Category Archives: mayrhofen

Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home – & Rating the Zillertal ski areas [3]

Mayrhofen Town Center
Mayrhofen Town Center – Heading Back
Birkenhof Mayrhofen
Back at Birkenhof

My boots had a very itchy way about them, slipping off their designated resting point on my shoulder in a most repeated fashion, where they were put they simply would not remain. Having dumped it all off i headed back to the hotel Birkenhof.

It wasn’t the finest preparation and cleanliness, gathering up some fresh clothing i headed into the toilets by reception, i had a sink for water and old used clothing to dry myself down with, something of the sparrow having a dust bath about this effort at cleaning up.
I’d become familiar with such limited efforts during my two cycling breaks, first during my trip away with Oscar (https://journaloftrips.wordpress.com/the-holiday-chapter-1-setting-off/arrival-day/) and then ever more so during my time cycling around in Europe as i took a mini career break. It may have made me a little to accepting of limited levels of clean and being somewhat minging in a public forum.

There was no sign of Damon and well over an hour of time to fill in, i sat myself in one of the breakfast rooms with a mind to backup and sort through some holiday photos and videos. I had only gotten a few moments into this when an alternative thought occurred to me, food.. Between here and home there was only the limited options of Innsbruck airport and quite a number of hours, making dinner a distant and uncertain concept, so food, there should be about time if i was to get up and go now. More than this the nearest and most opportune restaurant was the one we’d visited on the first night, the one that had arguably been the best of the weeks restaurants…I packed everything back away and headed out.

Kaiser Spaetzle iroler Stuben Food Mayrhofen
Kaiser Spaetzle With Fanta Orange -At Tiroler Stuben

Yesterday i’d thought about ordering Kaiser Spaetzle, both during the day and as i studied the menu.. Opting eventually against and there was rational for this dating back to a night out in Isghl many years ago, I’d never been one for believing that cheese at night could or would amount to nightmares during sleep but that was one thick cheesy affair and went on to find myself tormented by the sight of mettle spiders busying themselves throughout one point of what was roundly a poor nights sleep. Plus as the years past one cant necessarily consume ones own weight in cheese or even pursue the lofty challenge of doing so.

But a thought once had such as this turned out to be a thought only delayed and with no particular care required for the Sunday, it was a thought that had found its moment.
There had also been no orange Fanta on this trip, all that time spent on Jägertee and cider, Fanta Orange that was the original ski drink of choice, St Anton back in the 90s and actually i really rather preferred it. Okay not all the time, not every day but the need to drink alcoholic beverages is really quite unnecessary and no less tedious than anything else done with rigorous repetition.

Kaiser Spaetzle Empties At Tiroler Stuben
No More Kaiser Spaetzle With Fanta Orange -At Tiroler Stuben

Tiroler Stuben Napkin

Tiroler Stuben  Mayrhofen

This was a not such a Kaiser Spartzle, it was relatively light by the standard of such things and came with a salad, that had a most suitably strong Italian style vinegar sauce which worked as a most suitable counterpart to the cheese rich main course. Though I’d been slightly concerned about time there had been no need, it was all cleared down and gone in very good time, to allow me to pay and meander my way once more back, those none too many steps, to the hotel. There was even time for a little checking and backing up of photos on my return.

Damon turned up in good time for us to head outside and await our coach, a coach which surprised up when it didn’t stop off to pick up the others. We caught up with them at the airport after we had already managed to deposit our baggage, their coach had been accompanied by the same crystal rep who had impressed us so a week ago on our inbound journey and had told them that the flight was expected to be quite delayed. Something that the airport seemed to be unaware off, given the departure screens and the pilot had also gone unapprised off as it later transpired the flight was actually expected to head off early. Milton gave this some thought and came up with a theory predicated largely on the observed genius of this Crystal ski chappy and secondarily on a little bit of mathematics.. he deduced that if one was to not fully appreciate the grand complexities of the 24 hour clock then one could come up with precisely the delayed departure time that crystal man marvel had advised.

Thomson Flight Seating
Thompson Flight

I was looking for a place to store my passport and paperwork and only realised half way into the drop deposit that this plastic sleeve did not represent a solid choice being far too deep, narrow and solid to allow subsequently for something of passport size to be successfully retrieved. This could be a real problem, i had one last finger clamped against the corner of the passport as i realised this, brilliant contemplating there with the plan, and tried to edge it back up the way without loosing that critical clamping traction which prevented its decent to the problematic narrow depth.
Ultimately by using the spare of my hands to empty out all the other contents, magazines, safety card, vomit capture paper bag (which never quite seems like the ideal material for something a little bit liquidity in the majority of instances & arguably thankfully so) i was able to free up sufficient space to get a better hold and finally drag it back out. Still on this occasion at least the lesson went learnt, not forgotten within some absentminded couple of moments, so that was something..

Rating the Zillertal ski areas:

Hintertux:
Lots of space, good and cold providing a higher quality of snow – but very few pistes, little more than enough for a half day or one day with quite a bit of repetition.
[1.5/5]

Mayrhofen Penkenbahn Side:
It has lots of little areas to explore and a variety of pistes. Like most of the areas it suffered from over congestion of pistes, it also has a limited sense of travel about it with a lack of taxing runs.
[2.5/5]

Mayrhofen Ahorn Side:
Again – very few pistes, little more than enough for a half day or one day with quite a bit of repetition – smaller than Hinterux and without the quality of snow.. An additional sort of distraction but little to offer in its own right other than the very long good run from top to bottom.
[1/5]

Zell Am Ziller:
The best area in the Zillertal – a real sense of travel and variety in the skiing stakes, it also has two lifts from the valley which limits the queues and efficiently moves people up the mountain. It doesn’t have much in the way of challenging pistes but its reliably fun.
[3.5/5]

Kaltenbach:
A place with night skiing and like Mayrhofen around enough KMs and runs to fill two days of skiing without too much repetition.
[3/5]

The closed piste not taken:

Holiday Related Information:
http://www.austria.info/uk/austrian-cuisine/jaegertee-2078194.html

Advertisements

Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home [2]

A response was not long in coming,my advise to think twice before heading over had come too late, they were already over this side and by the nature of the day hadn’t gone far, they were headed down and we’d meet up by the station.

