On Thursday this week, I will be in Vienna and a week from today I will have finished the first day on the slopes, that’s right, it is time to go SKIING!
I started skiing when I was in middle school as part of an after-school program, and picked it up again in earnest in High School driving up to New Hampshire on evenings after school for cheap, mid-week deals. I always tried to go a couple of times a year in college as well, and had some memorable trips to Vermont with friends. I remember the day I fell in love with skiing again, at Mad River Glen. The mountain is a throwback to skiing in the 60’s and 70’s, with natural style trails and limited grooming. there was fresh snow the day before, so the entire mountain was covered in massive, soft moguls/bumps. I had never learned to ski them before, but I was forced to that day. I got my ass kicked up and down the slopes, and I loved it.
The past few years, I have gone with my friends from University skiing in Austria, two times to Ischgl (home to legendary Aprés Ski), once to Kitzühel (where James Bond learned to ski and home of the Streif, the most challenging downhill race on the World Cup circuit) and once to Stuhleck (a local place in the Steiermark, in SE Austria, not a typical ski-tourist destination, but full of local charm).
This year we are headed to Mayrhofen, in the Zillertal. The Zillertal is a valley with several ski areas climbing up either side. None of us in the group have ever been there before, but it has a good reputation for both skiing and nightlife, two things important to everyone in our group, to varying degrees.
I will definitely try to take some photos, and will as well post regular updates on my Twitter (@SxtnJhn). We have a couple of days in Vienna, as everyone flies in from different places, and then Saturday will be a road-trip in a van across Austria and into the mountains. This is always one of my highlights. There is a town at a crossroad in the middle of Austria called Liezen, and there is a tradition of always stopping at the McDonalds there (we had an amazing sunrise there on the way to Kizbühel that still blows my mind when I think of it). It is silly things like that that make me always look forward to the trip, and I am glad it is now time again.
Peter Schilling, take us away!