Wintersport 2003

For over 25 years I have enjoyed skiing in Italy (once), Switzerland and Austria (many times). I felt a summary of my travels wasn't complete without some pictures taken in the Alps, illustrating our time of fun and sports in the snow.

Kirchebnerhof, our temporary "home-away-from-home" in the village of Oetz., Austria.
The apartment was roomy and not expensive, probably having to do with the fact that it wasn't located on the skislopes or within walking distance from the skilifts.

This was the view from one of our windows, isn't it great ?! Originating from a flat ("Netherlands") country, with hardly any snow during the winters, this view really effects the senses...
The weather is, of course, very important for a successful stay, especially when one is staying only 1 week. During this stay we enjoyed blue skies most days, except on the thursday and friday when clouds started coming in. It was cold enough not to effect the skislopes too much.

It was a four minute drive from our apartment to the Spar supermarket; in the mornings one of us would quickly pop out to buy some fresh pastries: I love those typical bread rolls they have here !
The skilift (a gondola) was there too, it was a 10 minute ride up to the "Hochoetz".

A look from the gondola while travelling up the mountain. Can't say we saw much of the village of Oetz.... We had our daily visits to the supermarket and the bakery, went once to the pizzeria (excellent !) and that was it. We kept to skiing and resting: that's what we came for, that's what we had.
The red circle depicts the location of "our" apartment.

This is the main restaurant: "Bergrestaurant Hochoetz" (alt. 2.020m), but a little crowded with too many people relaxing and enjoying the sun. We took our breaks at the various cabins elsewhere on the slopes.
Our son Alexander had taken to snowboarding a few years ago and found the slopes a bit hard for snowboarding; the slopes had been maintained to an extend that all the powder snow had been used; the slopes were not icy, just hard. The "Ochsengarten" was a good long run.

An overall view of the area; the yellow arrow points to the "Balbach Alm hütte" at 1957m. This was the cabin we stopped at mostly, for lunch or some hot chocolate with apple pie.
Click here for a larger image of the map.

With all that blue sky and dry air, you could look forever !
This was a good viewing point and also a nice spot to catch our breath: the black slope ended here and we needed to give our legs a short rest.
It would also be a waste not to enjoy so much scenery, these mountains never cease to impress me !

A look down from that same spot; life must be isolated here and far removed from the "global economy" we live at home. Or maybe that is just my perception ?
But it is exactly what I am looking for !

The slopes ! They were very well groomed, the week prior to our visit had seen some fresh snow. But for snowboarders there was hardly any powder to enjoy.

One of the few places snowboarders could enjoy, but it did involve a long, strenuous climb up the slope, as it was off piste.

The pistenbully took good care of the slopes, but you could run into them on the smaller roads connecting the various slopes: better get out of the way then !.

Another look at the skilift station "Hochoetz", but this time we see an ambulance helicopter taking off, on its way to a hospital with someone whose vacation had come to an unpleasant ending.
By the end of the week we had some aching muscles and some of us suffered from strained shoulders or painful wrists, but that only proved we had done our best. Still, seeing someone being brought down from the slopes that way, serves as a reminder that accidents do happen.

This is a picture from our backyard.
I see plenty of nice photo opportunities during our wintersport holidays, but taking a camera with me on the slopes makes me uncomfortable and the camera cramps my style of skiing.

A look in the apartment. We found it resembled many of the apartments we have been renting over the years on these holidays. A lot of wood is used on the exterior and the interior of these houses and the decoration of these rental apartments is very practical.
Except for working out on the slopes, these short holidays are a good time to catch up on some reading and family life. The crisp mountain air is very refreshing and makes sleep come very easily. Most of my travels see me moving around by a demanding itinerary, these skitrips keep me (more or less) in one place and make me able to catch my breath.

After dinner and maybe some reading, it's time to enjoy a few games of "Rummicub", as well as a few beers and plenty of snack food: we'll burn it on the slopes again tomorrow !
There wasn't much on offer on tv to our tastes, and it's fitting to do without for a week.

On our way to Austria and the Alps, we had considerable delays due congestion on the border crossings from Germany into Austria; masses of people enjoy these holiday around the same time and this was one route which could not take the massive traffic flow. Unfortunately, there was no alternative for us to get to our destination !
The 850 kms took us 11 hours...
On our way back we found the same situation, in fact it was even worse: this time it took almost 14 hours to get home !
This photo depicts the situation during the first 60 kms, which took us 2 hours !

Maybe I'll take the train next time ...?