They told me about the Ahorn area, how easy it was to find the Cablecar and how close it was to the Penkenbahn sitting just behind the familiar brückenstadl bar. There was along run open all the way down into Mayrhofen, a black that went from the top to the bottom which sounded already a whole lot better than sticking where i was.  A run being open back down into the every greener Mayrhofen must have been taking some nursemaid, I’d seen something run like over there, from across the valley while heading up in the morning.  With the others recommending it as worth the visit, my own inclinations and the lack of a way to spend the time, other than some peaceful mountain sitting, over here, i headed off, back down to Mayrhofen.

Mayrhofen Ski ZillertalPenkenBahn PenkenBahn PenkenBahn Cliff View

Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal

As i wondered from the valley station a ski bus arrived with the word Ahorn across the top where the destination name was customarily found.  Perhaps its wasn’t the longest walk but none the less this seemed rather better and pleasantly convenient.

This was a full sized cable car and it was leaving just as i’d arrived, as untimely in its departure as the bus had been timely in its arrival.  Thirty minutes until the next one, the lift attendant told me, there was a bench over to the side, as the first to get here in time to watch the cable cars departure there was space upon it, i sat myself down and thought about time, likely arrivals, probable descent durations, estimated arrival times, impact on previous ski depositing intentions.. quite why is unclear, there were not the facts available upon which to base such contemplations but then there was the time to indulge in them, so swings and round abouts.

Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen Station  Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen Station Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen

It was nicer up on the Ahorn, the skiing was limited to one side of a single mountain, so somewhat limited but no more so than the piste map would make abundantly clear to all who study it.  The cable car ended at the top, no further lifts were required so skiing could immediately recommence.. I took the most interesting looking route down, it was not it swiftly transpired the right way down, coming to a dead end at the base of a drag lift.

Ahorn Snowey Mountains Ahornbahn Snowey Mountains Ahorn Snowey Mountains  Ahorn Sunny Skiing Day Ahorn Sunny Skiing Day

After the rains of last night the weather had become all together too warm in the day, it was not that other ski resorts do not suffer so much from the sun, however the lack of altitude, the rain and now the warm, it didn’t bode well for those due to arrive today for the next weeks skiing, unless something changed starkly and shortly.

I headed down, about half way back to Mayrhofen and it was going no easier than it had earlier, no second wind had come as the day had gone on. There remained time to head back up again, from here two chair lifts would see me returned to the very top, so that it what i now did.. Once more up, once more down and that will be it for the Mayrhofen 2015 ski holiday.

16 Degrees - Temperature Sign

Once back at the top i went to the loo, there was one conveniently placed at the summit and allowed me to focus solely on the last run. Always a disappointing time, still on other holidays i had always thought upon another day, here i had for the first time had that extra time and in fairness my physical condition had limited my enjoyment of it. The lesson being either that i need to get into better shape, a lesson i had no need to learn only a need to do something about it or alternatively that six days will do… at the time i may have seen it as both, retrospectively i’m inclined to reconsider, seeing the lesson belongs more to the former.

Ahorn  Iglu bar

Ahorn skis and sticks
Last Run – Time To Put On The Skis & Head Down

The run down was notable for two things, the number of breaks i was taking and the number of times i was overtaken by the same whippet intent on underlining not only how i struggled today but how far i had to go in terms of skiing ability even on far better days. This was of course not there intention, a perfect stranger intent only in skiing their way down who’s only thought were they to have one might have been on quite what this familiar obstruction was attempting to achieve here today. The skushed down the run with the types of long sweeping super giant style approach that i would like to call my own, not all that unnecessary swishing about and making an unnecessarily fanciful deal of things, it was quick, controlled and worse than neat very very neat.. worse still they were only a smidge, a small person, a semi-smurf, whats a person meant to do with that.

After countless moments of taking pause, catching breath and trying to go again, i eventually arrived at the bottom.  To be clear its a good run, not overly taxing or rather it had no right to be taxing yet it had proven so and  its run, you get some good amount of skiing out of it.  Though it was shown as a black it wasn’t really and looking at older piste maps on the internet its clear that it used to be a red all the way down.

The only but significant downside being that, to tackle it one must be prepared to wait on the cable car, the only route back up and with that meaning a potential 30minute wait, you have to be dedicated to the cause or like me not thinking of skiing on from there.

Ahorn Run From Town

My skis came off.  As i sat on a semi step even my boots were dislodged and standard shoes went on.. Time for comfort and as a sort of weird plus one of the first times i was almost happy to see the back of skiing… only i wasn’t but i was… or to put it another way body happy along with the part of the brain that looks after such things while the rest just wished id been better placed to enjoy this last day.

I strapped up my boots and placed them over my shoulder along with the skis and headed off toward the hire shop were i would deposit them.  The thing about this point, its regularly a little embarrassing and here with these bright orange things they’d given me, the oddly considerable gashes that had somehow sliced away on sections of the skis (top side) were that bit more obvious.  This is customary for me, i know not how, I’d barely fallen all week and where i had they’d been moderate neat little sideways slips, no drama had occurred, no off pisteing had been attempted and yet once again there was the damage.  Embarrassing it would be again, also it offered support for one of my ongoing rationals for not buying my own pair of skis.

Bruck 'n' Stadl Bruck 'n' Stadl Penkenbahn Penkenbahn

Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home

I’d woken up to find my gathering nasal issue had found a new height, with an overnight crusting that would be that much more explicable if i were in full cold mode.  It had all but sealed shut, other than that it was an unremarkable morning.

