The group is made up of people with varying degrees of Skiing ability and priority inclinations. For some the none skiing aspects of a ski holiday are key, the coffee stops, the lunching, the bear, the bear and the next bear. For others a relentless need to not spend any time away from the central activity, to stand upon the skis or to ride a lift back to where they might start skiing once more. At one of those extremes is me at the other is Daud. So as the day proceeded the group divided, Charlie and I went off to ski on, to see whether we couldn’t discover some more to what, so far, had been a somewhat limited and ground hog daying experience of discovery, rediscover and rediscover some more.. A level of rediscovering appreciation normally dedicated to their work with pints. We found a new valley complete with its own brightly coloured yellow gondola cabin station, a marker so familiar it caused Charlie to ponder on whether perhaps we had inadvertently found our way back to where we’d started the day. We hadn’t, this was new, it was nice to find new. The new was a black run, the only one in the area that was open then as we’d been told all blacks were currently closed. By now the white from above had thickened and visibility was all but gone, my goggles are shite – each time this sort of thing happens i remember and determine to purchase some new goggles not inherited from an a emergency holiday purchase in ’98 (statement may not be entirely as accurate as abundance of layered detail suggests), then the year happens and such certainty of thought are left to another day. We made it down quite well enough but i was struggling more than i could recall struggling in recent memory, it was not going well, least not in terms of the skiing.
The group reconvened a couple of hours later, at the end of the day as the lifts set to shutting. We’d just got back after staring forlornly at the key connecting chair lift which we arrived at to find its access gates closed.. Thankfully the whole queuing area was being taken down for the night and a bemused looking attendant was waving people to just shuffle round to embark/get themselves loaded on.. He was chuntering something away most fervently, no idea what it was, this bit of Austria clearly has quite a different sort of a dialect … barley a word in the sounds he was offering us could i make out let alone make an effort at linking it to an established meaning. The bar by the Gondola came to its closing time, it had been most busy collecting to itself it would seem quite a large collection of those looking at the situation and seeing no reason to delay the descent back to town. It was nearing the time of the last Gondola, an advantageous time to leave, in Myrhofen, even in times of greater snow, has no home run and quite the only way would be by foot or by vehicle. We were not quite last but those who had successfully found the bar finished their beverages and we left.
Snow continued to fall lightly and must have spread its way down into the town as a little bit of winter reached out into the town. Once there i headed off after an ATM, leaving my assorted clobber with the others. Milton and Daud deposited their skis in the first and most obvious of sports equipment shops, which during the course of the day they’d concluded were in need of a service. Beside the Penkenbahn stands the ICE bar, largely unnoticed in the morning, largely tricky to continue to go unnoticed around ski lift closing time, lights and people, quite a number of people inside and as i returned, quite a number of people outside, looking to head in. I think they’d been in already, the present members of the collective, but on my return i found most of them loitering outside. Not Daud, he remained within its smoking, illuminated, jostling belly, apparently seeking use of the facilities, while the others updated me on that which I’d missed. It was loud, congesting and generally not entirely what some among our number were presently seeking, it wouldn’t normally be for me either but when it comes to ski holidays the rules of my mind somehow come to realign themselves in some small ways… in way of example – lively and loud gains tolerance, befitting of a days end – sleeping in becomes thoroughly undesirable while early rises gain a type of support reserved at home for those days when Heathrow & a most early flight beckons. The vote seemed in and the determined outward standing about re-inforced it, we wouldn’t be going here, i confess i was fussed neither this way nor that, though Daud had that moderately sad & disappointed air about him that came with being separated from the tantalising promise of alcohol, people dancing high upon tables and something he’d already set his mind so much to that he’d all but touched it and caught the smell of it within his nostrils. Nothing like powers of recovery though as he bounced back and disappeared, Charlie in tow, while the rest of us momentarily turned our back to re-gather up our deposited things.
It took some phone call rebukes before the impromptu & unexpected breakaway scouting faction could be railed in, located & reintegrated.
They were some ways down the round at the very antithesis of the ICE bar, a highly sedate bar of apparently Italian inclination were we could sit restfully outside undisturbed by any other patrons. No doubt here we could here each other talk & we could sit, those important strength it had certainly cornered.
After a quiet drink we collected our things and headed on seeking out that third and middle way, a place touched by society but not beleaguered by its rampant onslaught.
Daud & Charlie somehow managed to disappear once more & though we caught sight of where they appeared to go there was most assuredly no sign of them in their when we also got to arriving. It was inside and my glasses had quite fogged up so verification from another was sought. They were not there.
We were about to leave perplexed and moderately beleaguered by this second successful vanishing act. As we made to leave a lift pinged and open, it had some sort of rail through it middle and was quite filled with assorted ill defined things, from before the crud and bar the other two emerged having apparently now spent quite the few minutes caught within.
It was quiet again and very much of the modern ilk readily available thought out most UK cities, I felt no particular need to be here, pleasant enough as it was you can perhaps have things too familiar. Daud was researching, limitless roaming data, a love of beer and a dedication to the cause of not going back to the hotel & taking as many people down with him as possible, these were the familiar matters at play. I finally opted to remove the boots, it does provide a not entirely idea addition to the things to carry but it freeze the feet and that on balance seemed better, the boots were none to ready to relinquish.
The previous nights dinner was broadly considered the superior and i would probably concur having once again ordered Schnitzel Und pommes frites – somehow it seemed about right once more, most unusual to do such repeating.. Having trotted in, all in full mountain clobber we were not expecting to gain access, so it was as we left, having always found ourselves to be questionably welcome, an arm looking to wrangle its way back into jacket found both a jacket and a wine glass….Thank you and goodnight …
At this point the fatigue of Charlie had taken hold and he broke ranks.. While Daud had locked onto his internet research and had something specific in mind – http://www.brueckenstadl.at …. apparently it was close to the ski lift, back up into the town and a little bit beyond … i was not without sleepy and was the only one with skis still in tow, the walk was by this point not entirely welcome.
My skis were quite lonely outside the Brueckenstadl bar. A conveniently located set of seats were available close to the entrance so we collected ourselves around that. The music and its lyrics has a certain way about it largely, a familiar and heavy beat and lyrics such as they aren’t, yet the people enjoy it and in a way that far exceeds what can be appreciated when out and about in the UK, people though mostly younger, of assorted ages, bounding about enthusiastically with few breaks from largely familiar moves, little preening just a while lot of people, drinking quite a bit and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Its rather nice.
Then the music changed, all of a sudden some beach boys stylings music and with it the dance move altered, knees waving and legs shaking in full 50s dance mode, most unexpected. Tignes is and will probably always remain one of my favourite Ski resorts and its very possible to overstate the case for the bars of Mayrhofen but objectively they had these things going for them: they existed, they were open, they had people in them and all of these thing could be found prior to the Witching hour of 11pm.. Hurray for a return to Austria, it may be that the skiing wont be a Tignes or even anything close but there is life after piste closure, it takes a super abundance of energy to be going out into the wee small hours and ski the next day …. no thank you most kindly. For a reason most unapparent a person from the table opposite appeared, pint glass outstretched, glass clinking and clonking time…..
This would be it for our evening, when our time here came to an end it was surely time to be taking ourselves back to our resting places.