Imagine sitting with a Gluhwein on a sun drenched terrace overlooking the most awe inspiring mountain views. Well this was after skiing 150 kms covering 3 resorts in one day!.
As a keen skiier I was looking for some new challenges, I wanted to step into ski instruction and had already started part time work at the local dry slope. The trouble with living in the UK is the lack of snow and the mountains are quite a distance away. This means I get to use my favourite skis on a plastic carpet with odd pieces of metal sticking up through to gouge through the wax and ski body. Dry ski slopes allow you to ski in the summer but the construction is very unusual and you are basically skiing on carpet like material with water to keep the slope wet and slippery.
Anyway back to the plot, I had started a course to gain my Dry Ski Slope instructor certification, at the end of the course the instructor organised a ski trip as he runs a hotel in Itter, Austria. He has trained and taught ski instuctors for years and is well known in the skiing industry. After the long flight and dodgy bus trip to the resort I settled in to my bunk with an Austrian beer in one hand and a pretzel in the other, time to load up on carbs as the next day was going to be long and tough. We crawled out of bed before sunrise to grab a quick bite and organise all the equipment for the day, as the sun rose over the fresh powder coating the mountains we headed up to catch the first runs.
The warm up went okay so we all stepped it up and tried to keep up with Pete as he skiied all over the mountain, trees, moguls, rocks and any other obstacle you can think of came and went at break neck speed. The order of the people changed as their preferred style of terrain came and went, everyone ski’s different with some more speedy and others with amazing technical depth. I know my style, my brother likes to point his skis straight down the slope, I prefer a technical, tight turning approach.
I had just bought my new Rossignol Racing ski’s which are particulary good for speed and allow the ability to do short,sharp turns. This particular day was a little bit on the icy side so speed and confidence was the best option. With 618 individual pistes I was in absolute heavan. The scenery is second to none, I have skiied all over Europe and in Canada and all of the resorts are fabulous but I have to say that Austria has such beautiful scenery and a wide variety for all skiiers.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about the village of Itter which is situated in a quiet valley between the slopes and is in easy reach from Soll which is perfect for the Apres ski. We were taken on some evening walks and drank in the local pubs which gave us a real feel for Austrian culture. Pete entertained in the evenings with traditional Austrian food and always dressed up in Austrian costume giving a fantastic atmosphere and certainly finishing the day with some awesome memories. Take a look at Hotel Edelweiss for more information regarding the accomodation.
Anyway, back to the skiing, I defintely recommend going up to the summit and taking the trail with the sign post “Ski at your own risk”. With some intrepedation I followed Pete on the way down thinking very carefully about every turn as it does get to a point that you may need to do some short swings!. Get your edges in and it is all good.
During our ski challenges we took a few breaks to rest the legs. Well the breaks were actually on the ski lifts with a Mars Bar in hand to boost the energy and energy drinks tend to do the trick. We had to be quick as there was a lot of terrain to cover in one day. On a few occasions I felt the lactic acid building up in my legs and the only way was to sit back in my boots and lean back on my skis. I got to about 5pm and the snow was starting to become slushy at the bottom of the mountain. I really thought that I could not make it down a run with slush and moguls but my sheer determination and the support from Pete got me down safely and ready for a final night of Apres Ski before returning home.
Next time I promise to take some photos!
The lowdown on the Ski Welt region.
- Trails (Pistes): –
- Beginner: 43%
- Intermediate: 47%
- Advanced: 10%
- Cross-country: 196.5 km
- Snowmaking: 75%
- Acres of ski: –
- Terrain Parks: 3
- Halfpipes: 0
- Restaurants: 70
- Bars: 42
- Summit: 1957 m
- Vertical Drop: 1336 m
- Base: 007
- Draglifts: 40
- Chairlifts: 36
- Gondolas / Cable Cars: 15
- Toplift: m
- Nearest Airport: Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich
- Nearest Train: Kufstein, Wörgl, St. Johann
- Tourist Info Phone:: +43 5333 400