saunas in Europe was that you take everything off. I've yet to see anyone in there with a ski pole and if I did I would be out of there very quickly indeed.
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With wife really struggling to ski at all we decided to head down the mountain on the long red to the base and stop for lunch along the way at the wonderful Max Hutte.
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The trail down is a winding and sun-baked red with nice forest sections and a very scratchy and bumpy traverse at one point.
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You get glimpses through the trees to Mittelberg as well.
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Max Hutte is a firm favourite and although the staff do not speak English they are super-friendly and the food and drinks are great.
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I went with a fiery farmer's sausage with Sauerkraut and I wasn't disappointed. After yesterday's currywurst which broke the record for length I feel like today's sausage had a strong claim to the title for greatest girth.
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The sauerkraut with speck and a number of other interloping ingredients was delicious although there was rather a lot of it! And the senf and what I think was meerrettich was a much appreciated bonus to tie the dish together. This is pretty much my ideal dish. A load of meat, generous condiments and a vegetable disguised by the addition of speck. Dynamite.

After the drinks and main course we decided that as this was our last lunch stop in Austria we better finish with a bang. We got the kids some cake for which I sent daughter in armed only with a ten euro note and some very agricultural german language skills. And then I went in when she got back and ordered two Jagertees. Our instructor in Kitzbuhel had told us of these firecrackers and had insisted we should have one before we leave Austria - and here was our chance!

Tea, spiced rum, red wine, schnapps, orange juice, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and sugar. Served hot. It's basically like gluhwein on steroids. Or rocket fuel. If I had contracted covid in the last 14 days I'm pretty sure this baby has taken it down and cleared me for take-off at Munich Airport tomorrow no worries! I'm not sure I would say it was delicious but it was fairly tasty once your throat had recovered from the initial shock and I am 100% sure it made me ski better! It's not quite up there with Genepi for bang-for-buck but it's definitely more palatable and I would have it again for sure. I was a fan.

But alas all good things must come to an end and it was soon time to head back down to the town for some last minute shopping and to meet and say goodbye to friends. Amusingly on our way down Alana did find a little piece of Mount Buller here in Kleinwalsertal and just couldn't resist...
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We got to the bottom and all high fived for the last skiing of our trip before unclipping and walking to the shops. Sadly most of the shops were closed as many shops still appear to have some kind of siesta between midday and two thirty. Whilst slightly annoying I did respect their right to have a lunchtime sleep, who wouldn't want that?

So we headed into Hirschegg and met up with Tom and his son Jonas who is coming to Buller to teach next year. We had wanted to meet Jonas as Tom has been so kind and friendly during our stay and when your 22 year old son is going overseas for the first time it is nice to think he has someone there he knows and who can help him if anything goes wrong. Jonas was a great guy and spoke terrific English to boot. He can teach ski and snowboard and I'm sure he will have an amazing time in Australia.

Tom did also tell us an excellent story about his time in Buller and how in one particular very low snow year he spent most of the year (along with the other Austrian instructors) removing stones and rocks from Wombat and Little Buller Spur. I had always been amazed by how these runs have no rocks and yet the rest of Buller is littered with the things! Well now I know why...

We headed home and packed our bags as far as we could. It's a pain trying to get all of the stuff back into the suitcases. It's the one ski bag, one suitcase full of ski boots and two suitcases for everything else trick. It all goes in, but only just!

And then there was time for one last treat. We had told Julia we would take her out for dinner and when she dropped in to see us at the house she had even brought some lovely gifts for the kids and a bottle of Jagertee for us! Like some kind of Austrian mindreader! ANd the surprises didn't end there as she had organised for Sam and Alana to have a ride in a groomer over at Kanzelwand before dinner. The look on Sam's face when she told him!
140021.jpg


Sam loves groomers and was super-excited. The driver was a really nice guy who had been to Australia back in 2012 and we spent about half an hour riding shotgun as he pushed snow all over the place and groomed it flat. The glee for Sam when the snow piled up against the front of the groomer as we blasted through the piste! It was actually fascinating to see how he moved the snow around and took it from the edges of the run towards the middle to build up the worn areas and smooth it out. He had about a metre of depth to play with so I figure this is probably a lot easier than grooming in Australia a lot of the time...

We had a lovely dinner at the Alte Krone and that was pretty much that. The trip is pretty much done. We leave at 8am for Munich Airport tomorrow, we all tested negative with antigens tonight and we have to get properly tested at Munich at 1130am tomorrow.

It is hard to put into words how amazing this trip has been. Not only the trip itself but how it has still happened against the backdrop of covid. We have been so lucky with the weather with an absolute heap of sunshine and windless days. The early snow dump in December before we arrived let us ski top to bottom for the whole trip and we have been to amazing places and met amazing people. So, so lucky to have been able to do this.

It was the trip of a lifetime for us and whilst we will probably go on ski trips again I doubt we will ever go for six weeks and be able to do so much in one trip. It has been an absolute epic for us.