Good information, important note taking.

Mayrhofen Piste Map
Piste Map – Mayrhofen

Those who were going to ski on the last day (our coach was leaving at around 3 or 4) were going up to AHORN, we hadn’t been on that side yet. I opted to go up to the main Penkenbahn, you can loose quite a bit of time to the valley and up bit, the town being at a limited sort of altitude leaving the lifts with more to do in order to get us skiers up to the ski areas. I wanted to do as much of the area as possible once more including that one available black run.

I got up there quite early, there was no queues, then again up top only one lift seemed to be open and though i looked at it i dared not ski down the other side into the next valley, for all i was able to tell, there wasn’t anything much open and holes best not sunken into, least not deliberately. I skied back down to the top of the Penkenbahn, in order to more studiously study the piste map, it did not go well. This was a very simple red, not really a red at all, but it had been rained on last night, we’d been told it had rained up to around 2000meters and judging by the unpleasant state of the snow , sticky under foot, these anecdotal reports had not been wrong. In conjunction, every effort was being rigorously objected too by my legs, which continued their determined objection the overtime, the same overtime that other parts of my person had been quite please about but then i guess those parts weren’t the ones having to put in the effort here.

Red eleven, red one, red eleven .. it was not long before such limitation became quite tedious, the idea was that the area was closed due to winds but as yet there had been little to no sign of any winds. It was actually quite a nice day weather wise.

After a time some other lifts appeared to open up, there had been false dawns earlier with chairs starting to spin up and into life but to no avail. Skiing down the other side of the mountain was a more enjoyable experience, it was the shadowy side, where the snow was frozen up and it remained icy and hard, i hadn’t gotten any more spritely but on this surface thing were made quite a bit easier.

Mayrhofen Snow Mountains

Mayrhofen Snow Mountains

Up and round and down, ending up in another part of Mayrhofen that somehow had gone unskied up to now, it was on the sunny side a decent and long run that headed in the direction of Finkenberg. The breaks were becoming more regular as i continued to look forward to the part where i got to sit on a lift. Not the customary way of things.  Perhaps i was coming down with a cold, there were elements of that about my disposition, it was possible.

By the time i’d headed back, a very short period of time later the lift back up to Mayrhofen was closed again – the Knorren lift – leaving open only one lift out of the hole, the Nordhangbahn, the lift used to get to Finkenberg side earlier now the only option and it had developed a queue worthy of its new found status.

Though i was back up top, eventually, it wasn’t the the intended top and piste maps around here were possibly not the very best but then nor, quite probably, was my attention span.. It looked like there might be a route back, one which would avoid having to head all the way down to Finkenberg and find where that town kept its ski bus stops, a run worth trying to find. I didn’t care much for loitering over here, the snow was sloppy on the sun side and the only way back from the shadowy side was that one lift with its oh so mighty queue. Besides i had a specific time to be getting back for, a coach that i had little option but to be around to catch and though its departure was still many hours from now, at the rate and apparent randomness with which lifts were opening and shutting there seemed an inopportune level of unpredictability about where i might Wind-Up when the music stopped. I rather preferred to find myself with a seat at that time and for that seat to be in the vicinity of and closely connected to Mayrhofen, it was the most relaxed take on things but heading back seemed a pragmatic precaution to such events.

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Piste

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Skiing

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Snow
Route back – Finkenberg To Mayrhofen

P1080293

Fortuitously it worked out, i was quite pleased to see myself back among familiar surrounds but for all that and having headed up once more, i didn’t really feel the need to ski those familiar morning reds so many times more.

Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Mountain Staion

Mayrhofen Ski Zillertal

So instead i sat.  I found a spot down by the bar which lay alongside the top station, the sun was out, the sky was blue and my enthusiasm for skiing was much dampened by the feeble efforts key parts of my person had shown themselves fit to be making, the condition of the snow and the limitation of the available pistes.  So instead I sat.  I thought about how it was Saturday and what a fine way, even sitting here among the snow and blue skies on a mountain side, this was to spend a Saturday in the late morning, a far better way than i would likely be spending one for some time.. How infinity preferable it, even more surely, would prove to the coming Monday, though still as i told myself these things and sat back to relax still i was niggled by the need to spend the time in some more productively, than to loiter quite so fecklessly and lazily without intent.

I texted my colleagues to see where their day had taken them so far and to suggest to them that were they not here then they should think twice before coming over.  Despite the limited size of the Ahorn area it might well represent more opportunity to ski than would now surely prove to be the case over here.

Ski Day 6 – Mayrhofen: Places To Go Out Dinner & Drinks & The Last Dinner

Going Out:

Apropos Bar – First Night: Too Smokey.. That was the major negative, very traditional and not too tourist pub.
Good for just hanging out, having a quiet but social sort thing going on. Has the darker grungier thing in its corner.
[3/5]

Scotland Yard – Couple of visits: Also smokey but a little less that Apropos Bar, due to having smoking and none smoking sections. It doesn’t have anything really going for it or anything against it, inoffensive, easy to get served most of the time and serving both food and cider, as well as the standard bar fair. Good for larger groups looking to relax.
[3.5/5]

ICE BAR – Shuts earlier. Its really the post skiing bar, in Mayrhofen. Loud, full and really only any good if you want beer. It is what it is, not a place for having conversations or chilling but if you have energy after a days skiing and dont have claustrophobic issues then … its the obvious choice
[3.5/5]

Brückenstadl – Seating, music, space & open until late. Probably best as a place to finish up in, everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time, the music selection was at best variable but its hard to pick too many faults with it.. perhaps a little large and industrial with no live music, causing it to be at risk of becoming a little repetitious.. but this is stretching matters a bit
[4/5]

Neue Post Mayhofen

On the last night on making it back to Mayrhofen from night skiing we went to the Neue Post, it had been recommended and generally came with the reputation of being a better establishment.
The food variety was decent and the standard was probably moderately above the average, perhaps.. but the service was unfriendly, notably so, to the point of being almost being just a little bit more than bizarre.
It was not an eventful evening after that.

