Category Archives: Winter

Reality Check: Arlberg – the cradle of Alpine Skiing

In response to my ski resort article I added some “Reality Check” articles, in which I wrote about skiing in some of this resorts in the 2011/12 skiing season. Yesterday I had my last day on skis for this season (I will still do some ski-touring though) and I can finish this mini-series for this year with a real highlight. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me yesterday, as this was a hardcore-skiing day with some pals, but one of my friends took some pictures, so I might add them another time.

Galzig (St. Anton am Arlberg, Tyrol, Austria),...

Galzig (St. Anton am Arlberg, Tyrol, Austria), view from north. Deutsch: Galzig (St. Anton am Arlberg, Tirol, Österreich), Ansicht von Norden. Italiano: Galzig (St. Anton am Arlberg, Tirolo, Austria), vista dal nord. Lietuvių: Galzig (St. Anton am Arlberg, Tirolis, Austrija), nuo šiaurės. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Arlberg is one of the most famous skiing resorts in Austria and in the Alps. This it the place where Alpine Skiing was developed – hence their claim “Arlberg – the cradle of alpine skiing”. The Arlberg is a mountain pass between Tyrol and Vorarlberg (which name means “before the Arlberg”) and the Arlberg ski-resort is divided into two parts: Zürs-Lech and St. Anton. We did our skiing in the St. Anton part of the resort, which lays mainly on the Tyrollean side of the Arlberg. Overall the resort consists of 86 lifts, 276 km of pistes and 180km of powder runs.  Continue reading

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Great days … Skitouring in Montafon

The weather is momentarily just great, and this is why I do not write too long postings at the moment. Today I did a nice ski-tour and I thought it would be a nice change to show something personal for a change, as I did a lot of postings about Cities or holiday tipps in the last weeks. As the sun was pretty strong we had to get up, rather early and we started our skitour at 7.30 – reaching the top at about 10.00 … I have no photos of the way down – but the snow got pretty wet, in the last third and I was very knackered, when I arrived back home.

great view

me on the way up

view from the mountain towards the Switzerland

over the horizon

top of Wannaköpfle

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What a view …

Winter is slowly coming to an end … but there are still great days of skiing or other winter sports activity ahead. Here you can find one of my favorite pictures of the mountains in Winter in my region.

I hope you like as much as I do …

 

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Reality Check – Sonnenkopf

great view from one of the restaurants

“The Sonnenkopf is Arlbergs hidden powder paradise. Lech am Arlberg and St. Anton may be a lot more prestigious, but this smaller resort deserves some recognition, too!” This is what I told a lot of people over and over again, and for that reason I included the Sonnenkopf into my ski-resort list (link at end of text). But I believe to advise people about places you have to know them – and even if you know them, you have to put them to test over and over again. This is what I did today.

Continue reading

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Lech from above – amazing video

Beautiful video of Lech am Arlberg from above – enjoy!

Lech from above – click me!

I was thinking this video as I just recently wrote a guest post at World Adventure Travel about “Heli-Skiing in Austria for Newbies” and the Arlberg is the place to go for Heli-Skiing.

In the next weeks and months I will try to show you more of these amazing videos, whenever they fit my articles. Unfortunately WordPress.com does not allow iframes – therefore you have to follow the link 😦

Are there any computer geeks out there, who can tell me how to make iframes work at this place?

Have to go again – its the last day of Carnival and we are invited to some friends place.

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March skiing will be great!

It’s snowing again – after weeks of arctic coldness temperature has risen to about zero degree Celsius (32 degree Fahrenheit) and at the moment it is snowing. According to the weather report this won’t stop until tomorrow, and there should be another 50 – 80 cm snow up in the mountains! are great news for people who consider to go skiing in March. This year you will be guaranteed loads of Snow.

View from Brandnertal Skiing resort

great days ahead - March 2012 will be a great month for skiers

March is one of the best times for skiing in my opinion – the high season is already over, meaning less people and lower prizes, its getting warmer already and the days are longer. Sadly in the last year snow was a problem in March – but this is just taken care of.

 

So if you have not booked your skiing holidays already, or are still considering whether to book, or not: Go for it! This March will be great!

Links to Austrian Skiing resorts:

 

 

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My top five winter activities

Winter is one of the best times in the year … in my opinion. There are some many great things to do – here you can find my personal Top 5.

5 – Reading

Winter time is reading time … when it is as cold outside as it is now, what better can you do than use a complete weekend to just read. We all have books we put away during summer or spring, as the weather outside was just to nice to read. Winter is the time to get back to this books. Put some firewood in your oven, have a nice cup of tea and take your time to read again.

4 – Tobogganing

For years I declined any offer to go tobogganing. It was so much part of my child hood, that I just felt too adult to do it. Little did I know – it´s one of the greatest social events to do ever. Hike up a long and winding run (taking the lift does not count), sit on a traditional hut, have some mulled wine and some delicious food – and then go for it!

