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Published: January 21st 2005
At the top slope day 1
Notice the lack of snow on the mountains and the state of the art ski lift.
A new year, a new country, a new experience - how did I get to 28 without ever having crossed a border by car? Especially when I've crossed so many. Well it was completely uneventful, even with my dodgy looking battle scarred passport, we were quickly waved through. Hungary to Austria is now a very different border than the one twenty years ago - the memories are still clear for those living in this region.
I was off to go skiing with some of my girlfriends family in the small resort of Lachtal. Nice little privately rented challet all organised by the girlfriends folks, this is travelling at it's laziest - where someone else does all the organising, cooking - my only responsibilities were drying up the dishes, and taking out the rubbish - which actaully was damn complicated, they have a seperate bin for every type of rubbish, all labelled in German - a language I know nothing of, leading to debates about - is this yoghurt top plastic or metal?
Right - back to skiing - I'm a novice skier - my previous experience was in Romania, a week learning to ski in a very cheap resort,
The source of the snow on the first day.
with a bunch of my Hungarian friends. How would Austria differ?
Well the resort was a lot bigger, had more slopes, a state of the art ski lift and man made snow! The man made snow was placed precisly where needed, on the slopes, and not really anywhere else. Downside - it was at least twice the cost of Romania and we were doing it on the cheap.
The first day skiing was mainly a case of getting back in practice, falling often and going really slowly, wondering why I was finding it so difficult - I blamed the lack of real snow, the slopes were really icey, making it difficuly for a begginer. I was told on the ski lift that a storm was coming and that I had missed a week of fantastic weather. I was looking forward to the storm - might get some snow on these slopes and be able to stay over my skies instead of rolling down the hill alongside them.
And God said - "Let There Be Snow"
Over the next 48 hours a meter of snow was dumped on the landscape - the state of the art lift
Let there be snow!
View of a Lachtal pub in the snow.
was shut due to the wind, the normal t-bar lifts were still running though, the wind and snow were biting towards the top of the slopes at around 2,000 meters. Skiing down with no glasses was almost suicidal - so made a new investment - skiing glasses. Is it just beginners that crash due to glasses misting up? - new style of crashing.
So it went from no snow to almost too much, when there is a lot of snow and it is drifting falling becomes easy again, usually caused by one ski entering a drift and slowing compared to the other ski which continues onward, the legs connected to each do the splits and over you go.
Overall the trip was great. To answer a question from a friendly Austrian that I couldn't answer at the time (first time on the ski-lift) - "and how do you enjoy skiing in Austria?" - a lot. Though I think it's mostly that I enjoy skiing.
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