Dinning:

Neue Post – [1.5/5]

Manni’s – Visited Twice . Decent for Pizza’s and more traditional options – [3/5]

Cafe Tirol – Smart, moderately average kitchen – [2/5]

Grill kuchl – Friendly Small, not largest portion sizes – [2.5/5]

Landhaus- Carla -Restaurant Tiroler Stuben – Probably the highest standard of food during the week, pleasant environment & the best place to go – [3.5/5]

Ski Day 6 – Return To Kaltenbach , Hoch Zillertal

There is something about a last days skiing that ought to have been reduced down to a second last days skiing or something akin on this holiday, after all we had another half day lined up, a pre-departure last half day.. But there it remained the something about a last days skiing, even when it wasn’t.

Daud was staying in Mayrhofen and would join the rest of us in Kalenbach later in the afternoon.  We had a quite deliberate reason for skiing in Kaltenbach today, a Friday.  Friday was night skiing day in Kaltenbach, as far as we understood things the only resort to offer night skiing in the valley.

Panorama Mayrhofen Train Station
Mayrhofen Train Station

We walked to the Gondola station, headed up.  There was even talk of fine weather from some as sun cream was dug out and applied.  The night skiing was on this side of the valley, on the home run that followed the Gondola down.  With that in mind the preference was to head up and over to the other valley earlier, home of the best black run we’d encountered so far, so that we could then return back over here in time for the afternoon, the arrival of others and then, some fair bit later, night skiing.

It was not warm at the top, there was no sign of any need for sun cream, the wind was going and it was throwing shards of ice and snow at our faces. This was not quite matters as they had been expected, we tried to study the piste map as the cold whipped about us, twas not a comfortable time, it appeared to be suggesting that the black run was shut. Uncertainty descended, as going the intended direction became more questionable and meant contradicting the wind with its super abundance of mini missiles which it was happily whipping up and launching about the place. Charlie skied down a little, not far but far enough to require walking back up the way and any sort of walking up the way was always viewed most dimly, especially while wearing sliding down the hill planks, which tend to be notably less of an aid for walking back up it. He was looking back up at us as we stood, less warm than once we had been and might choose to be again, with a shrug that may or may not have happened we took of our breaks and set to follow suit.
The shards needled my face, more of them, more momentum, thwacking in micro comments attempting to pull of extinction events for any and micro orangism that might be attempting to eek out an existence upon my person, i know not if they are there, if they ought to be there and i care not too know about such matters… i know about the beasties that live in the beds and sleeping places of man and i have to say such knowledge benefits me in few to ways that i can think of and has been placed firmly in the drawer marked things not to ponder upon overly, with a possible additional sub-headed, cant do much about it and well just a little bit minging. Besides biology and related matters was never an area or interest or strength in the before times when learning was more freely attempted or for that matter imposed.

Either way the grey, the wind, the cold cold wind and it shards – very nice and very much flying in the contrary direction to the one we were attempting to travel. We didnt have far to travel to where the black run split away to the left, a 90 degree turn of the side of this initial gentle slope, as we got there the wind was already slightly less than it had been moments before, at the top. There was a closed sign and the customary netting but both had been placed to the side of the piste, the sign stood to the side and the netting was rolled and bundled up, leaving the pistes entrance open and utterly unimpeded. This was confusing, a most unclosed sort of look for a piste to be wearing so with a pause and a looking about ourselves in moderate reticence and uncertainty we headed down. It wasn’t the day for loitering, best to opt in or out and go with it, so down the black we went. Turning sideways to the mountain the wind and its missiles were hugely diminished, the sky and world remained grey and quiet but things were much comfier, eyes could be kept open at all times, hands and arms were no longer required to be held aloft to grant the shelter to the face and the piste was actually in a condition far easier to ski than it had been those few days ago. Flatter and generally more uniform under foot, though with more occasional balding or rather notably thinning patches, where white was no longer the resounding colour it was leading with.

restaurant photo beetle ski rack
Restaurant photo – The VW Beetle and the Ski Rack – Older times

After skiing about, only a couple of runs worth we headed to the Gondola base station, it was closed, it had a sign suggesting the bus and train as the alternative route back over to the other side..the side from where we’d come.  For us it wasnt time to head back yet at any rate, there was the other Gondola, the one to the furthest point rather than back the way.  Arriving at the top I took the opportunity to locate one of the attendance, for the purpose of querying the status of the missing link lift, he wasn’t certain on this topic though that was primary a matter of the weather, it depended on the weather, the wind, if it desisted the lift would probably re-open, it was more information than we had before while changing pretty much nothing.

We paused in the restaurant at the top of the lift.  It took a while but i suddenly noticed they had WIFI, the first real connection with a world beyond our holiday.   eMails, replies to some messages id sent for Christmas and New Year… broad spectrum seasonal spamming to the once familiar and past work colleagues, not friends or even frequent familiars such as those here with me.  Little else.. I was already aware of the real events of the week, Charlie Hebdo, Daud was never long disconnected and had made us loosely aware of that news, though probably not yet in any detail.  The world is full of so many unnecessary evils that we do unto each other, oddly it often one unworthy degrading and monstrous act that will be used as the rational for another.  Its astonishing at times how we rush to solace and safety in the darkness to escape the dark and how difficult civilisation if not individuals find it to hold true to it wiser and better judgements.  An endless battle against the degrading gravity of our more base, cheap and small instincts, its always there it seems, waiting to take every stronger hold whenever troubles set in, whenever the better intentions would be most tested and of most value they loose their footing, gravity wins and down the snake we go.  That’s not exactly the optimism of the moment, these are the reflections of after about a topic barley considered back then.

