I managed to stay awake while driving to Gatwick by essentially hooking myself up to an intravenous cola drip and blasting Led Zeppelin out of the car stereo.
We arrived, checked in, cleared security… then spent 8 hours waiting in the airport for the engineers to glue the tail back on our plane.
… but at least I could catch up on a little shut eye.
The approach to the airport nearest Mayrhofner is a little interesting; mountains rising through seas of cloud, completely obscuring the approach to the runway nestling in the valley. As we gingerly descended into the cloud we all silently offered our prayers to the gods of instrumentation.
Emerging safely through the cloud deck, we found ourselves flying down a fairly narrow valley by the standards of civil aviation, to eventually touch down on a short runway.
Bus ride, boots and a dinner, and then we were in bed in order to get up the mountain bright and early for our ski lessons! Since, on my last trip, I had started to really get the hang of skiing I felt I’d benefit from some more lessons.
Covering a lot of ground
At the very least, lessons are a good way of getting to see the area, and I doubt without our guide we would have seen as much of the vast area that we did.
There’s not much more to say about the lessons, our tutor was very capable and we covered a lot of ground. In the morning we did ski training, in the afternoon we generally went cross country and put what we learnt into practice.
One particularly memorable day we crossed over to another valley, cutting off piste through forests and down old tracks.
After the lesson we wandered the slopes on our own, attempting to practice some more. A particularly memorable day we headed over to the other mountain, which boasts the longest home run in the area, which if you are in the area is an absolute must see!
Our tour guides laid on a number of activities in the evening. Most were of little interest to our group as they mostly involved a great deal of drinking.
However, the night time sledging sounded interesting and we signed ourselves up for it.
We were driven out in coaches; our party, a party of Dutch, and a party of (very loud) Russians. We took a lift up to the top of the mountain where we were given our sledges and told how to use them. Then we began our way, down the lit path to our first stop.
Our first stop, unsurprisingly, was a pub. We had a free drink of Glühwein and warmed our toes some before heading on our way.
Shortly after leaving the pub we happened on a couple of our party huddled round some other sledgers on a hairpin. Seemed some of our group had come off, one had broken his ankle.
We made our sledges into a barrier to shield the casualty, put coats around him to keep him warm and then I trudged off up the hill to get help (an agonisingly slow task in 3ft of snow).
Help was eventually found, and the casualty taken off the mountain (pro tip, always always *always* get travel insurance), and we continued on our way, albeit slightly more gingerly.
Spa’s are a big thing in Austria, and few things are better after a day on the slopes than a trip to the sauna. Although we didn’t have a spa in our hotel this time, the one down the road more than made up for it… even if it did involve being naked.
When in Rome…