It is cold and dark in London, it is snowing in Europe ... that can only mean one thing - it is time to go on another ski holiday.
To celebrate the start of 2009, I headed to Zurs in Austria. Zurs is billed as a 'quiet, exclusive haven' in the Alberg Mountain range. Quiet it certainly is - there is only a tiny corner store, no pubs (only hotel bars), three ski shops and said hotels. Interestingly, it is only about 20 mins drive from St Anton - one of the most party ski resorts I have been to. In fact, Zurs and St Anton are on the same ski pass (although you can't actually ski between them). However, Zurs does put on some fabulous New Years Eve fireworks (and I love fireworks so it is all good).
The ski trip did not actually have that great a start, my bag did not get on my plane! So there I was, at Zurich airport, all ready to start my ski holiday ... sans ski gear. Luckily the next flight, with my bag on it was not far behind so all's well that ends well, as they say.
We had a great time in Zurs - the snow was fantastic, and it even snowed on New Years Eve, which was lovely. Of course, one is not in the best condition to ski fresh trachs on New Years Day, but I gave it a good go. Most days we had blue sky (a nice change from London) which made the freezing cold bearable. The lifts in and around Zurs are padded, heated and have wind covers - awesome!! Also had a great (if extremely tiring) off piste day. I really need to get better at traversing. Unfortunately, my lesson was a bit of a disaster. The ski school for some reason marked me down as a beginner and sent me a bloke who was a skiier, albeit he had done a bit of snowboarding. Turned out I was a better boarder than him!!! Needless to say, that lesson did not last long.
Zurs is linked with Lech and Oberlech - you can ski between those resorts on a route called the "White Ring". Apparently, the record for the 21.6km circuit is 45 minutes- including time on the lifts up (although in a no queue situation). On New Years
Day we did it in a new record time of 6 hours (including stops for hot chocolate, lunch and gluhwein).
There is a great bar at the bottom of the main run at Lech where you can watch the run (lots of stacks - it is quite steep and icy there by the end of the day) and check out the 'fashions in the field' - a highlight of any ski trip. There are some pretty impressive 'off slope' looks in Zurs/Lech as well, I can tell you - loving the big hair and fur coats. Did not make it to any of the St Anton bars this time, maybe next time.
Can't wait for my next trip - February in Mirabel, here I come!
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