On that day i was on a mountain with low hanging clouds in the company of people who, like myself might struggle to do world improving things but no more than that, things were quiet, relaxed and i had an email from a most amusing and interesting person to digest, a person I’d actually only met the once and briefly.   Supplier & work meetings, some time ago – not customarily the place for encountering people at their most interesting or multifaceted, the real life equivalent to the social media of linkedin status updates.

 Hochzillertal Hochfügen
http://www.skiresorts-test.com/ski-resorts/hochzillertal-hochfuegen.apres-ski.html

Ski Day 5 – Mayrhofen .. Zell am Ziller & Gerlos & Zell Am Ziller [4]

Despite a familiar enthusiasm for heading to one of the bars, from those familiar quarters, as we loitered at the Zell Am Ziller Valley lift station, the desire for alcohol from which this customarily sprouted was notably absent.  Re-hydrating soft drinks for some.

Cows In Mayrhofen

At a given point on the road into town there was a smell, a reliable presence that varied only in strength and depth.  It came drifting out from here, a brick barn with a couple of windows that were generally open, within there were cows within.  Having cleaned up i headed back out, to meet up once again with the others in the quiet foyer of the hotel opposite their own..

Mayrhofen Night Time

They had a bar, the hotel opposite, it was anything but the center of all the lively things but it was a handy, quiet and easy.  Damon wasn’t with us yet and it was he who so far had demonstrated the most specific thoughts on matters relating to dinner.  Charlie had an intention, he wanted us to just head back to the now reasonably familiar Scotland Yard Pub, only this time he wanted to eat there, unfussed and indeed seeking the relaxed informality of whatever options they might have.  Damon would never concur with such a plan, with a strong mind to eat well and each customarily local style food so the collective were of a mind not to tell him, to simply go there and at some point set about ordering food.   I objected, not caring where we ate but simply finding this exercise in disingenuous maneuvering that seemed unnecessary, craven and unbefitting.  While they were right, Damon would never agree to the idea and i myself had previously argued no one person had the right to dictate terms to the group, the approach made me quite uncomfortable and the reward seemed very far from being able to offer legitimacy to the approach.  I was clearly in the minority and having stated my objection for a couple of rounds, that was that, Damon arrived and the group set of, quiet on the intentions even as queried.

The bar it was pointed out, i forget by whom appeared to operate a familiar policy (be it a policy not customary in the traditional smokey dive bar upon which this seemed largely modeled) of rotating service personnel, clearing away drinks while politely eager to query whether any replenishment were required.  A recruitment policy which was being suggested had a view to retaining and making best use of the male patrons.  The collective then, though aware of the tactic, were clearly either willing or at least unperturbed subjects of it, remaining contently seated.  Charlie was clearly feeling the alcohol, evident since before we’d even arrived, i know not how or from where this occurred but the volume on a customarily quieter group member was up.  This is the more inebriated face of Charlie, its no worse than many but as with many, not so endearing, arguing loudly and poorly the case for the EU and the Euro with Damon who took quite a different view.  It was a shame because it would actually have made for one of the more interesting and few proper conversation had it not been quite so loitered with political strap lines, broad but basically empty sentiment and what seemed to be anything but a conversation.   Indeed both seemed quite inclined to ignore the statements of the other and to use their questioning of positions as anything but questions, rather they were statements in question form with no interest in the actual response.   Damon was the quieter less vigorous party, while Charlie’s inability to muster a coherent, well founded justification for his position, was ever the more frustrating, especially given my own strong inclination to support the broad nature of his position.. Well until he started, what i hoped was a semi joking line, espousing with enthusiasm the prospect of a future forged upon a benevolent European imperialism.  Be it but a cultural form that was meant and offered quite possibly in boisterous jest, it was a line none the less uncomfortably apart from my own motivations and as distasteful a notion as the nationalism of small minded domestic parties..

I set myself to intercede, these were lawyers, professional arguers, in full rancor.   I attempted  what i hoped to be a more reasoned, less emotive and quiet approach, perhaps indeed probably wholly unsuited to the environment.

The political argument is one of preference, one of feeling, the economic argument less so, it is one of relative clarity if not stark conclusions, clear advantages and disadvantages, what is most odd about them is, in the UK at least it is the capitalist parties of the right who are most set against both.  Yet both are the children of globilisaiton, free trade and free capital.. a position in favor of one ought naturally flow to a position in favour of the other… While the left might better be placed to retain consistency, were they to offer an objection to such liberalisation of borders, yet they don’t, these are the parties most open to pro-European integration policies.  Its quite the oddity of politics and economics seemingly becoming quite unbound.

Besides the discussion about monetary union was being unfortunately conflated with the somewhat separate matter of political unions &/or trading regions.  They maybe intertwined but the arguments for or against one is a matter mostly quite apart from an argument for or against the other.  What makes it matter is that my dissertation was on the topic of the then yet to come into being EMU and reality is that no broad statement can serve to do either contention justice, the economic argument being one of detail and strongly related to the pragmatism and detail of its implementation, being neither an intrinsically good or inherently poor economic tool.  On this Damon, an economics graduate, and i found common ground on the familiar notion of optimal currency areas a term long bathed within dust, forgotten in an unvisited reassess of my mind.  The conversation faltered and withered, in some ways a low point in others a pleasant break from the vapid but jovially cosmetic, sketch show repetition that otherwise characterises nearly all the groups interactions.

Besides the spectre of dinner was upon us as the group set about studying and ordering their meals from one of the rotating service personnel.  The prospect of dinning here met with expected level of approval from Damon’s corner of the round two adjoined round tables.  Personally i dithered, neither ordering nor volunteering to join Damon in his intention to set out to forage for food elsewhere. Remaining as i did, both content with staying put and in opposition to what i knew to be the fait accompli manner by which it had been achieved.  In so doing i was achieving nothing, some pizzas (the main offering available from the limited range) had already arrived as my persistence with the achieving nothing other than opting out of both camps strategy persisted… genuinely perplexed by this dichotomy and the apparent lack of an optimal solution, the undeniable glory of the abstention.