My fond hope is that one day the kids will read my blog and realise what they had with this trip. They might even think that maybe - just maybe - mum and dad were okay after all...
14019.jpg
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
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Thanks mate! :thumbs: :clap:
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your reports every morning for the last month. Will miss it now. I think you win for the best ever TR! Awesome storytelling and photography. I think Alana & Sam will gain plenty from this. Have been very impressed with Alana's work.
Has brought back memories of familiar locations and highlighted some non familiar ones. I've never seen Kleinwalsertal, but it looks spectacular. So many awesome locations in Austria as you have discovered.
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated and travelling again!
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The sauerkraut with speck and a number of other interloping ingredients was delicious although there was rather a lot of it! And the senf and what I think was meerrettich was a much appreciated bonus to tie the dish together. This is pretty much my ideal dish. A load of meat, generous condiments and a vegetable disguised by the addition of speck. Dynamite.

Bauernwurst und Sauerkraut mit frische Kren und Senf :)
I had to look up Meerrettich as I had never heard of it. Turns out according to wiki it is just the German name for Horseradish which Austrians have always referred to as Kren. Love it when it is freshly ground together with mustard.
Go to any decent Würstlstand in Austria and you'll get Kren and Senf with your Würst.
Edit. This one from Salzburg for example. Käsekrainer mit frische Kren & Senf und a Bier dazu €5
I207_Salzburg.jpg
 

blueandwhite

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A final update. It snowed 5-10cm overnight (of course!) and we had a fun morning clearing the car of snow and driving down the steep road in Baad to get out... But strangely as we crossed the border into Germany the snow just disappeared from the road and we could drive normally again... they must clear their roads better in Germany!

After a decent drive to the airport we took our antigen tests (negative) and checked in. The A380 from Munich to Dubai was about 10-20% full and we had a wonderful flight. One of the stewardesses gave the kids about 50 kit kats to take home as there were so many left!

Dubai was a bit painful, it's always so busy. But everything was open so at least we could keep ourselves entertained. The Dubai to Melbourne flight was rammed and 13 hours when you are already pretty tired is not ideal. Sam slept for 5 hours and Alana got a few hours. Mum and Dad got nada!

On arrival at Melbourne it transpired that I had completed the state (ie VIC) travel permit but not the federal declaration - whoops. The nice lady at Passport Control said we'd need to do that and when I asked if I should do it on the spot online she said that I could do that - but there are about 80 questions on it and if I preferred I could fill in the one page form in her hand that had just five questions. Yes, thank you, I'll take that option...

And then we were picked up by my Dad at midnight and home by 2am for a sleep. Game over.

So for reference, to get home we needed:

= Vaccination certificates
= Antigen test (used Centogene at Munich Airpiort for 41 euro each)
= VIC travel permit (from Service Victoria)
= Federal travel declaration

We feel blessed to have made the whole trip without covid - although we all had a cold at one point but continued to test negative.

Thanks for reading everyone. It has been a lot of work writing it all up and there were nights where I'd had a few beers at dinner and would have rather gone straight to bed than stay up and do the blog. But in retrospect I am so glad I did. What a record of an amazing family trip that we will probably never get to do again.

Although I say that but the people who rented our house in Torquay for the whole of January have asked if they can book again next year so watch this space...
 
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Heinz

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Oct 14, 2005
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Good to hear that an Antigen test was sufficient to transit Dubai. Trying to confirm that has not been easy.

I understand how you feel about writing the blog each evening. It does take some effort especially with the detail you went into. But in the end satisfying. Well done. :thumbs:
 
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Apiraclubby

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Thanks for the daily read and the hot travel tips. Thoroughly enjoyed. 1 week til we fly to Austria, can’t wait
A final update. It snowed 5-10cm overnight (of course!) and we had a fun morning clearing the car of snow and driving down the steep road in Baad to get out... But strangely as we crossed the border into Germany the snow just disappeared from the road and we could drive normally again... they must clear their roads better in Germany!

After a decent drive to the airport we took our antigen tests (negative) and checked in. The A380 from Munich to Dubai was about 10-20% full and we had a wonderful flight. One of the stewardesses gave the kids about 50 kit kats to take home as there were so many left!

Dubai was a bit painful, it's always so busy. But everything was open so at least we could keep busy. The Dubai to Melbourne flight was rammed and 13 hours when you are already pretty tired is not ideal. Sam slept for 5 hours and Alana got a few hours. Mum and Dad got nada!

On arrival at Melbourne it transpired that I had completed the state (ie VIC) travel permit but not the federal declaration - whoops. The nice lady at Passport Control said we'd need to do that and when I asked if I should do it on the spot online she said that I could do that - but there are about 80 questions on it and if I preferred I could fill in the one page form in her hand that had just five questions. Yes, thank you, I'll take that option...

And then we were picked up by my Dad at midnight and home by 2am for a sleep. Game over.

So for reference, to get home we needed:

= Vaccination certificates
= Antigene test (used Centogene at Munich Airpiort for 41 euro each)
= VIC travel permit (from Service Victoria)
= Federal travel declaration

We feel blessed to have made the whole trip without covid - although we all had a cold at one point but continued to test negative.