3 – Hiking

Hiking in Winter is great … the snow covered landscape, the calmness of nature, the chilly experience of cold wind on your skin – and then the feeling of warmness, when you enter a small restaurant to enjoy a nice break. Starting in February it gets even greater, when the sun is getting stronger again and you can feel the coldness of the snow and the warming sun at once.

2 – Skiing

I just love Skiing. A great day in one of the best skiing resorts in my vicinity (you can read about them here) is just too much fun. With a group of friends, who are all good skiers it gives you physical exhaustion, you might go to your limits and it´s a great social event, too. Do not forget to visit a sunny hut in your favorite skiing resort, to indulge in good food and have a drink. Aprés Ski afterwards should not be missed either.

1 – Ski Touring

Ski Touring is my favorite thing to do in Winter. Enjoy nature off the beaten path, do something for your body and enjoy incredible views at top of the Alpes before doing some powder runs: it just perfectly sums up all the great things you can do in Winter. A day on a nice tour with a friend or a group of friends is just the thing I need to recharge my batteries. Best thing about it is, that the season is very long. You can start as early as November, and some of the best tours can be found at the beginning of May.

Of course there are other great things to do … visiting a spa, ice-skating.

So what are your favorite things to do in Winter?

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It´s cold outside …

After some milder Winters in the recent years, this year Jack Frost is having a unexpected comeback. Europe is currently suffering from a long period of coldness. In Feldkirch, where I live, we have -20 degree (Celsius) during nights and -10 during day-time (this translates into -4 to +14 degree Fahrenheit).

As it was way to cold for skiing and we still felt like getting out at least for some time, we made some hikes on the surrounding hills of Feldkirch. You can get some impressions from the pictures.

The pictures were taken on Saturday and Sunday – Saturday was rather cloudy, Sunday very sunny – but both days were equally cold. The deer-park is set up on Ardetzenberg and is one of the best recreational areas of the city (and its free, too).

Feldkirch is one of Vorarlbergs 5 cities – it was first mentioned 842, and was mentioned as a city 1218. The Schattenburg was the castle of the Montfort family, which ruled over Feldkirch until 1390 (and were also the Rulers of Bregenz (Vorarlbergs capital) and Tettnang in Southern Germany). Their coat of arms was later used as coat of arms of Vorarlberg. After 1390 the Habsburger ruled over Feldkirch – until the collapse of the Habsburg Empire in 1918 (there was a brief spell as part of Bavaria, during the Napoleonic wars).

Feldkirch is home to 32.000 people, and is famous for its great medieval city center, the castle Schattenburg and for a lot of activities, that are spread over the year. From the annual wine festival, to the indie-music poolbar Festival, there is a huge span of events. So make sure to check out what events are scheduled, when you consider to visit Feldkirch.

UPDATE:
If you are looking for a good brochure (in English) to visit Feldkirch and its most “legendary” places – you will find it in another blog entry – “HISTORYcal.Feldkirch”

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Skiing resorts in Salzburg

Next week I will visit my parents in law in the Zell am See region – therefore I decided it might be helpful to add to my article
“Great skiing resorts in Tyrol and Vorarlberg” which can be read here by giving some information about Skiing resorts I know in Salzburg.

Most people know Salzburg as a city – but there is also a province with the same name, as its capital. Famous for “Sound of Music” and for being Mozarts birthplace, the region has a lot to offer. In Winter they have some really great skiing resorts.

And by great, I mean huge – Ski Amadé is a cooperation by a lot of Salzburg (and some Styrian) skiing resorts – 860km of pistes for all levels offer plenty of great skiing. 2013 there will be the Alpine Ski World Championship in Schladming, one of the resorts that belong to Amadé.

There are also a lot of smaller resorts, that are worth visiting. I personally like Rauris – it is a small resort in a beautiful valley, which has some great runs and very traditional huts to have some delicious food with breathtaking views. Rauris is promoting itself for family friendliness, but if you just want to have a day of skiing fun, it is a great location, too.

A lot bigger is the Europasportregion Zell am See/Kaprun. The area consists of a bigger skiing resort (Zell am See), a smaller one (Kaprun) and a glacier skiing resort above Kaprun. Therefore you can go skiing almost all year long. The view to picturesque Zeller Lake is wonderful and you can spot a lot of Austrias highest peaks in the “Hohe Tauern”, including Austrias highest peak – the Grossglockner (3797m).

Further down the Pinzgau you can find Mittersill. Mittersills skiing resort has been connected with the Kitzbühel skiing area for some years now, and this part of the skiing resort, might not be as famous as Kitzbühel, but it provides you with a lot of great skiing.

Just around the corner of Zell am See, there is another huge skiing arena – Saalbach/Hinterglemm – which can also be reached from Leogang. This area is one of my favorite spots in the Alpes, as you find a lot of great runs not only for beginners and intermediates, but also for good skiers, who want to give it all.