Ultimately Damon did leave to set of in search of more regionally native fair, targeting the Neue Post ..  while i added my name to list of pizza consumers now sat about me.   We did not remain until late, instead once we were done we headed down to the Neue Post ourselves, energy level were not at their highest with little appetite for adding further stops to the evening excursions, Daud though couldn’t quite have it  Determined that the night should not end quite there, he stopped off at a very small shop on the route back and procured some bottles of refreshment, offering to be consumed back at their hotel.. Perhaps this was the least compromise he could make with himself, either way it was an agreeable end to the night for all.   Damon however was not to be found and we wondered around the Neue Post in search, either he’d reconsidered and never been here after all or he’d been been and gone in a most efficient manner… Either way he wasn’t about.

Hotel Neue Post Myrhofen

For my part once at the hotel the full extent of lingering energy depletion became quite evident, i managed my somewhat sweet and not entirely naturally occurring fruits flavored beverage before slumping down in the corner.  A none alcohol induced, pretty much purely naturally occurring bought of fatigue and while i was the most visually representative of this mindset i appeared to be far from alone..  This house/room party at the nights end was not long lived, the only issue to overcome was finding my feat once more and setting about the final trundle of the day, back to my hotel and designated place of resting.

Ski Day 5 – Mayrhofen .. Zell am Ziller -> Gerlos -> Zell Am Ziller [2]

The world can be so odd – retrospectively predictable in its contrary ways – i was in a mental fog for sure, the world sort of quiet, a little remote & detached almost serene.. All week Id struggled to ski properly, I’d been relatively diligent and careful to underplay the après ski and too get a decent level of sleep & each day my skis had failed to obey me to the anticipated extent..

I couldn’t quite believe it at first, presumed it was the fog impeding my judgement perhaps but as the runs went on there seemed less and less doubt somehow in my detached malaise, not hung over, not drunk but still not quite in touch with things I’d found my skiing. It shouldn’t be – it was day 5 the legs should probably at any rate be feeling it, the toe was glowing and any notable thoughts seemed highly improbable … Yet it was going better than I could recall it going, not only this holiday but for many many efforts before that.

Gerlos Power Line Snow Mountain
Power Lines In The Snow
Automatic Photo Point Elephany Zell Am Ziller
Scan Your Pass & Take A Photo
Ski Gerlos - Zell am Ziller - Mountain and Lift
Ski Gerlos – Zell am Ziller – The Far End

By the time we were closing in on the far side of the resort Daud had emerged from his hibernation, made his way back into the world and been in contact. He had some way to come to get over to us, we suggested a meeting point that was on the cusp of the way back while we’d then headed on to the further end of the piste map.

Ski Sign Gerlos
Ski Sign

There was a short but decent run over that side – the black 86 above – it ended with a drag lift, not everyone’s favourite but you can have too much comfort and the T bars – and there’s something missing when they’re not about.  Not too many of them mind, least not on the longer runs … don’t want to be over doing matters – may as well just strap on those skinny Langlauf skies, decide this exhausting, speed and all round general entertainment depleted stuff is nowhere near the desired levels of tedious and/or exhausting and set about climbing up the mountain.

In summary then its good to have some T-Bar drag lifts and they did.

While the others lunched i skied my way back toward the valley where the connection back was located, it seemed like something to do.  I then headed back up, realising only once i was on the way back down that i couldn’t entirely remember exactly at the bottom of which piste i’d left the others…they were down there somewhere & according to the text update ending their lunch about now.  This dawning notion that i might need to think about where i was going came at a timely juncture allowing for a pause and a course alteration, arriving back at the chairlift just as the others, skies reapplied, were shuffling along toward it.

There are not so very many runs over that side of the region and despite the short juncture of our visit, it seemed we were missing out on little by heading back the way.

Ski Day 4 – Mayrhofen – ICE BAR (3)

At some point on day two or there about, i had opted to remove the visor from my ski goggles – an act that would normally render them somewhat less than useful, however mine were camera goggles and while the goggles had proven since their first outing to be off questionable quality the video remained quite the handy way to keep a record of the days.  The visor by this, only the third or forth time of use, was so blotchy as to present quite a vision obstructing challenge, so while the visorless goggles provided no practical assistance nor did they inflict any additional impediments.

On the penkenbahn there were two Scottish chaps sharing the lift down with us, they started talking too us on the back of apparently recognising me and my visorless goggles from earlier in the day.  I have no such recognition but they were not the first to notice, not even the first to bring it up… i think someone had even advised me about the clearly less than subtly missing element ..

By now the sun was gone and Mayrhofen appeared beneath, yellow lights shining up in the dark, it was the first time we’d seen Mayrhofen from above, having skied in other areas since the general cloudy fogs of the first day.

At the base of the Penkenbahn there remained the ICE bar, there were only three of us on this occasion so the act of negotiating a mutually acceptable social forum was that bit simpler, all voting parties were socially  lubricated if only most moderately so & it was just so damnably conveniently just right there..  So we headed in … No Cider here … hmmmm .. Once more unto the Jaeger Tee it would need to be .. once more

Mayrhofen ICE bar
Mayrhofen ICE bar By Penkenbahn

After being in there for a bit Damon came to the realisation that a fair chunk of his ski school were also in there, near the back and he wanted to go and meet up with them.  Along with the Irish contingent from the ski school & their friends, there was also the instructor, a man who went by the mantle Wolfie.   He in turn had given the mantle ‘Speedy’ to Damon, which he explained was due to a lack of a natural propensity for turning.

