Mountaineering Ireland Snowsports Week
System Date: 25/03/2014
Austrian Snowsports Week – March 15-22
Fresh from a great week in the Austrian Alps and already missing the 3 course breakfast to start the day and the statutory gluwein or possibly something stronger to finish the day! Not having run a snowsports week before, we didn’t know what to expect and to be fair, neither did those brave souls who signed up! The whole idea was to go to an established winter resort where there was plenty of opportunity to ski but also to try other snow sports. Although the snow was soft lower down , it was holding well up high particularly early in the day. With afternoon conditions heavy on the legs, it gave us the opportunity to try a few new activities such as snow shoeing in the forests of the Angertal valley with a local guide who introduced us to the local nature and wildlife. We also had a go at cross crounty skiing on a purpose made track high up in Sport Gastein – great fun when on the flat but deceptively tricky when faced with an uphill section – the secret is definitely not to stop on the uphill … or you may end up sliding down backwards and then ending up face first in the snow as I found out pretty early on!
One member of the group even took up telemark skiing on Monday and spent the rest of the week perfecting stylish bent knee turns.
Being based in the spa town of Bad Hofgastein, which is famous for it’s healing thermal waters and alpine cafes, there was also the option to take it easy and relax away from the slopes while still surrounded by snowy peaks. The area is on the edge of the scenic Hohe Tauen National Park and offers a wide range of summer walking as well as winter activities.
The week ended up being the perfect combination of activity and relaxation in the Spring sunshine. Given that most of the group didn’t know each other before the week, new friendships were made and a lot of fun was had by all.
Many thanks to Topflight for putting together a great package of flights and accommodation and looking after us well while in Austria. Look out for a full report in the Summer Irish Mountain Log.