Thanks for reading everyone. It has been a lot of work writing it all up and there were nights where I'd had a few beers at dinner and would have rather gone straight to bed than stay up and do the blog. But in retrospect I am so glad I did. What a record of an amazing family trip that we will probably never get to do again.

Although I say that but the people who rented our house in Torquay for the whole of January have asked if they can book again next year so watch this space...
 

Skifahrer

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Thank you again for your entertaining reports and especially your (Aussie) view of things in Austria.
I can reach all areas within 2 hours, so I know the areas very well. By the way, I went to school in Bad Tölz. :)
Many of the things you noticed I know only too well and are therefore normal for me:
- High speed differences on the Autobahn
- Pushing in front of people at the lift
- Unfriendly waiters
- The German language can sometimes be very harsh

The difference between Austria and Mt. Buller or Thredbo seems to be very big?

My record is 14 days of skiing in a row. I don't think I'll ever reach 6 weeks, possibly when I retire :)
 
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blueandwhite

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Thank you again for your entertaining reports and especially your (Aussie) view of things in Austria.
I can reach all areas within 2 hours, so I know the areas very well. By the way, I went to school in Bad Tölz. :)
Many of the things you noticed I know only too well and are therefore normal for me:
- High speed differences on the Autobahn
- Pushing in front of people at the lift
- Unfriendly waiters
- The German language can sometimes be very harsh

The difference between Austria and Mt. Buller or Thredbo seems to be very big?

My record is 14 days of skiing in a row. I don't think I'll ever reach 6 weeks, possibly when I retire :)
Both Austria and Australia have their good sides and bad sides and I love skiing both! Obviously the snow is generally a lot better in Austria and the mountains are magnificent. But there is something to be said for skiing through the snowgums in Australia and the views - whilst less mountainous - are still fantastic but in a different way. But in terms of culture, food and drink you just simply cannot beat Europe. We have been to Canada, the US and Japan and whilst they all have a different vibe it is incredibly hard to go past Europe for the full package. I love it. But then I just love skiing full stop!
 

sli1

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Good to hear that an Antigen test was sufficient to transit Dubai. Trying to confirm that has not been easy.

I understand how you feel about writing the blog each evening. It does take some effort especially with the detail you went into. But in the end satisfying. Well done. :thumbs:

A final update. It snowed 5-10cm overnight (of course!) and we had a fun morning clearing the car of snow and driving down the steep road in Baad to get out... But strangely as we crossed the border into Germany the snow just disappeared from the road and we could drive normally again... they must clear their roads better in Germany!

After a decent drive to the airport we took our antigen tests (negative) and checked in. The A380 from Munich to Dubai was about 10-20% full and we had a wonderful flight. One of the stewardesses gave the kids about 50 kit kats to take home as there were so many left!

Dubai was a bit painful, it's always so busy. But everything was open so at least we could keep ourselves entertained. The Dubai to Melbourne flight was rammed and 13 hours when you are already pretty tired is not ideal. Sam slept for 5 hours and Alana got a few hours. Mum and Dad got nada!

On arrival at Melbourne it transpired that I had completed the state (ie VIC) travel permit but not the federal declaration - whoops. The nice lady at Passport Control said we'd need to do that and when I asked if I should do it on the spot online she said that I could do that - but there are about 80 questions on it and if I preferred I could fill in the one page form in her hand that had just five questions. Yes, thank you, I'll take that option...

And then we were picked up by my Dad at midnight and home by 2am for a sleep. Game over.

So for reference, to get home we needed:

= Vaccination certificates
= Antigen test (used Centogene at Munich Airpiort for 41 euro each)
= VIC travel permit (from Service Victoria)
= Federal travel declaration

We feel blessed to have made the whole trip without covid - although we all had a cold at one point but continued to test negative.

Thanks for reading everyone. It has been a lot of work writing it all up and there were nights where I'd had a few beers at dinner and would have rather gone straight to bed than stay up and do the blog. But in retrospect I am so glad I did. What a record of an amazing family trip that we will probably never get to do again.

Although I say that but the people who rented our house in Torquay for the whole of January have asked if they can book again next year so watch this space...
How did you manage to actually nail down that it was an antigen test rather than a PCR required to get through Dubai?
 

blueandwhite

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How did you manage to actually nail down that it was an antigen test rather than a PCR required to get through Dubai?
I read the emirates website and my reading of it was that if you are only transiting Dubai then the level of testing you need is dictated by the requirements of your destination - and there is no further stipulation for Dubai itself. I could have read that wrong though. Either way the only checking was at the Munich checkin desk and on arrival in Australia. There were no checks during transit in Dubai. So if you get on the plane at your origin you are pretty much set!
 

sli1

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I read the emirates website and my reading of it was that if you are only transiting Dubai then the level of testing you need is dictated by the requirements of your destination - and there is no further stipulation for Dubai itself. I could have read that wrong though. Either way the only checking was at the Munich checkin desk and on arrival in Australia. There were no checks during transit in Dubai. So if you get on the plane at your origin you are pretty much set!
 
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