Between investing time in alcohol and the girls of his group Wolfie shared some other stories, though the clarity of his speech was by now on the decline, he had been a world cup down hill skier, this i knew from Damon.  He’d gone 130/140 or something close to that down the “Harakiri” (Austria’s steepest marked run, the 78 per cent), had been bricking it and taken three turns to come to a stop, all most impressive stuff – he was also Stephan Eberharter’s room mate from a time on the world cup circuit.

A day without fluids or much in the way of sustenance – along with it being among the longer days skiing seemed to have an impact, offering efficacy enhancing qualities to the chemical reaction occurring within my system.  Id slowed my intake of alcohol anyhow, the sweetness of the Jaeger Tee’s on which i was stuck, quickly proving too much having already had two up upon the mountain.

It was quite the oddest thing one side of my brain seemed largely to operate unimpeded – remembering with an unusual level of efficiency .. one of the worlds great mislayer of things and forgetor of desirable next steps – it had a most full and clear notion of the things needed to be sure were in place – jacket, phone, boots (these having been removed around the time we’d entered), it had decided that this now was all quite enough .. what it wasn’t able to do was in act all it wanted to efficiency through the other half, the half responsible for implementing such thoughts.  The most telling evidence of this came after i had successfully retrieved my jacket from the mass of clothing upon the floor, Damon asked for his, my crouched self turned back and rummaged some more… then upon getting confirmation of having located it, i sought to lean in and drag it forth… my tired crouching legs wobbled, i failed to respond and instead of re-balancing they quaked, gave way and i rolled backward like a partially upturned tortoise – impressive stuff.  Seldom to never can i remember my head being so peculiarly segmented, one side so well aware and able to spectate upon the spluttering chuntering seized up efforts of the other …  The phone was the central concern – a work phone – I’ve lost a work blackberry before now, Ischgl some years ago, on the last day and found that moderately embarrassing, eager not to repeat… found it, mislaid it without moving it, found it again .. arguably not the finest of thinking times but very pleased with how it all worked out..

Damon and I headed back to our hotel leaving a still happily absorbed Daud  to some more life in the ICE bar.  Damon had a locker, so no stuff to hoick about, i had no locker, it would have served me poorly, what with the moving around and skiing different days in different ski areas.  It was not early, it probably hadn’t been early for a while now &  as such the hotel locker room was locked, leaving the smuggling to room maneuver the only available option.  Damon suggested a quick turn around and a heading off for dinner, it was clear this was a most solid idea.

Back in town we returned to yesterdays restaurant of choice, i’m not sure why, i heavily suspect it wasn’t my call and was simply happy to be making strides toward the end goal of eating stuff.. (http://www.sporthotel-manni.com/en/restaurant.html) We filled up, targeting some hefty stuff, for the first time i went for a starter , Goulash soup – with Damon suggesting bread as an accompaniment – it went down well, then potato, a form of hefty old Rösti, with egg, metal platter or greasy … not the meal of choice on most days but it was different and the eyes had fixed their not yet clear gaze upon tomorrow.

Back at our hotel Damon found his phone (doubling up into the role of alarm clocks) was not with him, he was a little perturbed by this and having rifled about confirmed its absence… we should go back, check the restaurant, why not, its only a small town, no more than 10-12 minute walk – no harm… Back out we went..

Today really was quite a good day – a few self created bumps but Damon emerged with his phone, found by the seats where we’d been sitting … and for all that interesting..

Ski Day 4 – (Hintertux Glacier) Skiing – Eggalm & Mayrhofen (2)

We wondered out of the Gondola station in time to see a ski bus close its doors, Daud looking out from within just before it drove off.

Unamused in the round the timetable was studied, there was quite the wait for the next one with the ski bus back to Mayrhofen leaving quite a bit earlier than the intended bus to Eggalm, so i settled my thoughts on that, the less the time spend sitting about in frustrated fashion the better. Most frustrating of all, had we not wasted the time up top looking about and dithering on Daud’s disappearance then we could all have been down in good time to be on board the now out of reach bus…

However the plan was flawed. I studied the detail of it and realised that the journey duration was unexpectedly much shorter to Eggalm than that of the bus to Mayrhofen.. The two places were remembered from the piste map as being closer together than all that, some level of inaccuracy had crept in. So it was that we all headed off on the more local ski bus toward Eggalm. On nearing our destination a somewhat wide eyed and dejected looking Daud appeared, sat at a bus stop waiting, joining us on the bus to go that one more stop to the Eggalm ski lift.

Eggalm ski piste map mayrhofen
Eggalm – Mayrhofen Ski Piste Map

After some errant skiing we somewhat less than deliberately ended up at the top of the Eggalm area, from there we took the red (2) and then (4) down into the valley where the Mayrhofen connecting lift is found. It was the run of the holiday in many ways, it had everything that is best about Austrian skiing, a sort of accidental mixture dictated by the mountainside and what lay beneath. Slender long grassy prongs shooting up, snow thinning to the point of disappearance in patches, a stream at which the piste ended, turning into two planks of wood (one with some snow, one almost entirety without), a mound and a surprise road crossing that may not legitimately hold its surprise status had i potentially been paying a little more attention. It was a run that as we arrived finally back in the valley to catch the lift had put a smile on nearly all our faces, not the fastest, not the most grueling or even the most taxing but something very fun about it.

Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Bar
Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Bar

After getting back over to Mayrhofen the group divided up, this time deliberately.  I opted to continue with the skiing , while Daud wanted to head of and find Damon whose lessons were due to end shorty, the others had a return to the hotel in mind…Sauna, swimming pool etc..  The plan being, that i would join up with those not heading back,  at one of the bars around the Penkenbahn while retreading some of the runs that were hard to appreciate back in the white on white of the first day.  Black (17) … among those, the only black run open in this part of the ski area at the time.

jäger tee tea
jäger tee – Sweet Warm and …. not beer

One or perhaps it was two jäger tees later, on may part at any rate, others – the more beer inclined were almost certainly sticking with that – and once again we were loitering as the word went round, time to leave, Penkenbahn closing exaggerations but still there were not many people left as the daylight light dimmed.

