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Published: February 2nd 2007
It is a bit concerning when it is mid-January in Europe and the most common response to my comment ‘I am heading off for a week of skiing in Austria’ is ‘Is there any snow?’. A layer of stress is added when the planned ski holiday is with two Aussies who have traveled half way across the world for said ski trip. What is a girl to do? In my case:
* obsessively check the snow reports for at least three weeks pre departure (including checking other resorts in Europe to see if an alternative destination would have been better - no, it was crap everywhere);
*repeat like a mantra the phrase ‘I picked St Anton partly for the snow and partly because it is famous for its Après ski (some say the best in Europe). If we don’t get the former, more time to enjoy the latter!’;
*try and console myself that main reason the friends made the trip was not for the snow, but to see me so that the snow conditions are not crucial; and
* experience feelings of happiness (which I would have previously regarded as impossible) when temperatures in London dropped, hoping that was the
sign of a European wide cold snap.
The trip to St Anton was relatively uneventful - plane to Zurich and then train to St Anton. Managed to snag our own ‘booth’ in the train - very ‘Before Sunrise’ (well, except that it was day … and there were three of us….). We passed the hours listening to music on my brand new iHome (thanks Tan!), playing Gin (which Caps cannot play nearly as well as she plays Hold’em) and taking more photos of Tan asleep to add to the collection.
Arrived in St Anton late in the afternoon. Hmmm the mountain was mainly brown - NOT a good sign! You can see in the photo to the left that it was only the snowmaking that made skiing back to the resort possible. Apparently it is the worst season they have had in 25 years - the only consolation being that, of all the resorts in Austria, St Anton had the most snow.
Checked out our chalet and met the rest of the gang we would be staying with for the next week. Our fellow chalet dwellers consisted of:
* ‘The 22’ - a group of 22
Bu no Aussie beers!
uni students on a group trip;
* ‘The Geezers” - a group of 9 40-something English people determined to sledge wherever possible (and who we ran into at least once on the slopes every day); and
* ‘The Irish’ - the unfortunate two Irish blokes who ended up eating all their meals with the ‘Aussie Three’ as our table was the only one with any space.
The chalet was great - a cooked brekkie and dinner every day, lovely chalet staff and unlimited wine with dinner.
Despite the lack of snow, we braved the slopes the next day. Discovered three things:
- St Anton is not a resort for beginners;
- Poor snow is not the best if you have a new snowboard (sorry Tan); and
- There really are pubs on the slopes. (Yep - that’s right, you ski/board nearly to the end of the slopes, stop at a pub, have a few pints and then ski down to the end of the slopes - by then in the dark, and a bit tipsy…. Not so good on the ice)
Luckily, the snow conditions improved. While we were there, it snowed for two and a half days
Note the green beer
(no dumping, but a solid effort) which significantly improved the conditions (we were told that the mid week days were the best they had had all season). Tan and I took full advantage of the great morning conditions, while Caps preferred to start the day after lunch, refreshed and ready to go.
Anyway - as they say, what goes on tour, stays on tour - but I can tell you that the nightlife lived up to expectations (especially for Caps and I - how can you go wrong in a town where the ratio of men to women is about 8:1) and we definitely consumed our own weight in alcohol.
It was a fab place - we met plenty of people, and after not long could not go into a bar in town without seeing someone we recognized (to the point where at Bar Cuba, the band would play our fave songs without the need for us to request them).
As a skiing venue - I highly recommend it, although not if you need more than 3 or 4 hours sleep a night!!!
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