Salzburg is definitely a great spot for skiing and if you are considering to come to Austria in Winter, you should not miss out on it. After all this is where the hills are really alive.

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Great skiing resorts in Tyrol and Vorarlberg

A fellow blogger, Maia from “BoundforAdventure” , is currently staying in Stuttgart, Germany and asked for some tipps for good skiing or snow boarding.

I thought about it for some time and then came up with this list … I added the approx. driving time (as stated by ViaMichelin) from Stuttgart, to give some idea about the distances.

I only included Skiing resorts I have visited … some big ones of Tyrol (e.g. Zillertal, Sölden) or Switzerland are missing – although they are in reachable (up to 4 hours drive) distance from Stuttgart. Other ones – especially in Salzburg and eastwards have been excluded as they are too far away.

Tyrol:

Kitzbühel – one of the most prestigious skiing resorts in the Alpes. Some really great runs – it is not too high up the mountains, therefore it is not really a Spring destination. Rather expensive, but that is part of the deal. In the same valley there is also the “Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser” – which offers a huge area and is connected to a lot of villages in the region – so you can get great money for value.

Stuttgart – Kitzbühl – 3 hours 40 minutes

Ischgl – famous for wild parties, this skiing resort has a much more to offer. With lifts up to 2872 Meters it is ideal for spring skiing and it is also connected to Samnaun in Switzerland: you actually ski in Austria AND Switzerland. The runs are great – once you have left the partying crowds at the Idalp you have plenty of options for great skiing and boarding. Most people from the skiing resort I worked in, went there to ski after the season was over … that’s a real recommendation! If you want to avoid noisy Ischgl – stay in Galtür (the next village), but ski in Ischgl … it is great skiing.

Stuttgart – Ischgl: 3 hours 40 minutes

St. Anton am Arlberg – the cradle of skiing at the Arlberg: this is a hot spot for free-skiers and snow boarders who look for off-piste fun. It is also a hotspot to meet fellow english-speaking people: Good runs, great off-piste and a lot of party are guaranteed at St. Anton.

Stuttgart – St. Anton: 3 hours 15 minutes

Vorarlberg:

Zürs-Lech – the Vorarlberg part of the Arlberg skiing region is another hot spot for VIPs and the super rich. But it is also a fantastic skiing resort. Great pistes are guaranteed and going out might be a tad expensive, but it is also great fun. Here is the only place in Austria, where you can go Heli-Skiing. Moreover this year you might encounter Anthony Gourmleys “Horizon Field” – a art project on exactly 2.039 m above sea level.

Stuttgart – Lech: 3 hours 10 minutes

Sonnenkopf – this is a insider tipp for off-piste fans. Located in the Klostertal, this small resorts belong to the Bergbahnen St. Anton am Arlberg. The resort has now artificial snow at all, but they do not need it. They are blessed with loads of snow and a real power paradise. As only few people consider this resort, you might even get some “fresh” powder action, when the powder has vanished everywhere else.

Stuttgart – Klösterle: 2 hours 55 minutes

Montafon – this valley offers a lot of different skiing resorts. From the huge “Silvretta-Montafon”, over powder and spring skiing paradise Gargellen to the Golm, which is a nice family skiing resort … Great skiing, good party and good money for value.

Stuttgart – Montafon (Schruns): 2 hour 55 minutes

Brandnertal– this is the region I was responsible for for a couple of years. A rather small skiing resort, which has still got a lot to offer. It´s definitely a must go for families, but if you want to have some great skiing this might be a good choice, too. Especially during peak season – you might get stuck in a huge traffic jam heading towards the Arlberg or the Montafon and the Brandnertal has its own Autobahn exit, just where the jam usually starts. Great fun, very nice people, good pistes and great huts in the resort …

Stuttgart – Brand: 2 hours 45 minutes

Brandnertal

Finally some other good resorts that should be worth a visit and are in good distance from Stuttgart

SWITZERLAND:

Jungfrau-Region (about 3 hours 45 minutes) – one of the most fascinating alpine areas … breathtaking views and apparently good skiing, too

Laax (3 hours 25 minutes) – known for its Snowboarding and Free-Skier Scene

LIECHTENSTEIN

Malbun (3 hours 15 minutes) – rather small, but for the bragging rights

GERMANY

Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2 hours 50 minutes) – best choice in Germany

AUSTRIA

Riezlern (2 hours 30 minutes) – very close to Stuttgart, never heard any complaints about this one

Damüls-Mellau (2 hours 45minutes) – I really loved Damüls when it was a small insider skiing resort – since they connected it to Mellau it got way bigger – have not skied there since, but this should be really good (+ great food in the Bregenzer Wald)

… plus various resorts in Tyrol (Zillertal, Ötztal, Stubaital …)

Updates:

SALZBURG:
I added some skiing resorts in Salzburg in another post – you can read this here

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