Elchbar Penkenbahn Mayrhofen
Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Bar (2)
Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Bar
Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Bar (3)

Ski Day 3 – Kaltenbach, Hoch Zillertal

I woke up to text messages, multiple – Milton and Daud abandoning plans for the day as they opted to stay in their rooms and engage with their work emails, as i headed down for breakfast.  There was something of the coincidental and improbable about it.  Milton for one, best i can tell, simply doesn’t have that type of job and personality wise seems all but incapable of making such a distinct decision.  Such decisiveness is for the most part outsourced, i pondered what if anything this might mean for my day with a view toward the intended destination for this day, Kaltenbach.  It was a few more stops on the train than yesterday and Zell am Ziller and the originally intended train was still one i remained inclined toward with a view toward not eroding the morning.

Charlie texted, he was having breakfast and was querying what the intentions were… Either a repeat visit to Zell am Ziller or on to Kaltenbach was the preference.  We agreed to meet at the station.. It’s certainly not the most social of sentiments but some parts of my thoughts had been wondering on a day of lone skiing, yesterdays failure to get back, the generally somewhat KM light days, so i did wonder on a day of more concerted effort. Charlie is the fastest and strongest skier, the weather was still improving, all things considered it had worked out pretty well, should be a solid skiing day ahead.

ski map hochfuegen hochzillertal
ski map hochfuegen hochzillertal
www.skiline.cc Ski pass tracker graph
http://www.skiline.cc Ski pass tracker graph
zillertal train route map
zillertal train route – map

Unlike Zell am Ziller there was no sign of a ski bus here, instead the march of the skiers took them across the road and away from the station, so we followed in reasoned expectation that the collective wisdoms knew more than we did.

Its not a long walk but probably about 10mins in ski boots and carrying skis, with an effective two Gondola system that shifts visitors so swiftly that there appeared barley a queue for getting on.
After an initial lack of a plan the day took shape and we initiated our day by migrating toward the furthest left point on the piste map before starting to head back across, headed toward the right of the piste map. Its best to have a purpose, a sense of direction of travel. Otherwise you get caught up either doing the same run over and over, inadvertent repetition or you find at least member of your collective spending excessive amounts of time gazing at the various piste maps and signs available on route & wondering upon which direction to head, often again ending up where you’ve been all to many times before.

Conditions remained unpredictable, as they had been since we got here, alternating between compressed icy patches and mogul like tufts/clumps of lumpy snow.

Kaltenbach Austria
Kaltenbach Austria – (1)
Kaltenbach Zillertal Chairlift
Kaltenbach (2)
Skiing Kaltenbach Zillertal Mountains
Kaltenbach Zillertal (3)
Kaltenbach Zillertal
Kaltenbach Zillertal (4)

We stopped once during the day in the second valley of this ski region (HochFugen Side) for a hot chocolate and pretzel at the base of the gondola station after completing one of the best runs we’d come across in that valley, it doesn’t appear on the piste maps but a black run from almost the very top of the Zillertal Shuttle and goes down to near its base.. At the time the length of the run along with its ongoing delivery of random terrain (ice-bumps-powder-ice) over what it quite a long black made it the stand out experience of the day and arguably the run of the week.

Kaltenbach Zillertal  Valley
Kaltenbach Zillertal (5)
Kaltenbach Zillertal  Skiing Mountains
Kaltenbach Zillertal (6)
Kaltenbach Zillertal  Snow Mountains
Kaltenbach Zillertal (7)
Kaltenbach Ski Map
Kaltenbach Zillertal (8)
Kaltenbach Zillertal (9)
Kaltenbach Zillertal (9)
Skis boot skiing sitting
Waiting – sitting – One Last Run Perhaps? 🙂

and this was the uncustomary thing about this ski area – all these people… the width of the pistes and the numbers of the people, the queues at the lifts were there, especially at certain bottle necks but the lifts are largely new, quick, efficient, but the pistes they were full…very very busy – all manner of ability and congested..

On days when i’m left to my own devices i have history, i’m fine when i ski and i ski, except for when on the lifts where i eat breakfast remnant saved in a bag in various states and conditions until the end of the day when the lifts stop and i begrudgingly terminate my efforts and then, at some moderately belated point later collapse, exhaustion and sleep – so in every sensible retrospective view of things, this was the way ski days probably should be, though i do have a thing for those which end abruptly in sudden and abrupt fatigue.

Kaltenbach Zillertal
Kaltenbach Zillertal (11)
Kaltenbach Zillertal Ski Piste
Kaltenbach Zillertal (12)

Charlie has, in recent years focused on matters of fitness and takes serious concern over skiing technique in all rational and well founded ways.. i should, i haven’t, i really haven’t, if i had my legs would be doing better at least to their previously normal standard .. So there he was doing all these well meaning and quite correct im sure stretching motions at the station and there was me quite bored and train waiting .. only right that in full hefty ski boot and general attire i should break out the competition, wafting my boot in the direction of the ski rack and waving a hand at it … and so time was wasted as impromptu competition on the heavy booted broke out, boots being wafted, hoicked and whetched and stretching unleashed while randoms cast glances in likely pondering uncertainty as to what all this was in aid of … i don’t feel it aided either of us in any great way but the train arrived soon enough, so there was that.

We rejoined the others in the evening with a mind born once more out of yesterdays unselected dinning option – Pizza, Charlie and I had a mind toward Pizza after passing Manni’s yesterday but collectively not opting for that.

mannis mayrhofen
This is mannis mayrhofen – tables hard to come by, decent pizzas