Wednesday 14 March 2007

Ski Zauchensee

Just got back from a ski trip to Austria with a couple of friends. Went to the same place we went last year staying in Altenmarkt which is less than an hours drive south of Salzburg.

Last year we went in February. It was cold and there was lots of snow. This time it was much warmer and there was no snow in the valleys.

First day, we drove up to Zauchensee. We were all quite concerned about the snow conditions but things started looking much much better as we drove up to the resort and got above the snow line. That was quite a relief. It was snowing too so it couldn't be too bad!

Snow at the top of the mountains were great but it got quite heavy and slushy as we skiied down to the bottom. My balance and technique were pretty crap. Worse of all, my glasses and goggles kept fogging up and I could barely see. The falling snow was very wet. By early afternoon, my legs ached and I wasn't having a good time so I quit skiing early. Mike and David continued skiing but unfortunately David had a nasty fall and pulled his calf muscle. It turned out to the end of any more skiing for him.

On the second day, Mike and I headed out to Obertauern which was only about half-an-hour away. It's claim to fame is that it's where the Beatles filmed the snow scenes in the Help film. It is one of the higher resorts in the area and felt colder than Zauchensee. The snow was indeed really good up there. It wasn't snowing that day so I could avoid the foggy goggles too. I took it quite easy sticking to blue runs and concentrated on getting my technique back. For a Friday, it was very busy but waits for the lifts were very short.

It was snowing when we got up on the third day. Mike and I headed out to Schladming on the basis that the weather reports were better out there. We were both a bit disappointed when we got there - the ski run down was brown slush. However, we went up the cable car and found a blizzard at the top of the mountain! Excellent snow and wide pistes. However, the snow did get slushy as you skiied down to the half-way point of the cable car. I wiped out a few times getting caught by the change in snow conditions.

That last day was great. My balance and technique were much better and my glasses and goggles didn't fog up. Even my legs weren't so tired. Got in some great runs. Unfortunately, three days isn't enough. Next ski trip needs to be for at least a week and I figure February is the right month to go. I have liked all the resorts we've gone to in Austria. All are well organised, have excellent facilities and offer enough variety for me. The Salzburger Sportwelt is a huge ski area but as the mountains aren't very high, it best not to go too late in the season.

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